Two-thirds of U.S. Adults Have Taken or Will Take a Vacation This Summer

Top vacation types include visiting family and friends, going to the beach and sightseeing

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ — As Labor Day approaches, the traditional end of summer vacation season draws to a close. According to a new survey, two-thirds (66%) of U.S. adults say they have taken or will take a vacation this summer. For many, their summer vacations will consist of visiting family and friends while others will go to the beach or visit historical sights.

When going on vacation, there are items that Americans feel are essential to take with them including personal hygiene items, clothing, medication and not surprisingly, money. In addition, more than half (52%) of adults feel there are things missing from the majority of their hotel stays and they would be willing to pay extra for some of these items or services.

These are the results of a new Harris Poll of 2,339 U.S. adults surveyed online by Harris Interactive(R) between July 12 and 18, 2005.

Specific results from this poll include:

— When traveling this summer, Americans (38%) are most likely to say
they will take or have taken a vacation to visit friends and family.
Other top vacation types include going to the beach (21%), visiting
historical sights or sightseeing (18%), visiting theme parks (17%),
taking an active vacation such as hiking or camping (14%) and going to
casinos (13%). Others that are somewhat less popular include going to
a spa or resort (7%) and taking a cruise (7%).

— When asked what is the one thing they “absolutely must take with them”
when traveling on vacation, Americans were most likely to say they
must bring personal hygiene items (15%). Other items were medication
and prescriptions (14%), clothing (13%), and money and credit cards
(12%). Fewer adults feel they must take things such as a camera (7%),
cell phone (7%), family members (5%), books and reading material (4%),
computer (4%), and pillows and blankets (4%).

— Over half (52%) of adults feel that there is at least one product or
service that is missing from most of their hotel stays that they would
be willing to pay extra for; 40 percent do not think anything is
missing from their stay that they would be willing to pay for, and
eight percent are not sure. Topping the list of missing things are
business services such as high-speed Internet access or a computer in
their room (10%). Other missing items or services people are willing
to pay extra for include a spa, Jacuzzi or massage (5%), a better
entertainment system (4%), comfortable mattress (3%), refrigerator or
microwave (3%), and better maid service (3%).

— Inevitably people face travel delays. When faced with these
situations, reading (59%) is by far the most popular activity that
people do to pass the time. Other activities people do to pass the
time include playing cards and games (4%), listening to music or books
on tape (4%), and sleeping or just relaxing (4%).


“What types of vacation have you or are you planning on taking this summer?”

Base: All Adults
Visit friends/family 38
Beach vacation 21
Historical/Sightseeing (focus of trip is around
Seeing new sights or visiting a historical area) 18
Theme Park 17
Active vacation (hiking, river rafting, Camping, etc.) 14
Casino/Gambling 13
Spa or Resort (primary purpose to relax) 7
Cruise 7
Conference/conventions/tradeshows 1
Arts/entertainments (i.e., theatre, concerts,
Festivals, etc.) 1
Sporting events *
Other 1
Not planning on taking a vacation this summer 34

Note 1: Open-ended question; spontaneous responses given.
Note 2: Percentages add up to more than 100 percent due to multiple
responses accepted.


“What is the one product or service missing from the majority of your hotel experiences that you would be willing to pay more for to have?”
Base: All Adults
Business services/high speed internet/computer in room 10
Spa/Jacuzzi/massage 5
Better entertainment system (more TV channels,
DVD Player, TIVO, etc.) 4
Comfortable mattress/pillow/chair/bedding 3
Refrigerator/microwave/kitchenette 3
Cleanliness/better main service 3
Fine dining/good food/better breakfast/lunch/dinner 2
Room service/better room service 2
Snacks/drinks in room 1
Better/brand name hygiene products 1
Quiet 1
Better/faster customer service 1
Coffee maker/more coffee in room 1
Animal friendly/Allow pets 1
Swimming pool 1
Shuttles/Buses/Car Service 1
Concierge service 1
Kid friendly/Child care/Day care/Babysitting 1
Laundry/dry cleaning 1
Fitness center 1
Better/Cleaner/Softer bedding/linens/towels 1
24 hours services (room service, cafe, pool, etc.) 1
Other 9
None 40
Not sure 8

Note 1: Open-ended question; spontaneous responses given.
Note 2: Percentages add up to more than 100 percent due to multiple
responses accepted.

“What’s the one thing you absolutely must take with you when you go on
Base: All Adults
Personal Hygiene Items (NET) 15
Toothbrush/Toothpaste 5
Bath/Cleansing products (soap, shampoo, etc.) (SUBNET) 4
Makeup/cosmetics 2
Hair care products (brush, blow dryer, etc.) 2
Razor/Shaving necessities 1
Bug spray/sunscreen/chapstick 1
Contact lens care *
Medication/Prescriptions/Vitamins 14
Clothing (NET) 13
Clothing (other) 9
Shoes/comfortable shoes 2
Underwear/clean underwear 1
Bathing suit 1
Money/credit cards 12
Camera 7
Cell phone 7
Spouse/Family/Children 5
Book/reading material 4
Computer/Laptop/PDA 4
Pillow/Blanket/Linens 4
DVD/CD player/iPod 3
Glasses/contact lenses 2
Passport/Identification 1
Food/drinks 1
Games/Entertainment Toys/Sporting Goods 1
Dog/cat/Other pet 1
Other 6
Nothing 2
Not sure 1

Note 1: Open-ended question; spontaneous responses given.
Note 2: Percentages add up to more than 100 percent due to multiple
responses accepted.


“When faced with travel delays, what is your preferred activity for passing

the time?”
Base: All Adults
Read 59
Playing cards/games 4
Listen to music/Books on tape 4
Sleep/rest/relax 4
People watching 3
Crossword puzzles/puzzle books 3
Shopping/browsing shops 2
Watch TV/Movie/DVD 2
Talk/chat with others 2
Work on laptop/computer/PDA 2
Dining 2
Sightseeing/walking/looking around 2
Drink/visit a bar 2
Don’t travel/Don’t experience delays 1
Talk on phone 1
Knit/crochet/crafts 1
Check email/surf the Internet 1
Complain/Get angry 1
Other 3
Nothing 3
Not sure 1

Note 1: Open-ended question; spontaneous responses given.
Note 2: Percentages add up to more than 100 percent due to multiple
responses accepted.


The Harris Poll(R) was conducted online within the United States between July 12 and 18, 2005 among a nationwide cross section of 2,339 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Although online samples are not probability samples, in theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

Q955, Q970, Q975, Q980, Q985, Q990

The Harris Poll(R) #65, August 18, 2005

By Jim Quilty, Vice President, Travel and Tourism Research, Harris Interactive.

About Harris Interactive(R)

Harris Interactive Inc. (, the 13th largest market research firm in the world, is a Rochester, NY-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application. Known for The Harris Poll(R) and for pioneering Internet-based research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.

Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and technology to advance market leadership through its U.S. offices and wholly owned subsidiaries, HI Europe in London (, Novatris in Paris (, and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V.

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