The annual travel trends survey show the primary trends are that travelers appear to be going lean and green by visiting national parks, hiking, and engaging in adventure activities.
A greater amount of Americans said they will be environmentally conscious in their travel decisions in 2009, and more plan to visit eco-friendly hotels in the coming year.
TripAdvisor also unveiled its TravelCast list of emerging hotspots for 2009, and atop the list is Budoni, in Sardinia, Italy. The top emerging hotspot in the United States is St. George, Utah.
Seventy-three percent of U.S. respondents said they plan to visit a national park in 2009, up from 62 percent one year ago. Fifty-three percent will go hiking in the coming year, up from 50 percent last year. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed plan to engage in an adventure activity, an increase from 40 percent in 2008. Thirty-three percent of travelers will go cycling and biking, up from 28 percent, and 11 percent of travelers are likely to participate in an extreme sports activity, compared to 8 percent one year ago.
Thirty-four percent of U.S. respondents said they will visit an environmentally-friendly hotel or resort in the coming year, up from 30 percent in 2008. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed said they will be more environmentally conscious in their travel decisions this year, as compared to the year before. Last year, 26 percent said they would be more environmentally conscious.Germs on the Brain
Eighty-three percent of U.S. respondents are concerned about germs, bacteria and viruses when traveling. Airplanes are considered the most "germy" by 34 percent of respondents, followed by public transportation, and hotels. Sixty percent of travelers surveyed said they wash and disinfect their hands more often while traveling than they ordinarily do.
Eighty percent of respondents said they tip for room service, while only 59 percent tip the chambermaid. When asked who they think doesn't deserve a tip, the greatest percentage, 26 percent, said the concierge, as well as the doorman.
Twenty-six percent said they avoid the bellman and the skycap, to bypass tipping them for their service. Fifty-eight percent of U.S. respondents said they normally tip 20 percent on restaurant bills, while 33 percent tip 15 percent.
Sixty-one percent of travelers said the cost of fuel is an important consideration when choosing where to go on their next vacation. Eighteen percent of respondents said they will take more car trips this year because of declining fuel prices.Flight Frustrations
Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said they have had more trouble booking desired flights in the past 12 months, as compared to the previous year. Seventeen percent said they had a flight canceled this year because their route or flight was permanently eliminated from their carrier's schedule.
The No. 1 traveler faux pas according to those surveyed is a child kicking the seat back, according to 30 percent, followed by rude seat recliners and loud talking on cell phones on flights at 19 percent, respectively.
Eighty percent of U.S. travelers think cell phones should be banned on flights. Sixty-nine percent of travelers want wireless Internet access on airlines, but only 14 percent are willing to pay for the privilege. When asked what they can envision airlines charging for in the future, 50 percent predicted a window view.
Seventy-one percent of travelers surveyed think families with young children should sit in their own section of a plane. Thirteen percent think airlines should prohibit parents from flying with infants, except in the event of an emergency.
Thirty-seven percent would pay extra to sit in a quiet section of an airplane, and of that group, 38 percent would pay as much as a 6 to 10 percent premium.Weight Watchers
Twenty-four percent of travelers would not fly if airlines began charging by traveler weight or put a premium above a certain weight. Twenty-four percent of U.S. respondents said they diet in preparation for a vacation.
Fifty-eight percent of travelers are brand loyal when it comes to booking hotels. The hotel brands to which the greatest amount of U.S. respondents are loyal are Marriott, Hilton and Hampton Inn. The favorite airlines, according to U.S. respondents, are Southwest, American and Delta.
These airlines were selected as the best, primarily for their friendly and helpful staff, good on-time arrival and departure record, and best fares. U.S. Airways was the least favorite, according to the survey.