Vacations are designed to alleviate stress, but they often end up inducing more headaches than they’re supposed to relieve. When you add kids into the mix, planning a family trip is as far from a stress-free situation as you can get.
That’s precisely why most parents try to plan trips that are, above all, simple, with as many considerations as possible bundled up into a single neat package. We surveyed 1,000 parents to see what their vacation and travel habits are like, how they focus their time away, and what they do to keep the planning stressors to a minimum.
Summer Reigns Supreme for the Busiest Time to Travel
The kids are out of school, and the hot weather is turning you and your loved ones into one lethargic mass … it’s the perfect time to get away from the house and go somewhere to get your mind off the day-to-day. June and July are, by far, the months when most parents choose to travel with their kids. January and February are the quietest times, with fewer than 1 in 20 parents electing to travel during those months. About 6 percent of respondents said they don’t travel at all — most of those parents were between 25 and 44 years old, and likely dealing with kids in their prime chaotic form.
Early Planning is the Way to Go
More than a third of all respondents said they start planning their family vacations six months in advance (they’re likely making headway during the hibernating months of January and February). More than half give themselves at least three months to figure things out. A wild 7 percent or so actually elect to plan their trip the week of their travel.
Technology Is Making It Easier to Plan Travels
The rise of new technology means it’s easier to plan a vacation, even when you have no idea what you’re doing. About 60 percent of all parents use travel search engines to figure out travel and accommodations. The majority of those parents are between 25 and 44. Still, about half the respondents also said they put stock in what friends and family tell them.
Only the Brave Attempt to Vacation Without A Budget
A whopping 80 percent of all parents create a budget for their family trip. About 47 percent are planning to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 for the trip, with another 44 percent spending less that $2,000. Only about 8 percent are budgeting for more than $5,000 — naturally most people from that group are in a high-income bracket.
And for Good Reason — Costs Are a Giant Headache
By far the biggest challenge for nearly 65 percent of all parents planning a vacation is dealing with the expense. Deciding where to go and trying to get the entire family to agree on a destination is also a problem, but the lesson is simple: mo’ money, mo’ problems.
Beach Vacations Never Die
Having trouble figuring out where to take everyone? For almost 60 percent of respondents, the beach is a safe choice that most look forward to, across all demographics. Costs are down, the activities (lounging on the sand and getting wet every now and then) appeal to most, and there are plenty of destinations to choose from. Nearly half those respondents who selected beach vacations hailed from the South.
The Rare Joint-Family Vacation
Doing a joint vacation with another family? You’re in the minority here. Only one-fourth of respondents said they travel with other families “always” or “frequently.” Nearly a third said they never do.
Keep It All-Inclusive
An all-inclusive hotel/resort accommodation is definitely the most popular way to go for family vacations, with roughly 35 percent of parents saying this is their preferred way of figuring out lodging. Another 28 percent also selected resort hotels as their favorite accommodation. There’s plenty to do for everyone, and guests don’t really have to worry much about how to keep busy and keep everyone happy. Nearly 64 percent have previously stayed at an all-inclusive spot.
Keep It Delicious
We can never underestimate just how much good food can make or break our day — just over 61 percent of all respondents said restaurants are among their biggest priorities when choosing a hotel or resort. It’s also worth keeping in mind how much people love to get in the water; a pool is a high priority as well, according to another 61 percent of respondents.