Trends in Family Travel That Will Impact 2017 Vacations
Smartphones encourage families to be more adventurous in their travel plans.

Why would families leave the comfort of home after a year marked by terror incidents, volatile currencies, global refugees, the Zika virus and extreme politics? You might expect parents, who cite safety as their number one concern when planning a vacation, to avoid the turmoil of travel this year, but there’s lots of evidence to the contrary.


Young Families More Eager to Travel

Recent surveys shared at the TMS Family Travel Conference held in Amelia Island, Florida reveal that millennial families – parents between the ages of 18 and 35 with younger children – are more willing than ever to roam the globe with kids in tow. Says MMGY Global, millennial families took more trips last year (5.4 vs 3.1) and traveled more internationally (61% vs. 36%) than even millennial couples.


Don’t Make Me Wait for Anything

More educated, better traveled, and more sophisticated than their own parents, millennial families (especially affluent ones) are not waiting to take bucket list trips. Their demand for exotic adventures and authentic local experiences is fueling the return of specialized travel agents.


Culturally Inclusive: Families are Changing

The “traditional” family in all demographics continues to evolve. According to D.K. Shifflet, millennial families comprise 31% of all travelers with children at home. This group is also more diverse ethnically and culturally, and less likely to be married, than any other generation before them.


Travelers are More Demanding

It’s no longer unusual to encounter travelers with physical disabilities, children on the spectrum, family members with allergy and dietary needs, gay couples with young children – all wanting a custom vacation. Travel and tourism businesses are refining their marketing to reassure very different customers that they can meet their needs.


What Work-Life Balance?

Technology has reshaped the workplace and the workweek, encouraging young families to work while traveling, travel while working, and include children in all of it. A survey found that 75% of business travelers planned to extend their 2017 trips with time off for exploration, taking a “bleisure” trip that, for many, will include partners and children.


Innovation Pushes Families to Boldly Go

Innovation is making all family travelers – even budget-watching ones — more adventurous. The notion of “last minute planner” is being redefined by the smartphone. This new lifeline, providing GPS mapping and unlimited information, has emboldened parents to defer making activity plans till their arrival at a new destination.


Trading Heavenly Beds for Adventure

Young families are spending more on travel experiences rather than luxury lodging says MMGY Global in its annual “Portrait of the American Leisure Traveler.” That’s driving interest in Airbnb both as a way to meet locals, and as cheaper lodging – just like budget hotels, rentals and timeshares which are booming, it allow families to spend less on sleep and more on activities and dining.


Families Will Travel in 2017

The UN General Assembly has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, highlighting tourism’s contribution to sustainable and inclusive growth. Global politics, in contrast, are shifting government policies towards closing borders and strangling cultural interchange.

In a rapidly changing world, where destinations are being lost to climate change, terrorism, ignorance and other factors, we know families want to see everything now… before it’s too late.

Curious about where they’ll go? Read more here.

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