Summer vacationers to go into debt, while others plan no vacation at all

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  • A recent Carolina Journal poll found that 43.3% of North Carolinians plan to spend less on travel this year.

While millions of Americans plan to hit the road or fly for a summer getaway this year, many will go into debt as a result, while others won’t be going away at all, thanks to ever-present inflation. 

A recent survey by found that 53% of Americans were planning a vacation this summer. A further breakdown shows that 36% will be vacationing within the US, 15% will be going somewhere internationally, and 12% will opt for a “staycation.”

Those who chose domestic summer travel or a staycation cited inflation as the main reason for their choice.

A recent Carolina Journal poll found that 43.3% of North Carolinians plan to spend less on travel this year.

At the same time, the state’s economic development organization, Visit North Carolina, is still expecting a small growth rate for 2024. The nonprofit estimates even spending intentions are up, with 67% of North Carolina prospects reporting expectations to spend more on travel in the next 12 months than they have in recent years. 

The tourism industry in North Carolina generates over $30 billion and created over 200,000 jobs. In 2022, North Carolina hosted approximately 43 million visitors, making it the sixth most visited state in the nation.

Unsurprisingly, the Bankrate article lists higher earners, those making $100,000 or more, as the most likely to take a vacation, with 3 out of 4, or 74%, responding. Accordingly, 68% of those with incomes between $80,000 and $99,999 were planning on getting away, followed by 61% between $50,000 and $79,999 and 39% for those earning under $50,000.

The survey cited that 61% of city dwellers are planning a getaway, followed by 50% who live in a suburb, 48% of those who live in a small town, and 44% who live in a rural area. 

With inflation still rearing its ugly head, some vacationers will be taking on debt to finance their vacations this year. The survey found that more than one in three, or 36%, plan to go into debt. Those options include using a credit card or taking out a personal loan. 

A breakdown of age brackets revealed that 60% of Gen Zers (ages 18-27) were the most likely to take a vacation, followed by 61% of Millennials (ages 28-43), 50% of Gen Xers (ages 44-59), and 44% of Boomers (ages 60-78).

Those willing to take on debt to finance their vacation followed a similar pattern. Forty-two percent of Gen Z were most likely to accrue debt, followed by Millennials at 47%, Gen X at 31%, and Boomers rounding out the list with 22%.

Still, there are those who won’t be vacationing at all, with the majority citing that they can’t afford to.

The survey found that nearly 3 in 10, or 28%, won’t be taking a vacation, with 65% stating that they can’t afford it.

Interestingly, Gen Xers were the most likely to say they couldn’t afford to vacation at 67%, followed by Millennials at 62%, Boomers at 61%, and Gen Z at 53%.