With summer vacation season rounding the corner, curiosity about how U.S. adults plan and experience their vacations is high. To better understand Americans’ approach to travel, CivicScience asked thousands of U.S. adults how they plan their time off.

On a high level, U.S. adults anticipate using their vacation time– 60%, in fact, plan on using up all of their vacation days this year–a figure that has held steady since last year’s CivicScience investigation of the gender gap in vacation time.

Of those who are planning to take a vacation, the largest percentage will go in the summer.

This season may make the most travel sense for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s due to the weather, school schedules, or larger family plans, the summer months are prime time for getting away. However, fall is a solid runner up, with 25% choosing to vacation during what is commonly considered an “offseason.”

Women’s Work

When asked where the responsibility for planning and packing falls, the largest percentage of respondents indicate doing both.  

With this in mind, it may not be surprising that women are shouldering most of this burden.

The topic of women shouldering extra home responsibility has been oft-discussed. And based on this data, it seems that trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

In fact, it could be argued that this extra responsibility has bled from normal daily activities into more specialized events, such as organizing vacations.

Planning Ahead

For those who are vacation planning, foresight is key. The average planning happens one to six months in advance. However, it’s not uncommon to plan a trip even six months or more ahead of time.

Income does play a role in the planning process, as lower-income earners and high-income earners are more likely to snag a last-minute trip.  

For those on the low-income end of the spectrum, this could be due to finding a great last-minute deal or waiting to earn enough for some time away. On the other end of the spectrum, high-income earners may simply have the financial flexibility to jet set on a whim.  

As it turns out, last-minute travel plans are not correlated with higher levels of stress. In fact, a three- to six-month window of planning–considered a medium length of prep time– is linked to the highest levels of stress.

Prime Trip Shopping  

There is a reasonable chance that this stress-free trip planning could be connected to the places vacationers tend to shop. Of those who are planning on vacationing this summer, 68% are favorable to shopping on Amazon.

Amongst major retailers Target and Walmart, Amazon comes out on top. The order among summer vacationers after Amazon at 68% favorability, is Target (58%) and Walmart (48%).

Of Amazon shoppers, 22% are Prime members and use the service weekly. So whether vacation is a month or a week away, their shopping needs are covered.

Given the fact that more than half of U.S. adults plan to use all of their vacation time this year, summer vacation planning is a serious topic. As the data show, vacation planning tends to fall unevenly on women, an interesting trend, since women take fewer vacation days than men. Last-minute-planners tend to have relatively low levels of stress, and many may be shopping on Amazon for their pre-vacation purchases. This last-minute approach to vacation plans, combined with the ease of shopping from Amazon, suggests that when it comes to advance vacation prep, less might be more.

Stay tuned for part two of our summer vacation series, looking at hotels, tours, dining, and more!