The Average American Family Isn’t Going on As Many Summer Vacations, and Here’s Why

Americans are missing out on summer vacations.

Why? They simply cannot afford it.

Even though an international study by market research company GfK shows that internationally 59% of people prefer to take a relaxing vacation compared to a more active one, the cost for vacations of any kind is getting too hefty to afford here in the States.

This information comes from a poll conducted by the Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Released in May, this poll shows that 43% of Americans will not be taking a summer vacation, for a variety of reasons. The top reason, representing 49%, was due to the expensive cost of the trip. Meanwhile, 11% was due to not being able to take time off from work, while 3% report that they don’t like to be away from their office for an extended period of time.

The poll discovered many different things, most notably that Americans of all income levels were choosing to forgo the classic summer vacation this year. But this trend was the most apparent in lower income Americans — almost half of all Americans with a combined income of $50,000 and under will not travel this year because of the extra expense.

Another surprising discovery is that paid vacation time given by employers is pretty rare. Of those surveyed, 41% said that their full and part-time jobs don’t offer this benefit at all, with younger Millennial workers suffering the most. What’s interesting, though, is that those who do get paid time off sometimes don’t even use it. A full 14% of workers did not use any of their paid time off hours, and only half of those with available days actually used their full allotment.

Additionally, this poll found that if people can afford to go on vacations, they don’t always go during the summer. A full two-thirds of vacationers are choosing to skip a vacation because they are planning on going during the off-season and during the colder months — when reservations and flights are often cheaper. This is true for plenty of destinations, especially Hawaii. The tropical island, which boasted 8.2 million visitors in 2014, is a great reprieve for those looking for a warm-weather getaway during the cold months.

The U.S. World and News Report also reports that not all vacations are considered equal in American’s eyes. About 40% of Americans don’t consider visiting their family the same as going on vacation, and one-third believe that a vacation has to be longer than three days to really count in terms of relaxation and bang for their buck.

All in all, the AP-NORC poll was of 1,022 adults that were chosen via NORC’s probability panel, which is created as a way to mimic the U.S. population’s overall demographics. All ages, demographics, and income levels were included. Interviews were held over the phone or via an online survey.

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