Vacation survey finds Americans ditch smartphones; favor prayer


BETHESDA, Md. — More vacation travelers are inclined to do away with their smartphones than prayer, according to a new survey commissioned by SpringHill Suites, an international lodging chain operated by Marriott.

The independent survey showed that despite the perception that e-mail and social media are taking over everyday lives, the majority of vacationing Americans are actually unplugging from the technology to spend quality time with friends and family.

"With summer travel under way, this survey demonstrates positive attitudes of most American travelers to disconnect from work and the Internet, reconnect personally with friends and create new and lasting experiences," said Marsha Scarbrough, vice president and global brand manager for SpringHill Suites.

She added that many of their guests use the hotels as a home-away-from-home base for family visits, wedding and reunions.

Key findings from the survey include:

• Ranking highest on daily routines, Americans cannot go without prayer, with more than one in four Americans saying they pray while on vacation. Prayer also gets Americans who fear flying through their pre-flight jitters, as nearly one-third of them turn to a higher power to calm their fears.

• Only 17 percent of Americans say they cannot go without checking e-mail or a smartphone while on vacation.

• Over half of those surveyed who use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter regularly do not log on while on their personal getaways; and of those who are accessing social media on vacation, two in three use it only once or twice a week.

• The majority of those surveyed (67 percent), when given the chance to travel with anyone, preferred traveling with their spouses, partners or significant others, and a near majority (48 percent) report that their most enjoyable vacation ever was with their spouse, partner or significant other.

• Nearly 60 percent of Americans plan to take a vacation in the next year to reconnect with family, relatives and friends.

• 75 percent of the surveyed parents say they find vacationing more enjoyable when they have their kids along.

The online survey, released June 29, polled 1,000 consumers and had a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

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