Skip the annual family meal? 3 in 5 would rather take a vacation than deal with holiday stress

NEW YORK — Does Thanksgiving or Christmas on the beach or a luxury hotel sound better than spending it in a family member’s guest room? A survey of 2,000 Americans looking at how people travel during the holiday season reveals that three in five people would rather be on a relaxing vacation than dealing with the stresses of the holidays (61%).

Forty-one percent of people usually travel during the holidays – especially millennials and Gen Z (58% each). This year, Gen Z is the most likely to take a trip for the season (59%). While many only go away for a week or less (81%), a fifth of traveling respondents go away for more than this (19%).

According to survey-takers, the ideal holiday vacation length is one to two weeks (53%) and 68 percent wouldn’t be satisfied with a vacation lasting three days or less. Millennials are most likely to need a longer trip away, agreeing that they want to be away from holiday stress (68%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Apple Vacations, the survey also finds that going away isn’t always smooth sailing. Nearly two in five people (38%) call it a difficult experience, with the most notorious struggles being crowds (42%), delayed or canceled flights (37%), or forgetting something at home (31%).

Generally, people would rather pack a little light (35%) than too much (30%) – bringing along casual clothes for their holiday travels, like jeans and t-shirts (75%). However, 28 percent want to be fashionable while they’re away and another 27 percent would take a dressy option just in case.

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Thirty percent of Gen Xers pack something sporty like athleisure or stretchy clothes, while millennials come prepared to shine in their elegant wear (24%).

Respondents shared other must-haves for holiday travel besides clothes and toiletries, like “extra cash for emergencies,” “a great book,” and “portable batteries.”

“When going on vacation for the holidays, it doesn’t matter what you pack as long as you return feeling relaxed and with many fond memories,” says Dana Studebaker, vice president of marketing of consumer brands at Apple Leisure Group, in a statement. “For many travelers what matters most is having quality experiences and spending time with their loved ones.”

Spending holidays with family is a vacation for 2 in 3 people

Many may be counting the days to their trip, especially since seven in 10 Americans look forward all year to spending the holidays with their loved ones and two-thirds say it’s the highlight of their year.

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This year, half of Americans want to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones in a completely new way. Those who are traveling for the holidays this year are going to visit loved ones (48%) and spend time with their kids (33%) or their partner (33%). Interestingly, Gen Z will be traveling to keep up with tradition (26%), while millennials just need some time off of work (40%).

When traveling during the holidays, people prefer to visit somewhere they enjoy (47%), but 27 percent want to go somewhere they’ve never been before.

This holiday season, people are most interested in visiting somewhere that’s family-friendly (41%) or tropical (33%), while others want to kick back at an all-inclusive resort (29%) or explore a small town (26%).

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Sometimes it’s the little touches that matter like when hotels offer holiday snacks and beverages (55%) or having a symbol of the holidays in public areas (46%).

“Celebrating the holidays in a new destination is a great opportunity for travelers to try something new and be exposed to various holiday traditions,” says Erica Doyne, senior vice president of marketing and communications for AMResorts. “Whether you choose to spend your holidays relaxing by the beach in a tropical destination or experiencing a new culture, a holiday trip is a chance to reconnect with loved ones while discovering something new.”