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TIA: Two weeks to plan a trip proves to be plenty of time for leisure travelers

According to the latest Travel Poll from the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), 64 percent of past-year leisure travelers planned…

According to the latest Travel Poll from the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), 64 percent of past-year leisure travelers planned at least one of their trips at the last minute, that is, within two weeks of taking their trip. This translates to 83.1 million U.S. adults. Among these last-minute travelers, 26 percent planned all of their past-year leisure trips at the last minute. Survey results are based on a representative sample of 1,300 U.S. adults interviewed by telephone.



Even one week or less to plan a vacation seems to be more than enough time for many last-minute leisure travelers. The majority said they began planning their most recent last-minute leisure trip one to two (25%) or three to seven days (34%) prior. Forty-one percent began planning 8 to 14 days before the trip. Interestingly, about one in five (17%) last-minute travelers said they used the Internet to make travel reservations for their most recent last-minute trip.



The most popular reason for taking a last-minute trip is to visit friends or relatives (39%). Other primary reasons for taking a last minute trip include entertainment reasons, such as for sightseeing or attending a sporting event (23%) or for personal reasons, such as attending a wedding (19%). Last minute outdoor recreation trips are popular as well (12%). Seven percent say their trip was for a combination of business and pleasure purposes.



Not surprisingly, most last-minute trips are close to home and short in duration, with the majority (69%) less than 500 miles, one-way, to the destination. Sixteen percent of last-minute trips are between 500 and 1,000 miles, one-way and 15 percent are 1,000 miles or more.



Most (70%) last-minute travelers drove their own car; an additional eight percent traveled by recreational vehicle. Just 15 percent used air transportation. Nearly half (45%) of last-minute travelers stayed in a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast on their most recent trip; thirty-five percent stayed with friends or relatives.



As expected, last-minute travelers who planned their trip 8 to 14 days in advance are more likely than those who planned one to seven days in advance to use air transportation (20% vs. 12%) and stay in a hotel, motel, or bed & breakfast (55% vs. 37%).



Last-minute travelers most often plan these trips by gathering information from friends, family, and co-workers (35%). About one in ten look at travel guides, books, or magazines (13%) or at online travel agency web sites (12%). They next most often make phone calls or visit travel agents or agencies (9%) or make phone calls or visit airlines, hotels, car rental companies, or other travel companies (7%).

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