In-Laws are not the out-laws when it comes to family travel

Liberty Travel, the leaders in travel and vacations in America, released a study today examining the summer vacation. It’s a long lived tradition for families to to the roads during the summer while many schools are not in session.  Here’s what Liberty Travel found:


Liberty Travel, Ramsey, NJ – May 16, 2013 – School is almost out, summer is upon us and family vacations will soon be in full swing.  Liberty Travel, the inventors of the vacation package over 60 years ago, surveyed over 2,000 people to get their take on summertime escapes.  From frequency to planning, packing to the amount of talking and technology while away, travelers weighed in with their vacation habits.  The overarching trend was togetherness, from low tech to more talking and the in-laws being welcome, here is a closer look:

Low-tech, high togetherness: It is no secret that technology, from iPads to gaming systems, can often get in the way of togetherness.  Vacations, however, seem to be an exception as nearly 58% of respondents said children use technology much less than when they are at home (27.49%) or only in transit (plane, car, etc.) to the destination (30.24%).  Very small percentages reported going tech-free (6%) or kids are glued to something the entire time (1%), with the remainder reporting the same usage (or not having children).

Let’s give them something to talk about: With technology taking a back seat when on vacation it’s no surprise that over 52% of travelers said they find themselves talking to one another more when on vacation.  Approximately 45% said they talk about the same amount and less than 2% find themselves talking less.

In-Laws are not the out-laws: In-laws often get a bad rap, but the reality according to the survey results is that they are welcome along for the ride.  Nearly 35% said “the more the merrier,” 41% said “sure; we need to have some alone time and ideally rooms on different floors,” with 24% opting for the in-laws “vacationing in a different country, preferably on a different continent.”

Who calls the shots: Overwhelmingly it seems that parents can agree on one thing, where to vacation, with over 51% reporting that both parents decide where to go.  Coming in next was mom calling the shots (31%) with dad trailing far behind at just over 5%.  Just under 3% say the kids decide, while just over 3% can’t remember who picked the place because they have been going to the same spot year after year.

Other interesting data includes:

  • Nearly 80% surveyed take at least one vacation a year, with nearly 47% of that number taking off two or more times annually.
  • Planning takes place for most six to nine months out (35.44%) with three to five months out coming in a close second (31.33%).  Others plan more than a year out (14.33%) or less than three months in advance (18.90%).
  • Nearly 69% of travelers have used a travel agent when planning a family vacation.
  • For those vacationing outside of the summer months there was nearly an equal split on pulling kids out of school for two or more days to take a vacation.  And when families are on vacation they want to be with their children, with the majority reporting they do not put children in a kids club or other organized activities.  
  • Mom or dad packs for the whole family came in at 44%, almost tied with everyone being on their own in the luggage department (42%).  The remainder said “parents pack the necessities & children pack everything they think they’ll need but never use.” 
  • 51% go away for seven or more days and 44% escape four to six days, with only 5% taking trips of three days or less.  65% of those surveyed wish they could stay longer when it’s time to go home. Only 12% are ready to go home and 23% thought it was the perfect length of time to be away. All-inclusive resorts got a nod for “always” for 19.35% of respondents, “sometimes” for 48.01% and “never” for 32.64%.

“We have always known that vacations are a special, treasured time for families,” said Liberty Travel President Emma Jupp.  “Seeing that families are talking more and using technology less in these extremely busy, over-scheduled times we live in makes these getaways even more precious.”

So, what does VeryGoodPoints think?

Low-tech, high togetherness:  I am not sure I agree with the survey results in the category – maybe people weren’t so honest? But in all the resorts I go to I see absolutely tons of kids using iPads and other technology.  I recall a scene from a resort where the family was sitting having breakfast and each of the three children were staring like zombies at their own iPads. Maybe parents aren’t ready to admit how convenient technology is when it comes to babysitting.

Let’s give them something to talk about: I absoutely have to agree with this one. People tend to talk – a lot more – when they’re together!

In-Laws are not the out-laws: I have none, so I can’t really comment. I will say, my brother-in-law doesn’t seem to mind when my parents are around to amuse the kids while on vacation. 

Who calls the shots: Again, I have no kids, so I can’t really comment here, but I suspect people are just happy to be getting away and don’t really care who picks that spot.

Nearly 69% of travelers have used a travel agent when planning a family vacation. – This is the most surprising statistic for me.  I didn’t realize that travel agents still played such a huge role in planning family travel. However, as The Deal Mommy pointed out recently, it’s extremely important that families find the best deals and often times, the advertised “best deal” isn’t always best.  Using a trusted travel agent would be a great way to validate that what you saw advertised is really a deal -especially if a busy parent didn’t have time to do their own research.

This is a great study that shows some really interesting travel trends. Liberty Travel is a great resource for travelers looking for help planning a great vacation. I remember eagerly flipping the pages of the New York Times Travel Section looking for the big red Liberty Travel advertisement and dreaming about my next vacation – now, I don’t read the New York Times, but Liberty Travel is still there to help you dream!


My Last Family Vacation to Walt Disney World

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