Parents that haven't yet made spring break plans should consider taking off work to travel as a family. Some of life's most cherished memories are formed on family vacations, according to a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive, found at TravelEffect.com.
"We assumed there would be a connection between memories and vacations, but it was surprising to learn that some of people's most vivid childhood memories are of family vacations that happened when they were as young as 5," said Regina Corso of Harris Interactive, who conducted the poll of more than 2,500 adults and 1,100 youth for the U.S. Travel Association.
Key findings include:
- Family vacation memories last a lifetime: Most adults surveyed (62%) said their earliest memories were of family vacations taken when they were between ages 5 and 10, and they remember childhood trips more clearly than school events or birthday celebrations.
- Like their parents, children cherish family vacation memories: Youth surveyed strongly agreed that they get to see and do things on vacation that they'll remember for a long time (64%) and that vacations bring their family closer together (53%).
- Parents underestimate the value of including grandparents on family vacations: Children who traveled with their extended family reported that they get to spend quality time with their grandparents (78%), they feel closer to them (60%), and they like to remember stories about what they did with their grandparents (65%).
"These new research findings should encourage parents to plan family trips this spring break and summer as a way to strengthen family bonds for generations," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "Families that take time to travel together will have stories to share for years to come."
The survey reveals important lessons when it comes to planning a family vacation, including:
- When on vacation, do activities as a family. While parents and kids often don't spend quality time together at home and plan separate vacation activities, more than half of children say that vacations are a time to make up for that – and that they get to spend quality time with their parents.
- Consider including your children's grandparents. Contrary to conventional wisdom, children are enthusiastic about traveling with their grandparents. More than half the children questioned reported feeling closer to their grandparents after a family vacation together.
- Do something adventurous or try something new. For kids, a meaningful vacation is one where they get to do interesting things – and this is more important than where they stay or where they go. More than two-thirds of the children surveyed believe that a family vacation is an opportunity to try activities that they cannot do at home.
"Ask any parent – or kid – and they'll tell you family vacations not only are the best times they have together but create the most lasting memories," said Eileen Ogintz, author of the syndicated column and website TakingtheKids.com and a nationally recognized family travel expert. "The more you involve the kids in the planning, and the simpler the itinerary, the happier everyone will be."
The "Family Vacations Create Lasting Memories" survey explored the vacation habits of American families and how memories from family vacations are valued, captured and shared. Harris Interactive conducted the online survey in December 2012 on behalf of the U.S. Travel Association. The survey included 2,531 adults and 1,130 youth ages 8-18. For additional survey results, visit TravelEffect.com.
About Travel Effect
Travel Effect is a campaign of the U.S. Travel Association, the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $1.9 trillion in economic output and supports 14.4 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. www.traveleffect.com
Follow us on Twitter @ustravel.