Micro vacations and trips planned with shorter notice are on trend for 2019

Riverwoods, IL | May 24, 2019–More Americans will pack their bags for a summer vacation this year, but most are keeping their trips short, according to a new national survey from Discover. The survey found 71 percent of consumers plan to take a vacation this summer (from May through September), compared to just 58 percent in 2018.

The survey found that most consumers plan to take micro vacations (shorter trips of one to three days) this summer. Fifty-five percent of respondents said their summer trips will last one to three days, compared to 21 percent who said four to six days, 12 percent who said one week, 6 percent who said 8 to 13 days and 5 percent who said their trip will last two weeks or more.

In addition, consumers are planning their summer vacations with relatively shorter notice. Forty-six percent of respondents said they plan their trips three months or less in advance, compared to 26 percent who said four to six months, 11 percent who said seven to nine months, 10 percent who said 10 to 12 months and 8 percent who said more than one year in advance.

Younger Generations Travel Differently

While more consumers plan to travel overall, younger generations are more likely to take a vacation this summer than older generations, as 77 percent of Gen Z and 76 percent of millennials are planning summer trips, compared to 67 percent of baby boomers and 60 percent of the Silent Generation.

When it comes to accommodations, younger generations, 21 percent of Gen Z and 16 percent of millennials, are more open to staying in home rentals compared to other generations, 8 percent of baby boomers and 5 percent of the Silent Generation.

Younger generations also have different priorities about what they want most out of their vacations. Twenty-five percent of Gen Z and 25 percent of millennials are looking to spend time with their friends and family, while 41 percent of baby boomers want to relax on their trips.

Younger consumers are also most likely to splurge on activities while on vacation (36 percent of millennials and 30 percent of Gen Z), whereas older consumers said they would rather splurge on food and dining (43 percent of the Silent Generation and 37 percent of baby boomers).

Consumers Prefer to Use Credit Cards When Traveling

Credit cards are the leading form of payment while on vacation, with 39 percent saying they prefer to use their credit card to other forms of payment when traveling.

More consumers plan to cash in credit card points for their summer vacations, as 18 percent will use points entirely to pay for their trips, up from 13 percent in 2018. Younger generations are more likely to use points for their vacations than older generations – 38 percent of millennials and 35 percent of Gen Z, compared to 28 percent of Gen X, 18 percent of baby boomers and 15 percent of the Silent Generation.

There is a knowledge gap when it comes to booking trips with points, as 41 percent of consumers feel they do not know what they are doing when they book trips with credit card points. When asked how they feel about doing so, 29 percent of Gen X and 27 percent of millennials said they feel restricted in their ability to book because points dictate their airline and hotel choices.

“The core value of a travel credit card should be simplicity, especially in earning rewards while traveling, or redeeming your rewards to take a road trip or fly cross-country to visit family and friends,” said Laks Vasudevan, vice president of card programs, strategy and marketing at Discover. “That’s why our Discover it® Miles card offers a simple rewards structure – 1.5x Miles on every dollar spent on purchases. Plus no airline restrictions or blackout dates. You can easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases, all without an annual fee1.”