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And I Thought We Were All Staying Home

Carol Sottili

Gas is through the roof! Air travel is a nightmare! We're all doing stayvacations this year!

Nah, not really, according to a survey conducted by Visa that was released last Thursday.

The credit card company surveyed 1,000 card holders who have traveled outside of the United States during the past three years. And 63 percent said they were equally willing or more willing to travel now compared with a year ago. About half said they were likely to take a trip abroad in the next 20 months. But those travelers said they were most likely to visit Canada or Mexico.

The breakdown? Forty-six percent of those who plan to travel out of the United States said they planned to go to Canada and 45 percent to Mexico. Then there was a sharp dropoff, with 28 percent saying they planned a trip to the United Kingdom, 27 percent to Italy and 24 percent to France, which tied with the Bahamas as a destination choice. (Obviously, some plan to take multiple trips).

Those who said they weren't going to travel abroad cited the cost of travel (54 percent) and the state of the economy (49 percent). But they're not all staying home: Forty-nine percent said they weren't going aboard because they planned to travel to a vacation destination within the United States.

I'm sure the survey's results would have been very different had it also included those who haven't traveled abroad in the past three years. But then you'd be including a contingent who don't travel, period.

Would your travel plans be in line with this survey? Or is staying at home more likely this year?

By Carol Sottili |  July 31, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili
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Going back to Vegas with girlfriend end of Sept. She is amteur bodybuilder and wants to see the Ms Olympia finals.

Was thinking about going to Wales for the Sheepherding World Finals and spend sometime in Scotland but it was jsut too expensive.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2008 8:19 AM

We're heading to Greece in a couple weeks for a two week stay. We have a 1 year old daughter and the family in Greece will be meeting her for the first time.

We were fortunate that we were able to use ff miles for two of our tickets. Ticket prices were about double what we spent for our trip to Greece in the summer of 2005.

Posted by: DC20024 | July 31, 2008 8:22 AM

Travel is the ultimate lagging economic indicator.

I planned my recent trip to Europe 18 months in advance. By the time we all realized just how bad the exchange rate was, I was locked and loaded.

Now we've pointed our family compass for Central America where the dollar is supposed to be strong. By the time we get there, who knows?


Posted by: jamie | July 31, 2008 10:25 AM

Problems with Visa's "survey":
1. Likely indicative of Visa card-holders?
2. As the divide increases between the "haves" and "have nots", just because "people" are continuing to travel abroad doesn't mean EVERYBODY is doing it.
3. Those traveling outside the U.S. are likely the "haves" whose travel habits are probably not much effected by the economic down-turn.

Posted by: Robert | July 31, 2008 10:34 AM

We traveled this summer, and technically to Canada.

But the trip is our annual summer bi-family visit - since we're the only ones not on the East coast, we go out and visit each family for a week. One family in Syracuse, one in DC. Since "triangle" trips are really a series of three one way tickets to airlines, we drive, and still save a ton of money (even with expensive gas).

Coming from Wisconsin, it made sense to cut north through Ontario. We did pit stop in Niagara Falls, because it was a good stopping point for the day.

Vacation and destinations can be kind of murky, Visa.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 31, 2008 11:48 AM

I'll be traveling outside the US this fall but it's because the plans are already made. Too late to get out of them now.

Posted by: Little Red | July 31, 2008 12:14 PM

I'm staying in the U.S. this year, but it's due to a shortage of leave more than astronomical travel costs. I'm too good at low budget travel to let the demise of the dollar ruin my travel plans!

Posted by: Karen | July 31, 2008 2:53 PM

Whrther people travel or not has more to do with their own economic well being. That survey date came from people who traveled abroad. Those who travel abroad tend to have more disposable income.

I understand gas prices have gone up, but on the scope of travel its rather small.

I plan on taking a driving vacation this summer. The extra cost of fuel with be offset by the fact I am not flying and not renting a car.

If I put 3000 miles on my car, that gets 20 mpg, that equates to 150 galones at $4 per gallon which equates to $600 which would be the cost of my airfare and rental car (not counting the gas for it). This equates to $300 more for gas on the trip, even smaller if I just count the miles driven in place of flying which would make it out to about $150. So I camp a few nights instead of staying in a hotel.

Posted by: DJP (Seattle) | July 31, 2008 7:23 PM

I would have to differ with the survey results. We are running a US travel planning website and we are finding that people are booking hotels closer to home than they did last year.

For example, our most popular page for NY users is:,Hotels.aspx

Posted by: elliot | August 1, 2008 4:55 AM

I just came back from a vacation to Nova Scotia taken in one of my cars. Drove 2,571.5 miles, used 92.384 gallons of gas (conversion from litres done using my sat-nav's converter), averaged 27.835 miles per gallon doing mostly highway driving with a six-speed manual, and spent a total of $463.31 on gas (with the conversion to American dollars done by my Visa card issuer). I think this was still cheaper than flying and renting a car (and still paying for gas at $1.41 to $1.48 a litre), especially with two sets of golf clubs in the trunk, but I suppose if I really want to be accurate about the expense of going by car I'd need to factor in the roundtrip fare for the Cat Ferry between Portland and Yarmouth (total $740 with the AAA discount), or else work out the extra amount I would have spent on gas had I driven via New Brunswick. Still, the convenience of having your own car, your own golf clubs, etc., is hard to beat, and I was able to bring home several litres of wine and liquor that would not have been possible to take on a plane.

Posted by: Rich | August 4, 2008 3:56 PM

Not sure if this is the corect forum, but we are desperate for some help; Myself, Husband, Daughter & Her Husband, Sister and elderly parents (72&76) booke a trp to the South of France last year, when airlines rates were good and the dollar was strong...Not the case today, of course. We are dismayed at what our dollar will buy in France. My parents are on a fixed income, (heck, we all are). My question is how can we get the most "bang" for our buck, while we are there. We will be there for a week. We are staying 25 min from NICE airport in a rented villa. Can we sightsee using the publictransportation system? Will we end up buying 7 cans of beans for the week? Or are restruants pretty resonable, even with our weak dollar? Thank you....

Posted by: Rena Ingram | August 11, 2008 2:22 PM

Beautifully Cheap. The Blue Ridge Mountains, forming the western borders of North Carolina and Virginia, are aptly named. Step out of your Blue Ridge Mountains cabin in the morning to breathe in the view of mile after mile of misty mountain peaks--tinged in blue--stretching as far as you can see. Oh, wait, you say you don't have a Blue Ridge Mountains cabin? Well, can rectify that with a Blue Ridge Mountains cabin rentals or one of the other Blue Ridge Mountains vacation rental options. Again, Beautifully Cheap.

Posted by: TravelingInStilettos | August 12, 2008 9:36 PM

I'm fortunate to keep my position after a downsizing, but my salary is reduced at least 30% . I have to cancel my trip abroad in this autumn. I keep communication with my new friends via ( We enjoy Olympic games through network, and prepare some sports when we have vacation. I guess, some of my friends will be NBA star in the future.

Posted by: jack | August 13, 2008 4:31 AM

For the folks renting a villa in France, there likely is a market nearby with beautiful produce. And France has great butchers. Since you ahve a kitchen you can do a lot of your own cooking. And splurge on restaurants at lunch isntead of dinner, which is more expensive.

Posted by: AB | August 21, 2008 6:16 AM

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