For Better or Worse, Let Kids Influence Your Holiday Decisions

For Better or Worse, Let Kids Influence Your Holiday Decisions

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Before I dedicated my career to inspiring families to travel, I was publisher of National Geographic Kids magazine. As such, I participated in several industry conferences focused on marketing to youth and families. If there’s anything I took away from dozens of presentations, it’s that kids have a major influence on their parents’ purchase decisions.

Kids on a beach. Photo courtesy of

Survey Says!
Call it the “nudge” factor or whatever you may, but the results of the recently released HomeAway Kidfluencer Survey (fielded by the independent research firm YouGov) came to me as little surprise, especially the highlight that 87% of parents around the world give their children a say in family vacation planning. Furthermore, one third of U.S. millennial parents give their kids full control over the final vacation decision.

Why Does This Matter?
If you’re in the process of organizing a trip with your children, or will soon be doing so, you want to be sure you’re part of the 87%. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a multi-week trip of a lifetime or just a weekend getaway; having the kids involved in the planning process will only get them more engaged and interested, which goes a long way to ensuring they’ll have a good time – which in turn means you will as well.

Don’t believe me? According to the HomeAway study, 60% of the parents surveyed said their kids would enjoy the vacation more if they had input. 54% also admitted that they do so to show their kids they care about their opinions, while 53% want to get them excited about the trip.

How Does This Impact You?
Besides giving people like me and the industry some good intel into our customers’ behaviors and attitudes, planning travel with your children can help you gain valuable insight into how to simplify the planning process, which could improve the experience. For example, when kids were asked which one thing they would most want to have in a place where they stay on vacation, the number one answer was a pool (37% of the vote), followed by a water slide and video game arcade. (Tennis courts came in last with 1%.)

How about what annoyed them about their previous family vacation? Being away from their friends (29%), not having internet/Wi-Fi (27%) and when their parents only want to do activities they don’t like (27%) rounded out the top three. Being in a place with food they don’t like and not being able to bring their pets also figured high on the list, with 24% and 22% respectively.

So what does this tell us? Make sure to talk to your children about the trip you’re planning. Find out what they like and don’t like. Ask them where they might like to go and why. Plan it together. If nothing else, this should greatly improve the chances of everyone coming away happy.

Be Reasonable
Finally, just a word of caution about giving the kids too much control over what you do and where you stay. The survey asked children ages 6-18 where they really want to go on their next vacation with the family. A theme park was by far and away the number one answer with 41%. When asked which one of a bunch of unique places the children would most want to stay in, 37% said a castle (followed by a tree house with 29%). So unless you’re prepared to ride some roller coasters or stay in a castle in Ireland, you might want to consider a vacation rental near the beach, which also ranked high on the list of preferences.

For more information about the survey, click here.

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One response to “For Better or Worse, Let Kids Influence Your Holiday Decisions”

  1. SBP says:

    Involving kids in the vacation selection process is a great way to get them excited but also helps them learn about the world by researching where they may want to go. My husband and daughter had an agreement that if she got straight As he would take her to her preferred destination – Paris. Well we just came back from both London and Paris and she had the time of her life. Check out my pics at

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