A year after a record-breaking summer for travel, Americans are still dead set on getting away. Some are putting off major life milestones to afford it

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But to meet their vacation plans, consumers must continue to grapple with inflation and high prices, and nearly half of survey respondents said they planned to spend more on travel in 2024 than last year. So to bankroll their restlessness, Americans are putting other major life plans on hold. 

One in five millennials—and 17% of Gen Zers—plan to postpone important life purchases, like buying a home, to pay for travel, according to the study. Roughly a third of all Americans said they won’t wait for retirement to see the world and are prioritizing travel now. 

It isn’t just major financial milestones like buying a home and retirement that are being placed on the backburner, according to Empower. People are cutting back in little ways to pay for travel as well—and in some cases, going into debt. 

More than two-thirds of Gen Xers and millennials said they were cutting back on dining out to pay for travel, and nearly 10% of all respondents in the Empower study said they’ve taken on debt to finance their trips, averaging $2,849. Of those people, more than a quarter said paying down their debt would take a year or longer. 

In 2023, the travel industry boomed as consumer demand for experiences came back with a vengeance in the wake of the pandemic. A year later, that desire doesn’t seem to have subsided. The Friday before Memorial Day, more than 2.9 million travelers were screened at U.S. airports, breaking a single-day record set around Thanksgiving last year. 

Over the course of the summer, airlines expect to carry 271 million people, 6.3% more than the record-breaking season they had last year.

A recent report from Expedia showed that Americans are more desperate than ever to get away: 65% of survey respondents told the travel company they felt deprived of vacation, even more than in the height of the pandemic.

Christie Hudson, head of public relations at Expedia, told Fortune that a significant share of survey respondents plan to travel “no matter what” in 2024.

“In terms of attitude and valuing experiences over things, that whole mentality, people seem very aligned coming out of the pandemic,” said said.

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