Moms are planning more family vacation this year, but they're still watching their wallets, according to a national survey.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of the employed moms are optimistic about taking all of their paid vacation days, up from 57% last year. However, like last year, most plan to pay for vacations out of current resources instead of using credit.
Conducted by the Nashville-based blog WhyMomsRule.com, the poll of 634 women (equally spread among Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers and all with at least one child at home) showed almost half of the moms plan to purchase vacations with monthly savings (44% of Baby Boomers and Gen X, 46% of Gen Y), followed by tax refunds (28% for Gen Y and X and 11% for boomers). This cash mentality mirrors last year's feelings.
Much smaller percentages were willing to "put it on plastic" (14% for Gen Y, 21% for Gen X and 30% for Baby Boomers).
"Moms are pocketbook prudent when it comes to travel," says David Bohan, CEO of Bohan, the marketing firm that created WhyMomsRule.com. "They're taking the long view, declaring the importance of family vacations, while being careful how they pay for them."
Gen Y moms in particular are more optimistic. Last year, 24% said the economy would keep their families at home, but that has dropped to 17%.
Sacrifice remains a theme, but there has been a shift. Last year, moms expected yearlong sacrifices to make a vacation affordable. This year, there is slightly more emphasis on being frugal while actually on vacation. Forty-two percent last year expected to cut back on restaurant dining all year, but that has dropped to 33%.
Two signs of optimism involved flying and choosing new vacation destinations. The number of moms opting to fly instead of drive grew from 28% to 36%, while more moms are looking for new destinations (up from 25% to 32%.)
One destination that drew significant national attention last year was the Gulf Coast during the BP oil spill, and moms were paying attention.
More than half (57%) think it's safe to visit the Gulf Coast again, and baby boomers were the most confident (62%). However, the numbers dropped when it comes to letting their own children swim there. Thirty-eight percent don't want their kids in the water, while 30% aren't sure; 32% think it's OK to dive in.
The survey was conducted Jan. 14-17. It has a 4% margin of error at a 96% confidence level.