2019 Family Travel Survey Results Are In

2019 Family Travel Survey Results Are In

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— Families Treasure Vacation Time —

— Affordability Continues to be a Challenge —

— “Gramping” Travel Trend is Strong –

Seven out of ten parents say they are “likely” or “very likely” to travel with their children in the next three years, according to the 2019 U.S. Family Travel Survey. But while interest in family vacations remains very strong, intent to travel is down from 79% in the 2018 Family Travel Survey, and from 93% in the inaugural 2015 report.

The 2019 U.S. Family Travel Survey represents responses from 1,580 parents, and was conducted by the Family Travel Association (FTA) and the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality.

When asked what is the greatest impediment to taking a family vacation, 32% of respondents said they could not afford one, 26% said they have other pressing needs on their budgets, while 13% said they had difficulty taking time off.

“Parents know family vacations are very important, but the strain of paying for travel weighs heavily on the American household’s budget,” said Dr. Lynn Minnaert, Clinical Associate Professor at the Tisch Center. G Adventures, Travel + Leisure, and Parents magazine are sponsors of this year’s survey.

Despite this decline, the survey still found that the overwhelming majority (77%) of U.S. parents have taken their families on a trip in the past three years. The average annual spending on family travel during that time was $3,835, respondents reported, versus a median of $2,435. (This is the first year the Family Travel Survey has reported average and median budgets.)

“Affordability cuts across all regions and household income levels in the U.S.,” said Rainer Jenss, FTA Founder. “Equally universal though is the strong demand for family vacations, and the travel industry’s commitment to creating a wide variety of options, and innovations, to help families travel together.” To help parents, the FTA has compiled its own “Top Tips” for making family vacations more affordable.

“Gramping” strengthens connections with grandkids

In addition to identifying the attitudes and vacationing habits of American parents, this year’s U.S. Family Travel Survey also explored skip-gen travel – often referred to as “gramping.” Some 1,168 grandparents participated in the 2019 Survey.

Of the grandparents surveyed in this study, 37% said they were likely to take their grandchildren on a skip-generational trip in the next three years, and 17% have taken their grandchildren on a skip-generational trip in the past three years.

“Grandparents are taking advantage of the fact that they are living healthier, longer lives, and are vacationing with their grandkids, either traveling with their children and grandchildren, or giving parents time off by taking their grandkids themselves,” Jenss said.

Day trips and weekends were the most popular vacation lengths, with theme or water parks and New York City the most popular destinations.


Grandparents said their main motivations were:

  • they enjoy spending extended time with their grandchildren (76%),
  • it’s a great way for them and the grandchildren to bond (75%)
  • their grandchildren enjoy spending extended time with them (68%).

“Free from work schedules and other impediments, more and more, grandparents are creating long-lasting memories with their grandchildren,” Minnaert said.

The 2019 Family Travel Survey was conducted by the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, NYU School of Professional Studies, in June 2019. The survey reached 2,748 consumers, 18 years or older, with one or more children 17 years or younger.

The Family Travel Association is a coalition of more than 400 travel agents, travel industry suppliers, tourism bureaus and destination management companies dedicated to helping families discover the possibilities travel affords them.

About the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality
The NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality offers three globally focused graduate degrees—the MS in Hospitality Industry Studies, the MS in Event Management, and the MS in Tourism Management, as well as a world-leading undergraduate degree – the BS in Hotel and Tourism Management. It also is the host of the world-renowned NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, where hospitality leaders gather every year to network and discuss trends shaping the industry. Learn More

About G Adventures

Founded in 1990 by social entrepreneur Bruce Poon Tip, G Adventures is a small group adventure travel operator offering more than 750 tours in 100 countries, on all seven continents. For more information please visit www.gadventures.com.

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