We're travelling more, enjoying it more and spending a lot more. That's the crux of the latest statistical look at America's travel and vacation habits. The figures were gathered from various sources by the Interbank Card Assn. Interbank is the worldwide licenser of the Master Charge card.
The researchers came up with some interesting data. For instance:
More than three times as many Americans vacation domestically as do in foreign lands, but five times as much is spent on U.S. travel than outside the country. More women than men take domestic vacations, but the percentage is the same to foreign destinations. Folks between the ages of 25 and 34 compose the highest percentage of people taking domestic vacations, followed closely by the 34-44 age group. However, in foreign travel, it's the 45-54 age group that does the most touring, with the young set from 18 to 24 coming in second and the 55-64 group running a very close third.
The study goes through 1976-the last year for which complete figures were available. It reveals that Americans spent $66 million on domestic and foreign vacations and pleasure travel, with $55 billion of that amount being spent in this country.The figures showed an increase in spending of between 60 percent and 29 percent in domestic and foreign travel in the past few years.
However, less than half of it went for transportation ($22 billion). A hefty chunk ($17 billion) was spent for food, $10 billion on entertainment and other expenses, while lodging accounted for $6 billion. Of the $11 billion Americans spent on vacationing and travel outside the United States, $4.2 billion went for the cost of getting there and back.
And where did we go out of the country? We spent more in Europe than in any other area ($2.2 billion), though Canada ($1.4 billion) and Mexico ($1.6 billion) when viewed together easily top that total. Next in popularity-as far as spending goes-were the West Indies and Central America, South America and Asia.
Among other statistics outlining the leisure travel habits of Americans, the study shows that 40 percent of all adults interviewed had taken a vacation within the United States some time during the year, with a good percentage of them taking two or more pleasure trips.
And what kind of people do the most traveling? The Interbank study found that 57.7 percent of American tourists, either within or out of the country, have an annual income of $25,000 or more, and almost 60 percent of them are college graduates. The percentage is even greater for foreign travel.
Suburbanites are far more likely than eithe city dwellers or small town residents to travel for pleasure, whether vacationing in this country or in some of foreign land. More than 45 percent of domestic travelers are from suburban areas, while 42 percent are from central cities. The difference is the same in foreign travel.
And what part of the country has the most wanderlust? According to the report, the largest percentage of vacation travelers, both domestic and foreign, live in the West. For travel in this country, the North Central states come next, followed by the Northeast and the South. For travel to foreign destinations, the Northeast leads both the North Central region and the South.