Exclusive Feature: Are Americans finally using up their vacation days?

According to a recent survey from VISA, American’s plan to spend 40 percent more than last year on their next international trip, a sign that the economy is finally turning to their favor and those saved up vacation days are about to be booked.

The Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 by Visa Inc. showed that U.S. travelers plan to significantly increase their travel budget on their next international trip.

Findings revealed that travelers plan to spend 40 percent more on their next international trip compared to their last trip, opposed to travelers outside the U.S. who plan to increase travel spend by just 4.6 percent.

“Americans have a zest for travel and exploration and these survey results hint at a growing appetite to increase travel budgets,” said Nick Talwar, head of North American Credit at Visa Inc. 

But the will to wander isn’t all the study found. 

U.S. travelers are feeling more confident with credit these days, opting to use credit cards while traveling internationally. In fact, most Americans said they find cash “cumbersome to carry around,” according to the survey. 

From a consumer perspective, the obvious association between this being a VISA survey and that Americans would rather travel with a credit card isn’t lost in this report, but there’s room for education here.

If you’re going to travel with only your credit card, make sure you consider the following:

  • Keep a copy of your credit card numbers and the international customer service number of each credit card handily, in the event your cards are stolen.
  • Make sure you’re aware of the additional international fees associated with your credit cards. Some credit cards tack on more than others so it’s important to check in advance before charging your way through international borders.
  • For emergency situations, make sure you have some local currency with you at all times.

For hotels this survey is also very telling.

VISA found that U.S. travelers (79 percent) rely heavily on the Web for planning their travel and Americans are about 20 percent more likely to use online sources than their global counterparts.

In fact, more Americans said they use travel review websites and other online sources as their most trusted online resources when booking travel. What’s this mean for hotels? Social media is where more American travelers are going for information, so keeping up to date with your potential and return guests is even more important. 

  • Make sure someone from the hotel is always scanning travel review website comments to address any outstanding customer service complaints.
  • Use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook as a communications tool, not just a promotional tool. Connect with your guests when you learn they’re coming to your hotel or they’re looking for tips in your destination.
  • Always follow-up with customers about best price guarantees and special package rates.

The Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 was based on online and offline surveys with 12,631 travelers aged 18 and above, across 25 markets in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand), Europe (France, Germany, Russia, U.K.), Africa Middle East (Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, UAE), and the Americas (Brazil, Canada, Mexico, USA).
 
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Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.

Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com