Half of Summer Vacationers Plan Last-Minute Trips

15% spend less than a day preparing for a getaway
Vacationers with a plane in the background

While many of us spend weeks or months planning ahead for our summer vacations, 50% do so in one week or less, a new survey finds.

A summer vacation is on the to-do list for 71% of respondents to a survey conducted by group travel booking website HotelPlanner. Not surprisingly, those who earn more money are more likely to go away for a summer break. Eighty percent of respondents with a household income of at least $100,000 plan to take a vacation this summer compared with 56% of respondents who have household incomes of less than $50,000. Approximately 12% said they would not be taking a summer vacation because they did not have the financial resources. Since only 60% of respondents said they would be paid while on vacation, some workers may not be able to afford to take that much time off of work.

The study sheds light on consumers’ summer vacation plans. For the most part, consumers won’t be letting much grass grow under their feet, as 43% of those who say they will be taking a vacation expect to take more than one trip. However, if you asked when and where they will be going, the survey suggests many don’t know.

While some money experts recommend planning and saving for a vacation well in advance, more than a third of respondents—35%—said they spend only about one week planning their vacations, and 15% said they typically spend “less than one day” preparing for a trip. Approximately 27% give themselves a month to take care of all the details. On the other end of the spectrum, only 2% said they plan for their vacations an entire year in advance.

Perhaps consumers were more open to last-minute trips because many had a sizable budget to work with. The largest percentage of respondents—38%—said they would spend $3,000 or more for their summer trips. That was followed by 32% who budgeted $1,000 or less and 28% who planned to spend between $1,000 and $2,000.

Some may have waited to plan their summer trip until after they received their tax refunds since 7% of respondents said they were using their refund to pay for their trip. Others may have been able to take advantage of last-minute deals using credit card rewards. In fact, 21% planned to use a credit card to book their travel. The majority of travelers—57%—said they would be using savings to pay for their vacations.

While you may like to wait until the last minute to decide on your final destination, you can make sure you’re ready for any travel opportunity by first figuring out the average cost of a vacation. That way, you can put money aside and be ready to act fast if you see a good deal. Also, if you have a credit card with travel rewards, keep track of when you have enough rewards for a lengthy excursion or a long weekend getaway.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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