Pop quiz: When Americans go on vacation, how do they travel?
If you guessed that they fly, then you’ve been reading the work of my friends in the mainstream media — and oh, alright, me too — who would want you to believe everyone boards a plane. Not so, according to a just-released survey by Expedia.
A majority of Americans take their family vacations by car (59 percent) while just over a quarter say they fly. Less than 1 in 10 take a cruise, with the balance going by bus or train.
And that’s not the only surprise.
Here’s what else the survey revealed about our vacation proclivities:
• Let’s have dinner instead. Asked to name the best way to “create family memories” only 38 percent said you should take a week-long family vacation (come on, folks — the survey was conducted for Expedia; buy a clue!). The exact same percentage, surprisingly, answered “eating dinner together.” I’d say that’s a more affordable option. One in five respondents opted for a spur-of-the-moment getaway, better known as a staycation.
• Not everyone goes. A shocking one in ten respondents said they’ve never been on a family vacation. Roughly the same number of respondents said it had been more than 20 years since their last family vacation. All told, about a quarter of the respondents to the survey said they hadn’t been away with their families in more than 10 years — if ever.
• We’ll take the sofa. Only 27 percent of Americans who were surveyed say they stayed at a resort while they were on vacation. Almost the same amount — 20 percent — said they checked into a relative’s home. Slightly fewer (17 percent) bunked down at a motel, while 10 percent stayed in a rental home and the same number pitched a tent.
Taken together, these numbers suggest we could probably all use a real vacation.
But they also paint a different picture of the American family vacation from the one we assume is true. We don’t really fly. We prefer to stay with relatives. We stick close to home.
Maybe it’s time to think a little differently about travel.
(Photo: Billie/Flickr Creative Commons)