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Smaller Family Budgets Mean Summer 'Staycations' - Again

Swimming Pool
A boy jumps into the waters of a swimming pool. (credit: Ali Yussef/AFP/Getty Images)


NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - More than half of all Americans will skip summer vacations this year. More than half who do take one will try to save a little money by staying with friends.

For every $10 the typical household earns before taxes, almost a full dollar now goes toward gas, a 40 percent bigger bite than normal. The bite in the wallet has most families looking for summer fun 'on the cheap'.

"There's an increasing focus on creating a budget and staying within the budget, regardless of what that vacation time might look like," said Tom O'Donnell with JPMorgan Chase.

O'Donnell has a term for what's happening; he calls it the 'new normal'. "This new normal for spending may represent some of what you might call the old normal. [The vacation is] more likely to look like piling the kids in the car for a visit to relatives, rather than an extravagant vacation."

AAA is predicting the typical family will spend $692 on vacation this year, down 14 percent from $809 last year. Many of those surveyed said shorter trips are on the menu and they're prepared to pinch pennies when they arrive at the destination.

Experts say the idea is to have fun without spending too much money. "What they're doing is they're finding new and different ways to spend their time off during the summer, which might mean do-it-yourself projects, work around the home, just spending more time closer rather than farther away."

O'Donnell says figuring out how to pay for a summer vacation has become a bigger part of vacation planning.

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