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More Travelers Packing Up Sleighs For December Holidays In 2011

TripAdvisor Survey Reveals 43 Percent Plan to Travel This Festive Season, Up Five Percent Compared to 2010

NEWTON, Mass., Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel site*, today announced the results of its annual December holiday travel survey of more than 2,100 U.S. travelers. Despite the current economic climate, 76 percent of respondents say the economy has not impacted their December holiday travel plans. Forty-three percent are planning to travel over the festive season this year, up from 38 percent who did so in 2010.

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The majority of travelers intend to hit the road for the Christmas holiday, with 34 percent planning to travel, up from 32 percent in 2010 – while 16 percent plan to travel for New Year's, up from 13 percent last year. Among those traveling, 59 percent will visit family or friends, 18 percent are planning a sunshine getaway and 11 percent intend to take a city break.

Holiday Air Travel on the Rise

While driving is the top choice among those traveling for the December holidays this year (48 percent), fewer motorists will take to the roads than in 2010, while airport traffic should see an increase compared to last year:  

 Holiday Travel

2010*

2011*

Car

52%

48%

Airplane

43%

46%

*Primary mode of transportation for the December holidays, among those who traveled in 2010 and / or 2011.

Trials and Tribulations of Holiday Travel

Fifty-one percent of those traveling for the December holidays expect to be stressed by the experience, with airline annoyances ranking top of the list of least enjoyable travel hurdles:

  1. Airline delays and cancellations - 22%
  2. Inclement weather - 21%
  3. Price of transportation - 15%
  4. Overcrowded airports - 11%
  5. Bad traffic - 8%

Travelers' Top Strategies for Seasonal Stress-Limitation

  1. Traveling at off-peak hours - 47%
  2. Paying for accommodation, rather than staying with family or friends - 14%
  3. Traveling a shorter distance than usual - 8%
  4. Consuming alcohol on a flight - 8%
  5. Taking a sleeping pill on a flight - 4%

Top Five Holiday Travel Mishaps– and How to Overcome Them

  1. Stash emergency supplies in the trunk: 29 percent of travelers have experienced considerable traffic jams during their December holiday travels.
  2. Monitor airport developments: 23 percent have endured a holiday flight cancellation.
  3. Label all luggage, both inside and out: 14 percent have suffered the inconvenience of lost luggage over the holidays.
  4. Allow for extra time: eight percent have missed a flight over the holidays.
  5. Avoid a last-minute packing frenzy: eight percent have forgotten to pack gifts in their luggage.

Festive Fliers Plan Frugal Measures

Festive fliers have a number of thrifty tactics up their sleeves, in order to avoid or minimize baggage fees this holiday season:

  1. Bring only carry-on bags - 33%
  2. Fly with an airline that does not charge for checked bags - 27%
  3. Have online gifts shipped directly to my holiday destination - 23%
  4. Mail gifts to my holiday destination - 17%
  5. Do laundry at my destination, to avoid checking bags - 17%

Additional Holiday Travel Tidbits

  • 23 percent have purchased last-minute gifts en route to their December holiday destination, with airports the top pick for face-saving purchases (11 percent).
  • 22 percent of those traveling plan to pack ornament earrings or other holiday-themed jewelry, 17 percent will carry holiday sweaters and 10 percent will travel with Santa hats.
  • Among those who have traveled over the December holidays in years past, 23 percent think travelers behave towards one another with worse manners than usual during the "season of goodwill", while 16 percent consider manners to be improved.
  • 49 percent of those traveling plan on using a smartphone or tablet device to plan or assist in their holiday travels this year.
  • Among these mobile users, 80 percent will check the weather, 58 percent will research restaurants and 50 percent will use their device for navigation purposes.

"When it comes to traveling over a busy period such as the December holidays, preparedness is key – and with 43 percent of Americans planning to take to the skies, roads and more this festive season, travelers should anticipate significant crowds," said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor.

About TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor® is the world's largest travel site, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features (including Flights search, TripAdvisor Mobile and Instant Personalization) with seamless links to booking tools.

TripAdvisor® Media Group, operated by TripAdvisor LLC, attracts more than 65 million unique monthly visitors* across 19 popular travel brands**. TripAdvisor-branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 50 million unique monthly visitors***, 20 million members, and over 50 million reviews and opinions. The sites operate in 30 countries worldwide****, including China under daodao.com. TripAdvisor also operates TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to TripAdvisor's millions of monthly visitors. The division includes Business Listings, which allows hoteliers to connect directly to millions of researching travelers, and Vacation Rentals, which helps property managers and individual home owners list their properties and showcase hotel alternatives.

TripAdvisor Media Group websites have been recognized as top travel resources in 2010 by Conde Nast Traveller, Good Housekeeping, TIME magazine and Travel + Leisure.

TripAdvisor Media Group generated $486 million in revenue in 2010. TripAdvisor and the sites comprising the TripAdvisor Media Group are operating companies of Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE).

TripAdvisor and the TripAdvisor logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of TripAdvisor LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries.  All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

©2011 TripAdvisor LLC. All rights reserved.

*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Media Group Sites, Worldwide, August 2011

** In addition to TripAdvisor, The TripAdvisor Media Group of websites includes: www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com, www.cruisecritic.com, www.everytrail.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com, www.flipkey.com, www.holidaylettings.co.uk, www.holidaywatchdog.com, www.independenttraveler.com, www.onetime.com, www.seatguru.com, www.sniqueaway.com, www.smartertravel.com, www.travel-library.com, www.travelpod.com, www.virtualtourist.com, www.whereivebeen.com, and www.kuxun.cn.

***Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, Worldwide, August 2011

**** TripAdvisor sites operate in 30 countries worldwide: www.tripadvisor.com, www.tripadvisor.co.uk, www.tripadvisor.ca, www.tripadvisor.it, www.tripadvisor.es, www.tripadvisor.de, www.tripadvisor.fr, www.tripadvisor.jp, www.daodao.com, www.tripadvisor.in, www.tripadvisor.se, www.tripadvisor.nl, www.tripadvisor.com.br, www.tripadvisor.com.tr, www.tripadvisor.dk, www.tripadvisor.com.mx, www.tripadvisor.ie, www.tripadvisor.com.au, www.tripadvisor.com.sg, www.tripadvisor.co.kr, no.tripadvisor.com, pl.tripadvisor.com, th.tripadvisor.com, www.tripadvisor.ru, www.tripadvisor.com.gr, www.tripadvisor.co.id, www.tripadvisor.com.ar, www.tripadvisor.tw, www.tripadvisor.com.my, and www.tripadvisor.com.eg.

SOURCE TripAdvisor