Spring Break—Everybody in the Pool!

Families want a mix of activities while on vacation, and they’re looking to connect with one another, a survey says. 

After the recent cold winter, much of the country is looking to unthaw and finalize travel plans for spring break, says online travel company Orbitz in a survey.

Two facts of contemporary life—parents who are increasingly tethered to their workplace, and children increasingly glued to personal devices—also drive families to seek a vacation that will allow everyone to reconnect.

“Over the past 15 years, the advent of new communication technologies has caused a decline in real connections within families,” says Jeanine Turner, associate professor of communication, culture and technology at Georgetown University.

But it’s not enough to simply get on an airplane and check into a hotel together, Turner says. Even though vacations can be  a wonderful way to unplug and bond with one another,  just sharing physical space is not the same as connecting. “The critical thing is to share an activity together that creates a memory of experiences,” she points out.

Orbitz identified several categories of activities families want to experience together to enrich their overall holiday to provide quality family time and get the most from their travel experience. If budget weren’t a factor, more than a third of families (36%) surveyed about their ideal getaway said a vacation centered around a water activity, such as swimming with dolphins, would be ideal. Slightly less than a third (30%) would plan a cultural activity to learn about the history of an area.

More than one in five (22%) would plan an educational activity, such as a tour of NASA. Learning a new sport was at the bottom of the list, chosen by fewer than one in 10 (8%).

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula took three spots on the top 10 list of spring destinations with Cancun, Riviera Maya and Playa Del Carmen. Further down, New York City was also cited. The top destinations for spring break for all travelers, along with average hotel cost, are:

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada ($115 a night)
  2. Cancun, Mexico ($267)
  3. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic ($306)
  4. Orlando, Florida ($125)
  5. Riviera Maya, Mexico ($339)
  6. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico ($311)
  7. Honolulu, Hawaii ($212)
  8. New York, New York ($294)
  9. New Orleans, Louisiana ($239
  10. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico ($190)