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If hoteliers needed a wakeup call about the necessity to providing free Wi-Fi to leisure travelers, then this Choice Hotels survey should be loud and clear.

Forget the luggage and underwear — just make sure we have our phones.

That’s one of a couple of findings in the Choice Hotels 2014 Summer Travel Survey that show the sway of digital amenities — no, necessities — when it comes to summer (and probably other seasonal) travel trends.

The survey of 1,350 U.S. adults who were planning at least one overnight leisure trip this summer found that Millennial travelers and parents with kids under 12 years old would rather cope with lost luggage than losing their mobile phones on a trip.

In addition, free high-speed Wi-Fi was found to be the most important trip amenity with 65.5% of respondents citing Internet connectivity as the most important amenity for a summer leisure trip.

In other Millennial travel trends, the Choice Hotels survey, conducted by Newlio, found that Millennials are 21.7% more likely than their elders to travel with a pet this summer, and 34.2% of respondents indicated that finding a place to stay is the biggest hassle when traveling with Fido.

Here are the full survey results of the Choice Hotels survey on Summer leisure travel trends in the U.S.:

1. More Trips, But Fewer Nights Away
There will be a 17.2 percent increase in the number of leisure trips taken this summer, but travelers will spend fewer nights away, with a decrease of 9.4 percent.

2. The Beach in August
August will be the busiest month for leisure travel this summer. When asked about their preferred leisure travel destination, 43.1 percent of respondents said they would most enjoy a beach, followed by mountains at 12.3 percent and a city at 10.4 percent.

3. Travelers Prefer Driving
The survey found that 75.3 percent of summer travelers are planning to drive to their leisure travel destination this summer, driving an average of 689 miles round-trip. Fifty percent of respondents also said that they would prefer a two-hour drive compared to a flight, bus or train ride to get to their summer vacation.

4. Free High-Speed Internet Most Important
Free high-speed Internet was selected by 65.5 percent of respondents as the “must-have” amenity when selecting a hotel or resort for summer travel. Following free high-speed internet, free continental breakfast and an in-room refrigerator polled highest for needed amenities at 54.5 and 49.6 percent, respectively.

5. Loyalty Programs Influence Travelers’ Booking Decisions
The survey also showed that 34.6 percent of travelers say that loyalty and incentive programs influence where, how and when they travel, and over 53 percent of respondents are enrolled in travel rewards programs.

6. Travelers Would Rather Lose Their Luggage than Their Phone
In this increasingly digital world, survey results showed that Millennials and parents with children under 12 years of age would rather lose their luggage than their mobile phone when travelling.

7. Camping is the Least Favorite Vacation
Nearly 40 percent of travelers (38.2 percent) said that camping was the least desirable type of summer vacation.

8. New Locations Trump Old Favorites
Almost 70 percent of respondents (66.8 percent) would prefer to visit somewhere new over returning to a favorite vacation destination this summer.

9. Travelers Want to Explore Cuisines, Unless They Have Kids
When on summer vacation, 28.9 percent of respondents choose to dine at restaurants they can’t find at home, unless they are traveling with children. If travelers have children under 12 years of age, 24.5 percent most often visit casual dining restaurants, like TGI Friday’s and Applebee’s.

10. Millennials are Travelling with Pets
The survey found that Millennials are 21.7 percent more likely than older generations to be traveling with a pet this summer. Correlatively, 34.2 percent said locating a place to stay was the greatest inconvenience when travelling with a pet.


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Tags: choice hotels, millennials, mobile, wi-fi

Photo credit: Millennials would rather cope with lost luggage than going without their mobile phones when traveling this summer, a Choice Hotels survey found. Getty Images

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