Video: Vacation or money? Genders differ

By Steve Liesman Sr. Economics Reporter
updated 6/27/2007 2:45:20 PM ET 2007-06-27T18:45:20

Editor’s note: Wealth in America is CNBC’s quarterly survey on consumer attitudes about their personal finances.

About half of all Americans do not plan to take a vacation this summer, and those that do plan to will spend less than they did a year ago, the latest CNBC Wealth in America survey found.

Forty-eight percent of respondents said they will stay at home for the summer. That percentage is higher in some demographic groups: 64 percent of those aged 64 and over say they’ll stay put; 59 percent of those who live in small towns or rural America say they won’t take time off, along with 65 percent of those who earn $30,000 a year or less.

But even 25 percent of those who earn more than $100,000 a year said they prefer not to take a vacation this summer.

Among the 52 percent of Americans who will take a trip, the average budget for hitting the road is $1,117 – or 4 percent lower than last year.

But economic factors are only one of the considerations weighing on Americans’ travel plans: 73 percent of respondents said crowded flights, flight delays and security lines would not make them less likely to fly this summer. And 82 percent said the weakness of the dollar against the Euro had no effect on their choice to travel to Europe, although only 21 percent of Americans plan to travel abroad.

Climate and weather are the top reasons for Americans’ choices of destination, followed by the cost of traveling, the cost of the hotel and attractions at the location, and historical or cultural interests in the destination.

But the recent rise in the price of gasoline is having an impact: 55 percent of respondents said they are driving less because of high gasoline prices. Another 25 percent said they'll start conserving if the price hits $4 per gallon.

Finally, most Americans use all their vacation days. But 15 percent of respondents said they didn't use all their time last year. One out of ten respondents said they failed to take at least four of their allotted vacation days, though Americans in general are comfortable with taking time off.

Eighty percent of respondents said they don’t think vacations would harm their chances for raises or promotions. But there were some noticeable exceptions: Men were more worried about it than women; Northeasterners more than Southerners; and Hispanics were the group most scared about the effect on their careers of taking time off.

Now a dilemma that many of us have faced. Let's say your boss came to you and said you did such a great job this year he or she would like to offer you a bonus, and now you have a choice: you can have an extra week's pay, or you can have an extra week off.

Which would you choose? If it's hard for you to decide, or you and your spouse disagree, you are like most Americans.

Forty-five percent of Americans will take the week off; 47 percent want the extra pay; and 8 percent couldn't decide. But there are key differences between who wants the money and who wants the time.

Lower-middle class, suburbanites, the wealthy and professional women are more likely to take the time off, while people who make less than $30,000, seniors, new college grads and professional men prefer the extra pay.

Even when Americans go on vacation, many don't completely leave their work behind. Forty-six percent say they stay in touch with the workplace, either through cell phone, email or the Blackberry. The other 54 percent either don't stay in touch, or use some other method.

© 2012 CNBC, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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