More Americans are skipping vacation - here's why

More Americans, saddled with financial debt that they’re struggling to pay off, are choosing to sit out on expensive vacations and other pricey activities.

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In the past year, 42 percent of Americans decided to not take a vacation because of the cost, according to a study published Wednesday by Bankrate. About one-third of adults said their ability to go on vacation has decreased over the past five years.

Yet roughly 25 percent of people said they can afford to do so more often.

It’s not just vacation that Americans are passing up; two-thirds of adults said they’ve passed on something fun in the past year because of the price tag, including attending concerts (32 percent skipped), going out to dinner (28 percent) and going to the movies (25 percent).

Millennials are more likely to say they feel like they’ve missed out on important life events because of money, with 45 percent thinking they’ve missed out, compared to 33 percent of baby boomers.

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“While the broad-based headlines on the economy have been positive for some time now, we know that the proverbial rising tide doesn’t lift all boats,” said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate’s senior economic analyst. “Across the country, actual experiences vary with respect to individuals’ personal finances. For some, the challenges involve their employment status and the level of their incomes.”

One of the top reasons Americans opt-out of pricier activities is because they don’t have enough money leftover after paying bills. Another 41 percent of respondents said they’re saving for other things and a combined 34 percent have either credit card or student loan debt to pay off.

Outstanding student loan debt is on the rise in the U.S., climbing above $1.6 trillion in August, making it the highest non-mortgage debt category in the country. It’s beginning to have effects on other financial aspects of people’s lives, including retirement.

A recent study found that a staggering 84 percent of American adults said student loan debt is hurting the amount they’re able to save for retirement. About three out of four borrowers said they’re putting off maximizing their retirement savings, instead focusing on paying off their student loan debt.