The American Tourist Abroad, By the Numbers

    • Number of Americans traveling overseas: 30,300,000

(Or about 10% of the US population.)

    • Percent that travel abroad for leisure: 85.4%

(Which means that most Americans abroad are not traveling on business. All that follows pertains to leisure travelers.)

    • Percent that are first-time international travelers: 7%

(So stop pretending that you don’t know what you’re doing.)

    • Average number of days in advance traveler decided to make the trip: 96.4
    • Average number of days in advance traveler booked airline tickets: 66.4

(How are those spring travel plans coming along? And what are you thinking about in the month between the decision to go and booking that flight?)

    • Average length of trip: 17.7 nights outside the US
    • Percent that pre-book lodging: 44%

(These statistics make it seem like there are a lot of seat-of-pantsers out there, but 43% of all leisure travelers are visiting friends and relatives, so there’s less spontaneity and more couch-surfing going on.)

    • Average age of traveler: male: 44.7 female: 43.1

(This is a strange statistic, actually, since most age data is expressed in terms of median, not mean. Means are influenced by extremes, so infants and oldsters could throw the number off. FWIW, the U.S. median age is younger — 35.2 for men, 37.9 for women.)

    • Annual household income: median $95, 100

(Nearly twice the median US household income: $49,777) (But wait.)

    • Percent that fly coach or economy: 81%

(That’s not rich enough to spend the money on an upgraded ticket. Average amount spent on airfare, per person: $1,012.)

    • Average expenditure per visitor, per day: $70.

(This figure seems remarkably low to me, considering that the most common activities for leisure travelers are dining in restaurants (82%), shopping (74%). But maybe that number reflects  a lot of McDonald’s meals and shopping for fridge magnets .)

    • Percent of adults that travel with adults only: 91%
    • Percent of adults that travel with children: 9%

(Which means that if there’s a kid kicking your seat all the way across an ocean…)

    • Percent that travel for religion or a pilgrimage: 1%

(…you might consider trying to boost this number, because fate has made you her bitch.)

Source: Profile of U.S. Resident Travelers Visiting Overseas Destinations: 2009 Outbound. The U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.

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