Jingle All the Way Home and Abroad: Holiday Travel Spend More than Doubles This Year

Average per person spend expected to increase to $1,521 from $605 in

Visiting family and friends remains top reason for
holiday travel

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Whether to Grandma’s house or an all-inclusive resort they go, half of
all Americans plan to travel this holiday season (52%, on par with
2015), expecting to spend an average of $1,521, a whopping 151% increase
from 2015 ($605), according to the latest American
Express Spending & Saving Tracker

Consumers site the top reason to travel this holiday season is to visit
family or friends (53% vs. 58% in 2015), followed by treating oneself or
family members to a vacation (31% vs. 30% in 2015). The average American
is expected to travel with five people, putting the overall cost of a
family holiday vacation at $9,129.

“The holiday season has always been one of the most popular times to
travel, but this year, Americans plan to spend significantly more,” said
Claire Bennett, Executive Vice President of American Express Travel.
“One reason for an increase in spend can be attributed to their desire
for shared experiences and therefore their willingness to spend on
activities and events with family and friends.”

While traveling, Americans anticipate spending more on dining out (36%),
activities and entertainment (33%) and upgrading their accommodations
(25%) this holiday season. Upgrades seem to be the name of the game,
with significantly more consumers choosing a more expensive destination
(18%) and more flying first or business class (15%).

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Among those traveling this holiday season, the majority of Americans
will stay within the U.S. (75% vs. 81%), ranking the Northeast as the
top destination (30%), followed by the Southeast (26%) and Southwest and
Midwest (both 19%). A smaller percentage will travel abroad (12% vs. 10%
in 2015) or travel both domestically and internationally (11% vs. 8% in

When it comes to mode of transportation this holiday season, intentions
to go by car have decreased (58% vs. 65% in 2015), those planning on
flying has increased significantly (50% vs. 43% in 2015) and still fewer
plan to travel by train (10% vs. 9% in 2015) or bus (8% vs. 9% in 2015).

Travel Splurges and Trade-Offs

While a majority of Americans will take trips over the holiday season,
Americans generally find travel to be worth the splurge, according to
63% who would take a trip if the opportunity arose (vs. 60% in 2015). In
fact, 87% of Americans are willing to exceed their travel budget,
despite a specific season, and they’re willing to go over budget
specifically for:

  • Unique experience relative to location (62%)
  • Local cuisine (45%)
  • Souvenirs (32%)
  • First-class airfare (13%)

While consumers are willing to exceed budgets for certain travel
experiences and items, they will work to offset holiday travel costs by
researching deals online (59% vs. 62% in 2015) and using loyalty or
rewards points for all or partial payment of their travel (34% vs. 34%).
In a sign that travel agents are growing in popularity, 17% of consumers
say they will work with a travel agent who can navigate holiday fares
(vs. 13% in 2015).

When deciding how to pay for their travels, 27% of Americans say they’ll
pay with credit/charge cards, followed by debit cards used (24% vs. 20%)
and credit card rewards points (15% vs. 12%). And, if you are hoping for
someone to “gift” you that getaway you deserve, you’re not alone,
considering that almost three in four (71%) consumers are willing to
forgo holiday gifts to take a vacation (similar to last year’s 70%).

Still Plugged in While “Out of Office”

As much as Americans unplug, they’re still connected—either to their
jobs or to their social networks. When traveling for leisure, only one
in three employed Americans are willing to respond to work emails (33%)
– versus 46% of Millennials who would respond to work e-mails on

Staying plugged in isn’t always about staying on top of work. Social
sharing is a big reason why travelers are locked to their mobile phones,
with 26% of American’s posting more than usual on their social channels
while traveling. In fact, of those who post more on social media while
on vacation, 62% say they share twice as many social media posts while
on vacation.

About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research
was completed online among a random sample of 1,540 adults, including
the general U.S. population, an affluent demographic defined by a
minimum annual household income of $100,000. Interviewing was conducted
by Ebiquity from November 2-7, 2016. The results have an overall margin
of error of +/- 2.5 at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with
access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build
business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com
and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress,
and youtube.com/americanexpress.

Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility
information: charge
and credit cards
, business
credit cards
, Plenti
rewards program
, travel
, gift
, prepaid
, merchant
, corporate
and corporate

About Ebiquity

Ebiquity is a leading independent marketing analytics specialist. They
provide objective data insights to major brands worldwide, helping them
navigate the evolving marketing landscape to achieve business success.
They work with over 80% of the world’s biggest advertisers and offer
industry-leading services including Marketing Effectiveness,
Multi-channel Analytics, Agency Pitch Management, Agency Contract
Compliance, Digital Performance Measurement, and Media Auditing.
Ebiquity employs over 900 people in 19 offices in 14 countries worldwide.


American Express
Jane DiLeo, 212-640-8055