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Travel Works Up An Appetite: More Than Half Of U.S. Travelers Dine Out 10 Or More Times While On Vacation

NEWTON, Mass., July 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel site*, today announced the results of its dining out survey of more than 1,600 U.S. respondents, revealing that more than half (52 percent) eat out 10 or more times during a typical one week trip.  Travelers seek out the local culture on vacation, with 83 percent making it a point to experience a destination's famed dish.

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Provincial Tastes

Nineteen percent of respondents have taken a "foodie" vacation to experience the regional cuisine. In general, while on vacation one quarter of respondents said American cuisine is their top choice.  The top five favorite types of cuisine are:

  1. American - 25%
  2. Italian - 19%
  3. Mediterranean - 7%
  4. Mexican - 7%
  5. French - 4%

Word of Mouth

To find popular eateries and other hidden gems, travelers gather advice and recommendations from a cornucopia of resources:

  • 77% read online reviews 
  • 66% ask local residents
  • 56% ask the concierge/hotel staff
  • 44% ask family or friends 

While the survey results indicate that most people research local restaurants before their trip, travelers are more spontaneous when it comes to being seated, as 55 percent say they rarely make reservations for a table.

Craving Local and Laid Back

Locally-grown or sourced food at a restaurant is important for exactly half of of those surveyed.  Seventy-seven percent say they prefer to dine out at independent establishments rather than chain restaurants.

When on vacation, the most popular setting for a meal out is casual dining, according to over one quarter of respondents.  While 67 percent said they usually indulge in less healthy food options on vacation, less than one percent choose fast food. The top five favorite types of restaurant settings on vacation are:

  • Casual dining - 26%
  • Waterfront - 20%
  • Bistros or cafes - 18%
  • Al fresco - 13%
  • Fine dining - 11%

"Dining out is a significant part of the trip experience and a way for travelers to experience local culture and flavor," said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor. "Vacation is a time for travelers to indulge and that often means relaxing some of our dietary inhibitions."

Poor Taste

When asked what annoys them most about a dining experience, 56 percent noted slow or poor service. Twenty-two percent said nothing annoys them about dining out when on vacation. Sixty-six percent have sent a meal back to the kitchen.

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