Summer vacation is too expensive for most Americans

The economy may be roaring, but millions of Americans are struggling to afford a vacation this summer.

According to a new Bankrate.com report, 39 million Americans will forego time off this summer due to financial reasons. Forty-four percent of those passing up a vacation said that day-to-day bills were a primary obstacle.

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Overall, Bankrate’s research found that about half (52 percent) of Americans are planning on taking a summer vacation this year, 26 percent are definitely not planning one and 22 percent have not decided. Among those who are planning vacations, the average cost is expected to be approximately $1,979.

For those who want to take a vacation but think that they can’t afford one, Bankrate’s credit card analyst Ted Rossman suggests maximizing cash back cards and rewards.

“If you want to take a summer vacation and think you can’t afford it, consider signing up for a travel or cash back credit card,” Rossman advised. “There’s still time to turn a sign-up bonus and ongoing spending rewards into a free or discounted trip."

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Rossman recommends the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Capital One Savor and the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card. These cards offer sign-up bonuses ranging from $300 to $750 with lucrative ongoing rewards.

“With the median summer vacation costing $1,000, these perks can go a long way toward getting you somewhere fun for less,” he noted.

It is never wise to overspend or to take a vacation when you can’t afford to pay bills. Twenty-two percent of those who said that they can’t afford a summer vacation said that paying down debt is the biggest factor standing between them and being able to afford to take a trip, according to Bankrate.

The average cost of a summer vacation this year is expected to be ​$1979. ​

The average cost of a summer vacation this year is expected to be ​$1979. ​ (iStock)

“Paying down debt is important, but make sure you do it right so this isn’t the reason you miss out on a summer vacation next year,” said Rossman. “A balance transfer credit card with zero percent interest for up to 21 months will help you pay down your debt faster so you can get back to spending your money on more rewarding things.”

It is good news that more than half of all Americans plan to take a vacation this year, however, only 38 percent of those who get paid time off believe they will use all their vacation days. Thirty-five percent think they’ll use no more than half of their allotted time off.

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It is important for workers to give themselves a break and, while vacations can be expensive, travelers can look to destinations close to home, search for inexpensive hotel deals or contact a travel agent to find a getaway that is more affordable.