What you need to know

While vacation destinations felt the impact of the recession sharply in 2009, the family vacation market on the whole has shown resilience in 2010 and 2011. For many families stressful economic times appear to have made the emotional benefits of getting away more compelling, making even brief family vacations more of a necessity. The long-term consumer impact of the downturn on family travel may be less about cutting back on expenditures than it is about spending smarter.

This report features Mintel’s exclusive consumer research exploring a range of consumer attitudes and behaviors concerning family vacations. Among the questions addressed in this report are:

  • How frequently do families take vacations, and which demographic groups are traveling most frequently?

  • How much do families spend on vacations?

  • Who in the family is in charge of the various aspects of family travel planning?

  • What influence do kids and teens have on the selection of destinations, restaurants, and activities?

  • What online and offline resources are used to plan family vacations?

  • What features are most important in the selection of the family vacation destination?

  • What’s most important to families about family vacations?


This report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s Family Vacations—U.S., December 2010 and focuses primarily on consumer attitudes and behaviors concerning family vacations. The analysis focuses on trips of any duration that include at least one adult and at least one child younger than 18. This will include trips for which the destination is a resort, hotel, cruise, friends and family, or other location for which the main purpose is family leisure/vacation.

Data sources

Consumer survey data

For the purposes of this report, Mintel commissioned exclusive consumer research through Toluna USA to explore consumer consumption of/attitudes and behaviors toward family vacations. Mintel was responsible for the survey design, data analysis, and reporting. Fieldwork was conducted from August 26-September 1, 2011, among a sample of 2,000 adults aged 18+ with access to the internet.

Mintel selects survey respondents so that they are proportionally balanced to the entire U.S. adult population based on the key demographics of gender, age, household income, and region. Mintel also slightly oversamples, relative to the population, respondents that are Hispanic or black to ensure an adequate representation of these groups in our survey results. Please note that Mintel’s exclusive surveys are conducted online and in English only. Hispanics who are not online and/or do not speak English are not included in our survey results.

While race and Hispanic origin are separate demographic characteristics, Mintel often compares them to each other. Please note that the responses for race (white, black, Asian, Native American, or other race) will overlap those that also are Hispanic, because Hispanics can be of any race.

Advertising creative

All advertising creative has been provided by Competitrack, the leading U.S. competitive ad tracking provider. For Mintel reports, Competitrack monitors network, cable, spot, syndicated, public and local television advertising.

For further information, or to order television, magazine, newspaper, online display, online video, radio, outdoor, viral, or cinema advertising, or alternative media, inserts, and circulars, please contact Competitrack at websales@competitrack.com, or call 718.482.4200.

Abbreviations and terms


There follows a list of abbreviations used in this report.

AAA American Automobile Association
CPI Consumer Price Index
CLIA Cruise Lines International Association
UK United Kingdom
USTA United States Travel Association


The following terms are used in the report

Family For the purpose of this report, families are defined as groups with at least one child present.

Generations are discussed within this report, and they are defined as:

World War II The generation born in 1932 or before. In 2011, members of this generation are aged 79 or older.
Swing Generation The generation born between 1933 and 1945. In 2011, members of the Swing Generation are between the ages of 66 and 78.
Baby Boomers The generation born between 1946 and 1964. In 2011, Baby Boomers are between the ages of 47 and 65.
Generation X The generation born between 1965 and 1976. In 2011, Generation Xers are between the ages of 35 and 46.
Millennials* The generation born between 1977 and 1994. In 2011, Millennials are between the ages of 17 and 34.
Matrix Generation** The generation born from 1995 to present. In 2011, Matrices are aged 16 or younger.

* also known as Generation Y or Echo Boomers

** previously known as Post-Millennials

In order to provide an inflation-adjusted price value for markets, Mintel uses the CPI to deflate current prices. The CPI is defined as follows:

CPI The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services.

The CPI and its components are typically used to adjust other economic series for price changes and to translate these series into inflation-free dollars. Examples of series adjusted by the CPI include retail sales, hourly and weekly earnings, and components of the national income and product accounts. In addition, and in Mintel reports, the CPI is used as a deflator of the value of the consumer’s dollar to find its purchasing power. The purchasing power of the consumer's dollar measures the change in the value to the consumer of goods and services that a dollar will buy at different dates.

The CPI is generally the best measure for adjusting payments to consumers when the intent is to allow consumers to purchase, at today's prices, a market basket of goods and services equivalent to one that they could purchase in an earlier period. It is also the best measure to use to translate retail sales into real or inflation-free dollars.

Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics definition.
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