With Travel on Hold, More Americans Are Spending Money on Home Improvements

Homeowners aren’t letting their travel funds go to waste

Housing Tract
Steve Proehl / Getty Images

COVID-19 has had a major impact on travel, costing the travel industry more than $300 billion. With fewer people traveling these days, due to border restrictions and safety concerns, travel dollars are going unspent—on travel, anyway. A recent study from Groundworks, a company specializing in foundation repairs, shows that Americans are spending their travel budget on making updates to their home, instead.

According to the study, 1,878 American homeowners were surveyed, and 29 percent revealed that the money they had allocated for travel is now going toward updating their house. The exact amount of money wasn’t revealed, but the study notes the average cost of a vacation for a family of four can be just over $4,500. 

Only those 35 and up were polled, due to the lower likelihood of younger people being homeowners. While almost one-third of the general respondents are using their funds for home improvements, the percentage was even higher for those between 35 and 44 years old; in that group, 34 percent said they will be using their travel money for home repairs. 

The data also revealed higher percentages in certain pockets of the country. In Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Wyoming, up to 50 percent of those surveyed are pouring vacation money into their home. 

But what exactly are homeowners updating? 

Just over 50 percent of people are doing “structural home repairs,” which can include a new roof or foundational fixes. Also, with many movie theaters and parks closed, it’s no surprise that outdoor entertaining is another major source of repairs; 29.5 percent of respondents are focusing on that aspect of their homes. The rest of the improvements are going toward home additions or new rooms, a gym, or pool. 

“We’ve definitely seen our audience work to improve their homes during quarantine,” said Allison Bean, the editorial director of The Spruce.

With people increasingly at home and businesses closed, it’s natural that many Americans are leaning in to making their house a zen, comfortable space, or just updating features and structures they may not have had the time to do before. 

“With summer vacation plans canceled, we did see quite a few people looking to turn their outdoor spaces into their own private oasis," said Bean. "Our articles about above-ground pools and hot tubs are seeing a massive traffic spike—they are up a whopping 3,600 percent compared to last year." 

The Groundworks survey found most people will make structural home repairs. Projects like this tend to require the expertise of a professional, but they can significantly increase property value. However, even minor changes or projects can be easy to do and make a big difference, said Bean.

“Once people started to spend more time at home, interest in interior painting saw a bit of an uptick, and it’s no wonder—painting is a relatively low-cost, beginner-friendly, DIY project,” said Bean. “Supplies, like our own Spruce Best Home Paint collection can be easily ordered online, and you don’t run the risk of needing a professional to bail you out if something goes awry.”

If your travel plans are on hold, putting those funds toward home improvements, whether paying a professional to make major structural updates or doing a light DIY project, can make your time at home more enjoyable.

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