Summer travel is about to heat up, and new data suggests that nearly eight in 10 Americans who will drive to their summer travel destination said that driving makes the experience more enjoyable (77%).

The study, which surveyed 2,000 Americans with summer leisure plans, also found that travelers agree there is a distinction between a “trip” and a “vacation” (80%).

“There’s nothing better than cruising on the highway with the windows down, the sun shining, and music playing, especially when you’re surrounded by your loved ones – even those on four legs,” said Julie Arrowsmith, president and CEO of G6 Hospitality, the parent company of Motel 6 and Studio 6 in a news release. “Whether you’re the planner or just along for the ride, Motel 6 and Studio 6 provide pet-friendly and affordable lodging so you can relax, enjoy the journey, and focus on creating memories.”

Are We There Yet?

Methods of transportation are varied this summer; most intend to drive to at least one destination (60%), while others will fly (55%) or ride the train (8%). On the road, many admit to taking on classic roles such as the “relaxation reminder” (23%), “trip coordinator” (28%), “activities and excursion guide” (22%), and “backseat driver” (10%). Although the journey on vacation can be an adventure, arriving at the hotel or destination is the top indicator to travelers that they are officially on vacation (59%).

Keeping It Budget-Friendly

Almost nine in 10 (87%) of those with summer leisure plans say that cost and budget will impact their travel. This may also be why discount programs while traveling are more important now than in previous years (79%, an increase of 13% since 2023). Through My6, the free discount program from Motel 6 and Studio 6, travelers can enjoy a minimum of 6% off every stay, as well as hundreds of added benefits in the travel, streaming, and food industries.

For over one-third (34%) of those driving to their summer destinations to save money, travelers can also receive exclusive access to promotions on car care to help get their vehicles road-trip-ready with My6. With Memorial Day Weekend and the Fourth of July just around the corner, My6 members can save between May 25 – July 28, 2024, 12% off the Best Available Rates on reservations booked between May 24 – May 28, 2024,*. Sign up to save via the app or website.

Lodging Tendencies

With a variety of lodging options to choose from, most will stay at a hotel (61%), followed by rental homes (27%) and staying at a family member’s home (22%). When staying in a hotel, most travelers admit to not unpacking and keeping their items in their luggage (57%), though many still use the dresser (34%) or closet (47%).

Trip or Vacation?

Vacations look different for everyone, and over half (53%) defined “vacation” as travel for relaxation. Others feel that a “trip” is defined as travel for a purpose (32%), such as an event, or as simply getting out of their hometown (30%). Travelers are looking to relax and unplug this summer (59%), so it’s no surprise that nearly half will attend a family or friend reunion (48%), and over one-third will explore a new city (36%). When considering the timing of their adventure, only 9% believe holiday weekends are the ideal time to travel, while over two-fifths (43%) enjoy a mix of holiday and off-holiday weekends.

A complete list of survey results can be found here.

*My6 members must book reservations between May 24 – May 28, 2024, and at least one day in advance to receive a discount. Non-members who book within the sale window and at least one day in advance will receive 10% off the Best Available Rate. 

About the Survey 
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans with summer leisure plans was commissioned by Motel 6 between March 22 and March 30, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

Source: Motel 6