Deja Vu All Over Again? Survey Finds U.S. Travelers Are Stuck in a Rut

Deja Vu All Over Again? Survey Finds U.S. Travelers Are Stuck in a Rut

When Americans finally clear their desks and take that much-needed vacation, a study from, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, finds they aren't getting that much of a break. found that nearly 85 percent of the 1,051 Americans surveyed are likely to return to a destination they've already visited when vacation time rolls around.

"Reports abound underscoring the fact that workers in the U.S. (aka the 'no-vacation nation') receive fewer paid vacation days than people in other countries and, alarmingly, Americans don't take all the vacation time they're allotted," said Melisse Hinkle, site editor for "Now, we're seeing that, when folks take time off, they are extremely prone to revisiting favorite spots rather than choosing to experience new places."

Our survey digs into the vacation habits of Americans -- with some interesting findings on where and why they go as well as ideal destinations. What will get us out of this rut? Are men and women on the same page for travel ambitions? Read on and see for yourself:

Where they go:

Everybody loved Florida, which was top ranked as the place most likely for repeat vacations overall (15.5%) and for both men (14.3%) and women (17.1%). Vegas and the Southwest US scored much higher with men at almost 12%, compared to 7.3% for women. Mexico also was bottom of the list for women with just 2.2%, while men more than doubled it with 4.5%. Women, instead, preferred the Caribbean to the tune of 10.8% of the vote (vs 7.9% for men).

Why they go:

Good prices and great weather top the chart in a tie for reasons to return to a destination. The other leading reasons were convenience related, with "peace of mind/no worries when I get there" and "easy to get to" in the next spots. "Safety" was the fifth most important reason. However, when you slice by gender, priorities change a bit. Price and then weather are still the first and second drivers for men but then "my partner likes it" jumps into the top five, knocking out 'safety.' Meanwhile, for women, 'great weather' beats 'price,' and "visiting family" breaks into the top five, also knocking out safety. So it's chivalry before safety for men -- and family ahead of self for women. Also of note: "the number of good-looking people" and "great bars and night life" were among the least important reasons for returning to a place.

What they do there:

Proving that we all fall into routines, more than 43% of those surveyed reported they ate at the same restaurant on repeat visits with more than 37% visiting the same attractions, almost 35% staying at the same hotel and 22% eating the same meal again. Almost 20% have gone back with one or more new groups of friends (and almost 10% with a different partner or spouse).

Why they would make a change:

Just as price is a top driver in the decision to repeat visits, it can cause the end of a relationship with a destination. By far, price/cost was the top reason for everyone to stop a specific holiday habit. The "place has changed too much" and a "bad experience" were other top vote getters, though lagging far behind price.

Where they'd love to go instead:

G'day, Australia (and New Zealand). That's what the largest percent (20%) of those surveyed selected as their top ideal destination. Alaska is the second most popular overall choice with almost 14%. From there, the destinations split a bit by gender, with Eastern Europe (third overall with 9%) taking third as the choice for women -- and Japan taking third choice for men. Other top vote getters were Costa Rica, the South Pacific and Brazil. China/Hong Kong scored much better with men than women, while Thailand fared better with women than men. India and Russia brought up the rear on the dream destination list.

To fully understand what these results mean in terms of traveler behavior, Cheapflights asked chartered psychologist Dr. Jane McCartney to review the survey responses. She focused quickly on the comfort that comes from routine as well as the trap it can cause for all of us:

"It is all too easy to stick with what is known, comfortable and familiar," said Dr. McCartney. "Having children, not wanting to travel too far, knowing where you'll end up, how you'll get there is all part of the whole 'holiday behavioral experience.' This can become an entrenched behavior."

She added: "A degree of order and structure is good, but research shows that too much of this can be counterproductive. Most humans need a degree of difference and novelty to remain stimulated, interested, creative and productive. The research indicates, in fact, that lots of people do want to visit different holiday destinations -- but, in spite of their resolutions, they end up not doing it."

To break this cycle, she advises: "Challenge yourself to go outside the norm and experience something and somewhere new and novel for yourself and your family."

Cheapflights' Hinkle adds: "Vacation time in the U.S. is so hard to come by. Our hope is this research inspires people to make the most of it and get the break they really want and need."

About momondo group
momondo group is an online travel media and technology company that is driven by the belief that an open world is a better world. The group now serves travel search and inspiration to over 13 million visitors a month -- plus 6 million travel newsletter subscribers -- via its Cheapflights ( and momondo ( brands.

Skygate began the sourcing of complex air-travel data in 1992, while Cheapflights pioneered the online comparison of flight deals for users in 1996 and momondo launched meta-search in the Nordic countries in 2006.

The Group has offices in London, Copenhagen, Boston and Toronto, with a consumer base across 16 core international markets but users all over the world.