Family travel on the rise

Family travel is on the rise this
summer, according to almost four out of five (79%) American Express Travel
agents polled nationwide, who identified it as one of this year’s most
significantly increasing travel trends. This summer, family vacations are
expanding beyond the traditional getaways to include newer, broader, more
active and meaningful travel plans, say agents. They say that top
motivators for family travel include the desire to introduce children to
different cultures, customs and lifestyles, to experience new things
together and create lasting memories.
  Results from the American Express Travel poll of 279 of their agents
found that family travel today means more than the typical nuclear family
trip of the past. Eighty-one percent of agents are booking family vacations
consisting of multi-generational trips that include grandparents.
Additionally, more than two-thirds (69%) of agents are seeing grandparents
traveling exclusively with their grandchildren—independent of Mom and
Dad. Other trends spotted by agents include adult children traveling with
their parents (69%); family and family friends traveling together as one
large group (67%); “blended” families, consisting of divorced/remarried
parents with their new spouses and children, traveling together (31%); and
extended family members including aunts, uncles and cousins taking trips as
a collective group (28%).
  “The definition of the family vacation is evolving, which is why
American Express Travel continues to offer a broad range of family-friendly
packages and deals suited for families of all sizes, with varying interests
and needs,” said Audrey Hendley, vice president of marketing, American
Express Travel. “Our travel agents and family-travel specialists are vital
in helping families create customized and unforgettable travel experiences.
  American Express Travel agents say that families are increasingly drawn
to active and experience-driven travel plans. In fact, poll results showed
that agents are booking more outdoor, adventure family vacations (62%),
along with more international family vacations (57%). Almost half (49%) of
travel agents polled recognized cruising as a growing trend in family
travel. Families are also taking trips to celebrate the family itself with
family reunions on the rise, according to the 41% of agents who said they
had been asked to plan such a trip this year. One agent in particular
recently planned a family reunion on a cruise for 75 family members.
  Another key trend is a rise in family members pairing up to travel.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of agents are seeing a rise in mother-daughter
getaways; and 36% of agents noted an increase in father-son travel. Almost
two-thirds of agents said that spa getaways make up most mother-daughter
vacations; while fathers and sons most often choose active vacations, such
as hunting, biking, hiking or fishing.