Super interesting global survey from HomeAway showing how influential kids have become on family vacation planning. Among millennial parents in the US, 34% let their kids make the final decision on where to go on vacation!
Kids want to stay in castles (37%) or tree houses (29%), they want to invite their friends along (55%) and are bummed if they can’t bring their pets (22%).
For younger kids (ages 6-12) theme parks reign supreme but for teens, international travel is a top choice for their family vacation.
A property with a pool and with plenty of bedrooms is a priority – when vacationing at hotels, kids frequently end up sleeping on couches, floors and even bathtubs!
Read below for survey details including decision-making, who’s invited on family vacations, the kind of adventure and excitement kids want, preferred amenities, changes in parental behavior while on vacation (happier, less time spent on gadgets) and more.
According to the HomeAway Kidfluencer Survey, kids are speaking up, and parents are listening – millennial parents even let the kids get the last word:
- The vast majority of parents (85% U.S., 76% UK, 86%France, 95% Germany, 94% Spain) give their children some say in deciding where they want to go on vacation.
- Millennial parents in the U.S. are most likely to give kids full control of where they want to go on vacation (19% versus 2% of parents over the age of 55).
- One in three millennial parents in the U.S. (34%) allow children to make the final decision on where to go on vacation; this compares with 8% of parents aged 55 and over in the U.S.
- The majority (60%) of parents in the U.S. view kids’ input as a way to ensure the kids get more out of the vacation. More than half (53%) involve their kids in the planning process to get them excited about the trip, 42% say they involve their kids so they can learn about new things and nearly one-quarter (24%) use vacation planning as an educational opportunity.
The survey finds that a majority of parents in the U.S. say they let their kids make decisions on the vacation activities (77%), the itinerary (53%) and even the type of destination itself (49%).
“We are surprised the survey shows kids have such an extreme influence on family travel decisions,” said Brian Sharples, HomeAway co-founder and CEO. “The whole family is now invested in the experience, with kids bringing their own travel preferences to the table.”
Who’s invited: grandparents, friends, and pets among top picks in the U.S.
- 41% of parents identify the most important part of a family vacation as spending quality time together over creating lasting memories (27%), exploring new places and cultures (15%), relaxing (10%) and disconnecting (6%).
- Togetherness is also important to kids, with 50% citing it as a top priority for vacation travel.
- Parents and kids agree they want extended family and friends on their ideal vacation, with parents wishing to include relatives like their children’s grandparents (38%) and kids wanting to invite their friends along (55%).
- 30% of parents would choose only to include immediate family, pointing to their desire to spend quality time on vacation.
- Nearly one-third of kids would like to bring their pet (32%) on their ideal vacation while 22% say that leaving their family pet at home during vacation has annoyed them.
U.S. kids want adventure and an exciting place to stay
- In identifying what they want most on vacation, kids enjoy experiencing new adventures (60%) and doing things they wouldn’t be able to do at home (63%) while on vacation.
- Children want to stay in unique accommodations, with a castle (37%) or tree house (29%) rising to the top, among other choices such as an airplane, boat and train.
- The most important accommodation feature is a pool (37% of kids, 75% of parents in the U.S.), and 21% of kids want more than just a pool – they want a water slide.
Among younger kids in the U.S., theme parks reign supreme, but older kids are more likely to choose international travel for their next family vacation
- Double the number of children ages six to 12 (54%) versus teens ages 13 to 18 (27%) would choose a theme park whereas teens are almost three times as likely to choose another country as their destination preference.
- After theme parks, a trip to the beach was the second choice among kids, with nearly one-fifth (19%) of kids wanting to head for the coast.
- Among other destination choices, twice as many teens ages 13 to 18 (10%) versus children six to 12 (5%) would choose big city travel.
“Since HomeAway’s inception, Orlando, Florida with easy access to Disney and Universal Studios has been the top market for U.S. bookings, so the popularity of theme park focused trips is not surprising,” says Sharples. “However, we weren’t expecting to see such a high enthusiasm from kids for traveling internationally. Fortunately, due to the strength of the U.S. dollar, now is a great time to pack-up the family for a European vacation that won’t break the bank.”
While both U.S. kids and parents want to be together, they also want their space
- 72% of parents reported the size of the room/home on vacation was an important feature when deciding where to stay.
- 59% of parents say an important factor is having plenty of beds, so the family doesn’t have to share.
- Popular accommodation choices for kids seemed to rank in order of space for the family, with a vacation rental as first choice (36%) among kids, followed by a hotel (29%) and a cruise ship (23%).
- Kids say the best part of staying in a whole house is getting their own room or their own bed (39%).
- Maybe this desire for space has emerged because kids frequently find themselves sleeping in uncomfortable situations when on vacation:
o 44% spent the night on a couch; 43% have slept on an air mattress and 22% have slept on the floor during their stay.
o 19% of parents report that their child(ren) have slept crowded in a hotel room with too many people.
o No surface is off limits: 4% of parents have reported that their children have slept in a bathtub, and 3% have reported that their kids have slept in a closet.
U.S. kids notice their parents seem happier on vacation and aren’t spending too much time on their devices, but everyone wants the option to stay connected
- 54% of kids report that their parents seem happier on family vacations.
- 70% of kids say their parents don’t spend too much time on their gadgets while on vacation.
The state of the treasured summer family vacation continues to bring families together. Fortunately, 66% of kids report that their parents don’t wear any embarrassing things on vacation. But some parents need to leave the swimsuit at home. Parents’ bathing suits rank tops as the clothing item kids are most embarrassed by, as 12% of U.S. kids over age 12 report, followed by fanny packs (9%) and T-shirts from where they are visiting, like “I LOVE NEW YORK” (9%).
YouGov, on behalf of HomeAway, conducted an online survey of 2,813 kids (ages six to 18) and parents based in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Spain. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Fieldwork was undertaken between April 20-30, 2015.
All figures refer to results from the U.S., unless otherwise stated.
HomeAway, Inc. based in Austin, Texas, is the world’s leading online marketplace for the vacation rental industry, with sites representing over one million paid listings of vacation rental homes in 190 countries.
HomeAway Public Relations