According to the U.S. Travel Association, American vacationers spent $621.4 billion on leisure travel in 2013. This money went to expenses like food, lodging, transportation (both public transportation and rental vehicles), shopping, and recreational activities.
As of 2013, the travel industry supports nearly 15 million jobs: around 8 million that are directly related and 7 million that are indirectly related to the travel industry. Workers in the industry earned a combined total of $209.5 billion in salaries and wages, and local, state, and federal governments earned around $134 billion in tax revenue as a result of our travel spending. Because of earnings from travel and tourism, each American household saves an average of $1,093 in taxes, per the U.S. Travel Association.
As for an individual household, its vacation spending depends largely on its income level. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest 20 percent of earners spend around $455 per year on travel and vacation while middle earners spend around $970. The highest 20th percentile spends much more, with spending close to $4,100 annually (these are 2008 amounts adjusted to 2014 dollars). These estimates, however, may include households that spend little or no money on vacationing. CNN published data indicating an average household may spend around $1,200 per person on a family vacation. This makes for a vacation cost of $3,600 for an average household of three.
If you simply cannot afford to put out thousands of dollars for a vacation, there are many affordable options. Seek out a vacation destination where costs are a bit lower, but you don’t have to give up beautiful sights, an abundance of activities, or great food. Using a publication by U.S. News & World Report entitled “Best Affordable Destinations in the USA,” combined with the AARP report “10 Budget-Friendly Trips for 2014” and supplemental data, we created this list of inexpensive vacation destinations.