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More than 60% of parents can’t enjoy a family vacation until this happens

What are the top family vacation necessities?


Happy family wth two kids traveling by airplane
(Photo by ESB Professional via Shutterstock)

Planning your next family vacation soon? A new survey suggests vacations are more enjoyable for the whole family when they’re planned out in advance.

That’s according to a new survey of 2,000 American parents, which found 68% take on new roles when they plan to go on a family vacation.

When preparing for vacations, one in four parents said they are the “planners” of their family — keeping everyone on track and organized. Meanwhile, others said their partner or co-parent is either an “agent of chaos” – always seeming to cause trouble (18%) or always running late (17%).

In partnership with Chase IHG® Rewards Credit Cards, the study, conducted by OnePoll, also found 68% agree there’s a lot of planning involved in their family vacations, so they can go smoothly.

Seventy-six percent of families said they are able to plan out their entire itinerary within six hours over a span of a few days.

Six in 10 (61%) families start planning at least five weeks in advance.

Nearly two in five (39%) respondents like to be prepared “at least days” in advance before leaving, while 28% are frantically getting ready up to the very last minute.

More than half (55%) of families haven’t had a vacation in at least three years – however, 70% are planning to take one within the next 18 months.

When looking to book a place to stay for vacation, parents said the most important factors are the available amenities (47%), making sure it’s kid-friendly (41%) and being in proximity to local cultural attractions (40%).

While 65% of parents surveyed feel they can’t relax until their family has reached their vacation destination, 72% said they “finally get to enjoy themselves” when they reached their hotel room.

“Families are ready to travel again, and we’re excited for parents as they plan to take back lost vacation time and create new memories with their kids,” said Heather Balsley, Senior Vice President of Loyalty & Partnerships at IHG Hotels & Resorts, which has 17 hotel brands and 6,000 destinations around the world. “We want families to feel welcomed by their destination, wherever in the world they go. We believe everyone deserves to be cared for in a way that meets their needs – and more than anything, just have fun.”

After arriving, parents said the first thing they like to do is to head straight for the pool or bar (31%), look around the hotel (23%) or grab a bite to eat (17%).

During their much-needed vacation, families said they make an average of four memorable moments. These moments include trying or learning something new (41%), reminders of childhood or other happy times (40%) or being proud of each other (40%).

Additionally, two in three (67%) parents noted their kids are very involved in planning activities on vacations and nearly as many (62%) said their children decide whether or not the vacation is fun.

Parents surveyed said their older kids tend to help the most with planning (35%), while their younger children just want to have fun (25%).

“Stepping into the lead planner role for an upcoming family vacation is no small feat, especially as it has been quite some time since most families have hit the road together,” said Ed Olebe, President of Chase Co-Brand Cards. “Consider what tools are at your disposal to help alleviate some of this pressure. For example, your travel credit card might be able to simplify trip logistics with benefits like a credit towards TSA Precheck or provide perks like a free night’s stay.”

“The whole family should enjoy their long-awaited vacations, and we hope that a little bit of planning and having the right resources at hand can go a long way to ensure everyone has a memorable time.”


  • Amenities (pool, on-site entertainment, dining, etc.) - 47%
  • Making sure they're kid-friendly hotels - 41%
  • Proximity to local cultural attractions - 40%
  • Reviews / Recommendations - 39%
  • Offer breakfast - 35%

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