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CNBC Survey: Many Americans Aren't Taking Summer Vacation

Nearly half of all Americans don't plan to take a vacation this summer, and more than half say they're driving less often in the face of high gasoline prices, according to CNBC's latest Wealth in America survey.

A total of 48% of Americans won't go on vacation, including 65% of those who earned $30,000 or less. On the other end of the income scale, 25% of those who earned more than $100,000 a year have opted to stay home.

The survey said 15% of Americans didn't use all their vacation time last year, including one in ten who failed to take as many as four or more of their allotted vacation days.

Of those who take time off, 46% said they stay in touch with the office via cell phone, e-mail or Blackberry.

Among those who plan to take a break, the study found that they expected to cut vacation spending this year. The survey report said vacationers were willing to fork out $1,117 -- a slight decline from last year's spending of $1,165.

Economy Not Big Factor

However, economic factors did not play a major part in this trend.

The dollar's recent weakness had no effect on the decision to travel to Europe, but only 21% of Americans made plans to spend summer abroad.

For those planning to take time off, cost of the trip is secondary to the weather at the vacation destination. Historic and cultural interests trail the cost of lodging when planning a trip, the survey found.

Nevertheless, high gasoline prices are beginning to take a bite out of some plans, with 55% saying they're driving less. But only 25% say they'll start conserving if the price of a gallon of gas hits $4 or more.

Here's a choice many Americans face: Your boss likes your work and offers you an extra week's pay or an extra week off.

Split on Answer

Forty-five percent would take the time off while 47% would grab the money and 7% weren't sure.

Taking the additional time off were lower-middle class workers, suburbanites, the wealthy, and professional women, the survey found.

Opting for extra money were professional men, those earning less than $30,000 a year, those holding postgraduate degrees and seniors.

Most Americans feel comfortable enough at work that they believe taking all their vacation days wouldn't harm their ability to secure raises or promotions. Only 7% said taking a vacation would damage future success at the office.

As you fret about this year's plans, remember that 10% of Americans don't get any paid vacation.

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