Occupational uncertainty has a considerable effect upon consumer decisions during a recession, especially with respect to discretionary products and services such as tourism. Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), the study examines the complex relations among job vulnerability, disposable income for tourism, marketing activities, and price and quality issues for Greek holiday makers returning from their vacations. The article also compares QCA with the two dominant linear methods of analysis (i.e. correlation and regression) and highlights the suitability of QCA when dealing with complexity in tourism. The results reveal four configurations explaining the attributes of Greek residents’ tourism decisions, characterized by value-for-money orientation, achievement of best available purchase, psychological strengthening, and price sensitivity. The study also employs predictive validity for the presented models. The findings are valid from both a methodological and managerial perspective suggesting new research insights.