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RISMEDIA, December 3, 2010—TripAdvisor, one of the world’s largest travel sites, announced the results of its annual travel trends survey of more than 3,000 U.S. travelers. Americans appear eager to pack their bags in the coming year, as 36% plan to spend more on leisure travel in 2011 than this year, while 42% expect to spend the same amount. Ninety percent plan to take two or more leisure trips next year—a slight increase on the 89% who said they have done so in 2010.

While travelers named an increase in online travel deals as the best travel development of 2010 (39%), rising airfares (40%) and bedbugs (20%) are the top two travel concerns for 2011.

On the Road Again: Travelers Globetrotting in 2011
-69% of travelers plan to take international trips next year, and of that group, 52% will travel to Europe, 13% will visit Asia and 12% will journey to South America.
-The top three international destinations U.S. travelers plan to visit in 2011 are Paris, London and Rome.
-75% of respondents plan to visit a U.S. city next year, with Las Vegas, New York City and San Francisco the most popular choices.
-Vacation rentals will be a popular lodging choice in 2011, with 47% considering a stay in a vacation rental home—a significant increase compared to 39% one year ago.

Best and Worst in Travel for 2010 and the Past Decade
Best Travel Development of 2010:
-More online travel deals – 39%
-Cheaper hotel rates – 22%
-More in-flight Wi-Fi Internet access on planes – 12%

Worst Travel Development of 2010:
-Carry-on baggage fees – 69%
-New hotel fees – 10%
-TSA full body scanners – 10%

Best Travel Development of the Past Decade:
-Online check-in – 26%
-Candid traveler reviews – 16%
-Increased options for online travel bookings – 16%

Worst Travel Development of the Past Decade:
-More airline fees – 45%
-Carry on restrictions for liquids, gels and aerosols – 19%
-Longer security lines – 9%

Up in the Air
-Despite being fed up with airline fees, 24% of travelers plan to fly more next year, while 6% will fly the same amount.
-Shelling-out for in-flight extras is becoming second nature to travelers, with 77% expecting to do so in 2011—up from 72% one year ago.
-In-flight manners leave much to be desired, with the top flyer faux pas revealed to be people kicking the seat back (28%). Rude seat recliners (20%) and passengers sneezing or coughing without covering their mouths (18%) further aggravate travelers.
-27% would pay to sit in a child-free section of an airplane, while 19% would pay to sit in a quiet section, should such an option ever exist.
-65% think passengers of size should be required to pay for an extra seat on an airline when necessary.

Popular Pursuits and Eco-Traveling in 2011
Top Five Vacation Activities for Next Year:
-Visiting an historic site – 85%
-Visiting a museum – 73%
-Visiting a national park – 46%
-Attending a festival – 43%
-Hiking – 42%

Further popular pursuits among travelers for the year ahead include water activities (38%), visiting a spa (33%) and gambling (29%).

When asked what travel activities they might try for the first time in 2011, 11% chose a cruise, while 11% are also considering taking an educational course on vacation.

Forty-seven percent will take eco-friendly factors in to consideration, such as their carbon footprint or “green” hotel policies, when making travel plans in 2011.

Twenty percent expect to be more environmentally conscious in their travel decision and choices next year.

Increase in Connectivity Leads to “Fake-ations”
-Technological advances in 2010 have led to 59% of travelers in employment being more connected to work than ever on leisure trips this year.
-69% connect with work while on leisure trips, while 16% confess that work always or often impacts their vacations.
-62% check their work e-mail on leisure trips, while 13% call the office to check-in.
-8% admit to considering the remoteness of their destination, specifically to avoid connecting with work.
-90% of travelers also connect with home on their leisure travels, but just 26% send postcards, instead favoring modern-day technology, including e-mail (74%), text messages (40%) and social networking sites (28%).

Hotel Highs and Lodging Lows
According to the survey, the top three hotel brands that travelers are loyal to are:
-Marriott – 24%
-Hilton – 18%
-Hampton Inn – 7%

-When it comes to booking hotels, travelers are significantly less brand loyal than one year ago, with 39% of travelers now faithful to one name—a significant drop from 59% in 2010.

-96% believe that U.S. hotels offer room for improvement in 2011, with higher standards of cleanliness topping travelers’ wish-lists (22%).

-Of those who have stayed in international hotels, 90% believe these could be bettered next year, with wider availability of free Internet access the most-wanted enhancement (20%).

“With over a third of travelers revealing that they start planning their vacations more than six months before a trip, many Americans are already eagerly anticipating some terrific travel adventures for 2011,” said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “Online travel deals, named as the greatest travel development of 2010, will continue to offer aspiring vacationers fantastic opportunities next year—whether they’re planning a nearby weekend getaway, or the dream trip of a lifetime.”

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