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

 August 27, 2018
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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 2022!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
5.74% – 20.28%1$5,000 - $100,000

Visit SoFi

4.37% – 35.99%$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upstart

5.94% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upgrade

99.00% – 199.00%2$500 - $4,000

Visit OppLoans

5.99% – 24.99%3$5,000 - $40,000

Visit Payoff

7.99% – 20.88%4$5,000 - $50,000

Visit Citizens

9.99% – 35.99%5$2,000 - $36,500

Visit LendingPoint

10.68% – 35.89%6$1,000 - $40,000

Visit LendingClub

9.95% – 35.99%7$2,000 - $35,000

Visit Avant

1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

Fixed rates from 5.74% APR to 20.28% APR APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 1/18/22 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. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. 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, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. 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.

2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Opploans.

Opploans Disclosures

Direct Deposit required for payroll.

Opploans currently operates in these states: . *Approval may take longer if additional verification documents are requested. Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day.

  1. To qualify, a borrower must (i) be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; (ii) reside in a state where OppLoans operates; (iii) have direct deposit; (iv) meet income requirements; (v) be 18 years of age (19 in Alabama); and, (vi) meet verification standards.
  2. NV Residents: The use of high-interest loans services should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling before entering into any loan transaction.

  3. OppLoans performs no credit checks through the three major credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Applicants’ credit scores are provided by Clarity Services, Inc., a credit reporting agency.

  4. Based on customer service ratings on Google and Facebook. Testimonials reflect the individual’s opinion and may not be illustrative of all individual experiences with OppLoans. Check loan reviews.

  5. Rates and terms vary by state.

3 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Rates and offer subject to change. All accounts, loans and services subject to individual approval.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.

LendingPoint Disclosures

  • Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 6% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon LendingPoint’s final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. LendingPoint makes loan offers from $2,000 to $36,500, at rates ranging from a low of 9.99% APR to a high of 35.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 48 months. The loan offer(s) shown reflect a 28 day payment cycle which is being offered as a courtesy as many of our customers are paid on a biweekly schedule and thus this may better align the loan payment dates with your actual income receipt schedule.

6 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 and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 9.56% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 13.11%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $192.37. The total amount repayable will be $6,925.32. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 2% to 6% (average is 4.86% as of 7/1/2019 – 9/30/2019). In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,001 if your APR is greater than 12%. 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 website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.

7 Important Disclosures for Avant.

Avant Disclosures

*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

Based on the responses from 7,302 customers in a survey of 140,258 newly funded customers, conducted from August 1, 2018 – August 1, 2019, 95.11% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s lending partners. Information on Upgrade’s lending partners can be found at