American Summer Vacation Spending Still in the Dumps as Families Try to Save Money, Survey Says

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Consolidated Credit Counseling poll finds economy, war, and gas prices the reasons people are staying closer to home this year, but good financial planning and adhering to travel budgets can help you take the perfect family vacation.

When someone has been out of work and has had to eat into savings to pay for necessities, leisure spending will suffer

The triple whammy of economic worries, rising gas prices and uncertainty over Iraq will keep more Americans closer to home and spending less this year on vacations in attempts to save money according to a new survey by Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc.

In a sampling of approximately 2,000 Americans following rising gas prices and talks about entering Iran, the overwhelming sentiment was the future is still too uncertain to return to lavish vacation habits and it is better to save money and take more modest “budget trips.”

Nearly 80% of those polled said they would travel within the Continental United States, rather than risk overseas destinations. The most popular vacation destinations were also within 1,000 miles from home, according to the poll.

“These are not normal times and people don’t have either the money or the desire to spend their leisure dollars except in a safe way,” said Howard Dvorkin, president of Consolidated.

The poll is bad news for the already struggling airlines, but it’s also bad for the hospitality industry. The survey revealed that of those planning a getaway, nearly half will be visiting friends or family – and they’ll make the trip in their own car.

Those polled said they would spend on average less than $1,500 on the entire summer vacation taking budget trips instead of going to exotic destinations. The most popular vacation destination is friends and family (45%), followed by sightseeing (23%) and theme parks (11%).

Dvorkin said the increase in consumer prices and the steady flow of layoffs are mostly to blame. “When someone has been out of work and has had to eat into savings to pay for necessities, leisure spending will suffer,” he continued.

Even among those who will take to the skies, the average vacation won’t be taking them far. Of those who said they would fly, 75% said it would be within the United States. One aspect of vacationing remains the same, however. 48% said they travel in July, still the most popular month. Another 37% will travel in August.

For tips on planning a fun and frugal summer vacation, Consolidated Credit is offering Vacation Budgeting , a free financial planning guide to help you make the most of your get-a-way for less. Planning ahead and using tools such as a travel budget worksheet can help you plan the perfect family vacation without putting a strain on your wallet.

About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc.

Headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the mission of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is to assist families throughout the United States in ending financial crisis, and solving money management problems through education and professional counseling. The firm is a nationally recognized, federally approved, non-profit. It is a member of the Better Business Bureau, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies, and the International Credit Association. For more information, please visit


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