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Obligation traveling crowds out leisure trips, study finds

Weddings, reunions, graduations, new babies, business trips — are you taking fewer leisure vacations because of the time and money you devote to obligation travel?

According to a recent survey commissioned by, 41 percent of traveling U.S. adults spend the majority of their vacation budget on obligation travel. And 89 percent of respondents said they would take more leisure trips if they had the time and the money to do so.

For its American Travel Behavior Survey, Hotwire commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 2,127 U.S. adults from July 27-29, 2011.

According to the survey, 94 percent of respondents said that they would take one more trip than they already had planned if they could afford it.

The solution, suggests Hotwire, is combining the obligation travel with leisure time. Work sending you to a conference in Orlando? Bring the spouse and kids so they can enjoy some time at the local theme parks.

Family reunion back home? Try to tack on a weekend getaway for some time away from everything — and everyone. 

But there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. If it's a personal trip, a family event or gathering, travelers still have to find the time and money to get there, and any extra time spent away is just that, more time and money.

That said, if you're already paying for a flight somewhere, it might be more economical to just add on some extra time rather than book an entirely separate flight and vacation elsewhere.

If there is a business trip element, there are potential savings to be had on at least one person's transportation costs and possibly the accommodations, depending on the business trip. But then, the person working might be unavailable for part or all of the trip.

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