Summer holidays are being sacrificed as families struggle with their finances, a new report claims.

More than 17 million Britons are not planning to take holiday this summer as the impact of recession hits family finances. The number of people forgoing a summer holiday this year is 2.7 million higher than in 2008 – the summer immediately before the financial crisis hit.

Many families are already struggling with the effects of rising prices and are forfeiting their summer break as they attempt to reduce debts, according to the research by ING Direct. The study found that domestic tourism is likely to suffer most from people opting out of holidays altogether.

The poll of 2,000 people found that 88% of people who had dropped holidays in the last three years were those who would usually take a UK holiday. Many of those taking holidays are planning to cut their budget this year, with more than half of holidaymakers saying they would be spending less than usual.

Those who are going away are increasingly saving up for their holidays, rather than paying for it on credit, ING Direct found. This year 36% of Britons were planning to pay for the holiday from savings, up from 30% last year.

ING Direct chief executive Richard Doe said: “It’s clear that a tough economic climate is causing consumers to pull off a very difficult balancing act – cutting down on debt while dealing with rising prices – so it’s not surprising that the summer holiday is often being sacrificed.”

He added: “It is certainly a good thing that consumers are adopting a more sensible approach to holiday planning, saving in advance for their trips, rather than entirely relying on the plastic.”