Hard times boost popularity of U.S. travel destinations

Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:36am EST
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By Rebekah Kebede

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - With travel budgets tight, U.S. destinations and budget options are gaining popularity with Americans, while some are choosing to forgo travel altogether.

"Travel is one of those discretionary expenditures that people are looking at very closely and they are deciding to change their travel patterns," Rob Flynn, vice president and global travel publisher with the travel publisher Frommer's, said in an interview.

American vacationers are now more likely to travel within the United States and they are looking to stretch their travel dollar by staying with family or acquaintances rather than in hotels, he added.

On Frommer's web site Washington nudged pass top destinations like Italy to gain the number one spot as the most searched destination, while Disneyland and New York City remain popular.

Budget options have become more popular in the last few months as locals and travelers alike hunt for deals. And people who are traveling are looking for something extraordinary.

"People are still looking for inspirational travel on a budget," said Flynn.

"Rather than going to just see the sites, it's more, 'Can I get under the skin of the destination in some way? Can I have a local experience?"

But traffic on travel web sites, which usually increases ahead of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, is flat this year, indicating that Americans are generally less interested in travel.   Continued...

<p>File photo shows the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, May 5, 2005. 1955. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>