Stats: 91% of Families Find “Unplugged” Vacations Appealing

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Most American family travelers want to remain “unplugged” on vacation, but a number of obstacles to doing so remain. That’s according to new research from Alamo, which just published its 5th Annual Alamo Rent A Car Family Vacation Survey

According to the survey, which polled 1,502 U.S. adults, 91 percent of families say that they find the idea of an “unplugged” family vacation appealing. Additionally, respondents ranked “spending quality time together” as the number one benefit of traveling as a family for the fifth year in a row. 

Unplugged vacations have a number of other benefits, according to the report. Thirty-seven percent of families have committed to an unplugged vacation, of which 92 percent were successful. As a result, 41 percent enjoyed themselves more, 40 percent had better conversations, 38 percent felt more relaxed and 36 percent felt closer as a family. 

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At the same time, the survey found that a number of pressures to stay connected remain. Sixty-one percent of workers said they put pressure on themselves to work while on a family vacation. Forty-eight percent feel “vacation shamed,” or guilt for taking vacation days, and 53 percent of those who vacation shame others say that they are serious about it. These obstacles to disconnecting aren’t just about work, however; 27 percent of families say that they sometimes feel pressured to post photos of their vacation on social media to show that they’re having a good time. 

In fact, social media -- especially the pressure to post that perfect “Insta-cation” -- seems to be a large contributor to the desire for an unplugged vacation. According to the survey, 28 percent have planned their vacation simply based on how their photos would look on social media, and 21 percent of social media users say that they log on more than usual while on vacation. Thirty-four percent admit that they post their vacation photos on social media simply to “show off” the places they visited and the things they did -- and 33 percent say they’ve seen social media actually ruin a family vacation. Respondents said that too much time spent on the phone (42 percent), arguments or hurt feelings (24 percent), letting would-be robbers know when they’re out of the house (5 percent), and even catching a cheating spouse (2 percent) have all been ways they’ve seen social media ruin a trip.

Even after the vacation, 41 percent of families say they often need additional time off to “recover” from their vacations, up from 29 percent one year ago. 

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