With Americans searching for affordable travel alternatives this summer in the wake of inflation, new research shows “nearcations” and vehicle rentals may be the way to go — especially for those who are scaling back on vacation plans to stay closer to home and setting up a vacation budget in the wake of inflation and rising costs.
Over half of the 2,000 adults surveyed (56%) do not believe they can afford a vacation this year because of inflation. But that is not enough to stop them from trying, as 58% have been saving and setting aside more money to keep their vacation hopes afloat.
The new research stems from Outdoorsy’s Vacation on a Budget study, conducted by OnePoll to get a real-time perspective on travel behaviors ahead of this summer. The survey found 52% of travelers noting they turn to rental vehicles on vacation to save money, with 9 in 10 preferring to rent something they can easily sleep or stay in, rather than book a hotel. The study found 49% prefer to rent something just as luxurious or economical as what they have at home.
“While other vacation types have seen dramatic rises in cost over the past year in line with inflation, our average RV rental trip price has only gone up $5 over last year, representing a 0.28% increase,” said Jeff Cavins, co-founder and CEO of Outdoorsy. “Compare this to a 40% increase in hotel prices year-over-year, and you can see why we believe road trips are more insulated from inflation and also still a very affordable vacation option for those looking to keep their summer vacation plans intact.”
Nearly six in 10 survey respondents (58%) said they plan to vacation closer to home this summer to beat out inflation and rising gas prices. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) said they had to dip into their vacation budget just to make ends meet elsewhere.
Outdoorsy’s Vacation on a Budget survey also found:
- Reaffirming the busy travel season that lies ahead, almost 70% said they are still planning to hit the road this year despite possible budget woes.
- Half of the surveyed participants have a budget set up specifically for summer vacation, averaging $1,237. Four out of five of those with summer travel budgets in place said their plans were impacted by inflation.
- One-third said they would rather scale back on vacation plans to fit a smaller budget than not to have a vacation at all. More than half (56%) said they have been successful in planning a vacation around a smaller-than-usual budget.
- To save money, vacation-goers are planning to spend less on attractions (40%), lodging (40%) and clothing (39%).
- Some parts of vacations, however, cannot be given up. Respondents said going out to restaurants (30%), visiting free attractions (28%) and traveling by vehicle (28%) are “vital to have, no matter the budget.”
- Respondents say they are most excited about travel this year because it will allow them to spend time with their families (57%), see new places (55%), make memories (55%) and get some much-needed time to themselves (52%).
“Inflation is an ever-present variable in the travel consumer sector. Travel trends are typically reflected in people’s spending habits,” Cavins said. “With that said, inflation’s effect on RV travel will be minimal. For families, heading outdoors not only offers a more affordable alternative to other modes of travel, but time in nature can also be a more fun and educational experience. Nearby, local state parks are some of our country’s best-hidden gems that offer never-ending opportunities for adventure and wonder.”
Thr new research comes on the heels of Outdoorsy’s previously reported launch of two new features designed for guests booking their next road trip — Roamly’s Travel Insurance coverage and PayPal’s Pay In 41 offering.