BELLEVUE, Wash.– Nov. 17 — The holidays are about visiting family and friends at home — or are they? According to a national survey commissioned by Expedia.com, more than a third (36 percent) of U.S. adults say they’d rather relax at the beach, ski, or spend a night out on the town for a vacation during the holiday season instead of visiting the home of a friend or relative (51 percent). The reality is, however, that only 12 percent of respondents plan to actually take this kind of vacation during the upcoming holiday season and, instead, will choose to celebrate with friends and family (67 percent). In fact, 26 percent of adults say that the best gift they could receive this holiday season, when given a choice, would be having their family live closer.
“The results show a rather large discrepancy between how people would like to spend their holidays and how they actually plan to spend them,” said Stuart MacDonald, senior vice president of marketing and packages at Expedia. “It seems that Americans are daydreaming of new places, activities, and traditions for the holiday season.”
The results of the Expedia survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, also suggest that region, age, and gender play a role in how people celebrate the holidays:
— Are family values stronger on the East Coast versus West Coast? More
Northeasterners (71 percent) than Westerners (59 percent) say they plan
to celebrate by visiting family and friends for the holidays.
— Midwesterners dream of a sandy Christmas. More U.S. adults from this
region (28 percent), than the nation as a whole, say relaxing on a
beach is what they most want to do for a vacation during the holiday
— Even with a reputation for hospitality, Southerners are more likely,
than the nation as a whole, to feel obligated to be the ones who travel
to visit their out-of-town family during the December holidays (47
— Warm weather dreams. Men (26 percent) and women (32 percent) ages
45-54 want to relax on the beach over the holidays more than any other
— Dutiful daughters over sons. More women than men (71 versus
63 percent) are most likely to vacation during the holidays by visiting
family and friends.
Regardless of whether or not they plan to spend the holidays with relatives, Americans across the country seem to recognize that having family live nearby is a benefit, particularly around this time of year. According to the survey, respondents rated having relatives close by higher than having family members get along. This is especially the case for Westerners, where a third of respondents (31 percent) say the greatest gift would be having family live closer versus having everyone in their family get along (18 percent).
The season of giving, in spite of all its celebrations, can also bring with it an added element of stress. The survey showed that during the holiday season, what adults stress out about most is limited vacation time, family feuding, and lack of personal space, split evenly between all three at 16 percent. Men cite not having enough vacation time (18 percent) as their top stressor, while women say they are most anxious about the family getting along (20 percent) during the holiday season.
Everyone has a different approach on how to make the holidays special. With 61 percent of adults feeling most obligated to travel out of town for the holiday season*, there’s no doubt that travel plays a big part in the experience. [24×7]