Many can’t afford to take vacations this season: study

It will be a long winter for millions of Americans who won’t be able to head to the ski slopes or sunnier climes for a vacation.

Some 33 million Americans, many of them millennials, are financially tapped out and will stay home this winter, .

“It should be no surprise that 33 million Americans say they can’t afford to travel this winter,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “Even though unemployment is near record lows and the stock market is near record highs, there are a lot of things weighing on consumers financially right now.”

Papadimitriou said many cardholders are “racking up credit card debt at a pace reminiscent of the run-up to the Great Recession” — a time when millions of cardholders, many suddenly unemployed, couldn’t pay their card bills.

And, he added, “Student debt clearly is a problem.”

Indeed, some hoping to travel this holiday season are still paying last year’s debts, according to another study, .

“One in 12 Americans who put 2018 holiday travel expenses on a credit card are still paying for them,” said Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet.

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“Nearly two-thirds who spent money on flights and hotels during the 2018 holiday season spent more than they planned to, with some taking cash from their savings or using their credit card to cover the additional costs,” she added.

Part of the problem, according to NerdWallet, is that about 40% of Americans “would rather go into debt paying for holiday travel than skip seeing their family during the holidays.”

The report found that the average holiday expenses on flights and hotels put on a credit card came to $1,105.

Charles Hughes, an adviser in Bayshore, New York, said cardholders, especially younger ones, need to “understand how destructive credit card interest is and how it will hurt them achieving long-term goals.”

There is also a generation gap influencing how credit cards are used.

Amanda Templeton, a business professor at Southern Utah University, noted the income difference between generations. She said this is why many millennials won’t be able to travel this holiday season. But if they do, they will often do so by adding debt.

Baby boomers tend to pay for trips with cash while millennials often use credit cards to finance trips, according to Templeton.

And millennials, she added, are “more apt to treat themselves.”

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