Led by millennials, some 88 million Americans plan to take family vacations this year. According to the latest research from AAA Travel and the Automobile Club of Southern California, 44 percent of millennials are planning a family getaway, more than members of Generation X (39 percent) or baby boomers (32 percent).
“Just like generations before them, millennials see a family vacation as one of the best ways to create memories and reconnect with loved ones,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “No matter their age, families are going on not just one, but multiple vacations throughout the year to revisit favorite destinations and experience new places.”
As travelers seek new sights, AAA expects family trips abroad to be a hot trend in 2018. Of families who will take a trip this year, 35 percent plan to visit an international destination – a nine percentage point increase from just two years ago. Based on advance travel bookings, AAA predicts the top five most likely international destinations for families will be:
- Cancun, Mexico
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Montego Bay, Jamaica
- Rome, Italy
- Dublin, Ireland
“We’ve seen increased demand for international travel overall, and that trend is now starting to appeal to families,” said Andre.
For families traveling domestically, expensive gas prices – the highest prices seen since 2014 – are not stopping vacation planners from packing up their cars for a road trip. They remain the most popular option for family vacations, with nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those planning a trip expected to hit the roads.
Additional AAA family travel highlights for 2018:
- Families are taking more trips per year. One in four (27 percent) traveling families is planning to take three or more family vacations in the next 12 months, 12 percentage points more than in 2016.
- Family travelers are looking for new experiences. Three-quarters (73 percent) of families that are planning a vacation this year are seeking a destination they have not previously visited.
- Families are seeking R&R. When looking for these new experiences, families are choosing destinations with attractions such as beaches and mountains (61 percent), opportunities for sightseeing (59 percent) and relaxation (56 percent).
AAA’s travel experts recommend that families plan their trips with AAA’s Diamonds in mind. AAA’s professional inspectors assess nearly 59,000 hotels and restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean to assign AAA Diamond Ratings. Every AAA Inspected & Approved hotel and restaurant is acceptable for the type of experience it provides. Ratings, from One to Five Diamonds, help travelers find the level of services, facilities and amenities they’re looking for on their vacation. Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments in the AAA Mobile app, AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner.
To help families even further, the Auto Club’s inspectors have identified a couple of their favorite local family-friendly hotels for 2018:
- TownePlace Suites Bakersfield West (AAA Three Diamond property): Spacious two-room units with a full kitchen. This modern home away from home offers an outdoor barbecue grill, fire pit facing the pool and an outside fireplace with seating. Spacious and stylishly appointed guest rooms include a sofa sleeper.
- Ramada Hotel San Diego North and Conference Center (AAA Two Diamond property): Built in the 1960s as the Sands Hotel, this retro-style hotel has spacious grounds, with a large central pool great for families. The palm tree-filled property houses spacious, colorful guest rooms, many opening out to the pool area. Dine on-site at Proud Mary's Southern Bar & Grill, which on occasion hosts live music.
To learn more and begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/TravelTips.
AAA’s family travel research is the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,005 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted January 26-28, 2018. This study has an average statistical error of ±7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.