If you are in the middle class, commonly defined as bringing home between $40,000 and $80,000 in annual income, last year was rough on you with respect to a summer vacation – at least that is true of the respondents in an exclusive poll recently commissioned by MoneyTips. You hunkered down and skipped a summer vacation last year. However, many of you have decided to take a break in 2014.
Last year, over half of you (55.6%) ended up not taking a summer vacation at all. This year, only 33% of you are definitely not taking a summer vacation – although 17.8% of you are still undecided.
What will you be doing on your vacation? Poll results suggest you will be keeping it relatively simple – relative being the operative word. Family visits were the primary choice of 63% of respondents as a vacation destination, while family outings were listed 53% of the time as one of your vacation activities.
If you stay with family, that can help keep costs down, and overwhelmingly, respondents are keeping it inexpensive as well. A staggering 86% of you are keeping your expenses below $1000 per person, with just over 57% of you staying below $500. That is probably reasonable if your nest egg isn’t built up – for a family of four, $1000 per person will be between 5-10% of your gross income. Times are getting better, but they are not good enough that a majority of poll respondents are comfortable splurging on vacation.
To the extent you are splurging, it appears to be on shopping trips. 22% of the respondents listed shopping as an expected vacation activity. Of course shopping is not necessarily buying… so if you are a shop owner, don’t get too excited just yet.
Typical summertime activities appear to be the most popular, with water-based fun as an essential component to beat the summer heat. A little over 43% of the respondents listed beach, lake, or river activities as a part of summer plans, and we can infer that is probably with family given the numbers above. Throw in another 11% who plan to visit water parks, and it appears that at least half of the vacationers propose to spend the summer soggy.
16% of respondents plan to visit a family resort or fun park, although the numbers on overall spending suggest that most are planning to visit nearby destinations that are less expensive than the major theme parks, and are also within driving distance. Either that, or respondents have not priced airline tickets recently.
18% of you are saving money through engaging in no activities, presumably breaking out the hammock and having a relaxing vacation. On the other hand, 16% of you list a sporting activity among your activities, and 12% of you intend to visit a fitness/well being destination for your travels.
These results seem to be fairly representative results across age groups – they mirror results from those that were focused only on baby boomers, and the age distribution of the overall poll is pretty close to the classic bell curve, fitted around ages 41-50.
In short, extravagance is out, but family is in this year. Perhaps the economy will be strong enough in 2015 that the whole family can engage in a larger-scale vacation. Until then, break out the swimming trunks and have a wonderful summer. Last one in is a rotten egg!