What Parents Say About Family Vacations
Go for it.
You need a vacation now more than ever, and you shouldn't feel the least bit guilty. In fact, you've got lots of company, according to a new family-travel poll for which I partnered with
The majority of the 1,100 people who responded said that vacations are as important now as they were before the recession, and nearly one-fourth of respondents said vacations are more important now. I can only imagine the frustration of all of those families around the world whose long-awaited vacations have been disrupted and likely ruined by the cloud of volcanic ash that is wreaking havoc with travel across
With all of the extra stresses this never-ending recession has wrought, "People recognize the importance of quality time with their families away from the stress," says Dr.
I couldn't agree more. But that's not to say we're willing to blow next month's mortgage payment. In fact, the poll shows that we're scaling back at home in order to afford a getaway. Sixty-seven percent will cut back on entertainment and eating out, more than half will postpone a major purchase, and a third will trim health and beauty expenses (do you really need that haircut?) in order to afford going away.
And once we decide to go, we'll cut costs every way we can. We'll avoid expensive travel around the holidays -- 10 percent say they'll take kids out of school, in fact -- drive instead of fly (49 percent), and vacation closer to home. (This week, the national parks are all waiving admissions fees and touting a variety of extra activities for visitors; visit www.nps.gov.)
"The savings are all in the hotels," says Brown, noting that airfares are up -- all the more reason to book packages (that let you save significantly) or drive, as do the Neals.
Besides saving money,
Nor is there concern about missing a flight. or getting involuntarily bumped, or dealing with a toddler who doesn't want to let go of his "lovey" at security. That and the airlines' efforts to continue to nickel-and-dime passengers -- the latest by
But wherever you go and however you get there, it's about keeping the kids happy. Any parent who has vacationed with an inconsolable toddler or a sulking tween or a teen pining for her boyfriend knows that if the kids aren't happy, no one will be happy. "We want to avoid places that lead to frequent whining and tantrums," says
That's probably why. As this survey suggests, kids are involved in the planning. "Although they don't always tell you directly, most kids are happy to spend time together as a family," says Dr.
Lucky kids. When I was a kid, no one ever asked me where I wanted to go on vacation or what I wanted to do when I got there.
More than half of those polled select activities with the kids in mind. The Yuens, for example, opt for the Santa Barbara Family Vacation Center. A quarter of the kids determine the type of vacation (cruise or campground. perhaps?), and a third of kids 11 and older are doing vacation research online. In many cases, they know their way around the Web better than their parents. (A third of those with kids 11 or older report that the kids determine the type of vacations.)
A tip to the travel industry on marketing to families: Pay attention to these junior travelers. They may well decide which hotel or cruise line the family chooses (the one with the best water slide!) or where the family will go.
Another tip for the travel industry that we gleaned from this poll: Pay attention to single-parent families. There are millions of single parents out there, after all, and 98 percent of the ones polled say the travel industry doesn't adequately meet their needs. Seventy-one percent would like to see more single parent packages, for example, and a third asked for more organized kids activities so that the parent could get a break. For example, from
The thing we all need to remember is that, unlike a crockpot or even a car (yes, there have been deals suggesting we can return a minivan if we don't like it), we can't return a vacation if it doesn't turn out the way we expected. It might rain. Someone might get sick. The hotel pool might not look anything like the photographs.
But at least, if the kids helped plan, it's not your fault when things go awry. You're all in it together.
And that's what matters most anyway.
Recent Vacation Ideas & Travel Destinations
- Krakow: Poland's Historic and Cultural Gem
- Europe this Summer: Mixed Bag of News
- 'Qualify' for a Fleecing?
- Forget Your Travel Agent: 4 Trips You Should Book Yourself
- I Had to Pay Twice For My Flights to Mexico
- What's Next For Airlines Paying by the Pound?
- What Parents Say About Family Vacations
- New-Style Vacation Trips Trip with the Grandparents
- Princess for a Day at Disney World
- Easter in Europe
- Where Are Cheap Round-the-World Airfares
- Premium Economy for Overseas Trips
- Healthy Hiking With Your Dog
- Taking the Kids to Bermuda
- Taking the Kids to Chile
- Too Sick to Fly? When to Put Yourself on the 'No Fly' List
- Lowest Airfare? You May Have to Connect
- Europe 2010: Pricey, But with Some Good Deals
- Totally Kidcentric and Affordable Ski Resorts
- Taking the Kids to Alaska and Meeting Some Bears
- Taking the Kids to Mohonk Mountain House
- Taking the Kids to Patagonia
- Taking the Kids - Skiing in Telluride
- Taking the Kids - Skiing this Winter without Busting the Budget
- Taking the Kids - How Snow Sports Can Transform a Child's Life
- Taking the Kids: Skiing in Austria
- Getting Up-close & Personal with Olympians
- Travel Apps for Your Smart Phone
- 6 Ways to Save: Family Vacations
(c) 2010 Eileen Ogintz
World-renowned chefs with an extraordinary passion for food, share that passion. They make great cooking easier than you ever imagined. Each feature includes both an expert tip and an easy recipe - exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable.
Recipes Click Here
Movie Reviews, commentary and more. Plus Trailers from movies currently in theaters and available on DVD.
Movie Reviews Click Here