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Survey March 7, 2023

Digital detox: More than a third of travelers would give up scrolling on social media for a year to take their dream vacation

Family of five enjoying a beach vacation

A third of consumers would even consider a side gig on vacation to offset costs, according to a new study by Bread Financial

COLUMBUS, OH – March 7, 2023 – Bread Financial (NYSE: BFH), a tech-forward financial services company that provides simple, personalized payment, lending and saving solutions, today released findings from a national study¹ exploring consumers' spring and summer travel plans and how economic uncertainty factors in their decision-making.

The survey asked those planning to take time off this spring or summer whether they’re packing up or staying put. Eighty percent (80%) plan to travel, and only 20% are planning a staycation. But time off may come at a price with 65% of respondents saying inflation has impacted their plans this year, compared to 59% last year².

Of consumers choosing to travel, 26% said they will shorten their vacation, and 24% plan to drive instead of fly due to inflation. When asked what they would give up for a year to go on their dream trip, respondents were willingly eager to make sacrifices. Forty percent (40%) would give up alcohol, 36% said they’d give up restaurant meals, and the same amount (36%) would forego social media.

Those who are staycationing are also feeling the pinch in their wallets. Thirty-four percent are trying to conserve money given inflation, while the same amount (34%) don’t have the money to travel. Some of the top adjustments staycationers are making to their time off due to continued inflationary increases include planning to reduce their discretionary spending budget and instead focusing on essentials (42%), doing fewer activities (39%) and shortening their vacation time (28%). Over half (53%) plan to spend $500 or less during their staycation, compared to 76% of vacationers who plan to spend $1,000+.

"No matter the economic climate, consumers are eager to take a break, relax, and spend time with friends and family whether at home or while traveling," said Nick Antonelli, SVP and chief marketing officer at Bread Financial. “Our research indicates that consumers will make adjustments—like taking a staycation or driving to their destination—to reduce costs, but still plan to make the most of their spring and summer time off.”

Our research indicates that consumers will make adjustments—like taking a staycation or driving to their destination—to reduce costs, but still plan to make the most of their spring and summer time off.”

Nick Antonelli - Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer, Bread Financial

Regardless of their circumstances, all consumers could benefit from flexible payment options. Forty-one (41%) percent of consumers (including both travelers and staycationers) said if they could pay for these expenses with a buy now, pay later option, they would be more likely to pursue leisure activities.

Additional noteworthy findings from the study include:

Cost-cutting creativity abounds.

While the survey found many would be willing to give up some of life’s most basic pleasures to take a trip, travelers would also look at more realistic sources of revenue to defray vacation costs. One-third (33%) said they would drive for Uber, DoorDash, or pick up another side gig at their vacation destination. Nearly one in four (24%) say they would visit a working farm, ranch, or other worksite where costs of the trip are offset in exchange for their labor onsite, while the same amount (24%) said they would pet sit for a homeowner in exchange for lodging fees.

Are you not entertained (and influenced)?

From the big screen to your touchscreen, media and entertainment is a major influence on travel ambitions, especially among younger consumers. Sixty-four percent (64%) of Gen Z and 67% of Millennial respondents have stretched their budgets to mirror a trip they’ve seen online or in television, advertising, or movies, compared to 45% of Gen X and 21% of Baby Boomers. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Gen Z’ers and 71% of Millennials have even chosen a vacation destination based on the photos they could take and post to social media.

Thirty-one percent (31%) of all respondents indicated their travel aspirations have been influenced by social media influencers, more than travel magazines (26%) and travel apps (29%). Social media is more influential to younger consumers, with 40% of Gen Z and 41% of Millennials influenced by social media.

TV is another significant influence, with 34% of Millennials and 29% of Gen Z choosing where to travel based on their favorite shows. Millennials are particularly drawn to White Lotus Hawaii (29%) and visiting the Dutton Ranch from Yellowstone (27%), while Gen Z want to have their Emily in Paris moment (26%).

Taking time off – but not from work?

When you take time off from work, are you truly disconnecting? More than half (53%) of all respondents have taken time off for either a vacation or staycation and ended up working at some point in their career. Fifty-nine percent (59%) have spent 20% or more working during their time off. The number is higher for younger generations, with 61% of Millennials and 67% of Gen Z indicating the same.

About Bread Financial   

Bread FinancialTM (NYSE: BFH) is a tech-forward financial services company providing simple, personalized payment, lending and saving solutions. The company creates opportunities for its customers and partners through digitally enabled choices that offer ease, empowerment, financial flexibility and exceptional customer experiences. Driven by a digital-first approach, data insights and white-label technology, Bread Financial delivers growth for its partners through a comprehensive product suite, including private label and co-brand credit cards, installment lending, and buy now, pay later (BNPL). Bread Financial also offers direct-to-consumer solutions that give customers more access, choice and freedom through its branded Bread CashbackTM American Express® Credit Card and Bread SavingsTM products.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Bread Financial is powered by its 7,500+ global associates and is committed to sustainable business practices. To learn more about Bread Financial, visit or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

¹Sample of 1,640 US consumers participated in this study conducted by Bread Financial through an online quantitative survey that took place Feb. 3 through Feb. 6, 2023.

²A sample of 1,930 US consumers ages 18+ participated in the 2022 spring and summer spending plans survey by Bread Financial that took place March 14 through March 18, 2022.