As you’re toiling away through your working week, the only thing that keeps you going is the promise of a relaxing vacation. However, when that time finally arrives, you come to the realization that you need to make some tough financial decisions to make it all work. So, what is the average cost of a vacation? Can you afford to go to Hawaii or take your children to Disneyland? And do you need to take out a loan to pay for it?
Choosing Your Destination
The first step in planning the perfect vacation is choosing the right destination for your trip. You need to decide whether you want to spend your days resting on a warm, sandy beach, or whether you’d rather scale mountain peaks in search of fresh air. Perhaps your ideal vacation is a round-the-world cruise or a Tiger-style golf challenge.
Vacation spending statistics show that more than half of Americans love going on beach vacations both in the USA and abroad. Another 30% enjoy cruises, while 28% like active vacations, regardless of the location. At the other end of the spectrum, only 4% of respondents said they would go on a strictly golf-focused vacation.
Going to Hawaii
Hawaii is still one of the most popular destinations for American vacations. Last year, nearly 10 million visitors went to this beautiful island, spending around $17.82 billion in the process. Of that figure, an amazing $11.21 billion came from Americans alone.
The most frequently visited island on Hawaii is Oahu, with 4.7 million visitors every year. Oahu is home to the state’s capital, Honolulu. but it’s better known around the world for its famous Waikiki beach and historically important Pearl Harbor. Besides its countless beaches and pleasant climate, Oahu also has inexpensive accommodation, which is why it’s still a favorite for many.
So, what is the average cost of a Hawaii vacation? Data shows that, in 2018, a typical visitor to Hawaii spent an average of $201 per day. Of course, this figure doesn’t include the costs of travel, which are usually significant depending on where you fly from.
A Disney trip for the entire family
Disneyland is still a top choice for millions of US families with children. According to recent family vacation statistics, more than 18 million people visited Disneyland last year, and these numbers continue climbing by the year. Of course, this theme park also has a big brother, Disney World, which draws in a whopping 52 million visitors per year. In addition to that, Disney also offers its famous cruises, which provide entertainment for the whole family: parties, musicals, swimming pools, fireworks, as well as adult-only nightclubs and lounges. All in all, there are more than enough activities to choose from.
The average cost of a Disney vacation depends mainly on your destination of choice and the number of days you’re staying.
At Disneyland and Disney World, daily ticket prices can range anywhere from $100 per child to $150 if you want to hop between parks. A five-day ticket including visits to several parks costs nearly $400, but offers the full Disney experience your kids will never forget. Obviously, the Disney cruise is a much more exclusive option, which will dent your budget by about $1,400 per person. That said, if you travel during the off-season, you can find some decent discounts.
According to some estimates, the average cost of a Disney vacation for 4 family members amounts to $3,656, which is an average of $914 per person.
Traveling from A to B can take a huge chunk out of your vacation budget. But if you’re thrifty enough, you can reduce your travel costs and set more money aside to spend during your trip.
Travel by car
If you decide to go with your own car, you need to consider not only the price of gas, but also additional travel costs and car deprecation. Today, gas costs an average of nearly $2.8 per gallon, and prices are increasing steadily every year. You’ll also have to factor in costs like road tolls and overnight stays.
The average cost of a vacation also includes car depreciation. This might not seem important now, but it affects your budget in the long run. Studies have shown that your vehicle loses a significant chunk of its value each year after you buy it. Indeed, after five years, the average car is only worth 37% of what its owner paid for it at the dealership. Of course, the further you drive during your vacation, the faster your car’s value will depreciate.
Travel by airplane
The easiest and often most affordable way to reach a faraway vacation destination is to fly there. Statistics on traveling costs show that airfares have dropped significantly in recent years. In the final quarter of 2018, the average flight in America cost around $360. For your trip to Hawaii, for example, you’ll need to fork out anywhere from $450 (if you’re traveling off-season from the West) to more than $1,200 (traveling from the East during the season peak).
Travel by bus
For Americans, bus travel is the third-most popular transportation method, though it accounts for only 2% of long-distance journeys. Buses represent great value for short-distance trips, but when it comes to longer journeys, you’re often better off flying.