Latest Survey: Large Family Vacations are a Tradition for Many

Posted Travel Tips by Vacatia on June 2, 2017

Mention the words “family vacation” and a nice visual of parents and their 2.4 children likely pops to mind. In fact, 80% of the respondents to our 2017 Spring Break family travel survey indeed confirmed this was their vacation plan. Of course, the other 20% who answered reminded us family travel comes in all sorts of other flavors as well, often including extended family or friends.

We were intrigued, so we just completed a NEW joint survey of Vacatia's social community and the readers of our family travel expert partners TravelingMom and TravelingDad, to learn more about the planning considerations of large family travel. More than half of those responding reported they had taken a family vacation with a large group, 34% said they had been on “several” such trips, and 10% mentioned they are actually planning one or it's on their “bucket list.”

Vacationing with grandparents is the most popular!

Multigenerational vacations make for great memories. Nearly 80% responding to our survey report that grandparents are the most typical addition to their family travel group. Who else is coming? About two-thirds mention bringing other family members – somewhat evenly distributed between children, teens/tweens, and grown kids or family members. As we noted in the last survey, the line between family and friends is clearly blurring… 34% reported bringing adult friends on vacation, and 25% say that the kids’ friends have joined the vacation fun.

This was not a total surprise to us. Vacatia Guest Care frequently handles booking requests for large family and friends groups. We book accommodations for family reunions, destination weddings, and traveling sports teams and church groups as well. We work with the family's point person (who we refer to as the “Chief Vacation Officer”) to find the right resort to meet all of our guests’ needs – helping them select and book one or more one-bedroom to six-bedroom residence rentals which also include family rooms and kitchens.

What else did we hear from our survey responders about their large group family travel plans? Well, we found…

The biggest challenge of planning large family travel? Coordinating everyone’s schedules!

More than half of our large family travel planners tell us syncing vacation dates for everyone can be the biggest headache. The second largest family vacation challenge? Accommodating everyone’s individual needs was cited by 25%, who suggested making everyone happy is no piece of cake. Getting everyone to agree on the destination, noted by 10%, also made the list.

The most desired destination for large family travel? The beach, according to 32% our responders!

Another 15% of our large family vacation planners tell us their families want to stay at a “large resort with lots to do.” Nearly 13% mention preferring to spend time in the mountains or by a national park. Not surprisingly, more than 12% have amusement/theme parks on their large family vacation agenda! Wait, did someone say free park shuttles?

Vacatia serves 29 great leisure destinations across North America. No matter where your family is headed on vacation, Vacatia’s "Family and Friends" guest benefits program includes discounts for renting multiple residences that come in handy for large family vacations. We also just launched our Military Family Rates for active duty, reserve and retired military guests to spend precious family time together.

The best accommodations for large vacationing families? Survey says… not hotels.

We somewhat expected to hear this from Vacatia guests, but the responses from the TMOM and TDAD community were very similar. Nearly 70% reported they considered non-hotel accommodations to be most suited for large family travel. Of course, these may include private home vacation rentals, as well as resort residences which combine the space of a home plus the services of a hotel.

Sleeping arrangements? Everyone in their own bedroom if possible, thank you very much.

About 70% of survey responders say on a large family vacation they ideally want everyone (or couple) to have their own bedroom, which could explain their appetite for non-hotels.  Almost half do report staying in multiple hotel rooms on occasion. About 17% say they have used rollaway beds on larger family trips, and 10% even confess to bringing sleeping bags. 

“Where is everyone going to sleep?” is a question Vacatia Guest Care Advisors receive often when assisting guests with family travel plans. Our resort residence floor plans are our most popular web site feature, highlighting the bedrooms, number and size of beds, and even one or more hide-a-beds.

Where we going to eat? About 78% of our survey respondents reported they cook meals together on large family vacations. Half say they also “make reservations”.

With larger groups, figuring how (and when) to feed everyone can be complicated. Having a kitchen can definitely be handy for at least snacks and drinks. Over 20% of respondents said they "just let everyone figure out their own meals", and 13% order from room service or the growing number of food delivery services such as DoorDash. About 5% even admitted to sampling lobby mini-stores, mini-bars or vending machines for their occasional nutritional needs.

Bringing your own car is still the most popular way to get around on a large family vacation, but 15% already mention using ride-sharing services.

About 55% reported that on their large family vacations everyone gets around in their own car. Nearly 38% say that walking is all they need, while 36% mention renting a car. A quarter say they’ve booked a resort and just “stayed put” and another 21% say they have taken shuttles or taxis. A number we expect to see grow in the future is the 15% who mentioned using ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft to navigate around during their large family vacation.

If you need a recommendation or help booking your large family travel in one of our 631 resorts across North America, we are here for you online, or at (855) 858-3950 from 6AM to 10PM PT. 

As always, if you have questions about destinations or are looking for handy family travel tips, you should check out our partners TravelingMom and TravelingDad, who are continually sharing new tips and learning that only comes from first-hand experience!