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 
7.99% – 23.43%1$5,000 - $100,000

Visit SoFi

4.37% – 35.99%$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upstart

7.46% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upgrade

99.00% – 199.00%2$500 - $4,000

Visit OppLoans

7.99% – 29.99%3$5,000 - $40,000

Visit Happy Money

7.99% – 20.88%4$5,000 - $50,000

Visit Citizens

7.99% – 35.99%5$2,000 - $36,500

Visit LendingPoint

8.30% – 36.00%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 7.99% APR to 23.43% APR APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/22/22 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 Happy Money.

Happy Money 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

Applications submitted on this website may be funded by one of several lenders, including: FinWise Bank, a Utah-chartered bank, Member FDIC; Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC; Midland States Bank, Member FDIC; and LendingPoint, a licensed lender in certain states. 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 7% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. Loans are offered from $2,000 to $36,500, at rates ranging from 7.99% to 35.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 72 months. Minimum loan amounts apply in Georgia, $3,500; Colorado, $3,001; and Hawaii, $1,500. For a well-qualified customer, a $10,000 loan for a period of 48 months with an APR of 24.34% and origination fee of 7% will have a payment of $327.89 per month. (Actual terms and rate depend on credit history, income, and other factors.) The $15,575.04 total amount due under the loan terms provided as an example in this disclaimer includes the origination fee financed in addition to the loan amount. Customers may have the option to deduct the origination fee from the disbursed loan amount if desired. If the origination fee is added to the financed amount, interest is charged on the full principal amount. The total amount due is the total amount of the loan you will have paid after you have made all payments as scheduled.


6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

  1. Checking your loan rate generates a soft credit inquiry on your credit report, which is visible only to you. A hard credit inquiry, which is visible to you and others, and which may affect your credit score, only appears on your credit report if and when a loan is issued to you. Your loan APR will depend upon your credit score and other key financing characteristics, including but not limited to the amount financed, loan term length, and your credit usage and history. A representative example of payment terms for a Personal Loan is as follows: a borrower receives a loan of $16,980 for a term of 36 months, with an interest rate of 13.49% and a 6.00% origination fee of $1,019, for an APR of 17.89%. In this example, the borrower will receive $15,961 and will make 36 monthly payments of $576. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $40,000 and loan term lengths range from 24 months to 60 months. Some amounts, rates, and term lengths may be unavailable in certain states. For Personal Loans, APR ranges from 8.30% to 36.00% and origination fee ranges from 3.00% to 6.00% of the loan amount. APRs and origination fees are determined at the time of application. Lowest APR is available to borrowers with excellent credit. Advertised rates and fees are valid as of July 11, 2022 and are subject to change without notice. Loans are made by LendingClub Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender (“LendingClub Bank”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of LendingClub Corporation, NMLS ID 167439. LendingClub Bank is not an affiliate of LendingTree, LLC which is an unrelated third party (“third party”). LendingClub Bank is not responsible for any products and services provided by this third party and may receive compensation if you visit the third party’s websites or use any of its products or services. Credit eligibility is not guaranteed. Loans are subject to credit approval and may be subject to sufficient investor commitment before they can be funded or issued. Certain information that LendingClub Bank subsequently obtains as part of the application process (including but not limited to information in your consumer report, your income, the loan amount that your request, the purpose of your loan, and qualifying debt) will be considered and could affect your ability to obtain a loan. Loan closing is contingent on accepting all required agreements and disclosures at Lendingclub.com. “LendingClub” is a trademark of LendingClub Bank.

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 Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 7.46%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.59% APR (which includes a 13.94% 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 $341.48. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,293.46. 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. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s bank partners. Information on Upgrade’s bank partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/bank-partners/ .