Winter wonders: 1 in 3 people have never built a snowman, 1 in 4 haven’t had hot chocolate!

NEW YORK — Talk about the winter blues. One-third of Americans have never built a snowman. That’s according to a new poll of 2,000 people with travel plans this winter season. In fact, many travelers admit they’ve never partaken in other winter activities such as skiing (42%), snowball fights (30%), or even drinking hot chocolate (24%).

More than half the poll (55%) regularly experience snow where they live, while 21 percent only sometimes experience snow. Of the 25 percent who never experience snow, 54 percent have never seen it at all. Even so, 72 percent of respondents hope to see snow during the holiday season.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Motel 6, results show that seeing snow isn’t outside the realm of possibility for many respondents, as they’re planning to travel to the Northeast (23%) and Midwest (21%) this season. In fact, respondents are planning to cross an average of three state lines during their winter vacation. In general, respondents are still slightly more likely to seek out warmer climates (30%) for winter vacations than colder ones (21%).


Winter is all about comfort

Respondents are expecting to feel comfortable (50%), joyful (47%), and peaceful (41%) while on their winter vacations this year. So, it’s no surprise that for winter vacations, national parks or campsites (50%), ski resorts (46%), and small towns (44%) are some of the most popular destinations.

Interestingly enough, more than seven in 10 (71%) admit they’re more likely to try a new activity while on a winter vacation than a summer one.

Most respondents (61%) are looking for comfort and familiarity when it comes to winter travel this year. However, that isn’t the case with summer vacations, as respondents tend to hope for adventure (50%) and cultural immersion (57%) on those trips.

“The holidays bring out nostalgic feelings in us all, so it’s no surprise that travelers are looking for comfort and familiarity this year,” says Rob Palleschi, CEO of Motel 6, in a statement. “A great way to instill these feelings is through bringing back favorite activities or trying new experiences alongside loved ones. And no matter where your travels take you this season, we look forward to being the comfortable spot to rest along the way.”

Family gatherings will be larger this year for two out of five respondents (40%) and will include children (63%), significant others (54%), and parents (53%) – with some even extending the invite to friends (49%) and pets (22%).

Almost half (46%) plan to stay at a hotel or motel.

Americans are packing in as much travel as possible

Over half (57%) say they plan to “trip-stack” this winter, meaning adding an additional destination or trip on to their existing winter travel plans.

The main reason for this being that the holidays are the only time everyone is available to travel (67%). Just over two in five (42%) of those traveling by car this year plan to take the scenic route on their way to their destination, taking their time getting there.

On the other hand, 40 percent plan to take a direct route to get to their destination as efficiently as possible.

Although respondents typically plan their winter vacations about four months in advance, that anticipation may be short-lived. Of the 90 percent of respondents who have children, 28 percent admit their kids will start asking “are we there yet?” less than an hour into the trip.

“Holiday gatherings continue to evolve in new ways every year,” Palleschi adds. “From including friends, neighbors and pets in the celebrations, to trip-stacking in order to fit as much fun and exploration in as possible, it is always a pleasure to meet those on the road and hear about their holiday journeys.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,005 Americans who are planning to travel this holiday season was commissioned by Motel 6 between September 16 and September 28, 2022. 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).

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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