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New Trends in Family Travel on the Rise This Summer Says American Express Travel

May 23, 2006

New Trends in Family Travel on the Rise This Summer Says American Express Travel
May 23, 2006 – According to a new poll conducted by American Express, family travel is on the rise this summer. Nearly four out of five American Express travel agents polled nationwide 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.

Responses suggest 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. 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 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 percent); family and family friends traveling together as one large group (67 percent); "blended" families, consisting of divorced/remarried parents with their new spouses and children, traveling together (31 percent ); and extended family members including aunts, uncles and cousins taking trips as a collective group (28 percent).

Additionally, 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 percent), along with more international family vacations (57 percent). Almost half (49 percent) 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 percent of agents who said they had been asked to plan such a trip this year. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of agents are seeing a rise in mother-daughter getaways; and 36 percent 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.

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 families. 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.

Agents recommend that travelers keep the following in their carry-on bags: prescription or over-the-counter medications (94 percent); personal identification, such as a passport (91 percent); travel itinerary and confirmation information (86%); change of clothing (86 percent); travelers check serial numbers (76 percent); and toiletries (76 percent). 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 checks. Agents also suggest tucking items away in money belts and neck wallets.

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