NEW YORK — The saying “it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey” can apply to many things in life, but probably not vacations. That’s according to a new survey that asked 2,001 Americans about vacations. Researchers find that sightseeing (38%) and staying in a hotel or other accommodations (36%) are the biggest reasons why people look forward to taking a trip.
Meanwhile, packing (47%) and planning for the trip (37%) rank as the least enjoyable parts.
Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Apple Vacations, the survey also dug into vacation nostalgia and finds half of all respondents have a fond childhood memory of a family outing.
Vacations stink when you grow up?!
Of those respondents, four in 10 believe leisure trips don’t feel as exciting in adulthood — taking a vacation as a grownup means stressing about covering the cost (51%); for another 36%, it’s a major headache just making plans for the trip. Meanwhile, half of those with vacation memories from adolescence also think the excitement of taking a vacation will never go away and 54 percent say taking a trip is a great way to relive moments from childhood.
Another trigger for that nostalgia is the scent of a sandy shore — 53 percent say smelling beach air brings them back to a leisure period in their youth. Ice cream is the food most people associate with vacations, as half of Americans connect the frozen treat with childhood vacations, with hot dogs (27%) and funnel cake (23%) following far behind.
Passing the vacation torch
Of the parents who have memories of a childhood vacation, 80 percent say they will continue that tradition as a way to build strong bonds with their loved ones.
“There is so much value in taking a vacation with your family — particularly now more than ever before,” says Armin Kaestner, VP Sales & Business Development at RIU Hotels & Resorts, in a statement. “Getting away allows families to create new and exciting memories with their loved ones and even relive some of their favorite experiences from childhood.”
Parents who are planning the next family getaway may want to break out the bathing suits. Thirty-five percent list swimming as something they are excited for their kids to try while on vacation, along with other water activities like surfing and jet skiing (32%) and visiting a water park (29%).
Fishing (28%) is another event parents put on the family vacation to-do list and about one in four look forward to attending a live show or concert with their loved ones (24%). While 49 percent of all respondents have taken a vacation that ended in disappointment, 52 percent believe that vacations are more enjoyable if kids are around to partake in the fun.
Roughly three in five wouldn’t mind enduring a bad day on vacation as long as their kids get to enjoy it (59%) — though, on average, that patience typically runs out after four days of unexpected encounters.
“Taking a vacation is a great way to add variety into your life,” adds Michael Lowery, Executive Vice President and GM, AppleVacations.com. “In fact, relaxing at a stunning resort, taking a simple hike, going to the beach, or visiting an amusement park can be wonderful ways to bond with your family and friends.”