Nearly three-quarters of Americans traveling for the holidays start planning as soon as October

·3-min read

Over half of Americans would rather take a vacation this holiday season than have a traditional family get-together, according to new research.

A recent survey polled 2,000 nationally representative Americans to see how this year's holiday season will shape up and found 59% are eager to take a trip rather than celebrate at home.

Many are actively planning their trips - 73% of those planning to travel for the holidays will have started making arrangements by October, and for good reason.

Nearly three-quarters of those planning to travel for the holidays this year plan to spend more on these plans this year than ever before.

Conducted by OnePoll for Affirm, the survey found that 54% of all respondents plan to spend more on experiences (like traveling or attending and hosting parties) over physical gifts.

In fact, the top gift Americans plan to give this year is a memorable experience, like tickets to a concert or sporting event, and the top gift Americans hope to receive this year is a vacation.

"Although many Americans are eager to celebrate the holidays this year with a special getaway, over 60% of respondents agree that a spike in cost is holding them back from traveling in the way they'd like," said Silvija Martincevic, Chief Commercial Officer at Affirm. "Planning ahead of time can help consumers to better navigate and budget their holiday spending, especially as nearly half of respondents say that they plan to spend more this holiday season in order to make it memorable."

In addition to memorable experiences, Americans are planning gift electronics (29%), clothing (25%) and a vacation (26%) to their loved ones.

Exactly how much do Americans plan on spending? For significant others this year, the average respondent is planning to drop nearly $400, and just over $300 for each immediate family member.

Due to the high price tags associated with the season, 61% of respondents no longer wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to start their holiday shopping. In fact, one in five started their shopping in September with nearly a quarter (23%) stating it's because they want to better budget.

Amidst the increased spending this year, more than half (54%) of Americans said they experience anxiety over holiday shopping, 52% agreed they feel pressured to overspend and seven in 10 Americans end up going over budget.

When it comes to the biggest holiday stressors, staying in budget is Americans' top concern this year (41%) - followed by incurring long-term debt (31%), shipping costs (28%) ??and being charged late or hidden fees (26%). 

To help ease the pressures, 72% plan to rely heavily on online shopping to avoid crowds as 57% anticipate that this year's holiday shopping season will be busier than a typical year. 

"In addition to getting a head start on their holiday shopping, we're encouraged to see consumers take advantage of flexible payment solutions to help them spend responsibly this year," said Martincevic. "In fact, over half of Americans are interested in using a pay-over-time solution for their holiday shopping - and nearly 70% believe that it helps them to budget better."

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