Skift Take

Unless there's a flood of last-minute vacation planners who will book trips in the coming days, weeks or months, many U.S. travelers are saying that they're hunkering down for another summer of little to no time away from the office.

Americans forgo hundreds of millions of vacation days each year and 2017 is shaping up to be no different, according to a recent survey by Skift.

Earlier this month, we asked U.S. adults: Have you already planned and booked your summer vacation? The results aren’t very optimistic — nearly 42 percent of respondents said “I’m not taking a vacation this summer,” the largest percentage.

While nearly 23 percent said “yes, I have planned and booked,” some 35.2 percent also answered “not yet.” Given last-minute booking trends, the percentage of travelers who actually take a vacation this summer would presumably rise well above 23 percent.

The survey, which is Skift’s latest in our Travel Habits of Americans series, shows that America’s systemic problem with vacations and time off isn’t improving, even with a growing economy and strong jobs’ growth.

Project: Time Off, a U.S. Travel Association initiative, found that Americans left more than 658 million vacation days on the table in 2015 and companies had more than $272 billion in vacation liability in 2016, the latter up 21 percent over 2015, for example.

This is the first time we’ve asked this particular question, “Have you already planned and booked your summer vacation?” [See chart above.]

In May 2015, we asked U.S. adults similar questions about their upcoming summer travel plans. Back then, nearly one-third of respondents said “no, can’t afford” and 30 percent said “no, too busy” when we asked, “Are you planning to take a vacation this summer?”

More specifically, some 45 percent of respondents said they weren’t taking a single day of vacation during summer 2015.

Of course, many U.S. travelers take road trips to visit and stay with friends and family that don’t require much planning or booking compared to other types of travel or transportation. Or they may take a vacation at some other time of the year.

But our data show an overwhelming number of Americans either haven’t yet thought about any summer travel plans this year or don’t plan to take a trip during this period.

Other takeaways from the survey follow:

By gender: A higher percentage of women (51.5 percent) than men said that they’re not taking any vacation this summer. A higher percentage of women versus men said they hadn’t yet planned or booked while more men (nearly 53 percent) said “yes, planned and booked.”


By age: Younger U.S. travelers are clearly indecisive and struggling with summer vacation plans. Respondents ages 18-44 had higher percentages of “Yes, planned and booked” but also indexed higher than older respondents for “not yet” and “I’m not taking a vacation this summer.”



By region: The U.S. south (answers below) had the highest percentage of responses for “I’m not taking a vacation this summer” (nearly 45 percent).

The U.S. northeast had the highest percentage of responses for “Yes, planned and booked” (24 percent).

Important: This single-question survey — not served to Skift users — was administered to the U.S. Internet population at the beginning of May 2017 through Google Consumer Surveys, with more than 1,300 responses. The methodology is explained here


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Tags: summer, summer travel, surveys, tha2017, vacations

Photo credit: Beachgoers at Nags Head, NC. More than two out of every five U.S. residents surveyed say they are not planning to vacation this summer. Michael Bentley / Flickr

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