Americans turn to mini-vacations while longterm travel on hold

After putting travel plans on hold for a year or more, two-thirds of Americans have planned at least one or more weekend getaway trips before the end of 2021.

A recent survey of 2,000 U.S. respondents found that 42% planned to visit family and 33% would visit friends, suggesting obligations may have been one of the biggest factors affecting travelers’ vacation plans.

The wedding bells are ringing, too; among respondents who planned to attend at least one wedding, the average person expected to go to 2–3 weddings.

But many also planned to make time for themselves — more than a quarter said they often book extra days when going on an obligated trip. In fact, over two-thirds of those polled already have a weekend getaway or adventure in mind.

Sightseeing (38%) and restaurants (36%) are popular “must-do” activities for such a trip. Outdoor activities like camping (31%) and visiting National Parks (30%) are also top of mind among Americans, more so than attending concerts (27%) or taking a spa day (16%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Credit One Bank, the survey also uncovered details about people’s priorities and spending habits for their upcoming mini-vacations.

More than two-thirds tend to be spontaneous and just explore/shop at places within a short drive of where they’re staying.

Some will make an exception to spend lavishly on experiences like food (44%), lodging (32%) and entertainment (24%) that they otherwise wouldn’t.

And the biggest splurges can often be unplanned. One respondent recalled they once “ended up extending [their] stay a few days because [they] didn’t want to leave” and another said “we spent the night in Niagara Falls when we were supposed to just drive through and treated ourselves to a special dinner.”

Others noted last-minute excursions spanning city cruises to zip lining, helicopter tours and even “a fancy train ride at the Grand Canyon.”

In fact, nearly three-fifths said they’re likely to spontaneously stop and spend on a last-minute excursion once they reach their weekend getaway destination.

“Traveling inspires us to explore beyond the sights we originally planned to see,” said Jessica Worthy, vice president of product at Credit One Bank. “While this often results in priceless memories, it can also stretch the budget in ways that may not have been planned for beforehand. The right credit card can help offset these costs by giving you rewards for spending on things you are already doing.”

Forty-six percent of respondents cited ‘credit card’ as their preferred form of payment for travel. When it comes to weekend trips, 63% said they have a strict budget. But the same amount of respondents admitted to forgetting unforeseen costs, such as parking or spontaneous activities.

On average, people budget $1,800 for a weekend trip but end up spending $380 more.

“Regardless of their plans, it’s great to see people easing back into travel with short yet eventful trips,” Worthy added. “With three-fifths planning to take a road trip for pleasure this year, and two in five Americans planning to visit a National Park in the next year, it’s important to have tools that can help put some extra money toward new experiences.”


  • “Tickets to Elton John and ‘The Lion King.’”
  • “A painting off the wall at a hotel.”
  • “A fancy Grand Canyon train ride and show.”
  • “A couple hundred dollars to take kids to a trampoline park.”
  • “Getting the expensive ‘spa honeymoon suite’ just for a weekend getaway last minute.”
  • “Great seats to a Broadway musical.”
  • “Native American art (pottery).”
  • “A designer purse.”
  • “The spas in Hot Springs, Arkansas”

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