How many book a vacation in the United States?

Sixty million planning holiday air/hotel travel

How many book a vacation in the United States?

About 60 million U.S. adults are planning to book a vacation, according to a new report.

This figure includes 40 million Thanksgiving travelers and 51 million who will be celebrating December holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Hanukkah (it’s adjusted for overlap).

Millennials (ages 23-38) are much more likely than older adults to be preparing to hit the road. Some 35% of millennials will travel for the December holidays and 29% for Thanksgiving versus 12% and 9%, respectively, of those ages 39+.

The average December holiday air traveler will spend $1,033, and for Thanksgiving, it’s $822. Among those planning to stay in hotels or short-term rentals, the average expected expense is $673 for the December holidays and $536 for Thanksgiving.

The most popular payment method for this travel is a credit card paid in full before interest accrues (50% of air travelers and 48% of hotel/short-term rental guests). Next is a debit card or cash (46% of hotel visitors and 44% of fliers – note that respondents could select multiple payment methods).

A significant number of Americans will use rewards points to offset at least some of the costs of their upcoming journeys (42% for flights and 33% for lodging). Unfortunately, a similar number plan on incurring credit card debt (39% who will be traveling by air and 36% who will be overnighting in a hotel or short-term rental).

Millennials are significantly more likely than their elders to pay with a debit card or cash (59% for hotels and 48% for flights, compared with 33% and 35% of older adults, respectively). Millennials are also the biggest rewards points users, particularly for air travel (47% will redeem miles/points, versus 31% of those who are older). Baby Boomers (ages 54-72) are considerably more likely than other generations to pay in full with a credit card.

Among all Americans using credit cards for air travel this holiday season, there’s a slight preference for cashback (50%) over travel cards (47%), with low interest coming in third (35%). For hotel/short-term rental stays, it’s a tie between cashback and travel (both 45%), with low interest at 33%.

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