From Bermuda and the Bahamas to Orlando, Fla., and Los Angeles, travelers are making more time for vacations in 2014, but burned by the recession, they remain cautious about spending, according to recent surveys and interviews with travel professionals.
Globally, international tourism was up 5 percent in 2013, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. UNWTO predicts an increase of an additional 4 to 4.5 percent in 2014 with the strongest interest in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. (Globally, the Chinese have been the biggest outbound market since 2012, with an estimated expenditure of $102 billion last year, according to the same report.)
An American Express Spending & Saving Tracker report released earlier this year confirmed an increasing number of Americans are planning more leisure travel in 2014. And while more people overall plan to travel, they will continue to watch their purse strings, as only 47 percent said they actually plan to spend more while on vacation than they did in 2013, according to the American Express report.
The "all-American road trip" is also on the rise, according to the survey, which found 47 percent of vacationers plan to drive to their destination, up from 43 percent in 2013.
Ashley Storrs, a psychiatrist who lives in Edgewater N.J., said she has been traveling a lot more in recent years but with a focus on getting the most value for money spent. Now she's planning a September honeymoon with her fiance, Kelvin Crumby, who works as a tax manager. They said they like to research their trips, look for deals and find the best they can get within their budget.
"We're both very detail-oriented," Storrs said.
The luxury end of leisure travel is seeing more action as well.
"2013 was our biggest year since 2008," said Andrew Collins, the president of Sentient's JetCard unit, a private jet company that allows travelers to book a block of hours on a jet, starting at $125,000 for about 25 hours of time. "In 2013 we saw a really big uptick."