Expedia Travel Trendwatch released

Expedia.com is introducing the latest issue
of its quarterly report, Expedia Travel Trendwatch(TM). Twenty-year travel
industry veteran and Expedia Travel Trendwatch(TM) Editor Chris McGinnis
reveals the findings of a recent Expedia.com consumer survey conducted by
Harris Interactive(R) showing, among other things, that 82 percent of U.S.
adults plan to travel by air as much or more this spring as last spring.

The same survey reveals that new passport requirements won’t likely slow
travel to Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, or the Caribbean. In
addition, the weakened U.S. dollar versus other currencies is a relatively
small concern to those considering international travel. The report also
provides further trend information, travel tips, and deals designed to help
people make better travel decisions.
  “Following the peak holiday travel season, many find that winter is a
great time to beat the crowds and uncover off-peak travel deals,” said
McGinnis. “But travel during winter is nothing compared to the take-off
we’ll see when spring-breakers head for resorts and popular destinations in
March and April.”
  Key travel trends and tips reported in the current issue of the Expedia
Travel Trendwatch(TM) include:
  1)  Spring break is a popular time to travel every year, and 2007 is no
      exception.  All signs point to this spring break season being as busy
      as last year, continuing the pattern of the recent peak winter holiday
      —The Expedia consumer survey found that 16 percent of U.S. adults
        plan to travel by air more this spring than they did last spring,
        and 66 percent plan to travel by air as much as they did last
      —Airlines continue to raise fares despite declining fuel prices.
        Fares to South Florida cities like Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are
        up five percent to 10 percent.  Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and
        Cancun, Mexico are up seven percent to 13 percent.  Hawaii has
        become a more affordable destination to visit, with average
        year-over-year fares having decreased approximately 10 percent to
        15 percent, partially due to a recent up tick in capacity to the
        islands according to Expedia.com data.

  2)  Unseasonably warm temperatures in parts of the U.S. earlier this
      winter could mean deeper discounts in warm weather destinations like
      Florida and the Caribbean.  Warmer than average weather could also
      bolster more interest in skiing and big-city trips.
      —With much of the country in a relatively balmy state early this
        winter, the urge to migrate south may not be as strong as normal.
        If winter weather remains mild, less demand for warm-weather
        getaways could translate into more aggressive late-winter
        discounting and an increase in last-minute deals in places like
        Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico.
      —The weather could have some impact on western ski resorts, as
        snow-seekers head to the Rockies, Sierras and elsewhere on news
        of multiple snowstorms.  This season is on track to break the
        record of 59 million skier visits in a season, set just last
        year, according to the National Ski Areas Association.

  3)  Despite a weak U.S. dollar and concern over new passport requirements,
      Americans are still traveling internationally.
      —The Expedia.com consumer poll found that when it comes to
        international travel, 38 percent of U.S. adults are not at all
        influenced by the exchange rate when choosing a destination.
      —Likewise, recent changes in passport requirements do not appear
        to be dampening interest in overseas trips.  The Expedia.com
        consumer survey also found that 74 percent of U.S. adults say
        that they are equally (68%) or more likely (6%) to travel to
        Canada, Mexico, Central and South America or the Caribbean, the
        areas recently affected by the new passport rules.  Additionally,
        the U.S. State Department anticipates that the number of
        passports it issues in 2007 will increase to 16 million, compared
        to 12.1 million in 2006.

  Expedia Travel Trendwatch(TM) Travel Tips


  Spring Break Deals
  —If you are seeking a great deal and have flexible travel dates,
    consider a spring trip sometime during the April 15 to May 30 “shoulder
    season.”  The crowds will dwindle, prices soften and the weather can’t
    be beat.

  Cruising Right
  —This might be the winter to take to the seas because you’ll find lower
    prices and more availability.  If you have been considering a Caribbean
    cruise but have yet to board a ship, seven new cruise ships were
    christened in 2006 and nine more will debut this year.  Cruise pricing
    is softest this year in the Caribbean, while pricing for European or
    Alaskan itineraries remains firm.

  Hit the Slopes
  —Look west for the best skiing conditions this winter. Washington,
    Oregon and British Columbia have received the most snow so far this
    year with nearly 100 percent of ski terrain open.  Save on air and
    hotel at these resorts by booking a ski vacation package, Expedia
    customers save $220 on average when doing so.

  International Travel
  —Get a passport!  Having a passport on hand ensures the freedom to take
    advantage of a last-minute flight to Canada or spur-of-the-moment
    vacation to the Bahamas.  Soon, passports will be required for those
    entering the U.S. by land or sea so it’s worth the investment for 10
    years of care free travel.