With Spring Break coming soon, a survey of Iowans finds almost three-quarters of them will be taking a vacation of three days or more requiring overnight stays this year.
The AAA-Iowa survey shows 71% of Iowans plan trips, whether it’s to Lake Okoboji or to Ireland. The motor club’s Gail Weinholzer says most Iowans are heading to warm weather destinations.
Weinholzer says, “It is pretty much in line with previous years, just about spot on for the number of travelers we’re seeing, especially in the last couple of years as the economy’s becoming more robust, more people are traveling across the United States.”
The survey found 19% of Iowa travelers will visit other countries, while 81% will travel only domestically. Both novice and expert travelers are seeking vacation experiences that bring about a deeper connection to the cultures, people and traditions of a destination.
“People are looking to do more than just go to a beach and lay on a beach chair for a week, although that sounds wonderful this time of year,” Weinholzer says. “They are looking to do things that involve new activities, new experiences. They want to see and do new things and check off things on their bucket list.”
Three of the top five domestic destinations are in Florida: Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, with the other two being Anaheim, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
The survey found most Iowans will be traveling by car. “We expect a strong economy to keep people traveling,” Weinholzer says. “Obviously, gas prices will be higher this year than last year but certainly we won’t be returning to the $3 level unless something significant occurs.”
The motor club predicts gas prices will top out around $2.50 a gallon this summer. The current statewide average is $2.31, up from $1.84 a year ago.