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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Americans are planning to spend 11 percent more money on air travel this holiday season than they did last year, according to a new study.
In what appears to be a sign of increased confidence in the economy, 30 percent of about 2,000 people questioned in the poll said they would dig deeper into their pockets to pay for travel and entertainment between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
According to the statistics, families of four will spend an average of $1,800 dollars traveling this year. One in five of those queried said they will use the increased spending on dining out, a longer trip, or more varied activities and entertainment options.
Most planned to take domestic rather than foreign trips.
"We've found that people are spending more on things that matter to them, such as vacation, as it allows them to spend time with family," said Claire Bennett, the manager of American Express' Consumer Network.
"We've seen increases in spending in entertainment and dining, as that allows opportunity for creating memories," she added.
The results of the American Express Spending and Saver Tracker survey, which is released monthly, showed 88 percent of people questioned said they would travel within the United States.
New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands were among the top destinations.
More than half of young professionals, people under 30 who have an income of more than $50,000, said they planned to travel this season and 54 percent said that they were going to spend more money this year.
"With young professionals, as with the others, they are spending money on opportunities that are about experiences and creating new experiences for themselves," Bennett explained.
She advised consumers not to wait to book trips because increased demand would mean prices will go up.
Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr.; Editing by Patricia Reaney