Home Travel Study: Liberals & Conservatives Travel & Vacation Differently

Study: Liberals & Conservatives Travel & Vacation Differently

by SharonKurheg

Summer vacation season is well on the way and, although unrelated, so is the planning for the 2020 election season. We already know how much politics has divided our country over the past few years but did you know that conservative and liberal voters even tend to travel and vacation differently?

MRI-Simmons is the leading provider of insights on the American consumer. Previously two separate research companies (GfK MRI, and Simmons Research), they joined forces in early 2019. As per Linked in, “With thousands of attitudinal and behavioral data points, gathered through ongoing surveys and passive measurement, MRI-Simmons empowers advertisers, agencies and media companies with deeper insights into the “why” behind consumer behavior.”

It’s already been determined that people who lean red or blue have different preferences when it comes to television shows, grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, craft beer, and the list goes on and on. So is it any surprise that their vacations tend to be different, as well?

According to a 2019 NBC News’ report of MRI-Simmons’ survey, here are some of the key differences between the two groups:

  • 57% of liberals had passports, whereas only 48% of conservatives did (this number could be totally skewed now, thanks to the backlog of passports that need to be processed). This fits in with liberals being more likely to visit a foreign country on their vacation. It may also suggest that blue flavored people might be more willing to fly to their destination than red flavored people.
  • When wanting to relax, conservatives prefer fishing and golf, whereas liberals prefer going to a beach or experiencing fine dining. It’s thought that liberals tend to be younger and are slightly more likely to have incomes over $100,000, which could tie in with their preferred ways to relax. It’s also noted in this 2018 Travel Weekly article that, “Statistically,…liberals are more likely to gravitate more toward five categories than conservatives: exploration, experiencing different cultures, experiencing new cuisines, self-discovery and meeting new people.”

NBC News showed how different destinations tend to have more left or right-leaning visitors. They used two popular tourist destinations: Branson, Missouri and Park County, Wyoming (the ski area on the eastern edge of Yellowstone National Park). Here are the cities where the most tourists were from for each of the destinations:

Denver Springfield, MO
New York Kansas City
Minneapolis St. Louis
Salt Lake City Little Rock
Seattle Oklahoma City

Parks like Yellowstone tend to get more visitors from big cities – which means more chance of flying there. But besides that, big cities tend to be politically Democratic. Branson’s visitors tend to be from smaller communities that are closer to their destination – so they drive – and many of them tend to vote Republican.

Of course, all of this doesn’t hold 100% true – case in point, I am decidedly left leaning and I like to go fishing. Also, if given a choice, I would prefer a place like Branson moreso than Yellowstone. Meanwhile, I’m sure there are plenty of right-leaning people who love the beach, a good meal, and going skiing.

But I bet there’s one thing we can all agree on: going on vacation is awesome.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Elizabeth Smock July 8, 2019 - 9:49 am

I grew up in Branson–one thing you didn’t mention is the entire city/area is PROUDLY and LOUDLY Christian and patriotic! Every show will have a prayer, every store will have a flag . . . it’s a beautiful area of the country, and Silver Dollar City is one of the most beautiful theme parks I’ve ever seen (I live near Walt Disney World, but SDC has beautiful hills and trees, not just buildings and rides!), but I always cautioned my “freakier” friends that if they couldn’t handle all the Christian patriotism, they probably shouldn’t go to Branson! I’ve been to Yellowstone as well, and I kind of think using Branson and ANY national park. but especially one relatively far from many cities or airports, isn’t really an entirely fair comparison. I love them both!

Points For Four July 8, 2019 - 11:30 am

Never heard of Branson before this article

SharonKurheg July 8, 2019 - 11:34 am

The old saying is true – you learn something new every day 🙂

Christian July 8, 2019 - 12:33 pm

I was kind of hoping that the stereotypes would prove to be wrong. Well, I guess they’re stereotypes for a reason.

SharonKurheg July 8, 2019 - 12:39 pm

There are, of course, exceptions. But otherwise, yeah.

derek July 8, 2019 - 3:14 pm

What if you are far left of liberal? Even more likely to have a passport?????

Stan July 14, 2019 - 12:09 pm

Republican Conservatives have zero intellectual curiosity.

SharonKurheg July 14, 2019 - 12:15 pm

(Full disclosure – I’m a Democrat) I disagree. I know plenty of Republicans who are smart and creative. You must hang out with the wrong Conservatives.

Steve June 6, 2020 - 1:25 pm

The mayors of Little Rock, Saint Louis and Kansas City are Democrats. I think the cities listed are more proximal than political affiliations; sans NYC.

AlohaDaveKennedy June 6, 2020 - 5:36 pm

Branson has limited air access these days. Most people have to drive in or arrive via Springfield and grab a rental car. This somewhat limits visitor access from the major urban areas, more than when Southwest flew into the Branson airport. It is a nice enough place, not prone to the looting and burning that people from Denver, New York, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City or Seattle seem to enjoy for entertainment. I guess Hillary would call the folk of Branson deplorables. No telling what the people of Branson would call Hillary.

nhscharlotte June 6, 2020 - 7:56 pm

Proud Conservative. College educated. Graduate degree. Passport holder since college. My children have passports and have travelled to more than 5 foreign countries. We are incredibly intellectually curious, well-read, from a broad variety of reading sources, that agree with our views and even more that disagree with our views. We are also large charitable givers, supporting a variety of causes that liberals support – to charities that “teach a fish” rather than create dependency. And, of course, large taxpayers. The comment above is elitist and condescending and what I unfortunately have learned to expect from many, but not all, liberals. I do not live in “flyover country” though I did grow up there. I live in a purple state, with the purple coming from the cities. Thank goodness for the Electoral college.


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