Americans Are Budgeting More Toward Vacations and Prioritizing “Nearcations” Due to Inflation, According to New Survey Results

Josh SchukmanMay 23, 2022

Americans Are Budgeting More Toward Vacations and Prioritizing “Nearcations” Due to Inflation, According to New Survey Results

With Americans searching for affordable travel alternatives this summer in the wake of inflation, new research shows “nearcations” and vehicle rentals may be the way to go — especially for those who are scaling back on vacation plans to stay closer to home and setting up a vacation budget in the wake of inflation and rising costs.

Outdoorsy’s Vacation on a Budget survey reveals:

  • 58% of Americans have been saving and setting aside more money to keep their vacation hopes afloat
  • 72% are dipping into vacation savings to make ends meet elsewhere and 56% of Americans don’t believe they can afford a vacation this year because of inflation
  • 58% plan to vacation closer to home this summer to beat out inflation and rising gas prices
RV travel is one of the most popular forms of vacation
Reaffirming the busy travel season that lies ahead, almost 70% of respondents from Outdoorsy’s Vacation on a Budget survey, conducted by OnePoll, said they’re still planning to hit the road this year despite possible budget woes.

The new research stems from Outdoorsy’s Vacation on a Budget study, conducted by OnePoll to get real-time perspective on travel behaviors ahead of this summer. The survey found that 52% of travelers noted they turn to rental vehicles while on vacation in order to save money, with 9 in 10 preferring to rent something they can easily sleep or stay in, rather than book a hotel. And 49% prefer to rent something just as luxurious or economical as what they have at home.

“While other vacation types have seen dramatic rises in cost over the past year in line with inflation, our average RV rental trip price has only gone up $5 over last year, representing a .28% increase,” said Jeff Cavins, co-founder and CEO of Outdoorsy, the leading global RV rental and outdoor travel marketplace. “Compare this to a 40% increase in hotel prices YoY, and you can see why we believe road trips are more insulated from inflation and also still a very affordable vacation option for those looking to keep their summer vacation plans intact.”

Nearly six in 10 survey respondents (58%) said they plan to vacation closer to home this summer to beat out inflation and rising gas prices. For those who may have had to dip into their vacation budget just to make ends meet elsewhere (72%), a “nearcation” is the perfect option for a vacation that offers the feeling of a getaway without the blow to your wallet.

Outdoorsy’s Vacation on a Budget survey also found that:

  • Over half of the 2,000 adults surveyed (56%) don’t believe they can afford a vacation this year because of inflation. But that’s not enough to stop them from trying, as 58% have been saving and setting aside more money to keep their vacation hopes afloat.
  • Reaffirming the busy travel season that lies ahead, almost 70% said they’re still planning to hit the road this year despite possible budget woes.
  • Half of the surveyed participants have a budget set up specifically for summer vacation, averaging $1,237. Four out of five of those with summer travel budgets in place said their plans were impacted by inflation.
  • 1 in 3 said they would rather scale back on vacation plans to fit a smaller budget than not to have a vacation at all. And 56% said they’ve been successful in planning a vacation around a smaller-than-usual budget.
  • To save money, vacation-goers are planning to spend less on attractions (40%), lodging (40%), and clothing (39%).
  • Some parts of vacations, however, can’t be given up. Respondents said going out to restaurants (30%), visiting free attractions (28%) and traveling by vehicle (28%) are “vital to have, no matter the budget.”
  • There’s plenty to look forward to this vacation season and respondents say they’re most excited about travel this year because it will allow them to spend time with their families (57%), see new places (55%), make memories (55%), and get some much-needed time to themselves (52%).

“Inflation is an ever-present variable in the travel consumer sector. Travel trends are typically reflected in people’s spending habits,” said Cavins. “With that said, inflation’s effect on RV travel will be minimal. For families, heading outdoors not only offers a more affordable alternative to other modes of travel, but time in nature can also be a more fun and educational experience. Nearby, local state parks are some of our country’s best hidden gems that offer neverending opportunities for adventure and wonder.”

As Americans approach a “sold out summer,” Outdoorsy is the most reliable source for booking a dream getaway — whether that’s across the country or to a hidden gem closer to home — without having to factor in overpriced hotel rooms and frequent flight cancellations. With over 25,000 RVs available in 4,800 cities across the U.S., travelers have the chance to shift their travel plans to a more affordable option — an RV vacation — to enjoy unique travel experiences that foster quality time with loved ones and time to recharge in nature.

Cavins continued: “RV vacations are great for consumers’ pocketbooks in the current financial climate as they represent a cost savings of up to 21-64% for a four-person travel party (RVIA), by removing unnecessary spending out of travel and allowing consumers to be at ease. Knowing they can go to the grocery store and purchase a week’s worth of food for their trip at the same price it would cost to take the whole family out for dinner one night is the type of cost-saving trade-off you experience with RV travel. Many families who are concerned about shifting gas prices don’t realize they can also get an RV delivered to a campsite or destination of their choice — easily creating their own low-cost, luxury hotel room under the stars.”

This new research comes on the heels of Outdoorsy’s launch of two new features designed for guests booking their next road trip — Roamly’s Travel Insurance coverage and PayPal’s Pay In 41 offering. To help travelers experience the affordability of booking an RV, campervan, or trailer rental on Outdoorsy, guests will now have the option to reserve their rental and pay for it over time using Pay in 4 from PayPal. In addition, Outdoorsy is also introducing Roamly’s Travel Insurance offering to guests in an effort to protect them from unforeseen events, protecting and reimbursing travelers needing to cancel their trip due to unpredictable circumstances such as a COVID-19 diagnosis.

For more info on these services and to book your next road trip, head to

1Pay in 4 is available to consumers upon approval for purchases of $30-$1,500. Pay in 4 is not currently available to residents of Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Wisconsin, or any U.S. Territories. Loans to California residents are made or arranged pursuant to a California Financing Law License. PayPal, Inc. is a Georgia Installment Lender Licensee, NMLS #910457. Rhode Island Small Loan Lender Licensee. When applying, a soft credit check may be needed, but will not affect your credit score. You must be of legal age in your U.S. state of residence to use Pay in 4. Offer availability depends on the merchant and also may not be available for certain recurring, subscription services.

About Outdoorsy
Outdoorsy is the most trusted on-demand RV rental and outdoor travel marketplace on the planet. Founded in 2015, we have booked more than 4.7 billion days of travel and have offices worldwide in 4,800 cities and 11 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, France, and the UK. Our mission is to mobilize the 54+ million idle RVs around the world to ensure everyone has the access, choice, and opportunity to safely enjoy outdoor experiences and travel while we empower RV owners to realize life-changing financial benefits. For more information, visit

Josh and his wife gallivanted all over the country in an '88 Airstream for 4+ years of full-time RVing. They made an unexpected pitstop in Montana in 2020 and haven't left since. That's because they got hooked on the glamping resort they run by Glacier National Park. Fittingly, they keep up their RVing love by renting out vintage Airstreams and other retro RVs to travelers hitting Montana.

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