Can’t afford a vacation? Here are some savings and credit tips
About 39 million adults won't be taking a summer vacation this year because they simply can't afford it, according to a new Bankrate.com report.
However, 52% of Americans are planning to go away this summer, 26% are definitely not planning one and 22% are not sure yet. Among those who are planning vacations, the average expected expense is $1,979.
Credit card analyst Ted Rossman said the top reason why people can't afford to take a vacation is because day-to-day bills have dragged them down.
But even if a person thinks he or she can't afford a getaway, Rossman said there's a couple of ways to still do it.
First, a credit card sign up bonus might be a great way to get a person over the fence. But he said this only works if a person can fully pay off bills. If someone can pay off the bills to avoid interest, a credit card sign up bonus could save someone anywhere between $500 and $1,000 with lucrative ongoing rewards.
Another way to afford a vacation is to budget throughout the year. Rossman said try setting aside some money every month or every paycheck.
But it's very important to use all vacation time. The Bankrate.com survey found that 35 percent of people who get paid vacation will use no more than half of it.
"That's really unfortunate. Even if you're just doing a staycation, you have to find a way to rest and recharge. Don't leave all that time on the table," said Rossman.
The study also found that 22% of those who can't afford a summer vacation say paying down debt is the biggest factor standing between them and being able to afford to take a trip.
Rossman said he loves hearing that people are focused on paying down debt. Unemployment is low and the economy is doing well, making this is a good time to prepare for any inevitable downturn at some point, he said.
If a person pays 18% down a credit card every month, he said that's a big deal. Anything you can do to get out of debt is always a plus. Then hopefully a person can have fun on vacation, save for college and retirement.
Rossman said a balance-transfer credit card will let a person pause interest for up to 21 months. He or she can move a balance from a high rate card to a zero-percent card, thereby saving hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
The study found the biggest spenders on vacation are the older Millennials in the 30 to 38 age category. That group expects to spend an average of $2,400 on their summer vacation. The lowest spenders were younger Millennials, ages 23-29. They're only expected to spend $1,300 on their summer vacations.
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