With spring break rapidly approaching and the traditional summer and fall travel seasons on the horizon now is the time when millions of families begin planning their vacations. That’s right, vacations. More than 70% of family travelers, according to AAA’s research, are planning on heading out on one or two vacations, and a growing number (28%) are planning on taking three trips or more.
Families have long seen travel as a great way to reconnect with each other and form even greater bonds by enjoying new, exciting experiences together. National Parks top the list as places to have those bonding experiences. 51% of families are planning on exploring at least one national park this summer. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children spend significantly less time playing outdoors than they do with entertainment media, and parents are opting for trips that allow for meaningful outdoor experiences. Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks are all top destinations for families. Their unique scenery and history make for a perfect blend of entertainment and education for the whole family. Domestic travel is also preferred for multi-gen and skip-gen travelers.
International travel is becoming more popular with families as well. 33% of family travelers are venturing outside of the US. Millennials with children are taking more international trips than any other family demographic, often adventure trips. Costa Rica tops the list because of its ecological diversity and thrilling adventures such as zip-lining, whitewater rafting, and other exciting activities. Europe’s deep history and multitude of cultures is another big draw for family travelers. Europe is also a hot spot for multi-sport adventures like cycling, hiking, and even hot air ballooning.
One of the most exciting areas of growth is the percentage of families that are planning on traveling with a tour operator. The guided or escorted tour segment grew seven percentage points over last year to 22%. Guided tours, like the ones put together by Austin Adventures, offer structure and convenience, making it even easier for families to enjoy each other’s company. They also tend to be lower-stress as trips are designed with activities for multigenerational groups, ensuring that there is something for everyone to love. And what better way to experience a new place and culture than with an expert, local guide?
Over the years, we have helped hundreds of families experience the magic of travel. We’ve had the unique pleasure of having been around long enough that kids who had traveled with their parents are now showing up on our trips with their kids years later. We’re pleased and honored to be a part of these special moments. And as family travel continues to grow, we’re excited to continue providing lifelong memories to those families that adventure with us, as well.