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BMO Survey: US Summer Spending Heats Up Following Record-Breaking Memorial Day Travel
  • 25% say they will spend more on vacation and travel compared to 2023.
  • 51% percent say they spend more than they know they should.

CHICAGO, June 18, 2024 /CNW/ - A special report from the BMO Real Financial Progress Index finds Americans plan to increase their summer spending across numerous categories, particularly on vacations and travel, with a quarter of Americans saying they will spend more on getaways this summer compared to last year.

Millennials and Gen Z lead this summer's getaway spending plans, with 30 percent (on both counts) saying they plan to spend more over the next few months compared to 2023. This comes after a record-breaking number of travelers screened at airports during the Memorial Day weekend, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

"On an upbeat note, travel and tourism has strengthened across most of the country, according to the Fed's latest regional survey." said Scott Anderson, Chief U.S. Economist at BMO. "Additionally, even amid lingering inflation pressures and higher-for-longer interest rates, consumer spending on experiences and some big-ticket items are still grinding higher, despite heightened price sensitivity around small discretionary goods outlays."

In addition to summer vacations and travel plans, BMO's quarterly study on consumer sentiment about money also highlights how spending patterns will vary this summer from last summer:

  • Summer escapades: 25% of Americans say they will spend more on vacations and travel than less this summer (13%), while 38% say they will spend the same amount as last year. 24% say they will remain at home this summer.
  • Home sweet upgrade: 17% say they will spend more on home renovations, while 27% say they will spend the same amount on updates. 12% say they will spend less on home improvements, while 44% say they have no plans to do this.
  • Sunshine playtime: Out of the households that have children under 18, 20% say they will spend more on summer camp and daycare, 14% will spend less, and 36% will spend the same amount. 30% say they are not doing summer camp or daycare at all.
  • Big splurges: 13% percent will spend more on large purchases like a car or boat, 21% will spend the same as last year, 11% will spend less than last summer, while most (55%) have no plans.
  • Milestone moments: 15% of Americans will spend more on special events like graduations and baby or wedding showers, while 31% plan to spend the same amount as last summer, and 12% less than last summer. The remaining 43% have no plans.

Despite the number of Americans with plans to spend more this summer, 60% of Americans say they are more concerned about the cost of living than they were 3 months ago and 51% say they spend more than they know they should, according to BMO's index. Additionally, credit card debt is a significant source of financial stress, with 54% of Americans saying it causes them anxiety.

"With a quarter of Americans increasing their summer travel and vacation spending plans, it's crucial to emphasize the importance of utilizing professional advice and digital tools to help save for goals, such as BMO Total Look, which can personalize your budget and manage your money effectively to prevent additional financial stress," said Paul Dilda, Head of U.S. Consumer Strategy at BMO. "If you need extra guidance, consider consulting a banker or financial advisor to develop tailored strategies that ensure you stay on track to make real financial progress while enjoying your vacation."

BMO helps customers stay on track and make financial progress

In addition to creating a budget and sticking to it, BMO offers the following tips to help make real financial progress this summer:

  • Build a budget and review spending and financial statements at least once a month.
  • Develop a separate budget to save for more expensive plans, such as a vacation, travel, or large purchases.
  • Look for recurring "hidden" expenses, such as forgotten subscriptions, and cancel those you don't use or need.
  • Regularly meet with your banker or financial advisor to make sure your savings and payment patterns are on track to reach both near- and long-term goals.
  • Set up a savings goal and recurring savings transfers into an account – no matter the amount – which will provide a sense of progress and motivation to achieve your savings goals.
  • Take advantage of the BMO Real Financial Progress Hub, a digital resource that allows customers to easily access personal finance advice and guidance, as well as tools and resources to reach their own specific financial goals.

About the BMO Real Financial Progress Index

Launched in February 2021, the BMO Real Financial Progress Index is an indicator of how consumers feel about their personal finances and whether they are making financial progress. The index aims to spark dialogue that will help consumers reach their financial goals and to humanize a topic that causes anxiety for many – money.

The research detailed in this document was conducted by Ipsos in the United States from February 28 to March 18, 2024. A sample of n=2,505 adults ages 18+ in the United States was collected. Quotas and weighting were used to ensure the sample's composition reflects that of the American population according to census parameters. This survey has a credibility interval of +/- 2.4 per cent 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all American adults 18+ been surveyed.

About BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.4 trillion as of April 30, 2024. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.

Media Contact: Lucas Seiler, Chicago,, 312-340-8576

SOURCE BMO Financial Group