Americans to Continue Traveling in '08
Travel in 2007 was marked by high fuel prices, new passport rules, record lows for the dollar and record-high plane trips, according to an Associated Press report.
In 2008, experts say, Americans may take shorter trips or choose destinations closer to home where their dollar goes further.
But they will still travel. The Conference Board's most recent consumer survey found 45.8% of Americans intend to take a vacation within six months, down a tad from 46.4% a year ago.
"When there's a slowdown in the economy, travel only slows slightly," said Douglas Shifflet of D.K. Shifflet & Associates, which tracks travel trends. "The amount of time people spend on vacations and in hotels is hit harder. They make tradeoffs; they stay closer to home or with friends and relatives."
"They'll look for other ways to save, like taking a day or two off of their trip," agreed Amy Ziff, Travelocity editor-at-large.
Fiona Lake Waslander, director of Yahoo Travel, predicted more trips to "small, weekend-type destinations, with people staying closer to home and doing shorter getaways." Lancaster, Pa., in Amish country, had the biggest gains in page views on Yahoo Travel Guides among domestic destinations in 2007.
A rises in passports is another indication that people would continue to travel. The State Department issued a record 18.4 million passports in fiscal year 2007, compared with 12.1 million in 2006. Thirty percent of Americans now hold passports, up from 27%.
The increase was spurred by new rules requiring passports for air travel to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada.