Let the bonding begin!
American families are on the move this year. According to a recent AAA survey, 35% of families will gather together for a trip of 50 miles or more within the next 12 months and are planning their family friendly vacations to destinations like theme parks, international hot spots and outdoor locales.
The study attributes the rise in family travel to affordability. With lower gas prices and favorable international exchange rates, Americans are able to travel farther while spending less.
In fact, AAA estimates that drivers venturing out in summer 2016 will pay the lowest gas prices in 12 years, and the majority of those surveyed – 69% – say they will be taking a family road trip, a vacation facilitated for many by lower prices at the pump.
The survey asked responders what kind of trip (or trips!) they plan to take, and based on the most popular answers, we’ve collected some tips and tricks for making your family friendly vacation remarkable and memorable.
Road Trips – 69%
With the AAA TripTik Travel Planner, members can map out and plan their trip down to each and every rest stop. The planner locates AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants along your route, as well as approved attractions perfect for stretching your legs and preemptively avoiding the cliché yet inevitable “are we there yet?!?” chiming from the backseat. The planner even tracks down the lowest gas prices, and available in both desktop and app versions, it’s a convenient on-the-road family travel guide.
State & National Parks – 49%
The National Park Service commemorates 100 years this summer, and in celebration, free admission will be offered Aug. 25-28, Sept. 24 and Nov. 11. With 411 sites, including one in every state and 34 in New York State alone, there’s plenty of outdoor family friendly vacations to choose from and sure to be a destination to please everyone.
Theme Parks & Amusement Parks – 42%
With numerous much-anticipated and publicized attractions opening at popular theme parks in the near future, including the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” ride at Universal Studios Hollywood and “Frozen Ever After” at Disney’s EPCOT, families are flocking to theme parks this summer. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, make your family travel plans for early spring or fall, when the lines tend to be shorter and the swarms more manageable. And don’t forget to use your AAA discount to save at theme parks.
International Destinations – 26%
Adventurous families plan to jet-set worldwide this year, flights fueled in part by good exchange rates. The present value of the U.S. dollar is high, making international travel more affordable for many families, who are able to get more for their money while abroad. Use your AAA membership to get foreign currency while still stateside.
Cruises – 19%
An estimated 24 million travelers will embark on a cruise this year. There are many cruise lines that expertly blend fun and engaging kids programs with relaxing atmospheres for parents. Among cruises AAA recommends for family travel is the Princess Cruise line, which includes ships that feature programs for kids, teens and adults, as well as family-based activities aimed at uniting all ages and facilitating family bonding. Find your cruise today!
When you’re on the go, the free AAA mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android keeps your travel plans organized and gives you access to maps, nearby discounts and AAA-approved hotels, restaurants and attractions, and, if the unfortunate happens, you can use the app to request roadside assistance.
As always, AAA travel counselors are on hand to help you plan your trip in person at your nearest AAA store and answer any questions you may have, including, with so many trips out there, which one should I take?! You can also contact a AAA travel agent online to help plan your next trip.
What family friendly vacations are you planning this year? Tell us where you’re headed in the comments!