What Happened to the Family Vacation?

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“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Whatever happened to the great American family vacation? According to an article just published in the Journal of Travel Research, it’s time to bring it back: there are serious benefits for couples, families, and extended family members who hit the road. Family travel has been found to “improve communications within a relationship, reduce the possibility of divorce, strengthen lifelong family bonds, and increase a sense of well-being in adults and children”:

JTR_72ppiRGB_150pixWFor generations, a highlight of many childhood memories included the family vacation. However, amid an unstable economy and increasing workloads, Americans are dedicating more time and energy to their careers, often leading to increases in stress and decreases in family time. A vacation deprivation study ranked U.S. workers 18th of the 20 countries surveyed in vacation days granted and used (Expedia 2011). Survey respondents cited work constraints and financial concerns as reasons they forgo using their allotted vacation days (Expedia 2011). Similarly, Accenture (2012) revealed 42 percent of respondents sacrificed time with family because of their careers, and 58 percent of those admitted that this has negatively impacted their family life. This trend highlights a likely need for resources beneficial to the enhancement of family bonding amid constraints. Those in the tourism field have recognized this need and have begun to increase their focus on how vacations can be viewed as a resource that can build relationships and increase family bonds.

Continue reading “Family and Relationship Benefits of Travel Experiences: A Literature Review,” by Angela M. Durko and James F. Petrick of Texas A&M University, forthcoming in the Journal of Travel Research and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section.

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