Survey: Americans Who Pay for Vacations With Credit Cards Won’t Pay Them Off Right Away

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Whether you’re hitting the local pool or traveling the world on vacation, summer is all about relaxation.

But trips aren’t cheap. About one-third of Americans don’t plan on taking a summer vacation this year, according to our recent spending survey. Among those who are traveling (67%), many expect to foot a pretty hefty bill.

Here’s how Americans are planning to spend money this summer.

Key findings

  • Nearly half of the summer vacationers are spending at least $1,000. Roughly 47% of vacationers planned to spend $1,000 or more on their trips, with 20% expecting to spend $2,500 or more.

  • More than half of the vacationers are spending more than last year. Fifty-five percent of those going on a trip expected to increase their spending this year from 2017.

  • Three in 4 people are putting expenses on a credit card. Of those taking a trip, 75% planned on using credit cards to pay for their vacation. And 59% of them don’t plan on paying off their credit cards right away.

  • Spending on kids is minimal. When it comes to activities such as day camp or child care for children on summer vacation, 54% of vacationers with kids are planning on spending less than $1,000. Twenty-seven percent aren’t expecting to spend anything on these activities.

People love their summer vacations


Americans are living the “treat yo self” mantra in 2018: As many as 47% of vacationers in our survey plan to spend $1,000 or more this year.

That’s higher than the estimated winter holiday spending last year. In 2017, Americans expected to spend about $965 on the holidays, including on gifts, food, and decorations, according to the National Retail Federation.

Less than one-third (31%) are planning to spend the same on summer vacation as last year, while 14% are expecting to spend less than what they did in 2017.

Credit cards take a front seat


When financing a vacation, credit cards are exceptionally convenient for trips. This could explain why 24% of vacationers plan to put at least $1,000 of spending on credit cards.

While some of the best credit cards can offer some great rewards, many shoppers are paying a lot more than what they charged on their vacation. Three in 4 vacationers are putting their trips on credit cards, and three-fifths of them don’t plan to pay them off until at least a month.

Carrying a credit card balance means you might end up paying extra in interest every month.

To avoid paying interest, try to pay off your credit cards in full every month. If your balance number seems a bit too high, check your vacation budget before making arrangements to see if it’s affordable.

Many parents won’t spend much on kids’ summer activities


Summers can be detrimental for parents who don’t have any sort of child care help. More than one-third (36%) of respondents said they have kids who are on summer vacation this year.

Twenty-seven percent of parents who have children on summer break aren’t planning to spend anything on activities such as day camp or child care, while 25% note they’ll spend less than $100 this summer.

But 19% of parents with kids on break are spending $1,000 or more on their children this summer. This is more than parents were spending in 2014. Four years ago, parents expected to pay $958 on average on summer activities for kids, according to an American Express survey.

Keeping up appearances


Aside from travel and vacations, Americans are doling out a bit of cash even as they stay close to home.

Social activities are proving costly, as 28% of respondents plan to spend $500 or more on weddings, barbecues, and other parties this summer. Ten percent are expecting to spend at least $1,000.

But budgets have proven to keep people frugal: 53% of respondents noted they’ve considered skipping social events this summer to save money. But that means 47% don’t plan to cut back on parties this summer to save money.

Additionally, 51% of respondents thought about having a staycation this summer to save money.

The change of seasons shouldn’t dictate your spending


While summer is a great time for traveling and having a good time, you should still try to stick to your budget. Only 60% of those who said they were taking a trip admitted to having a vacation budget, while 40% don’t have one at all.

Here are some ways to keep a handle on your summer spending:

  • Make a budget (and stick to it). Don’t be part of the (very large) 40% of vacationers that don’t have a summer spending budget. Regardless of whether you plan on taking a vacation, the time for rest and relaxation might nudge you into spending more than you can afford.

  • Don’t forget about your current bills. Try to keep up with regular payments on your credit cards. It’s best if you pay them in full. At the very least, make minimum payments.

  • Keep social activities low. Since more than a quarter of respondents admit to spending more than $500 on things such as weddings and parties, try to limit your appearances. Keep them limited so you don’t go overboard with spending.

The more you can plan your spending based on your earnings, the easier it will be to spend responsibly. With a little strategy, you can avoid going into — or staying in — debt.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 7.08% APR to 15.37% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.81% APR to 14.11% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 10, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.81% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions ApplySOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS #1121636.
    (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  • Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  1. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  2. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

3 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.16% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% and the average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.


* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
5.81% – 15.37%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
6.16% – 35.89%3$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.