Home for the holidays? Only if parents pay the way, study finds

  • Roughly half of Gen Z and millennials plan to travel home for the holidays, many on their parents’ dime 
  • 41% of Zoomers who are traveling home for the holidays expect their parents or family members to pay for their travel accommodations  
  • For those not traveling home for the holidays, a quarter blame rising gas prices 

Airfares and gas prices are on the rise, making traveling home for the holidays less affordable for many homesick travelers – especially those who are younger and perhaps less financially stable. In fact, recent reports show airfares are up a shocking 40% from the same time last year, with tickets expected to price anywhere from $400 to over $1,000 depending on where consumers are traveling to and from. As a result, many are having to stay home and forgo seeing their family altogether. That is, unless their parents pay their way. 

According to a recent study conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma, exactly half of Zoomers plan to travel home this holiday season, however, many will rely on their parents or family members to pay for their travel accommodations. Of Gen Z respondents who are traveling home for the holidays, 26% say their parents will pay for their holiday accommodations while another 15% will rely on help from other family members to travel home. 

“What do you mean you’re not coming home this year?”

According to the study, 57% of Americans don’t plan to travel home for the holidays. This was most common among Gen X and Boomers+ who are more likely to be the host of this year’s holiday festivities, 57% and 79% respectively. Additionally, 34% of Gen Z say they will not travel home this holiday season along with 41% of millennials. Among Americans not traveling home, the leading factors contributing to their decision not to travel include expensive gas prices (25%), inflation making it difficult to make ends meet (20%) and expensive flights (17%). 

Worth noting, 10% of Gen Z respondents who don’t plan to travel home for the holidays say they’re unable to do so because their parents can’t pay for their travel this year and, another 18% aren’t traveling home because their family or friends had to cancel their holiday plans due to rising inflation. 

“Airfare and gas prices are up significantly from a year ago, which is forcing many Americans to rethink their holiday travel plans and it looks like these costs could add up for parents this year,” said Colleen McCreary, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma. “If you’re a parent planning to pay for your child’s travel this holiday season, don’t wait to buy your airline tickets. A lot of people think they’ll get a last minute deal if they wait, but I’m here to tell you prices will not get better. If you’re looking for ways to save on your ticket, consider booking travel on less ideal travel days. For example, if you’re flying your kid out for Christmas, consider booking travel for Christmas day or even Christmas eve. Then, when you’re booking their return flight, look for early morning flights on days that are less desirable to travel. This could help save some cash, but really the best thing you can do is act fast and buy tickets now.”


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma from October 26-31, 2022 among 1,008 adults ages 18 and older.