More moms are comfortable about taking time off work for family vacation this year, but they’re still watching their purse strings, according to a national survey.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of the employed moms are optimistic about taking all of their paid vacation days, up from only 57% in 2010. Just as last year, however, most plan to pay for vacations out of current resources instead of using credit.

Conducted by Nashville-based WhyMomsRule.com, a blog that tracks trends affecting moms and their buying habits, the poll showed moms continue to book travel close to date of departure, but 26% still book three to six months out.

Almost half of the moms in all three generations polled (Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomers) plan to purchase vacation with monthly savings (44% of baby boomers and Gen X, 46% of Gen Y), followed by tax refunds (28% for Gen Y and X and 11% for boomers). This cash mentality mirrors last year’s feelings.

Much smaller percentages were willing to “put it on plastic” (14% for Gen Y, 21% for Gen X and 30% for baby boomers).

Summer remains the preferred travel season (61% for this year, 57% last year), but spring is growing (32% this year versus 24% in 2010).

Gen Y moms particularly are more optimistic. In 2010, 24% said the economy would keep their families at home, but that has dropped to 17%.

Sacrifice remains a theme, but there’s been a shift. Last year, moms expected yearlong sacrifices to make vacation affordable. This year, there is slightly more emphasis on being frugal while actually on vacation. (Example: 42% last year expected to cut back on restaurant dining all year, but that has dropped to 33%.)

Two signs of optimism involved flying and choosing new vacation destinations. The number of moms opting to fly instead of drive grew from 28 to 36%, while more moms are looking for new destinations (up from 25 to 32%).

[Source:  National survey conducted by WhyMomsRule.com/Bohan Ideas.  16 Feb. 2011.  Web.  3 Mar. 2011.]