Summer is on the horizon, which means it’s Dad’s job to pick a vacation destination (so he’ll have somewhere to threaten to “turn the damn car around” on the way to). Fortunately, HomeAway, a company specializing in vacation rental properties, is here to help with a survey of the tiniest and most insufferable travel critics of all: your kids. The 2017 Kidpinion Travel Survey—with suspicious methodology and nothing even vaguely resembling peer review—may not inspire confidence. But it does give grown-ups a general idea of where kids want to travel to. Spoiler: it’s not Disneyland.
The survey, which involved 555 kids ages 6 to 18, suggests kids basically want to vacation on some sort of private island (29 percent said this would be their ideal vacation spot) with a treehouse (26 percent). Though this may make all kids sound like ayahuasca slinging shamans, their parents more or less agreed—39 percent ranked a private island as their number one non-traditional choice in a summer destination, second only to a castle (26 percent) and, believe it or not, a treehouse (19 percent). So the whole family has fairly unrealistic expectations, and nothing you do will ever be enough.
Given that the “research” comes from a company that benefits from your over-the-top travel decisions, it’s important to take their recommendations with a heavy grain of margarita salt. HomeAway conveniently lists many private islands, castles, and tree houses. Disneyland isn’t even an option. Alas, the game is (either somewhat, or entirely) rigged.
Still, there are some interesting nuggets in the data. Pool access appears to be a big deal for the whole family—77 percent of parents and 36 percent of kids said this was the single most important amenity for a summer vacation—and kids rated their ability to bring along a friend (54 percent) or the family pet (32 percent) as among the most important factors in a winning getaway. Meanwhile, 42 percent of kids told researchers they’d rather go on a family vacation than get a physical birthday present. Which is sort of a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s kind of sweet that nearly half of the kids would rather spend time with their parents than enjoy a new Xbox. On the other hand, the kids seem to think “spending time with their parents” entails a private island with adjoining tree houses. At least, that’s what the people selling tree house island getaways want us to think…