NEW YORK, May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Family travel is on the rise this
summer, according to almost four out of five (79%) American Express Travel
agents polled nationwide, who identified it as one of this year's most
significantly increasing travel trends. This summer, family vacations are
expanding beyond the traditional getaways to include newer, broader, more
active and meaningful travel plans, say agents. They say that top
motivators for family travel include the desire to introduce children to
different cultures, customs and lifestyles, to experience new things
together and create lasting memories.
Results from the American Express Travel poll of 279 of their agents
found that family travel today means more than the typical nuclear family
trip of the past. Eighty-one percent of agents are booking family vacations
consisting of multi-generational trips that include grandparents.
Additionally, more than two-thirds (69%) of agents are seeing grandparents
traveling exclusively with their grandchildren -- independent of Mom and
Dad. Other trends spotted by agents include adult children traveling with
their parents (69%); family and family friends traveling together as one
large group (67%); "blended" families, consisting of divorced/remarried
parents with their new spouses and children, traveling together (31%); and
extended family members including aunts, uncles and cousins taking trips as
a collective group (28%).
"The definition of the family vacation is evolving, which is why
American Express Travel continues to offer a broad range of family-friendly
packages and deals suited for families of all sizes, with varying interests
and needs," said Audrey Hendley, vice president of marketing, American
Express Travel. "Our travel agents and family-travel specialists are vital
in helping families create customized and unforgettable travel experiences.
American Express Travel agents say that families are increasingly drawn
to active and experience-driven travel plans. In fact, poll results showed
that agents are booking more outdoor, adventure family vacations (62%),
along with more international family vacations (57%). Almost half (49%) of
travel agents polled recognized cruising as a growing trend in family
travel. Families are also taking trips to celebrate the family itself with
family reunions on the rise, according to the 41% of agents who said they
had been asked to plan such a trip this year. One agent in particular
recently planned a family reunion on a cruise for 75 family members.
Another key trend is a rise in family members pairing up to travel.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of agents are seeing a rise in mother-daughter
getaways; and 36% of agents noted an increase in father-son travel. Almost
two-thirds of agents said that spa getaways make up most mother-daughter
vacations; while fathers and sons most often choose active vacations, such
as hunting, biking, hiking or fishing.
Top Family Destinations This Summer
According to travel agents polled, many of the long-standing, family-
friendly U.S. and international destinations continue to hold strong for
families this summer. Within the U.S., Orlando ranked first, above New York
City and Miami, which claimed the second and third spots, respectively. Las
Vegas and Hawaii rounded out the top five domestic travel destinations for
When agents were asked to name the most popular international
destinations for families, London, Rome and Paris, took the top three
spots. Other popular international destinations for families included
Cancun, Mexico, Nassau in the Bahamas, and San Jose, Costa Rica.
What to Pack/ What to Carry
In addition to creating customized travel experiences for families,
American Express Travel agents offer advice on everything from what
customers should pack to how they can keep valuables safe and secure while
traveling. Agents recommend that travelers keep the following in their
carry-on bags: prescription or over-the-counter medications (94%); personal
identification, such as a passport (91%); travel itinerary and confirmation
information (86%); change of clothing (86%); Travelers Cheque serial
numbers (76%); and toiletries (76%). Agents say that the best ways to
secure personal valuables is by using hotel safes, avoiding carrying
valuables in one place, and bringing various forms of payment including
those that are refundable during the vacation, such as Travelers Cheques.
Agents also suggest tucking items away in money belts and neck wallets.
About the Poll
Data on 2006 family travel trends was collected via an online poll of
279 American Express Travel agents across the U.S. The poll was fielded
during the first and second weeks of May 2006.
About American Express Travel
American Express (AXP) entered the travel agency business in 1915 and
today is one of the world's largest travel agency networks, with $19.9
billion in travel sales worldwide in 2004. The company has more than 2,200*
Travel and Foreign Exchange Services locations worldwide in more than 140
American Express Company (www.americanexpress.com) is a diversified
worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.
It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel,
business services and international banking.
* Not all services available at all locations.
SOURCE American Express Travel