70% of Americans Would Give Up Travel for 2 Years to Be Debt-Free

The debt crisis is getting worse, a new survey suggests.

With the US government showing no interest in addressing the debt crisis or the circumstances that got us into so much debt in the first place, it leaves us all responsible for getting out of this mess ourselves. According to a new survey from Upgraded Points, people are willing to do just about anything in order to get out of debt.

The average American's personal debts currently come out to over $21,800—while the national figure for credit card debt is $1 trillion. Upgraded Points surveyed 1,000 Americans, asking what they were willing to give up in order to eliminate that debt. The responses ranged from a very low willingness (just 12%) to give up a pet for a year, and a very high willingness (56%) to to give up sex for a year. An overwhelming majority of survey recipients (70%) were willing to give up travel for two years if it meant they could be debt-free. You can view the additional responses in the chart below:

americans would give up travel to get out of debt survey responses
Courtesy of Upgraded Points

"I think our survey paints a clear picture regarding how heavy debt is weighing on many Americans," said Alex Miller, founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, in a statement. "The fact that people are willing to give up integral parts of their daily lives shows that many would do just about anything to get out of debt."

The study also revealed that 36% of Americans are willing to give up their paid time off at work for two years in order to get out of debt—though, in a demographic breakdown, Gen Z is the least willing to give up their PTO.

As the travel industry continues to anticipate a committed interest in taking trips from the American public, information like this throws a bit of a wrench in those plans. With the cost of living increasing, there might be an increased tension between choosing to spend money on vacations and new experiences and paying for essentials. Earlier this year, Thrillist spoke to young people who were going into debt to fund their summer travel—but that might not be a sustainable experience as those credit card bills are coming due.

With experts predicting that travel will only get more expensive in 2024, time will tell if a willingness to give up travel in order to alleviate personal debt will become a reality.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Journalism from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She's worked in digital media for seven years, and before working at Thrillist, she wrote for Mic, The Cut, The Fader, Vice, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.