Why the Family Vacation Is and Is Not What it Used to Be

Family vacations look different because vacationing families are changing
Family vacations look different because vacationing families are changing

Recent studies indicate that today’s vacationer wants the same things from the family vacation that his or her parents and grandparents wanted from theirs—relaxation, fun, and great memories. In research released by MMGY Global reported by Peter Yesawich at the Summit, for most people, the goal of a vacation is as simple as time to relax, unwind, and spend time together.

But the profile of today’s family vacation looks a little different in today’s world of extended and blended families and when defined by today’s challenging economy. Here are five key distinctions noted by authors Eileen Ogintz and Kyle McCarthyn their article, “We All Want the Same Things from That Family Vacation” (Huffington Post blog).

Ogintz and McCarthyn outline these key facts about today’s vacationer, based on the TMS Family Travel Summit:

  • The classic married couple with two kids represents less than half of all American families.
  • Single parents run 16 percent of all households in the industrialized world and, social media statisticians would have us believe, moms control everything–including vacation planning.
  • Grandparents rock–especially when it comes to vacations. More than a third of grandparents who are active travelers have traveled with grandchildren just in the past year, according to the 2013 Portrait of American Travelers.
  • Generation C — the collectors, creators, and curators among us– are driven to share every experience on and offline.
  • American families now average a shorter length of stay on vacation –2.73 nights – but are still traveling as the economy recovers, according to research by D.K. Shifflet,

Such insights beg the logical and provocative questions of the timeshare, vacation ownership, and timeshare resales industry:

  1. Are we offering timeshare owners easy ways to exchange the timeshare unit that worked before the divorce, for one that works after the divorce, or for one that can accommodate the grandparents on years when they come along on the family vacation?
  2. Do resorts maintain a presence on all the popular social media platforms with links to make it easy to tweet, post, blog, update, and share planned timeshare vacations, fun as it is happening, and post-vacation memories?
  3. Are lengths of stay sufficiently flexible to accommodate today tight schedules and even tighter budgets? There is no economy in paying for 6 night but only have enough free time to enjoy 3 nights.