Hot Vacations: Road Tripping, Couch Surfing


Despite summer's higher than expected gas prices, Americans are opting to drive their vacation destinations, according to a new survey.

More than six in ten of the 2,000 adults surveyed said they drove their own car instead of flying to their last vacation destination, according to consumer research firm Mintel, and this should be a trend continuing throughout the summer, says spokeswoman Joanna Peot.

Additionally, more vacationers are opting for at-home time or family visits during their vacation time, Mintel reports. About 62% of those surveyed said they spent their last vacation with family and friends.

Meanwhile, only 30% of vacationers went to beaches on their last trip and 30% visited other cities. In 2007, before the recession led to widespread family budget cuts and tanked consumer spending, fewer people reported vacationing with family and friends and more people visited other cities, Mintel reports.

Once they reached their destinations, two in five people said they stayed with friends or relatives. About half said they stayed at hotels during their last vacation, while 80% of vacationers stayed at hotels in 2007.

Also, as a result of the tough economy and concerns about gas prices and spending cuts, Mintel says more people are now choosing to spend their vacations closer to home, taking shorter trips and opting for cheaper modes of transportation.

"As people try to save money, we see a rising trend towards simpler, more 'homespun' vacations," said Chris Haack, senior analyst at Mintel in a statement. “We've even seen an increase in zoo and local theme park attendance. People can justify shorter trips with fewer excesses, as long as they still have the opportunity to relax and have fun."

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