The younger generation of today (children) are leaving their impact on society and influencing others on travel choices, new products, and more. According to a Virtuoso survey, the younger travelers are not casual observers, rather are requesting experiences such as culturally immersive experiences that allow them to dive into the hobbies they’re passionate about.
Virtuoso surveyed travel advisors who specialize in family travel in order to learn more about this younger generation. The results revealed that authenticity tops the list of emergent trends, with children driving travel decisions in second place. It comes as no surprise to those with energetic kids that active experiences are the number-one choice for traveling families.
Multigenerational travel remains the most popular family trend, and multiple generations are the second most frequent travel companions behind the immediate family. Virtuoso advisors typically design custom itineraries that encompass other key trends like experiential travel and adventure trips, like a last-minute safari for 10 people including grandparents, children and grandchildren for example. Celebration travel is also growing, with one Virtuoso advisor even designing an Alaska trip for a grandfather who helicoptered his triplet grandchildren to a glacier for their 13th birthday—complete with cake.
While classic European destinations such as Italy, England and France remain popular with families, other less traditional places are on the rise. Already well-traveled, Generation Z involves itself in planning trips and wants to explore places such as Croatia, Morocco and Antarctica—destinations that likely were not considered vacation spots when their grandparents were the same age.
Children today are traveling at younger ages to more distant destinations. Virtuoso advisors report arranging family adventures with infants in tow, including a baby who stayed in Japanese monasteries while accompanying its parents hiking and cycling, and a 1-year-old who tagged along for a camel ride and dinner in the Moroccan mountains. At times, preschool schedules become paramount even over parents’ work schedules in timing trips.
Young globetrotters expect active immersion in local cultures, but still want downtime. Beach resort stays rank second on the list of family travel trends, with relaxing on the beach or poolside rating high as the most popular activity. Warm-weather locales such as Hawaii and Belize score highly as family destinations.
Young travelers are requesting exclusive trip elements, often tailored to their personal interests. Virtuoso advisors say junior foodies have asked for Michelin-starred restaurants, even knowing the names of chefs at each establishment. Another advisor created a 10-city, 10-day family tour of European car museums. Other rare family experiences advisors have arranged include front-row viewing at Siena’s Palio and closing a New York City pizzeria for family fun. One advisor reserved a seaplane to pick up a young woman from a yacht in the middle of the ocean so she would be home in time for a college interview.
Virtuoso specialists share that family travel sales are strong for 2020. Nothing that 57 percent expect sales to increase from 2019, while 42 percent envision sales will remain steady from last year. Just 1 percent foresee a minor dip for the coming year.
Findings from the 2020 Virtuoso Family Travel Community survey:
Top Family Travel Destinations Top Family Travel Destinations on the Rise
- Italy 1. Croatia
- Hawaii 2. Belize
- England 3. Kenya
- Costa Rica 4. Morocco
- France 5. Antarctica
Top Family Travel Trends Top Emerging Family Travel Trends
- Multigenerational trips 1. Authenticity
- Beach resort stays 2. Children driving travel decision
- Active/adventure trips 3. Wow amenities for children
- Celebration travel 4. Visiting less touristed places
- Experiential travel 5. Skip gen (grandparents and grandchildren)
Top Family Travel Activities Generation Z Influence on Travel
- Active experiences 1. Involve themselves in planning trips
- Relaxing on beach/poolside 2. Book culturally immersive experiences
- Classes or lessons 3. Look for visual trips for social media
- Animal viewing/interactions 4. Influence others online or via word of mouth
- Exploring local culture via food 5. Personalize travel to interests
Most Frequent Family Travel Companions
- Immediate family
- Multigenerational family
- Family and friends
- Multiple families
- Mother/daughter or father/son
For more information, visit virtuoso.com. To learn more, don’t miss this upcoming webinar with Recommend—Family Travel for the New Decade—in conjunction with the Family Travel Association, which will take place on March 26.