Expedia has released the results of a comprehensive study that examines the travel habits of Canadian families with children called the 2019 Expedia Family Travel report.
The report revealed that more than 40 per cent of Canadians don't mind spending eight or more hours travelling by plane or car to their destination – demonstrating a high travel threshold. Surprisingly, when asked the length of time Canadian families would travel for a family vacation, the lengthiest option of more than eight hours ranked as the top choice, in comparison to shorter distances.
And if time and budget weren't factors, one in five respondents expressed they would literally travel to the other side of the world to explore Australia and New Zealand with their families, once again illustrating that Canadians are willing to go the distance when it comes to a family vacation.
Canadians: an adventurous bunch
Escaping to a beach destination ranked as the most popular vacation type amongst Canadians (81%) for their next trip; however, interestingly, in second place was adventure travel.
Seven-in-ten (71%) like the idea of an adventure destination with outdoor activities, with younger parents under 40 years of age (33% vs. 27% 40 years of age or older) and those with children under six years of age (32% vs. 28% with children six years of age or older) slightly more likely to choose this type of vacation.
According to Expedia.ca flight data, destinations that offer that 'adventure' feel are proving to be quite popular. These include spots such as Kahului, Manila, Costa Rica, Auckland and Phoenix.
Canadian parents stated that the Atlantic provinces (63%) and the Rockies in the West (62%) were both on their bucket list when choosing which parts of the country to explore with their families – both destinations highlight adventure, whether hiking in the mountains, or whale watching off the east coast.
The Canadian 'musts' for a family vacation
When it comes to taking a family vacation, Canadians value family time with 75 per cent indicating that more quality time is the main take-away from a trip.
In fact, when selecting a destination, Canadian families indicated that having nearby attractions (58%) and access to kid-friendly activities, such as a pool (46%) were the two most important requirements. Access to kids' clubs or other child care services was a lower priority (12%), demonstrating that families are most interested in participating in activities together. Other family travel requirements included:
- Access to family friendly dining options (37%)
- Positive recommendations online (40%)
- Adjoining rooms (17%)
Educational and environmental travel
Family travel is also sparking the emergence of new trends and priorities, from educational travel to being environmentally friendly. The study revealed the following:
- Six-in-ten Canadian parents (58%) said they are always thinking about ways to share more knowledge and keep their children engaged while on vacation.
- While Quebecers are significantly more likely to say that vacations are for having fun only (21% vs. 11% rest of country), those in the rest of the country are significantly more likely to say they'd consider incorporating educational elements (27% vs. 18% Quebec).
- Four-in-ten (43%) say they always think about environmentally friendly options when planning a family trip. Those with more than four children and children under six years of age are more likely to always take environmental aspects into consideration during the planning process.
- One third of Canadian parents (33%) said that although they haven't thought of environmentally friendly options in the past, they would definitely be open to changing and thinking about this more in the future.
How do Canadian families vacation?
Almost half of respondents (47%) use vacation rentals, which provide great options for families with access to kitchens and the extra space. Amongst all Canadian parents, Quebecers and those from BC are the most likely to stay in a vacation rental.
Rental cars are the transportation option of choice for Canadian families, with 47 per cent relying on this as the primary method of getting around once in destination. Interestingly, Quebecers are the most likely to rely on public transit.
Thirty per cent of respondents spend between $3-5K on a family vacation.
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