Travellers stay wired on holiday

While the point of a vacation may be to “get away from it all,” travelers bring a surprising amount of technology with them in order to stay connected during their leisure trips, according to the latest Voice of the Traveler survey by the Travel Industry Association and Synovate.  The survey was conducted in May among a representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adults.

Not surprisingly, cell phones (86%) and digital cameras (67%) topped the list of most popular technologies Americans take with them on leisure trips, while one-quarter (24%) of travelers also packed their laptops along with their flip-flops and sunglasses.  CD players are still popular, with 21 percent of travelers bringing one along, while only 11 percent brought an iPod or MP3 player.  Those percentages are likely to reverse themselves in the next few years due to the increasing popularity of travel-related/destination-specific podcasts and downloadable music and video.

Thanks to technology, travelers no longer have to wait until they return from vacation to share their stories - 18 percent use the Internet to stay connected with family and friends while traveling.  Nearly as many use the Internet while traveling to find places to visit or things to do (16%), or choose accommodations based on availability of a high-speed Internet connection or Wi-Fi access (15%).

“In this day and age of PDAs, digital cameras, wireless and high-speed Internet access, travelers can share their experiences and photos as they happen instead of waiting until they return from vacation,” remarked Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for the Travel Industry Association. “The down side is that we can, or have to, also stay in touch with the office.”

The ease of traveling with technology makes it harder to leave the office behind.  About one in ten Americans bring technology with them on vacation either because they like to stay in touch with the office (10%) or because they feel they have no choice but to stay connected (9%). And six percent like to actually do work for their job while on vacation.

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“Unfortunately, some vacationers never really get to leave “work” at home.  Yet surprisingly, one in ten enjoy staying touch with the office while on vacation, making for some very lucky employers,” says Sheri Lambert, Senior Vice President of Synovate’s Travel & Leisure practice.

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