Happy family traveling with kid, having fun in airport

A happy family traveling (© Prostock-studio - stock.adobe.com)

NEW YORK — Forty-two percent of Americans never went on vacation as a kid, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 U.S. adults showed that while 51 percent went on their first trip before they turned 18, a third of Americans didn’t take a vacation until early adulthood.

Baby boomers were the most likely to experience vacationing for the first time as young kids (43%) while millennials (46%) and Gen Z (45%) took their first trip as adolescents.

Vacation FOMO

The survey also looked at people’s feelings about vacation FOMO and found that the average person has been on six vacations purely for leisure and relaxation in their life and is longing for more. Nearly half admit they have left a vacation feeling unsatisfied (46%) but have made peace with those feelings, as 76 percent agree that it’s impossible to do and see everything on a trip.

This leaves a quarter of Americans daydreaming about traveling most of the week (24%), averaging six destinations on their “I’ll go there someday!” list.

‘Must-Do’ Trips in 2023

Respondents in the survey conducted by OnePoll for Funjet Vacations shared some “must-do” trips everyone should consider like casino-hopping and gambling for a weekend in Las Vegas (46%), seeing Mount Rushmore in South Dakota (38%) visiting Disney World Resort in Florida (36%).

Others suggest more experiential trips like visiting a volcano in Hawaii (29%), exploring the Greek Islands (19%), visiting the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt (17%) or swimming with the pigs in the Bahamas (17%).

Looking at what’s trending in travel, those surveyed think people will be traveling more in 2023 than in 2022 (45%) with two in three saying they plan on taking at least two trips this year and spending an average of $4,000.

Nostalgia plays a major factor in deciding where to go, as respondents named some previously popular destinations that may make a comeback like the Bahamas, California or New YorkIn fact, Gen Zers said that California and the Caribbean were some of the most popular vacation destinations among their generation right now. Millennials are looking to more long-haul destinations like Dubai and France.

For Gen X respondents and baby boomers, this year is all about relaxing in peaceful places like Florida and Hawaii.

“The ‘perfect vacation’ can differ from one couple to another,” says vice president of sales, North America at Couples Resorts, Pauline Pigott, in a statement. “Some want to do it all and others prefer to simply relax on the beach with a piña colada in hand. Whatever your preference, an all-inclusive is a great option for those who want to create their own unforgettable experience.” 

When a vacation isn’t a vacation

But sometimes a “trip away” isn’t always a “vacation.”

When asked what makes a vacation different from a trip away, people said the main difference is being away from home for a certain amount of time (54%), with the average person agreeing that a vacation is at least seven days long.

For others, vacations are more about going somewhere they’ve never been before (53%) or experiencing something new (52%).

One in five predict that vacationers will be more interested in outdoor settings this year like camping or staying in cabins.

Americans are also interested in “set-jetting” this year, where they visit places where their favorite TV shows or movies were filmed (59%), with 44 percent saying they’ve already been on one of these trips.

“After the travel-induced stress people have experienced over the past couple of years, more people are booking all-inclusive and packaged vacations,” says vice president of marketing of consumer brands at Apple Leisure Group, Dana Studebaker, in a statement. “Booking an entire vacation through a site helps to take the stress of planning away so travelers can instead just be excited for their vacation instead of worrying about every small detail.” 

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Funjet Vacations between Jan. 30 and Feb. 1, 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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Meet StudyFinds' Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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