How much does a vacation cost?

[@portabletext/react] Unknown block type "bannerAd", specify a component for it in the `components.types` prop

The pressure to shell out for the best vacation ever – one to rival the Facebook and Instagram feeds of our friends – can compel us to make unwise financial decisions. In fact, 74% of Americans have taken on debt in order to pay for a vacation – $1,108 on average. That’s no small amount. Among those who aren’t planning a vacation, 60% said the reason is that they can’t afford it. But you don’t have to fall into either of these groups – you can save for a vacation and take memorable getaways in the meantime.

How much does a vacation cost?

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, the total average vacation cost varies from $581 per trip for a 4-night domestic trip to $3,251 for a 12-night international trip. A NerdWallet study found the average cost of a family vacation is $2,256 and more than 70% of families spend over $1,000 per vacation.

Here’s the breakdown of average vacation costs from the Consumer Expenditure Survey:


$2,100 per year. This includes all types of transportation, from a quick road trip to an international flight. Only about 10% of families fly, but those who do spend about $3,304 per year.


$2,158 per year. With the average hotel room costing $141 per night, it’s no wonder many families favor camping, RVs and staying with family to save cash.

Food and drink:

$38 per day. For the most part, we don’t want to cook on vacation – it’s all about relaxation, and that means eating at restaurants. This expense can sneak up on you.

This doesn’t account for missed work: For the 25% of U.S. workers who get no paid time off, taking a vacation means forfeiting some income. And if you’re one of many Americans who puts travel expenses on a credit card, accrued interest can add up. Other expenses like entertainment, car rentals and even hiring a dog sitter can also sneak up on you. Saving and budgeting are critical skills for any vacationer.

How to afford your dream vacation

You don’t have to go into debt to afford a vacation. You need concrete, essential skills for saving money first, before you plan a trip. As Tony says, “You don’t get beyond scarcity, you start beyond it. And the way you start beyond scarcity is every day you build your wealth.” Here are three changes you can make to your vacation spending habits to help you afford the “big one” – and reach financial freedom.

Take a few staycations

Average vacation costs drop dramatically when there is no airfare involved. Take a “staycation” and explore all the free or low-cost things to do in your own city. You might be surprised with all the things you haven’t yet done. Road trips are another tried-and-true vacation for families, friends and couples. Take in all the sights, play classic games and stop at fun (and cheap) roadside attractions for memorable family photos.

Visit long-lost friends and relatives

The best way to lower the average cost of a family vacation is to stay with family or friends. Reunite with your aunt or second cousin and make it a family reunion instead of a getaway. Solo travelers can have an even easier time finding a free place to crash. There’s a reason you stayed in touch with those old college roommates.

Get the whole family involved

Every parent wants the best for their children, including vacations – a theme park trip or a tropical getaway. But it’s also important to raise financially responsible kids, and getting them involved in saving toward the average cost of a family vacation is a great place to start. Make a “vacation jar” and add money to it instead of going out for treats like ice cream or buying that impulse purchase at the supermarket. Kids learn about saving and the whole family gets a treat when the jar reaches a certain amount.

The real average vacation cost

The real answer to “How much does a vacation cost?” is that it can often cost you more not to take a vacation. Only 25% of Americans take all their paid vacation days, according to Forbes, and 61% said they continue to work while on vacation. However, taking time to make lasting memories with the ones that you love is vital to living a fulfilled life – and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It’s not the amount you can afford to spend that determines your wealth. The magic moments you create and the gratitude you cultivate ultimately determine your wealth – and outweigh the average costs of a vacation.

Hear what Tony has to say about it:

Header image © Sunny studio/shutterstock


Avoid common investing mistakes

What’s the biggest thing successful people have in common? They are obsessed with not losing money. How do they do it? One big way is by investing smart. They don’t necessarily take big risks. They learn from their mistakes and avoid making stock investing mistakes and other common errors. Investing mistake 1: Wrong asset allocation […]


Become a money master today

Money: There’s nothing quite like it. Money has the power to create or destroy. It can be a blessing that turns your dreams into reality or a burden you always carry. One thing is for sure: you must become a money master, or it will master you. As Tony Robbins says, “When you lack confidence […]


6 things all successful people do

Usually when we hear stories of the behavior of the super-rich it involves shopping sprees, trips to Monaco or perhaps the occasional lifestyle productivity hack. But how did the American ultra-wealthy become the top 0.01%? Is there a secret formula to obtaining and maintaining wealth? What do all rich people have in common? For four […]


The power of passive income

Ready for a truth most people won’t tell you? No matter the state of the economy, current politics or world events, you control the amount of money you make. Current job not creating enough income? It’s time to get serious about passive income. Tony says, “If you want to change your life you have to […]


How much do I need for retirement?

Much like stepping on the scale after the holidays, the amount of money you’ll need to comfortably retire is the number many Americans aren’t sure they want to know. In fact, half of Americans haven’t even tried to calculate how much money they’ll need to retire. However, just like those extra pounds, ignoring the problem […]


How to build a money-making machine

Do you find yourself wondering how you’ll make enough money to achieve your financial goals? Are you dreaming of retirement but can’t imagine how you’ll find the money to do so? Is traveling or another large goal at the forefront of your mind? Don’t be discouraged if you’re unsure of how you’ll achieve these goals […]

  • Change your story

    Master Tony’s proven strategies to create endless momentum and change the trajectory of your life.

    View upcoming events
  • Become the best version of yourself

    Connect with like-minded individuals and start living the life of your dreams.

    View all programs