Two-thirds of U.S. planning less travel

Gas prices shorten trips

July 9, 2010 Updated May 13, 2008 at 6:12 PM EDT


Gas prices shorten trips

July 9, 2010 Updated May 13, 2008 at 6:12 PM EDT

SKOKIE, Ill. -- Most Americans see their gas tanks as half empty.

Two in three U.S. adults (66 percent) who plan to take a road trip this summer say rising gas prices have changed their travel plans. About three in five (57 percent) now plan to take a trip for a shorter amount of time and/or distance. One in ten (10 percent) have cancelled or will cancel trips altogether.

These are some of the results of Rand McNally's annual Great American Road Trip Survey. Harris Interactive conducted the survey of 2,030 U.S. adults.

Road Trip Plans and Preferences: Despite their plans to take shorter trips, Americans this summer will continue their love affair with the open road. Three in four adults (75 percent) are at least somewhat likely to take a road trip this summer, and about three in ten (29 percent) say they are very likely. Those who intend to take a trip say their trips will last an average of about five days. Eighty-five percent will take trips of a week or less.

A number of factors -- including concerns about airline industry turbulence -- would drive travelers to take road trips this summer. Overall, one-quarter of adults (25 percent) say they would be more likely to take a road trip if there is an increase in the cost of other modes of transportation, such as airfare (24 percent). In addition, airline concerns, such as increases in flight cancellations (15 percent) and delays (13 percent), would make about three in ten adults (28 percent) more likely to take road trips.

When it comes to picking a destination, Americans head for the water. Overall, one in four adults (25 percent) select a beach or lake getaway as their ideal road trip destination. Waterside settings beat out places such as amusement parks (10 percent), mountain getaways (8 percent) and national or state parks (8 percent) for the top spot.

"In recent years, we've seen rising fuel prices and airline-related concerns prompt travelers to take shorter trips," said Rand McNally Editorial Director Laurie Borman. "Even so, the American tradition of the summer road trip remains strong, with three-quarters of adults at least somewhat likely to take a summer road trip in 2008."

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