Family Vacations Create Lasting Memories

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Executive Summary

Family vacations create memories that last for decades, are shared across generations and bring a family closer together, according to Project: Time Off research. Adults participating in the survey say they still have vivid memories of family vacations taken in their early childhood and surveyed children say family vacations create some of their favorite memories.

The survey, “Family Vacations Create Lasting Memories,” explores the vacation habits of American families and how memories from family vacations are valued, captured and shared. Harris Interactive conducted the online survey in December 2012 on behalf of Project: Time Off. The survey included 2,531 adults and 1,130 youth ages 8-18.

Key Findings

American adults report that memories formed during family vacations taken in their childhood remain vivid well into adulthood. These memories are treasured and shared with younger generations, as parents tell stories about them to their children. Specifically, the majority of adults (62%) say their earliest memories were of family vacations taken when they were between ages 5 and 10. Half (49%) of adults describe their memories of childhood family vacations as “very vivid.” These memories are significantly stronger than their memories of school events or birthday celebrations (34% and 31%).

These experiences are not only remembered, but also passed on to younger generations: 77% of youth respondents report that their parents have told them stories about their childhood family vacations.

Parents report that they plan family vacations in order to provide their children with experiences they will remember for years to come. Three in every four (76%) parents believe that family vacations are worth the time and money because they “give my child experiences that they will remember years down the road.”

Similarly, 75% of parents indicated that the cost and time are justified because the memories created from family vacations are “priceless.” In many cases, parents want to provide their children with the kinds of experiences and memories they have from their own childhoods. Parents with children under 18 are far more likely to model vacations after those they took during their own childhoods than adults without children (46% vs. 28%). More than half of parents surveyed (55%) reported that “I have fond memories of vacations that I took as a child, and I want to create similar experiences for my family.