Originally published by MoneyTransfers.
The average vacation cost can vary among US consumers based on a variety of factors. The price you pay will depend on whether you’re focusing exclusively on budget family travel, independent adventures, and where you’re planning on heading.
According to a Bankrate study reported on by CBSNews, roughly 57% of summer vacationers in 2022 said that their travel costs were higher than they expected them to be. Furthermore, experts believe that people’s vacation budget plans have been disrupted by the ever-increasing US inflation rate.
While the exact numbers are still not out, the Allianz Vacation Confidence Index has estimated Americans reaching a total of $194 billion in summer vacation spending in 2022.
While the decision of how to budget for a vacation will be unique for each consumer, we can learn from the average spending habits of Americans.
What Is the Average Cost of a Vacation?
Answering the question, “How much do vacations cost?” is difficult because there are so many factors to consider. Most of the time the costs of a vacation will break down into various different segments, from travel and lodging expenses to food and entertainment.
According to Balancing Everything, Americans in different regions spend different amounts on their trip budget every year. In the West, most consumers will spend an average of $677 for a “staycation” while paying around $3805 to travel overseas.
Those in the Northeast spend an average of $438 on domestic trips, and $2,817 for international travel, while people in the South spend $564 on satiations and $3,169 on international travel. People in the Mid-West tend to budget around $629.68 for domestic travel and $3,535 for international vacations.
Notably, the location you choose to travel to can make a big difference, as well as the length of your stay:
- The average European vacation cost, for two weeks, is around $1,841.
- The average cost of a Disney vacation is around $6,320 for a family of four
- The average Hawaii vacation cost is around $12,239 for a family of four
These costs vary, of course, because not every vacationer will incur the same costs associated with the average trip. People staying with family on vacation could pay $0 for their lodging, for example.
However, trip costs have risen over the past decade. For instance, studies show air travel prices have risen anywhere between 3% and 9% between 2022 and 2023. This is the result of higher airline fees and various hotels and accommodation companies trying to recoup losses since the pandemic, as well as the general impact of heavy inflation.
How Much Are Average Travel Costs?
The prices of travel often have the biggest impact on vacation costs. According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average US family spends 33% of their budget for a trip on getting to a destination.
Most families spend an average of $1,803 on transportation costs for vacations. This spans a range of modes of transportation, ranging from driving a family’s car to taking cruises.
Now, vacation costs vary based on the destination, length of trip, as well as how many people are going. But, a solid estimate for transportation costs (per person) can boil down to the following:
- International round-trip flight: $810
- Car rentals: $73 per day
- Trains to different cities: $521
- Public transit: $36 per day
- Taxis/car service for trips: $119
- Ship access: $2,456
- Gas: $57 per day
- Parking: $172
- Tolls: $71
The average cost of a family vacation is typically much steeper with an airline or cruise ship is involved. Those who fly can sometimes reduce their costs with frequent flyer miles or by traveling outside of the busiest seasons. However, trip expenses will often always be higher with airline included. Transportation also takes up around 39% of a domestic vacation cost.
If you’re wondering, “How much do road trips cost?” the fees may be a little lower. According to travel experts, most people should budget around $1,000 for a long road trip, or give themselves about $150 to spend per day. Around 21% of households travel throughout America using their vehicles alone, while 2% rent a car, spending an average of $1,223.
The report indicates around 6% of families travel by other methods outside of an airline, such as bus, ship, or train. Around 11 million Americans take cruises on a yearly basis.
How Much Does Average Accommodation Cost?
Outside of travel fees, the average cost of a vacation often depends heavily on accommodation. According to statistics, when most Americans travel domestically, they reduce trip expenses by staying with friends and family. Only around 42% of those who travel report having any lodging costs.
The (very rough) average for accommodations on a two-week vacation in Europe boils down to around $616 for two weeks.
However, If you’re looking into the average vacation cost for one person, fees for accommodation are usually lower if you go with an Airbnb instead of a hotel.
For example, the average hotel booking price in Amsterdam costs around $191. Conversely, an AirBnB will set you back $146. In Viena, a hotel booking is at $147, while an Airbnb is $76. This trend follows most major European cities, with only a few exceptions.
Note, however, that these are bookings, and not prices per night. This matters because you might not be able to book a couple of nights at a hotel or Airbnb, but might be forced to take on at least a week.
How Much to Budget for Vacation Food and Entertainment
While travel and accommodation are important when examining the average vacation price, it’s worth also considering the expenses associated with what you do on your trip. When asking, “How much should I budget for food on vacation?” the answer will depend heavily on how many people you’re traveling with and how you plan to eat.
When vacationing in the US, Americans usually spend around $33 per day on food, where 80% of that is spent on restaurants. Its interesting to note that on international trips, the average travel cost for food does not increase by much.
In fact, most Americans spend around $35 per day on food when traveling abroad, where 90% of that costs goes to restaurants. However, we need to mention that some reports suggest the average price for food can be higher, at around $75 per day.
Many people on vacation also need to budget for drinking alcohol. One study found 36% of American adults drink three or more alcoholic beverages a day when on vacation.
The average cost of a family vacation is usually increased by additional expenses to keep children and adults entertained. However, entertainment costs can apply to all forms of trips. The BLS survey found the average American spends around 7.9% of their budget on entertainment when travelling abroad.
One of the most common expenses in the “entertainment” column is to attend sporting games. For instance, it costs between $150 and $200 for one adult to attend an NFL game. Educational entertainment, like museum visits can be much less expensive, with many being free.
If you’re planning on watching a live artist or band perform, your vacation expenses could be even higher. Using America as an example, a study found that it cost around $108 on average to view an artist in concert in 2022, a 17.8% increase when compared to 2019.
How Much Should a Vacation Cost?
Vacation spending statistics show there are a number of factors involved in budgeting for a trip. The average beach vacation cost will differ drastically compared to the average vacation cost in Europe. The most effective way to develop your budget is to break your fees down into the following factors:
The number of people: The average vacation cost for a family of 4 is around $4,580, according to some studies, which equals about 8-9% of household income. Traveling alone is much cheaper, with an average cost of $1,145 per person.
- Location: The location you choose for your vacation will affect how much you spend significantly. The average cost to vacation in Italy is around $182 per day, according to BudgetYourTrip.com. But, a day in Switzerland costs around $290, while Mexico costs $121.
- Travel options: Travel options can significantly impact your costs too. For example, if you were to travel around in Turkey, you would pay $2.98 per 100km if you were to take the bus. Taking the train costs around $3.53 per 100km, while flying amounts to $8.86.
- Length of vacation: Then, the average cost for a one-week vacation in the US for one person is around $1,982. The longer you stay on holiday, the more you’ll need to save money for vacation accommodation, food, and entertainment.
- Entertainment and food: When it comes to deciding how much you should spend on vacation costs for entertainment and food, it depends on your personal preferences. Purchasing food from supermarkets instead of restaurants can save you significant cash.
- Accommodation: Some of the best ways to reduce the average cost vacation spending include staying with a friend, using an Airbnb, or hiring an RV. It’s also possible to save money by staying in hostel accommodation instead of a hotel.
Taking the time to plan out all of the varying costs associated with most vacations should ensure you can budget successfully for your trip. Just keep in mind, the amount an average person spends on vacation may not be right for your budget.