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Summer Travelers Expect to Spend More This Year

Vacation: Nearly a quarter of Americans polled say they plan to pay more to get away than they did in '98, according to a recent survey.

May 31, 1999| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Second-grade teacher Susan Iery and her family plan to pack their suitcases and swimsuits to drive from Manchester, Ohio, to Disney World this summer on a vacation that is more expensive than usual.

An Associated Press poll suggests there are plenty more vacationers like her this year.

Almost one-quarter of those surveyed in an AP poll conducted by ICR of Media, Pa., say they expect to spend more on getaways than they did a year ago. About six out of 10 say they expect to spend as much on vacations in 1999 as in 1998.

The strong economy was a big factor for Darroll Dawkins, a 20-year-old college student from New York City. He plans to fly to Jamaica in the summer.

"Money isn't that much of a problem--it's been a good year with the economy," he said. "Being able to save money made a lot of difference."

The typical American likes to vacation in the summer, travel by car and spend a week or less on the trip, according to the poll. Almost two-thirds said they expect their longest vacation this year to last less than a week.

About a quarter in the poll said they would spend less than $500 on vacation; four out of 10 said they would spend between $500 and $1,500.

Summer travelers will spend an average of $213 a day for a family of four, according to estimates from the AAA travel service. That figure is $3 higher per day compared with 1998.

Four out of 10 respondents living in the western U.S. say they plan to fly on vacation. A fourth say they will vacation for at least two weeks, and a fifth of the Westerners said they will vacation for three weeks or more. That is twice as many as the number of Southerners who said they will vacation for three weeks or more.

According to the poll:

* About half said they prefer to travel in the summer, whereas almost a fourth said fall and one out of six said spring. Winter was the choice of 9%.

* A majority of adults between 18 and 55 prefer summer trips. For those from 55 to 64, fall was almost as popular as summer. For those 65 and older, spring and fall were more popular for vacations than summer.

* The percentage of people taking three-week vacations increases steadily as they get older.

* Driving was the most popular mode of vacation travel at 55%, followed by flying at 30%, bus travel at 3%, cruises at 3% and train at 2%.

* Only those who made $50,000 or more preferred to fly as much as drive.

The phone survey of 1,008 people was conducted May 21-25 and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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