A winning bid at a silent auction for charity prompted Ron and Donna Solove to visit Tybee Island, Ga., for the first time. The beautiful ??beach, comfortable accommodations and accessibility have kept them going back. For the past seven years, the South Side couple have vacationed annually on the island, not far from Savannah - staying in the same condominium and heading to the same attractions.
A winning bid at a silent auction for charity prompted Ron and Donna Solove to visit Tybee Island, Ga., for the first time.
The beautiful ??beach, comfortable accommodations and accessibility have kept them going back.
For the past seven years, the South Side couple have vacationed annually on the island, not far from Savannah — staying in the same condominium and heading to the same attractions.
“The condo has a balcony that overlooks the sand dunes, river and ocean,” said lawyer Ron Solove, 68. “It’s beautiful. There are a bunch of seafood restaurants that we like to go to.”
The two are hardly alone in their traveling tendency: About 85?percent of Americans are likely to vacation in the same spot repeatedly, according to a recent survey by the airline tracker Cheapflights.com.
In addition, 43 percent of the 1,051 U.S. adults surveyed said they eat at the same restaurant, 34 percent stay in the same hotel and 14 percent even set up the same photos.
“Americans are known for leaving tons of vacation time on the table,” said Emily Fisher, a travel expert with Cheapflights.com. “We wanted to see if, when they finally go away, do they go somewhere new?”
For Katie Sachs, the answer is no.
The 30-year-old Dublin resident, who is working on a teaching degree at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, usually takes one big vacation a year — and she would be heartbroken, she said, if she didn’t go to Bethany Beach, Del.
Sachs has traveled there with her family every summer for as long as she can remember, on a trip that promises “a special time” with relatives.
“You don’t have to do anything,” she said. “That’s my kind of vacation.”
Both Sachs and her mother — Dublin resident Mary Frasier, who began going to Bethany Beach when she was young — talk fondly about make-your-own sundaes at the Candy Kitchen and sandwiches from Surf’s Up.
The family hosts a golf tournament and takes the youngsters to Funland, an amusement park.
“It’s very unpretentious, plain, very relaxed and very family-oriented,” said Frasier, 64.
According to the Cheapflights survey, “great weather” and “price” top the reasons that people return to the same vacation spots — followed by “no worries” and “easy to get to.”
Familiarity is certainly a selling point for some people, said Kentaro Fujita, an associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University.
He cited the “mere-exposure effect,” a psychological phenomenon suggesting that the more fluently a person experiences something, the more positive it becomes.
Fluency, as it relates to travel, refers to the ease with which travelers can get to the locale, find restaurants, hail cabs and communicate, he said.
For the Soloves, Tybee Island represents a no-fuss trip.
Usually, the couple would head there this month for spring break, but a family wedding postponed the 2013 vacation to the fall.
“It’s gotten so we know our way around,” said Mr. Solove, who would one day like to take his two sons’ families to the island. “There are places to walk, places to drive.”
The same holds true for Arica Hans, who for 26 years has traveled annually to Myrtle Beach, S.C. — during the summer while her two daughters were growing up and now in the fall with her husband, Mike.
“It’s a reasonable vacation,” said Hans, 50, of Marion. “You can spend as much money as you like.”
The couple, who have invested in a time share in the area, love the weather, shopping and night life, but they also like to try new things — a day trip to Charleston, S.C., for example, or a naval-ship tour — each time they go, Hans said.
People are motivated, Fujita said, by value (what good or bad experiences might happen) and expectancy (how likely they are to have such experiences). Expectancy rises when someone has already visited a place.
“We know people are risk-averse,” Fujita said. “Research has shown people are more concerned with losing something that is good than gaining something that is good.
“Someone might say, ‘Yeah, I know going to Africa could be a life-changing trip, but a lot of things could be bad.’??”
Also playing into people’s travel habits, he said, is personality.
People who are more risk-seeking are more likely to try someplace new, Fujita said.
Fisher was somewhat disheartened to see how commonly vacations are repeated.
“Americans are getting shortchanged when it comes to travel,” she said. “In Europe and other places, there is a lot more emphasis on travel.”
Yet those who travel to the same place year after year aren’t necessarily nottraveling elsewhere, she acknowledged.
Solove, for example, ventures beyond Tybee Island: In April, he will head to Costa Rica. Hans will leave this weekend for a cruise to the Bahamas and St. Thomas.
And traveling to the same place, Fisher said, isn’t necessarily a negative.
At least Americans are going somewhere, spending time with family members and making memories, she said.
That’s precisely what Bethany Beach offers Sachs, whose husband began going in 2004 and looks forward to the annual trip, too.
“I want to see other places,” she said, “but I’m not willing to give up the beach.”