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Economy woes outweigh security concerns among travelers this holiday season according to National MapQuest Survey

This holiday season, it won’t be security concerns that are making people shy away from traveling, it’s the economy. According to a national MapQuest survey, while consumer confidence in travel is on the upswing with half of respondents saying they…

This holiday season, it won’t be security concerns that are making people shy away from traveling, it’s the economy. According to a national MapQuest survey, while consumer confidence in travel is on the upswing with half of respondents saying they have more faith in the safety of traveling this holiday season than they did last year, economic concerns are preventing many people from increasing their holiday travel plans this year.



Nearly 36 million people (35.9 million) will be traveling this Thanksgiving weekend, only about 1.7% higher than last year.(1) The MapQuest Thanksgiving Travel Survey shows that 33% of people say the economy is preventing them from increasing the amount they travel this holiday season. Twenty-eight percent say they don’t have enough time and only 10% are worried about safety.



While consumer confidence in flying is on the rise, a majority of travelers are still choosing to travel by car this Thanksgiving, no matter how far they have to go. Seventy-eight percent of people are planning to travel by car, down from 88% last year, and most are traveling more than 200 miles. Traveling by airplane has increased from 10% to 18%.



Additional MapQuest findings include:


  • 46% of people are traveling more than 200 miles, 9% between 100-200, and 20% are traveling less than 100 miles. 24% of people are staying home.

  • 78% of people are choosing to drive this year compared to 88% percent last year.

  • Flying is on the rise, with 18% going by plane this Thanksgiving versus the 10% who flew last year.

  • 45% of people say they will travel the same amount they did last year. 22% say they never cut back on the amount they traveled last year and don’t plan to this year either and 21% plan to increase their travel. Only 13% say they will cut back on their travel this year.



  • 50% of people say they are more confident about the safety of traveling this year, 42% are still a little cautious, and 8% are still very worried.

  • Among those who say they are traveling the same or less than they did last year, 33% cite the economy, 28% say they don’t have time, 15% say traveling is too much of a hassle, and 13% say traveling is too expensive. Only 10% cite safety concerns.

  • The busiest days for traveling will be Wednesday, November 27 and Sunday, December 1. 33% plan to depart for their trip on Wednesday compared to 27% earlier in the week, and 26% on Thursday. Most people (34%) will be returning home on Sunday. Saturday evening is the best day to travel home.


This past year has been one of the busiest on record in terms of the number of people choosing to drive to their destinations, resulting in increased congestion on the roadways. During this period, people increasingly turned to the online medium and MapQuest for reliable maps and directions, said Tommy McGloin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of MapQuest. As the economy continues to drive more people to travel by car than airplane this Thanksgiving, this survey will enable MapQuest to provide a real time snapshot of the travel landscape and give people a better idea of what travelers around the nation have planned.

Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website | + Posts

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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