Five Theme-Park-Free Vacations for Families

Agents can always count on the family vacation as a "bread and butter" market for selling travel. With that in mind, we're sharing the results of Travel Ticker's 2010 Family Vacation Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive. This year, 80 percent of parents who go on family vacations say they would prefer to visit a non-theme park destination for their next family trip if cost and planning efforts were comparable.

The survey found that 97 percent of parents who go on family vacations want a trip that both they and their children will enjoy. What is surprising is that the majority (62 percent) also feel that the vacations end up being only about their children’s preferences rather than their own. Theme parks are family vacation hot spots because kids love them and they are easy to plan, but it’s clear that parents aren’t getting much of a vacation for themselves.

“Parents are busy and they want the best for their kids, which is why plug-and-play theme park trips are so popular,” said Barbara Messing, general nanager of Travel Ticker. “But the Family Vacation Survey confirms what I’ve heard so often – parents don’t get much enjoyment for themselves.”

Here are Travel Ticker’s top five "theme-park-free" family vacation ideas:

1. Adventure: Hike through the Amazon, swing on a jungle vine like Tarzan or experience the mystical “Lost City in the Clouds” with your family adventure to South America. With family-friendly vacation packages that make planning easy, exotic destinations like Machu Picchu are more accessible than ever – and at a value beyond your wildest dreams.
2. Edutainment: Big cities are the perfect combination of education and entertainment, and they’re sure to keep both kids and parents delighted. When it comes to cities, there is no place like New York to experience a huge array of edutainment options at prices that can fit any budget. Explore the world-famous FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue store, discover the city’s fascinating history with free Big Apple Greeter tours or visit some of the world-famous museums.
3. Cultural: Europe is the crème de la crème if you’re looking for a rich, eye-opening cultural experience. And Italy has enough culture and excitement to satisfy the entire family. Whether it’s feasting on traditional pasta and pizza, seeing the world-renowned opera or just mingling with locals, this year is a great time to skip over the pond with a steal of a deal.
4. Au Naturel: Take in the sights and appreciate Mother Nature at her finest with a trip that’s sure to leave everyone with a meaningful and lasting impression. Costa Rica is a great family destination to experience the beauty of Earth. Get close to wildlife that your children have only read about in books, swim under a waterfall and see the breath-taking cloud forests – all for an amazingly low price.
5. Beach/All-Inclusive: Fun activities for you and the kids, amazing food, yummy drinks and beautiful beaches that's all pre-planned and available for one low price? That’s the magic of an all-inclusive resort. Taking a family beach vacation can be the pinnacle of stress-free vacations.

The Travel Ticker Family Vacations Survey was conducted by Harris Interactive from May 5-May 11, 2010 via the Harris Poll ParentQuerySM online omnibus service among 1,144 parents of children under the age of 18, of whom, 1,039 go on family vacations. Complete methodology and survey results are available upon request.



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