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New HomeAway Summer Travel Report Reveals Economic Hardships Highlight Importance Of Family Vacations

Stocks in this article: AWAY

AUSTIN, Texas, April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Undeterred by record-high gas prices and rising airline fuel surcharges, most Americans are set on taking a summer vacation this year, with 70 percent saying that even a brief vacation with friends and family is a necessity in these tough economic times.  That's according to HomeAway, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWAY) – the world's largest online marketplace for vacation rentals – which today released the summer edition of its "HomeAway® Vacation Rental Marketplace Report."

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120417/DA88534-a)

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120417/DA88534-b)

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120215/DA53778LOGO)

The report finds half of Americans (51 percent) who plan to take a summer vacation will not make any changes to their travel plans this year due to increased gasoline costs and airline fees.

The rest are more likely to make minor adjustments to their plans rather than cancel their trips altogether.  About a quarter (23 percent) say they'll vacation closer to home; 15 percent say they'll cut back on lodging, entertainment, dining or other areas; and 5 percent will vacation for fewer days this summer.  Only 3 percent say they won't be taking a trip this year due to high gas prices.

According to the HomeAway report, here's what some travelers say they'd be willing to give up to afford a vacation, if money was tight:

  • Eating out – 47%
  • New clothes – 21%
  • Beauty treatments (manicures, spa treatments, etc.) – 11%
  • Trips to the coffee house – 11%
  • Home services (lawn care, housekeeping, etc.) – 8%
  • Health club membership – 4%

Why Vacations Are So Important:  They Bring Families and Friends Together

Americans take vacation for a number of reasons – to get a break from the stress of everyday life, to create memories, and to see the world – but 84 percent say during these tough economic times the most important part of a vacation is spending time with family and friends. In fact, this aspect of vacation is so important that half of Americans (50 percent) say they always take at least one long vacation lasting a week or more each year because the opportunities for togetherness can't be matched at home.

With Budget a Concern, Many Opt for Vacation Rentals

While the number of people travelers intend to vacation with (four) and the number of nights they intend to stay (nine) has not changed in the last 12 months, it appears travelers are being more frugal than in previous years. The HomeAway report finds of those who establish a summer vacation budget, travelers plan to pay approximately $375 less on their vacation in 2012 ($3,247) than they did in 2011 ($3,623).  However, the amount they intend to spend on accommodations remains steady year-over-year at approximately $1,500

Additionally, the most concerning thing for travelers when budgeting for a vacation is the cost of accommodations (36 percent), which may be due in part to the fact that they claim to allocate nearly half (47 percent) of their summer vacation budget to a place to stay.  The cost of airfare (23 percent) and unforeseen charges and fees (17 percent) were the next two biggest concerns for those budgeting for a vacation.

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