The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of the club, polled more than 2,500 adults in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and examined a variety of travel habits during the holiday season, defined by the survey as beginning around Thanksgiving and ending right after the new year.

On average, New York travelers expect to shell out about $2,000 on holiday travel expenses, including transportation, accommodations, food and entertainment – significantly more than the 10-city average of $1,335 and more than double what those in Atlanta plan to spend, approximately $900.

While it may not appear to be the case, New Yorkers employ a variety of tactics to try to keep their yearly travel budgets low. Thirty percent research different travel options; 27 percent book their arrangements as soon as possible to get a lower price; and 25 percent look for deals or coupons. But 38 percent of New Yorkers, as well as 38 percent of respondents overall, admit to not planning a yearly travel budget at all.

Despite the disparities in the amount they plan to spend, budget plays a role in most people’s holiday travel plans, regardless of what city they reside in. Only 13 percent of all adults in the top 10 largest U.S. cities say their budget is not a factor in their holiday travel plans. Twenty-seven percent say they consider their budget but it doesn’t dictate their holiday season travel plans; 24 percent say their budget puts some limitations on their holiday travel plans; and 17 percent indicate that budget completely dictates their holiday travel plans.

Compared to last year, more than half (56 percent) of all respondents will be spending the same or nearly the same on 2012 holiday travel; those spending more and those spending less are evenly split at 22 percent, respectively.

The top reason adults from the largest cities in the U.S. cite for not traveling this holiday season is a lack of funds (47 percent). Overall, women (51 percent) are more likely than men (41 percent) to cite finances as a reason not to travel this season. Interestingly, adults earning $75,000 or more per year are more likely than those earning less than $75,000 to point to high travel expenses during the holidays as a reason not to leave home (26 percent vs. 13 percent).

But when it comes to the holidays, family bonding outweighs budget concerns. To spend the holidays with family is the most cited reason for holiday travel, reported by 67 percent of travelers polled. Thirty-six percent cited for vacation; 26 percent to get away from everyday life; 23 percent to spend the holidays with friends; and 15 percent to make the most of their paid time off.

Seven percent of respondents say they will be hitting the road in order to escape the chaos of the holiday season. One in ten (11 percent) New Yorkers say the same, the highest percentage among all cities polled.

A complete look at how holiday travel expenses stack up across all the cities polled is below.

Average Expected 2012 Holiday Travel Expenses

1. New York City: $2,000

2. Chicago: $1,450

3. Philadelphia: $1,180

4. Los Angeles: $1,175

5. San Francisco: $1,155

6. Washington, D.C.: $1,120

7. Boston: $1,045

8. Houston: $1,020

9. Dallas-Ft. Worth: $975

10. Atlanta: $900


This study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Inspirato between October 4-15, 2012 among 2,507 respondents 18 years or older in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available. Data tables can be found at:

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