2004-07-15 / Travel

Weekend Getaways On Wheels Picking Up Speed

Weekend Getaways On Wheels Picking Up Speed

(NAPSI)-For many people, traditional week-long vacations once or twice a year don’t provide an adequate re-prieve from the daily stress experienced on the job and at home. As a result, extended vacations are taking a backseat to shorter getaways, as more and more Americans are finding add-ed relief and relaxation in weekends on the road.

From coast to coast, Americans are finding that weekend getaways, with a night or two away from home, allow the perfect amount of time for shopping, sports, spas, and the great outdoors while not dipping too deep into the pocketbook.

The new "American Weekend Geta-way Poll" found that 60 percent of U.S. motorists, approximately 100 mil-lion Americans, are taking weekend getaways. Those motorists average seven weekend jaunts each year, traveling about 200 miles roundtrip and spending about $280 per weekend.*

The weekend travel phenomenon has been growing steadily since 2001. Ame-ricans have been finding that driving is the easiest, most convenient and least expensive way (even with higher gas prices) to travel. Driving weekend getaways offer Americans mini-vacations which are often more affordable than extended vacations. The trips also provide an opportunity for individuals to recharge their batteries and reconnect with loved ones several times a year instead of just once.

Another rising trend is for motorists to rent "the right" vehicle for weekend getaways. In fact, the poll found that one in five motorists who take weekend getaways are looking to rent the perfect vehicle for the trip, with minivans, SUVs, and mid-size sedans be-ing the most popular. A significant num-ber of drivers choose vehicles that meet specific needs and are better suited for weekend getaways than the vehicles they own.

The most popular reasons Ameri-can motorists rent for weekend getaways include:

• Improved gas mileage.

• Projecting a better image.

• Gaining more seating capacity.

• Offering adequate trunk or cargo space.

• Avoiding wear and tear on their own vehicle.

As further evidence of this trend, Enterprise Rent-A-Car reports that its rental business for leisure purposes, which includes weekend getaways, to-tals more than $1 billion annually and is growing at double-digit rates.

For many, experiencing the drive is as enjoyable as the destination itself. That’s why, as the response to "What did you do this weekend?" varies be-yond mowing the lawn and taking in the latest motion picture, increasing numbers of Americans are showing up to work Monday morning with better answers and more relaxed demeanors.

*The poll was commissioned by Enterprise Rent-A-Car (www.enterprise.com).

Laura Powell is a nationally recognized expert in the travel industry and has been on ABC’s World News This Morning, CNBC, and Fox News Channel.

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