We would like to thank the more than 500 readers who commented on our recent blog question "Where are you going in 2009?" It thrilled us to see so many people planning their vacations. While our blog survey isn't scientific, we were struck by some of the common themes in your answers.
We were particularly impressed by the following statistic: Despite the relentlessly bad economic news, one out of three respondents plan to take more than one personal vacation this year. Maybe travel is less expendable—less of a luxury and more of a fundamental need—than commonly thought?
We also thought the high percentage of respondents who are traveling to Western Europe—31 percent— suggests that the economic uncertainty isn't stopping people from going abroad to perennial favorites like Paris and Rome.
About 17 percent of the respondents plan to go on a cruise. That result dovetails with a recent industry forecast that 2009 will be a record year for cruise passenger traffic.
About 16 percent of our readers plan to take advantage of extended family ties—likely as a way to save money on accommodations, or as a way to reaffirm the ties that bind.
We were also delighted to read the specific stories of the 27 readers who are traveling this year to celebrate honeymoons, anniversaries, and special birthdays. To everyone traveling to celebrate happy milestones this year, we extend our hearty congratulations in advance!
Our full list of observations, below:
• 173 readers have planned more than one significant vacation for the year (not counting trips to visit family or do business)
• 90 readers will go on at least one cruise
• 82 readers will travel to visit parents or extended family; roughly half of these trips are "destination" vacations, meaning they don't happen at a family member's house
• Some of the most popular destinations include France (44 mentions), Italy (43), Mexico (43), England (33), Germany (28), Hawaii (28), Costa Rica (17), Thailand (17), Washington, D.C. (17), and Ireland (14)
Feel free to chime in if you haven't already