High gas prices may be stifling the traditional summer vacation, according to a report in USA TODAY.
Only 39.8% of consumers plan to take a vacation within the next six months, a 28-year low, the Conference Board said recently.
That’s the fourth consecutive decline measured by the organization, which asks the question every other month.
“It’s possible that travel is falling victim to rising gas prices and rising costs overall,” says Lynn Franco, director of the firm’s Consumer Research Center.
A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll supports the notion that high gas prices are crimping vacations. One-third of respondents in the survey of 1,000 adults taken Friday through Sunday said they are changing summer vacation plans because of higher gas prices.
Of those changing plans, 37% said they would reduce the number of trips normally taken, while 26% said they’re canceling plans or simply can’t afford to vacation. Some 23% will take shorter trips.
Gasoline prices have slipped from recent highs but are still far above where they were a year ago.
Even as many Americans say they are calling off summer travel, hotels are packed and airlines are nearly fully booked this summer. And they’re charging higher prices because demand is so high.
The decline in vacation plans could also reflect a drop in employees who get paid time off. The percentage of companies giving paid vacation time fell to 82% this year from 91% in 2002, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). SHRM spokesman Frank Scanlan says employees who do not take time off could become burned out and less productive.
“We’re all doing more with less,” Scanlan says. “You have to give people time away.”