Consumers Expected To Go Into Debt To Finance Labor Day Road Trips

This post may contain affiliate links; please read our advertiser disclosure for more information.
Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

Nearly 35 Million Traveling for Labor Day Says AAA  Highest Since Recession Driven Decline   AAA NewsRoom

People Go Into Debt So We Can Travel For Free

I love keeping an eye on the AAA newsroom. AAA often releases expected travel numbers before big holiday weekends and the pre-Labor Day report is out. As has been the case often this year, the number of people who are expected to travel will be at levels not seen since the 2008 recession.

Report Highlights

Since most people are too lazy to read the entire report, AAA is nice enough to type up the highlights. Here they are:

  • Historically, when Labor Day weekend begins in August, Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel.
  • Consumer spending has surpassed income growth, indicating that Americans are willing to take on debt to finance a vacation.
  • Automobile travel will increase by 1.4 percent this year, with 29.7 million travelers hitting the road.
  • Nearly eight percent of travelers (2.65 million) will travel by air, a one percent increase from last year.
  • Travelers will encounter airfares just two percent higher than last year and daily car rental costs that remain consistent at $51.
  • Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are nine percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are six percent more.

Did you catch it? AAA casually mentions that “Consumer spending has surpassed income growth, indicating that Americans are willing to take on debt to finance a vacation.” Ah good old America. Back to her old ways.

Here is a quote from the full report, “Consumer spending is continuing to rise in spite of stagnant income growth. In the third quarter of this year spending is expected to increase 3.8 percent year-over-year, while disposable personal income is only expected to increase 1.4 percent. Reliance on credit cards, rather than increasing income, is fueling holiday travel spending this year. While economic growth is slow, consumers are feeling more comfortable taking on debt.” Oh the comfort of debt. Like a pile of bricks on your back!

Debt Is Evil

While I am a measured person, I am going to come out and say people are stupid. As I wrote a few weeks ago, Debt Is Evil. Sure there are some key exceptions, but there is no doubt that this kind of debt is evil. Evil. Evil. Evil. Why would you go into debt to go on vacation? Live within your means.

These vacationers, the ones that are going into debt and making the credit card companies a ton of money, are also paying for me to travel. I have earned well north of a million points & miles this year because I am an outlier. The credit card companies dangled the carrot and I bit. Except their trap didn’t work. I will not go into debt or pay a dime of interest, but unfortunately, as evidenced by the AAA report I am we are unique.

Are You Traveling

The majority of the readers of this site are relatively affluent, have good credit and do not carry credit card debt. With that said, we all know someone who does. Someone who is planning their road trip this weekend and who will not be able to pay off the bill immediately when it comes.

I don’t know what we can do for them. In a selfish way we should want them to go on and carry their debt. They make the credit card companies rich and we get to benefit by eating the carrots without having to pay. Win win. Unfortunately it isn’t that simple. This type of debt is a disease and we all suffer in the end. Or at least most of us do.


There is no doubt that the economy is improving and as a result more jobs are being generated. Perhaps there is an argument that this debt is the driving factor of growth and thus is creating an overall gain for the economy, but is it a net gain? I know too many people trapped under the crippling weight of consumer debt. Is there not a better way?

Either way I suggest heading over to AAA to read the entire report. It is an interesting look into travel patterns and one I love to read before every big travel period. Let me know in the comments your thoughts on this subject! Am I way off base?

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

More Like This


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Debt is evil? Tell that to any of us that went deep into debt when the US Mint was spewing dollars faster than politicians spew lies. Debt is our best friend! The ROI on churning debt handily beats bank interest or stock market returns.

    • If you are paying your credit cards off by their due date that I don’t consider that debt. Maybe technically it is, but not in the true sense of what I am writing about. People like you and me can leverage available credit to do amazing things, but we are ultimately not in debt. In the same way that you use power throughout the month and pay off the bill at the end, you are doing the same with credit. Consumer credit card debt is evil. People are taking on debt to go on vacation. That is not a healthy behavior in my opinion.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

SoFi Money $50 Bonus!

Super easy bonus! Sign-up and deposit $500 or more and they'll pay you $50! That's it!
Grab Your $50 SoFi Bonus Now!

moomoo - 2 Free Stocks!

Brokerage app moomoo is offering 2 Free Stocks! Just open an account and fund with $500 to get your stocks! Super easy.
Grab your 2 free stocks now!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join thousands of MtM readers who are subscribed to receive a once daily email with all of our posts. Never miss out!

You have Successfully Subscribed!