Economic outlook keeping one-third of Americans close to home this summer
A new survey of consumer spending trends finds that the economy may be pre-empting one of the classic American queries: “Are we there yet?”
As the summer vacation season begins in earnest with the Fourth of July holiday, there are indications that more Americans would like to take at least one leisure trip this summer, but feel held back due to the economy, according to a Harris poll released Wednesday.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they plan to take a vacation this summer, up from 60 percent last year, and while 53 percent said that the economy has no impact on their travel plans, just over one-third (34 percent) indicate that their economic outlook makes them less likely to travel between now and October. This is down slightly from last year, when 36 percent said they would be less likely to travel due to the economy.
When asked which type of destination they plan on visiting during their summer vacation, the highest percentage (38 percent) said they would be soaking up the sun at the beach, followed by a city's downtown area (27 percent), and the rural countryide or a national park (both 23 percent).
Millennials and Gen Xers are more likely than their baby boomer or older counterparts to be planning a beach or theme park vacation, the consumer spending trends survey found.
Related story: Summer travel: What is your idea of a dream vacation? Click here to read more.
Concerns about the economy and job security are compelling many Americans to scale back their vacation plans. A 2012 survey conducted by Hearts+Minds Strategies found more than half of respondents reporting they were not using all of their paid vacation time.
Still other Americans do not even receive this perk that many may take for granted. A recent report by the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Center for Economic and Policy Research found that America is the only advanced economy that does not require employers to provide paid vacation days and holidays. Employers may offer them, but there is no law that establishes a minimum as in other countries. For example, workers in the European Union are legally guaranteed at least 20 paid vacations days per year, while Canada and Japan guarantee at least 10 days of paid vacations per year for their employees. Almost one-in-four Americans, the report determined, do not receive any paid vacations or paid holidays.
For those who do plan to vacation, how is the economy impacting their travel plans? Nearly one-third of Affluent investors plan to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 on their vacation this year, according to a recent survey of consumer spending trends conducted by Millionaire Corner. Age is a significant factor in how much travelers are willing to spend on their vacation, with those 40 and under planning to reign in their vacation spending. Thirty-seven percent said they will spend between $2000 and $5,000, while 30 percent said they will spend $2,000. Conversely baby boomers and seniors over the age of 60 plan to spend significantly more than their younger counterparts. One-fourth will spend between $5,000 and $15,000 (vs. 17 percent of those under 40), while 15 percent will spend at least $15,000, compared with just 3 percent of the under-40 crowd.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.