Carmel coast. Courtesy photos
Carmel coast. Courtesy photos
Hit the Road

Surprising stats about how we vacation


Paris and other European cities almost shut down in the summer when residents  head to their favorite beaches and country towns, thanks to often generous vacation policies and, unlike Americans, a complete lack of guilt.

We Americans sometimes do more talking about vacations than actually taking them, but when we do, we feel obligated to being tethered to our work via cell phones, Wi-Fi and Internet.

So thanks to several surveys (sources listed below) and sets of statistics, here is a picture-via-numbers that tells how and why we do or don’t take vacations:


1.2 billion — the number of tourists who traveled abroad in 2015. The Americas, Asia and the Pacific all saw a 5 percent increase in international arrivals.

4 — the percent that international tourism worldwide is expected to increase this year (so don’t look for less-crowded flights).

40 — the percent of surveyed travelers who said that, in light of world events, they would “not cancel their travel plans and would just decide to travel smarter.”

$89.9 billion — the amount projected to be spent on summer vacations by Americans — up from $85.5 billion in 2015.

$1,798 — the average amount that will be spent by an American household on their summer vacation this year, up from $1,621 in 2015.

65 — the percent of Americans who say that taking an annual vacation is important — up 8 points from 2015.

Flatiron Bldg-New York City
Flatiron Bldg-New York City

50 — the percent of Americans who are confident that they will actually take that summer vacation this year.

40 — the percent of Americans who say they probably won’t take a summer vacation.

305 million — the number of people who visited U.S. national parks in 2015, 12 million more than in 2014.

13 billion — the number of visits to national parks since the counting began in 1904, 12 years before the National Park Service was created.

409 — the number of national parks and preserved natural, historic and cultural landscapes in the United States.

CrystalCove-south of Newport Beach
CrystalCove-south of Newport Beach

84 million — the number of acres under preservation in 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories.

55 — the percent of people surveyed who said they had planned to “unplug” from their devices during vacation but couldn’t do so.

65 — the percent of survey participants who unplugged and said their vacations were more enjoyable.

37 — the percent of women who said they were willing to leave their phones at home while on vacation; 47 percent of men said they would do so.

Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument

377 — the number of days in a lifetime lost spent looking for something good to watch on television.

So don’t waste your precious time. Put down that remote, pack your bag and get out there and make some memories!
Sources: UN World Tourism Organization; Medjet Assist; Rovi Multi-Region Survey; Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index; the National Park Service; and Intel Security.

E’Louise Ondash is a freelance writer living in North County. Tell her about your travels at