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Economy Be Darned: I'm Taking a Vacation!

http://www.fool.com/how-to-invest/personal-finance/savings/2010/06/17/economy-be-damned-im-taking-a-vacation.aspx

Dayana Yochim
June 17, 2010

Times may be tough, but Americans aren't about to let a bad economy ruin their vacation plans.

More than half of those surveyed by American Express say they've marked their calendars for a summer getaway, planning to spend an average of $1,000 per person for fun in the sun.

Doesn't anyone take "staycations" anymore?
Back in 2008, a survey from the Y Partnership found that roughly 40% of Americans intended to change their travel plans because of the worsening economy, with 36% of those saying they planned to cancel or postpone trips that were already planned.

That's the year the word "staycation," the stay-at-home-vacation, joined the popular lexicon.

Well, people must not be feeling as pinched as they were back then. Only 11% of respondents to American Express's May survey said they planned to spend their days off sightseeing locally. The majority of folks are packing up the kids for a full-blown family excursion (52%), followed by couples getaways (26%), "girlfriend getaways"/"mancations" (10%), and "experiential" retreats (7%), like taking leave to hike or learn to cook.

Traveling the 2010 way
Instead of trying to convince the kids that the spiral slide at the McDonald's down the street is just as fun as The Great American Scream Machine (it didn't work in 2008, and they're not falling for it now), Americans are using other strategies to stretch travel budgets. According to survey results:

  • 33% are driving instead of flying to their destination
  • 30% plan to shorten the length of their stay
  • 27% say they'll spend less on activities or excursions
  • 20% will use points/rewards to help foot the travel bill
  • 13% will stay put until the summer peak travel season passes
  • 12% are downgrading their accommodations

Save $240 on your next vacation
Before you pack your bags and line up a dogsitter, spend some real time doing some vacation savings reconnaissance. Concentrate first on ways to save on the most costly getaway expenses, typically airfare and accommodations. Then work your way down the list to see what costs you can cut (or cut down) to leave some money left over for souvenir