Breaking the budget to go on vacation

Millennials most likely to take on debt for a summer experience

Sabrina Karl
Personal Finance Writer
Data whiz and visual storyteller


With the U.S. summer vacation season at full throttle, LearnVest has released some interesting data on how little some Americans are preparing for the financial expenses of a trip before heading to the airport or loading up the car.

In its recent survey, the online financial planning company found that two-thirds of Americans say a typical weeklong vacation costs more than their monthly mortgage or rent. On average, they report spending 10 percent of their annual income on vacations, with a quarter saying they spend 15 percent or more.

Yet, more than half (55 percent) say they’ve forgotten or failed to account for their vacation spending in their annual budget. So maybe it’s little surprise that almost three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) confess they’ve gone into debt for a vacation.

As for what they’re willing to do going forward, the different generations vary on how willing they say they are to take on future vacation debt. Experience-hungry millennials are the most willing, with about half of them saying they’d be OK taking on debt for a future trip. Generation X adults were less likely, at 37 percent, and baby boomers only half as willing as that, at just 18 percent.

LearnVest’s 2017 Money Habits and Confessions survey was conducted online in December by Wakefield Research. Drawing on responses from 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18 and older, the findings were released in June.

Infographic: Breaking the budget with vacations

See related: Poll: Pay with cash or card for $5 purchase?, More infographics

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Updated: 03-26-2019