As Americans Take Vacation, Where Are They Going, and What Are They Doing?

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Nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. travelers plan to take a vacation this summer — many escaping to Orlando, Florida; a historical European city; or a city in the American West, AAA recently reported. This divide between domestic and international destinations comes into sharper focus through the prism of the American Communities Project. So, too, do the differences in Americans’ preferred vacation activities. (Discover what type of community you live in using our interactive map.)


For a majority of Americans, traveling abroad does not appear to be on an immediate itinerary. Just 44% say they have a valid passport, according to recent Simmons Consumer Research data.

The rates are higher in more diverse, urban areas, yet no individual community type crosses the 50% threshold. Urban Suburbs, known for having a highly educated, multicultural population mix, reach 50%, while segregated, diverse Big Cities come up just shy at 48%.

In contrast, Working Class Country, the African American South, and Evangelical Hubs — poorer, more rural communities concentrated in Appalachia and the South — are well below the national average at 32%, 31%, and 30%, respectively. Rural Middle America, full of residents with average incomes and educations concentrated in small towns from Maine to Minnesota, is slightly higher at 37%.

Union-heavy Middle Suburbs, places in the Industrial Midwest hit hard by the globalized economy and more recently by America’s continuing trade fights, reach 40%. Graying America, often in rural areas and home to large numbers of retired seniors of moderate income and education, ticks to 41%.

Running in the middle of the pack are community types filled with educated, global-thinking, bilingual youth. LDS Enclaves, where many of Mormon faith undertake missionary work abroad, post a rate of 43%. Similarly, it’s 42% in College Towns, well-educated bastions where students learn the value of cross-cultural competency and studying abroad is commonplace. Hispanic Centers, home to high numbers of Latinos and youth, many of whom are immigrants, also stand at 42%.

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