Holiday party poopers: 34% say family gatherings don’t even count as a vacation

NEW YORK — Visiting your family for the holidays? You might need a vacation after your “vacation,” according to a new survey. In the poll of 2,000 American holiday travelers, a third (34%) don’t even count traveling home for the holidays as a true vacation. In fact, 71 percent of them say they’d likely need a separate trip afterward to properly unwind and relax.

To feel relaxed again, the study — commissioned by IHG Hotels & Resorts and conducted by OnePoll — finds people would gladly jump at the chance to take a nap in a large, comfy bed (60%), soak in a jacuzzi (46%), or book a spa day (42%).

Over half of travelers (57%) plan to stay with friends and family for the holidays this year, while 34 percent look to stay elsewhere. Six in 10 say they love to visit their friends and family over the holidays, but admit they feel “exhausted” by the end of the trip.

When visiting family, 43 percent say it makes them feel like they’re being parented as if they were a kid again. For a quarter of respondents (28%), that means being left feeling annoyed, frustrated, or sad. Meanwhile, those choosing not to stay with friends and relatives are finding sanctuary in hotels (55%), bed-n-breakfasts (40%), hostels (40%), or short-term rentals (25%).

Holiday arguments and fighting
(© Victoria М –

According to holiday travelers, the perks of staying in a hotel include having more space to themselves (34%), being able to relax and get taken care of by someone else (34%), getting some quiet time (32%), being themselves (29%), and not having to clean after meals (27%).

The first thing they’ll do after checking into a hotel usually includes the simple pleasures: enjoying the silence (23%), booking a massage (18%) or just taking a nap (17%).

“The holidays often go hand-in-hand with traveling to see loved ones – but as much as we enjoy visiting friends and family, it can leave us feeling drained,” says spokesperson Connor Smith, Vice President of Masterbrand Strategy at IHG Hotels & Resorts, in a statement. “When that happens, people want to relax, be taken care of, and not worry about cleaning their room in the morning.” 

The poll also finds that 86 percent of travelers prefer to stay somewhere quiet and clean to relax in after the hubbub of visiting with family all day during the holidays. Likewise, 83 percent also want to stay somewhere where they can have their own space and be able to recharge while they’re traveling.

More than two-thirds (69%) want to stay somewhere festively decorated if they’re traveling during the holiday season.

“Staying at a hotel over the holidays gives travelers the opportunity to recharge and rejoin the holiday festivities on their own terms,” continues Smith. “When travelers are ready for a break during or after the holiday season, they can show up as themselves and leave the rest to us.”  

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans who plan to travel this holiday season was commissioned by IHG Hotels & Resorts between November 8 and November 13, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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