Trendy Travel Spots for Fall

2 travel surveys reveal where travelers are headed this fall

A TripAdvisor survey has found that 85 percent of travelers plan to take a leisure trip this fall, and despite the economy and rising gas prices, 34 percent of travelers plan to spend more on fall travel that they did last year.

Of those who are packing their bags this season, 13 percent are headed abroad, 23 percent will travel both internationally and domestically, and 64 percent will travel to destinations within the U.S., with fewer crowds and comfortable weather being strong motivators.

The most popular reason to take a trip is to view the fall foliage (39 percent), followed by vineyard visits and wine tastings (26 percent) and trips to a state or country fair or a fall festival (22 percent). Other fall activities inspiring getaways include attending a football game or college homecoming game (20 percent) and food festivals (20 percent).

TripAdvisor surveyed 1,400 U.S. respondents about their fall travel plans and the results suggest that the economy is becoming less of a factor for those planning a vacation. According to the MMGY Global/Harrison Group 2012 Portrait of American Travelers, an annual travel survey, travelers are looking to book vacations that have meaning.

Travelers are moving away from cost-conscious and downsized travel like "staycations" and instead are booking vacations that are memorable. Travelers are also picking upscale hotels and resorts, with 26 percent of vacationers preferring luxury lodging, an 11 percent increase from 2011. Eight in 10 now prefer a full-service hotel or resort with a restaurant.

The MMGY Global/Harrison Group 2012 Portrait of American Travelers surveyed 2,527 U.S. households and examined the impact of the current economic environment, social values, and emerging media habits of Americans with an annual household income of $50,000 or more who have taken at least one overnight trip of 75 miles or more during the previous 12 months.

The survey found that Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, and New York remain most popular with travelers, and also showed an increased interest in visiting Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington, DC. Destinations with outdoor activities like Lake Tahoe, Gatlinburg, Tenn., the Pocono Mountains, and along coastal areas like the Outer Banks, N.C., and Atlantic City are also popular, as are locations with unique experiences like historic Colonial Williamsburg, Va., and St. Augustine, Fla., and the wine regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, Calif.

Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.

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