TripAdvisor Reveals Nation’s Thanksgiving Travel Plans

November 17, 2010 by  

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, today announced the results of its Thanksgiving travel survey of more than 1,000 U.S. travelers. Thirty-six percent of Americans plan to travel this Thanksgiving, up from 33 percent who traveled for the holiday last year. The majority of these travelers intend to drive to their destination (62 percent), while 33 percent plan to fly – down from 37 percent last year.

Crossing Borders for the Holiday

  • 72 percent will travel out of state for Thanksgiving, while 41 percent will travel more than 500 miles.
  • The most popular U.S. cities for Thanksgiving will be New York City, Orlando and Las Vegas.
  • 12 percent will take international trips – down from 14 percent, one year ago.
  • 51 percent will stay with friends or relatives, while 30 percent plan to stay in a hotel and six percent will stay in a vacation rental.

Economy Not Impacting Appetite for Holiday Travel

  • 68 percent said the economy has not impacted their Thanksgiving plans.
  • 15 percent anticipate spending more money on Thanksgiving travel than last year, while 67 percent plan to spend the same, and 18 percent will spend less.

Peak Travel Dates

  • Thursday, November 25 will be the busiest day for departures, with 35 percent planning to travel on Thanksgiving Day.
  • A further 28 percent will depart on Wednesday, November 24.
  • On the return leg, the busiest travel day will be Sunday, November 28, with 26 percent planning to travel home.
  • Twenty-four percent will travel on Monday, November 29.
  • 30 percent of travelers will take extended time off from work over the holiday.

Thanksgiving Travel Stress

  • 28 percent of the survey participants confess that traveling around Thanksgiving always or often stresses them out.
  • The most stressful aspect of Thanksgiving travel is heavy traffic (27 percent), while crowded airports (19 percent) and bad weather (10 percent) also place a strain on travelers.
  • Of those traveling, 19 percent feel under pressure to spend the holiday with friends or family this year, while 29 percent of travelers confess that they always or often feel this pressure.

Top Thanksgiving Activities

According to the survey, the top activities people plan to take part in this Thanksgiving include:

  • Watching football or holiday movies – 50%
  • Dining out on Thanksgiving Day – 21%
  • Touring the destination –  19%
  • Seeing a show – 10%
  • Attending or participating in a sporting event – 6%

Travelers’ Dream Thanksgiving Destinations

  • A tropical getaway – 33%
  • Anywhere that loved ones reside – 26%
  • A European destination – 19%

“With more Americans planning to make a Thanksgiving pilgrimage than last year, travelers can expect the usual hustle and bustle for the holiday,” said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “Despite the stresses, travelers cite visiting family and friends as the top treat they are looking forward to this Thanksgiving.”

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