Entries in Vacations (4)


As Travel Costs Rise, Many Americans Still Have Big Vacation Plans

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A large number of Americans are still planning to go on vacation in 2012, despite rising fuel and travel costs, and Orlando is the top summer destination, according to a new AAA survey.

AAA’s Top Summer Land Vacation Destinations:

  • Orlando, Florida
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Rome, Italy
  • London, England
  • Anaheim, California

AAA’s Top Summer Cruise Vacation Destinations:

  • Caribbean
  • Alaska
  • Bahamas
  • Europe
  • Bermuda

AAA’s Top Summer Exotic Vacation Destinations:

  • China
  • Peru
  • The Galapagos
  • The Amazon
  • India

The findings are the result of a AAA travel agent survey and travel sales data.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Survey: Fewer People Plan to Spend Their Tax Refunds on Vacations

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Using federal or state tax refunds to pay for a vacation seems like a good idea, but just 10 percent of Americans are planning to do so this year, a 20 percent drop from 2011.

The finding comes from a survey of 1,005 U.S. adults commissioned by  Most of the Americans surveyed said they will instead use their refunds to pay off debts or add to their savings or investments.

The decision to pay down debt rather than use the refund to cover a vacation is just one of several dramatic differences between surveys taken in 2011 and 2012.

Here’s a breakdown:

-- In 2011, 31 percent planned to use the refund to make home improvements.  For 2012, it’s 8 percent.
-- In 2011, 23 percent planned to use the refund to buy products such as cars, electronics or furniture. For 2012, it’s 8 percent.
-- In 2011, 15 percent planned to give their refund to charity.  For 2012, just 2 percent plan to do so.
-- In 2011, 59 percent planned to use the refund to pay off debts.  For 2012, it’s 29 percent.
-- In 2011, 19 percent planned to use the refund to mortgages or education loans.  For 2012, 5 percent.
-- In 2011, 66 percent planned to use the refund on savings and investments.  For 2012, it’s 27 percent.

Respondents were allowed to choose more than one way on how they plan to spend their refunds.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Holiday Airfare Increase Takes Off; American Airlines Announces Losses

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Bad news for holiday fliers: it looks like airfares are set to take off.

According to CEO Rick Seaney, as of noon Wednesday, Delta, United, American, US Airways, Jet Blue, Southwest and AirTran have all raised fares by $4 to $10 roundtrip.

Fare hikes in October and November are relatively rare, Seaney told ABC News in an email interview, but he says demand for air travel may be driving the increase.

“This is not very common, we have not seen domestic hike attempts in October or November since 2007 when oil prices were skyrocketing ahead of the recession in 2009,” said Seaney.

He added, “airlines tend to probe both consumers and other airlines’ appetites for higher ticket prices when they feel demand is relatively strong, demand seems to belying the daily sour economic headlines.”

Earlier this month in a blog posting on his website,, Seaney noted that airfare for travel over the Thanksgiving holiday could be up as much as 20 percent in some cases compared with last year.

Not all fare increases stick. Seaney has tracked 17 attempts by airlines to raise fares this year, but only eight were successful.

The fee increases come as airlines are releasing their quarterly earnings.   American Airlines announced Wednesday it lost $162 million in the 3rd quarter.

Seaney says the takeaway for consumers is simple: don’t wait to buy your tickets.

“There are really no holiday deals,” he says. “You are going to pay a premium -- it is all about getting a better bad deal, which means you should not procrastinate.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Travel Agencies Stay Afloat Despite Recession, Internet

Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Against all predictions, the "bricks and mortar" travel agency, the kind where you can walk into an office and talk with real people, is alive and well. This despite the popularity of travel-booking websites like Orbitz and Priceline.

Even in the middle of the week, Liberty Travel in Manhattan was hopping with customers. With summer coming to an end, people were there planning their next getaway -- from Mikonos to the Caribbean to Istanbul.

But wasn't the Internet supposed to have killed off travel agents, meeting the same bitter end as the once bookstore titan, Borders? President Obama even brought it up during a town hall meeting last month.

"Businesses have gotten so efficient," he said. "When was the last time someone went to a bank teller instead of using an ATM? Or used a travel agent instead of just going online? A lot of jobs that used to be out there requiring people now have become automated and that means investing in our kids' education."

But some travel agencies have survived. In the wake of the president's remarks, American Society of Travel Agents CEO Tony Gonchar released a statement saying, "[President Obama's] statement makes clear the need for greater education and understanding of the important role travel agents play in today's travel marketplace."

The travel business has changed dramatically in recent years as people started to book their own travel, becoming their own agents, said Henry Harteveldt, vice president of Forrester Research.

"Before the Internet, you had travel agents almost like high priests," he said. "You had to go to that church, but there were 30,000 travel agencies in the 1980s, even into the 1990s."

Now more than half of those are gone, but an amazing 14,000 retail travel agencies are still in business. Liberty Travel CEO Billy McDonough said more people are coming through the door now than five years ago before the recession.

"It's like anything else," said customer Pat Sutherland-Cohen. "Wouldn't you go to a professional to get the best idea of service?"

That service includes a back-up -- when something goes wrong, you have someone to call. Agents also have real knowledge about the world, including some who know multiple languages or have personally been to the vacation spots they send people to. A third perk, believe it or not, can be price point.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio