What Is the Typical Family Vacation?

Nix the technology and don’t avoid the in-laws. A survey from Liberty Travel shines a light on family vacation trends.

The family vacation is alive and well, with nearly 80% of survey respondents saying that they take at least one vacation a year. The planning process takes between three and nine months before the date of departure. And surprisingly, in this day of 24/7 data access, travel agents are often involved in planning: 69% have used an agent to plan a family vacation.

Some of the overarching trends: tech use changes for most families on vacation, with 58% of respondents saying that children use technology much less than when they are at home. Slightly less than a third said the kids use iPads and gaming systems only when in transit to their destination.

If you think the family vacation is a way to connect with family members, you’re right. More than half (52%) of travelers said they find themselves talking to one another more when on vacation. Some 45% said they talk about the same amount. Only very small minority find themselves talking less (2%).

How much family to go on family vacation with? More than a third (nearly 35%) of respondents welcomed in-laws on vacation, with 41% adding that in-laws were fine but “some alone time and ideally rooms on different floors” were desired; just less than a quarter (24%) of respondents opted for in-laws “vacationing in a different country, preferably on a different continent.”

Golf, or Pony Land, or the same vacation place again and again? Slightly more than half of respondents (51%) reported that both parents in a family decide where to vacation; mom called the shots in slightly less than one in three (31%) of respondents’ cases; dad determined vacation destinations just 5% of the time. A little less than 3% said the kids decide and slightly more than 3% said they couldn’t remember who picked the place because they have been going to the same spot year after year.

Of those surveyed who take at least one vacation a year, nearly 47% of that number takes off two or more times annually. School schedules do not always figure into vacation planning. Those who vacation outside the summer months, were nearly equally split between pulling kids out of school for two or more days to take a vacation and never doing so.

Perhaps most unsurprising of all, a majority of respondents (65%) said they wished they could stay longer.