How much does the average American spend each year on travel? This is not a rhetorical question that I’m about to answer in my own post–it is an actual question that I have that I cannot answer. Even Google can’t help me. Why are there no studies or statistics done on this?
I have my own selfish reasons for wanting to know this–basically I want to justify my own travel expenses. But I also want to understand the importance our culture places on vacations–and travel in general. The amount one spends on any given item or experience indicates how much that person values that particular item or experience–according to our recent credit card statement, I REALLY value travel. And wine.
According to the overstretched years-old sweater I’m wearing, and the hand-me-down winter coat I’ve adopted this winter (it originally belonged to my husband’s college roommate whom I’ve never even met), I don’t really value what I look like. I also don’t really value safe or reliable transportation, as my six-year-old Scion has been flashing all kinds of warning lights lately. But I’m still planning on at least one major summer trip this year in addition to the double-feature Spring trip in May. I also discovered several different conferences of the writing variety that I’d like to check out–both of which require minor travel (and somewhat major expense–don’t these people know that writers are poor?)
I can’t help but wonder if this is normal. Are there other people out there like me, driving old cars and wearing pilly sweaters to save money for yet another trip? And if so, can we form some sort of club? Obviously there would have to be no dues involved….
EDIT: A very helpful commenter (is that a word?) gave me the link to The Bureau of Labor Statistics page that answers my question–yay! Thanks helpful commenter! The answer? In 2008, the average amount spent per household was $1,415, with almost half of that money going toward transportation.