Americans like to dream big, and that's certainly true when it comes to summer plans.
A dream summer for a family will set you back by more than $43,000, according to a survey from coupon site Groupon (GRPN), which asked more than 1,000 parents what their ideal summer would include. Americans didn't stint, saying they'd pick two overseas trips, six barbecues and restaurant dinners, as well as five movies and beach outings.
That budget is almost as much as the typical American household pulls in annually, so it's perhaps no surprise that families' realities veer quite dramatically away from their dream vacations. About four out of 10 Americans don't take a single vacation day, and one-third of those say they keep working all year because they can't afford a vacation. Real-life vacations aren't cheap, although they'll certainly cost less than Groupon's dream trips.
The average per-day cost of a trip within the U.S. is $144, which includes transportation, lodging, food and entertainment, according to financial site Value Penguin. That means a one-week trip will set you back about $1,000, which may be out of reach for many households. International travel is even more expensive, at $271 per day, or almost $1,900 for a week.
Middle-class Americans have suffered from years of stagnating wages, which may explain why 57 percent of the respondents in Groupon's survey said they had nothing fun or exciting planned for the summer. The most common vacation option, it found, is a five-day trip to a destination about a four- or five-hour drive from home. That might not count so exciting to many, especially after they were asked to contemplate a dream vacation in Hawaii.
The good news, at least for Americans, is that travel costs are lower than they've been in previous years, thanks to lower fuel prices and a strong dollar. Last month, airfares were almost 11 percent lower than a year earlier and 19 percent below 2014's ticket prices, according to airfare tracking site Hopper. Even though oil prices are on the rise, jet fuel remains near a decade low, the company said.
It found that the destinations where consumers can save the most on flights include Orlando and Miami in Florida, followed by Las Vegas. Tickets to those three cities can be found for about $220 or less.