Summer bummer: 56% of Americans fear they can’t afford vacation this year due to inflation

New survey finds that four in five people say their summer plans have been affected by rising costs.

Almost three-quarters are dipping into their vacation budget to help pay for other bills.

NEW YORK — Americans are planning to be thrifty on their next summer vacation, as most fear they won’t be able to afford their getaway due to inflation.

Over half of the 2,000 adults surveyed (56%) don’t believe they can pull the trigger on vacation plans this year because of rising costs. Even so, that’s not enough to stop them from trying, as 58 percent have been saving and setting aside more money to keep their vacation hopes afloat.

Reaffirming the busy travel season that lies ahead, almost 70 percent are still planning to hit the road this year despite possible budget woes.

Vacay budget facing inflation danger

The study, commissioned by Outdoorsy and conducted by OnePoll, finds that half have a budget set up specifically for summer vacations, averaging $1,237. Four out of five of those with summer travel budgets say their plans have been impacted by inflation. Nearly three-quarters (72%) are having to dip into their vacation budget to make ends meet elsewhere.

The average American has had to cut their general spending by 33 percent because of inflation, and many add they’ve had to cut their spending on shopping (43%), entertainment (40%), and vacations (36%) the most. One in three (32%) would rather scale back their vacation plans to stay within a smaller budget than not have a vacation at all. Fifty-six percent say they’ve been successful in planning a vacation around a smaller-than-usual budget.

To save money, vacation-goers are planning to spend less on attractions (40%), lodging (40%), and clothing (39%). Nearly six in 10 (58%) also plan to vacation closer to home this summer to beat out inflation and rising gas prices.

Some parts of vacations, however, are never going away! Respondents say going out to restaurants (30%), visiting free attractions (28%), and traveling by vehicle (28%) are “vital to have, no matter the budget.”

“While many vacation types have seen dramatic rises in cost over the past year in line with inflation, RV rental prices have remained relatively flat year over year,” says Jeff Cavins, co-founder and CEO of Outdoorsy, in a statement. “Compare this to a 40 percent increase in hotel prices YoY, and you can see why road trips are more insulated from inflation and remain a very affordable vacation option for those looking to keep their summer vacation plans intact.”

(Vacation) strength in numbers

Half of respondents noted they always rent vehicles while on vacation to save money (52%). Of those, 49 percent prefer to rent something just as luxurious or economical as what they have at home. Nine in 10 prefer to rent something they can easily sleep or stay in rather than book a hotel.

In an effort to make travel more budget-friendly, 43 percent said they’ve also considered vacationing with a group of friends to help save money.

There’s plenty to look forward to this vacation season and respondents say they’re most excited about traveling this year because it will allow them to spend time with their families (57%), see new places (55%), make memories (55%), and get some much-needed time to themselves (52%).

“RV vacations are great for consumers’ pocketbooks in the current financial climate,” Cavins says. “A study conducted by CBRE Hotels Advisory Group found that RV vacations cost much less than other types of vacation travel, even when factoring in fuel prices and the cost of RV ownership.”

“Many families who are concerned about shifting gas prices don’t realize they can also get an RV delivered to a campsite or destination of their choice — easily creating their own low-cost, luxury hotel room under the stars.”