HomeNewsCalculating the Average Vacation Cost: A Complete Guide
Calculating the Average Vacation Cost: A Complete Guide

Calculating the Average Vacation Cost: A Complete Guide

Last updated
Affiliate Disclosure

The average vacation cost can vary among US consumers based on a variety of factors. The price you pay will depend on whether you’re focusing exclusively on budget family travel, independent adventures, and where you’re planning on heading.

According to studies by Forbes Advisor, more than 54% of summer vacationers in 2021 said worries about the cost of a trip had hampered their travel plans. What’s more, many people believe their vacation budget will need to increase to accommodate for things like “COVID insurance” since the pandemic. However, despite these concerns, demand for vacations is growing.

According to the Allianz Vacation Confidence index, summer vacation spending hit $150 billion in 2021, and 2023 is set to reveal even bigger numbers.

While the decision of how to budget for a vacation will be unique for each consumer, we can learn from the average spending habits of Americans.

What Is the Average Cost of a Vacation?

Answering the question, “How much do vacations cost?” is difficult because there are so many factors to consider. Most of the time the costs of a vacation will break down into various different segments, from travel and lodging expenses to food and entertainment.

According to Balancing Everything, Americans in different regions spend different amounts on their trip budget every year. In the West, most consumers will spend an average of $677.78 for a “staycation” while paying around $3805.10 to travel overseas.

Those in the Northeast spend an average of $458.98 on domestic trips, and $2,817.38 for international travel, while people in the South spend $564.51 on satiations and $3,169.21 on international travel. People in the Mid-West tend to budget around $529.68 for domestic travel and $3,535.09 for international vacations.

Notably, the location you choose to travel to can make a big difference. For instance:

These costs vary because not every vacationer will incur the same costs associated with the average trip. People staying with family on vacation could pay $0 for their lodging.

However, trip costs have risen over the past decade. Studies show prices have risen by around 6 to 12% on average in 2022. This is the result of higher airline fees and various hotels and accommodation companies trying to recoup losses since the pandemic.

How Much Are Average Travel Costs?

The prices of travel often have the biggest impact on vacation costs. According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted in America, the average US family spends 44% of their budget for a trip on getting to a destination. Most families spend an average of $2,100 on transportation costs for vacations. This spans a range of modes of transportation, ranging from driving a family’s car to taking cruises.

The survey suggests the average cost of a trip travel-wise is:

  • Airline fares: $3,304

  • Buses to different cities: $252

  • Trains to different cities: $521

  • Local transportation on trips: $202

  • Taxis/car service for trips: $119

  • Ship access: $2,456

  • Gas/fuel: $449

  • Parking: $172

  • Tolls: $71

The average cost of a family vacation is typically much steeper with an airline or cruise ship is involved. Those who fly can sometimes reduce their costs with frequent flyer miles or by traveling outside of the busiest seasons. However, trip expenses will often always be higher with airline included. Transportation also takes up around 39% of a domestic vacation cost.

If you’re wondering, “How much do road trips cost?” the fees may be a little lower. According to some travel experts, most people should budget around $1,000 for a long road trip, or give themselves about $150 to spend per day. Around 21% of households travel throughout American using their vehicles alone, while 2% rent a car, spending an average of $1,223.

The report indicates around 6% of families travel by other methods outside of an airline, such as bus, ship, or train. Around 11 million Americans take cruises on a yearly basis.

How Much Does Average Accomodation Cost?

Outside of travel fees, the average cost of a vacation often depends heavily on accommodation. According to statistics, when most Americans travel domestically, they reduce trip expenses by staying with friends and family. Only around 42% of those who travel report having any lodging costs.

However, for those traveling internationally, more than 60% will increase their vacation price with accommodations. The average lodging costs usually work out at around $2,158 for each vacation, making up about 26% of the total travel expenditure for domestic trips, and 21% for international vacations.

If you’re looking into the average vacation cost for one person, fees for accommodation are usually lower. The average price for a single occupancy hotel room in 2021 was $133.11 per night. A double occupancy hotel room costs around $204 per night.

Alternatively, the average Airbnb price globally in 2021 was $137 per night. The most expensive region for staying in an Airbnb is North America, at $208 per night, followed by Europe at $114 per night. Hiring an RV can also be another cheaper alternative, at about $30-$60 to park a vehicle.

How Much to Budget for Vacation Food and Entertainment

While travel and accommodation are important when examining the average vacation price, it’s worth also considering the expenses associated with what you do on your trip. When asking, “How much should I budget for food on vacation?” the answer will depend heavily on how many people you’re traveling with and how you plan to eat.

The average American spends around $33 per day on food when vacationing in the US, and around 80% of the cost is attributed to restaurants. On international trips, the average travel cost for food increases. Most people spend around $35 per day, with 90% of meals devoted to restaurants. Some reports suggest the average price for food can be higher, though, at around $60 per day, depending on your food preferences.

Many people on vacation also need to budget for drinking alcohol. One study found 36% of American adults drink three or more alcoholic beverages when on vacation.

The average cost of a family vacation is usually increased by additional expenses to keep children and adults entertained. However, entertainment costs can apply to all forms of trips. The survey found the average American spends around 9% of their budget on entertainment when travelling domestically, and up to $293 when they’re abroad. 

One of the most common expenses in the “entertainment” column is to attend sporting games. For instance, it costs between $140.50 and $195.50 for one adult to attend an NFL game. Educational entertainment, like museum visits can be much less expensive, averaging out at around $6 per person.

If you’re planning on watching a live artist or band perform, your vacation expenses could be even higher. A Statista study found it cost around $96.15 on average to view an artist in concert in 2019, indicating that the price of concert tickets is rising.

How Much Should a Vacation Cost?

Vacation spending statistics show there are a number of factors involved in budgeting for a trip. The average beach vacation cost will differ drastically compared to the average vacation cost in Europe. The most effective way to develop your budget is to break your fees down into the following factors:

  • The number of people: The average vacation cost for a family of 4 is around $4,580, according to some studies, which equals about 8-9% of household income. Travelling alone is much cheaper, with an average cost of $1,145 per person.

  • Location: The location you choose for your vacation will affect how much you spend significantly. The average cost to vacation in Italy is around $136 per day, according to

  • Travel options: Travel options can significantly impact your costs too. While flying is often the most expensive way to travel, cruise ships can also be quite expensive. The average cost of a cruise is around $161 per person, per day.

  • Length of vacation: According to Bankrate, the average cost for a one-week vacation in the US for one person is around $1,558. The longer you stay on holiday, the more you’ll need to save money for vacation accommodation, food, and entertainment.

  • Entertainment and food: When it comes to deciding how much you should spend on vacation costs for entertainment and food, it depends on your personal preferences. Purchasing food from supermarkets instead of restaurants can save you significant cash.

  • Accommodation: Some of the best ways to reduce the average cost vacation spending include staying with a friend, using an Airbnb, or hiring an RV. It’s also possible to save money by staying in hostel accommodation instead of a hotel.

Taking the time to plan out all of the varying costs associated with most vacations should ensure you can budget successfully for your trip. Just keep in mind, the amount an average person spends on vacation may not be right for your budget.

Rebekah Carter
Rebekah Carter
Rebekah Carter is a dedicated online marketing professional and writer. With experience in the world of entrepreneurial development, business growth, communication and collaboration, and even health and fitness, Rebekah is constantly looking for ways to expand her expertise, and share her knowledge with the digital world.