MOMtravelchat: Plan Vacations As A Family
At our #MOMtravelchat Twitter Party this month—possibly our biggest one yet— we talked about the influence kids have on their family’s vacation plans, and on how to turn that influence in to something constructive by letting the kids help to plan family trips.
Tweets about @homeaway: 1,345 Timelines @homeaway reached: 2.5 million Contributors who mentioned @homeaway: 190 Links, images and retweets mentioning @Homeaway: 458
We discovered that kids have an influence over what their parents decide to do on vacation long before they start expressing opinions.
Kids Have Input From a Young Age
One parent said her kids’ opinions start to count when they’re old enough to remember the vacations. Another observed, “He’s only three so he seems excited for whatever I plan so far.”
But far more parents said that as soon as they had a baby they began to consider whether a small child will be welcome in certain destinations and places—and whether those places would have amenities they needed.
Even when kids are as young as 2 or 3 — and certainly when they are older— parents say they want to make sure kids won’t be bored and that there will be age-appropriate activities. “It’s very important that the kids enjoy the vacation to the fullest!” said one mom.
Most Kids’ First Recommendation? The Mouse
Parents say kids start asking to go to specific places and lobbying for activities they want to do somewhere between ages 4 and 7. Most said the first place their kids asked to go was to a Disney theme park. Kids ask to go to LegoLand and other theme and water parks. Kids love the familiar: They also ask to return to a place they’ve been to and liked.
Other parents say their kids have asked to go to Alaska, Paris, South Africa, Hawaii and China because they were inspired by books, television or things they learned in school or from friends. One mom noted, “Around 3 my son’s love of nature started influencing where we went and what we did much more.” Other trip ideas sprung from kids’ interests in baseball, skiing or specific periods in history.
These experiences support HomeAway’s research, which shows kids under 12 like theme parks. But tweens and teens want to visit other countries. Beaches and cruises seem to work for all ages. “Now that they’re teens they just want to chill at the beach or explore Europe. I’m ok with that!”
Not all their kids’ suggestions are practical though. Parents weren’t able to fulfill requests to visit the North Pole to see Santa or visit the zoo there.
When Can Kids Actually Help?
Somewhere between 7 and 10 kids who are interested can help to research and choose destinations and activities, parents say (Here are tips on how to do that). Any child who knows how to use Google —which is most kids today—can research a vacation, these moms say. One mom said her 12YO has her own travel Pinterest board and several families use YouTube to check out attractions they might be interested in, especially for theme parks.
Offline, families also use books, brochures and DVDs to learn about a destination, and maps to plan driving routes and stops. Apps provide electronic resources without access to the entire Web. One mom noted, “We used to get the packs they sent you from Disney; we watched the movie and looked at the magazine!”
A New Generation of Travelers
Several moms said they recall not having any say in travel destinations or activities when they were kids. They want a more inclusive family experience for their own children. “We all get to pick something that we want to do. We all do it together, we all get turns,” one said.
Of course, not all kids want this much of a say in things. “Some will do research and even look for coupons, but others might not care about getting to make decisions,” noted one parent. Another said that if they do want to get very involved then let them start helping, “Whenever they show interest! What a great skill to help develop in your child!”
Even kids who are happy to go where their parents lead like having a role in getting ready. Younger kids might choose stuffed animals, books and toys to bring along. Starting at age 7 or so they write up lists of what the family needs to bring and even pack their own clothes – with a parental review, of course. “My kids pick out their outfits! Then I ruffle through them!” said one mom.
Next Step: Search for a vacation rental on *Homeaway.
Pin it for later!
Feature photo courtesy of Karilyn Owen.
This blog is part of Weekend Travel Inspiration. Visit our partners: