The nation’s long-running economic doldrums have helped one frugal trend to thrive: the staycation.
About 24 percent of American workers are considering a staycation this year to save money and another 11 percent will definitely take one, according to a quarterly survey conducted by Principal Financial Group.
That’s about the same as last year.
The staycation – otherwise known as staying at home and working really hard at pretending it’s just as great as being in Hawaii, Europe or even Grandma's house in the country – first emerged as a trend when the economy started slowing about five years ago. It’s a chance to be a tourist in your own hometown and explore the local haunts or relax in the backyard while saving money on hotels and travel expenses.
Although the staycation has endured, the survey did reveal some evidence that Americans are feeling a little less nervous about money this summer than in past years.
About 13 percent of those surveyed said they had drastically altered their vacation plans to save money, down from 16 percent from last year.
Another 20 percent said they had slightly altered their plans, and 40 percent hadn’t changed their plans at all to save money. Those results are about the same as the previous four years.
Still, only 5 percent said they’d altered their plans to spend more money. In addition, 21 percent weren’t planning to take a summer vacation at all.
The survey of 1,135 U.S. workers was conducted in late April and early May as part of the Principal Financial Well-Being Index.
The most common fears affecting people’s summer vacation plans were rising fuel prices and not having enough money. About one fourth of respondents also cited loss of a job, the price of airfare or being busy at work.
Other research also has shown that fuel prices have been a key issue in keeping people from booking a summer vacation. In Marchthe U.S. Travel Association found that 54 percent of Americans said increasing gas prices would impact their summer vacation plans. In addition, 43 percent said there plans would be affected if airfares went up because of high fuel prices.
The good news: Gas prices have recently been falling in some places. The bad news: Some say it's because of fears the global economy is getting weaker.