Memorial Day has now come and gone. For many of us this is the time of year when we start looking forward to an upcoming vacation we have planned. This year however, according to a new Bankrate survey nearly half of all Americans intend to skip their summer vacation with affordability being the primary reason why. While my family does intend to travel a little this summer, we are significantly reducing the size and scope of our vacation primarily due to cost as well.

For most of us living on a budget, vacations often fall under the category of discretionary spending. They are luxury items we want to indulge in, but only if there’s enough money left after paying essential expenses. With the cost of living still rising, cutting out expensive vacations is a quick and easy way to balance one’s budget.

Based on this survey, you might assume the other half of the population is financially comfortable since they don’t consider vacation expenses to be a concern. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The same study found that one-third of those intending to travel this summer plan to finance their trips with debt. Given that the average credit card interest rate is now 21.5%, according to LendingTree, and the average cost of a family vacation is just under $10,000. This year’s trip could ultimately cost thousands more depending on how long it takes to pay off.

While I would argue debt is always dangerous, going into hock for something as frivolous as a vacation is just about the worst financial decision one can make. At least with most other major purchases bought on debt, you at least receive a tangible item that retains some of its original value if you have to sell it. That’s not true for vacations. As important as the memories you have, and the photos you take are to you, they hold no monetary value to anyone else. In other words, once you return from your trip that money is gone, and no part of it can ever be recouped.

Many of you may consider yourself financially responsible and wouldn’t dream of charging a tropical getaway to their credit card, opting instead to pay cash. However, if you carry a balance on your credit card while paying cash for a trip, you are effectively financing that vacation through debt. This is a form of creative accounting that may convince you of greater financial responsibility than you actually practice.

The reality is that, as a nation, we Americans are not very responsible with our money. Credit card debt is skyrocketing and reached a record-breaking $1.12 trillion as of April, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. At the same time, average APRs have increased by 30% over the past year and a half.

I believe the potential negative impact of mounting consumer, corporate, and government debt on our economy is significant. Yet, many of us continue to whistle through the graveyard as we continue to spend money we don’t have. To be fair, I have been wary of a debt bomb going off in our economy for years, and so far, these fears have not materialized. Markets are hitting record highs, and unemployment remains at record lows. However, I believe that at some point, the consequences of all this deficit spending will catch up to us. Personally, I want to have cash in the bank and zero debt when that happens. For this reason, I’ll be staying home this summer. After all, how much rest and relaxation can you really get on a vacation if you know a mountain of debt will be waiting for you when you return?

(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The advice is general in nature and not intended for specific situations)