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.
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 that 52% of travelers noted they turn to rental vehicles while 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. And 49% prefer to rent something just as luxurious or economical as what they have at home, according to a news release.
“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 to $5 over last year, representing a .28% increase,” said Jeff Cavins, co-founder, and CEO of Outdoorsy, an RV rental, and outdoor travel marketplace. “Compare this to a 40% increase in hotel prices YoY, 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. For those who may have had to dip into their vacation budget just to make ends meet elsewhere (72%), a “nearcation” is the perfect option for a vacation that offers the feeling of a getaway without the blow to your wallet.
Outdoorsy’s Vacation on a Budget survey also found that:
- Over half of the 2,000 adults surveyed (56%) don’t believe they can afford a vacation this year because of inflation. But that’s not enough to stop them from trying, as 58% have been saving and setting aside more money to keep their vacation hopes afloat.
- Reaffirming the busy travel season that lies ahead, almost 70% said they’re 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.
- 1 in 3 said they would rather scale back on vacation plans to fit a smaller budget than not have a vacation at all. And 56% said they’ve 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, can’t 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.”
- There’s plenty to look forward to this vacation season and respondents say they’re 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 in the news release. “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 neverending opportunities for adventure and wonder.
“RV vacations are great for consumers’ pocketbooks in the current financial climate as they represent a cost savings of up to 21-64% for a four-person travel party (RVIA), by removing unnecessary spending out of travel and allowing consumers to be at ease. Knowing they can go to the grocery store and purchase a week’s worth of food for their trip at the same price it would cost to take the whole family out for dinner one night is the type of cost-saving trade-off you experience with RV travel. Many families who are concerned about shifting gas prices don’t realize they can also get an RV delivered to a campsite or destination of their choice — easily creating their own low-cost, luxury hotel room under the stars.”
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