AAA survey reveals 88 million Americans will take family trips this year

PORTLAND, Ore., – Led by millennials, some 88 million Americans plan to take family vacations this year. According to the latest research from AAA Travel, 44 percent of millennials are planning a family getaway, more than members of Generation X (39 percent) or baby boomers (32 percent).

family travel survey

“Millennials look at family vacations the same way other generations do, as one of the best ways to create memories and spend time with loved ones,” says Doreen Loofburrow, vice president of travel for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “Our AAA survey also shows that no matter their age, families are going on not just one, but multiple vacations throughout the year to revisit favorite destinations and experience new places.”

family travel survey

More families traveling outside the U.S.

AAA expects family trips abroad to be a hot trend in 2018. Of families who will take a trip this year, 35 percent plan to visit an international destination – a nine percentage point increase from just two years ago. Based on advance travel bookings, AAA Oregon/Idaho predicts the top five most likely international destinations for families will be:

  1. London, England
  2. Rome, Italy
  3. Mediterranean Cruises
  4. Dublin, Ireland
  5. Edinburgh, Scotland

family travel survey

“Demand for international travel is up overall, including families who want to visit destinations outside the U.S.,” adds Loofburrow.

Road trip!

The AAA survey shows road trips remain the most popular vacation for families, with nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those planning to pack up the car and hit the roads this year. Expensive gas prices – the highest prices seen since 2014 – are not keeping people home. “Gas prices are more expensive than they’ve been the last few years, but AAA doesn’t expect them to get as high as in 2014 when the national average peaked at $3.70 and the Oregon average peaked at $3.99,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

Here are the top road trip destinations for members of AAA Oregon/Idaho:

  1. Anaheim
  2. Grand Canyon
  3. Bay Area
  4. Yellowstone National Park
  5. Oregon Coast

family travel survey

Other highlights from the new AAA survey on family travel in 2018:

  • Families are taking more trips per year. One in four (27 percent) traveling families is planning to take three or more family vacations in the next 12 months, 12 percentage points more than in 2016.
  • Family travelers are looking for new experiences. Three-quarters (73 percent) of families that are planning a vacation this year are seeking a destination they have not previously visited.
  • Families are seeking R&R. When looking for these new experiences, families are choosing destinations with attractions such as beaches and mountains (61 percent), opportunities for sightseeing (59 percent) and relaxation (56 percent).

AAA’s travel experts recommend that families plan their trips with AAA’s Diamonds in mind. AAA’s professional inspectors assess nearly 59,000 hotels and restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean to assign AAA Diamond Ratings. Every AAA Inspected & Approved hotel and restaurant is acceptable for the type of experience it provides. Ratings, from One to Five Diamonds, help travelers find the level of services, facilities and amenities they’re looking for on their vacation. Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments in the AAA Mobile app, AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner.

To help families even further, AAA’s inspectors have identified some of their favorite family-friendly hotels for 2018.

Here are some of the AAA inspectors’ favorites in Oregon:




BROOKINGS Best Western Beachfront Inn 3 Family friendly My family loves walking the beach collecting driftwood and lounging by the pool before retiring to our large room with a kitchen. All oceanfront rooms feature a balcony or deck to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Pacific and to hear the breaking of the waves. You’ll enjoy elevator access in two of the three buildings. Enjoy the ocean view while relaxing by the pool.
JACKSONVILLE Bella Union 2 Family friendly Ordering lasagna or ravioli family style is a favorite of my family and the little ones enjoy entering the weekly coloring contest hoping to win a pizza. This establishment serves a variety of pastas, family-style dinners and pizzas. Daily specials offer entrées such as fresh Oregon snapper or pork tenderloin with Portobello mushrooms. Save room for the house-made desserts that include cannoli and tiramisu. Seasonal dining is available on the outside deck and patio.
PACIFIC CITY Inn at Cape Kiwanda 3 Family friendly The kid in me loves the idea of sleeping in a surf-van bunk bed and watching the surfers from my deck or walking across the street to play in the ocean. The cozy and contemporary accommodations let you warm up by a gas fireplace. Covered balconies provide views of the majestic Haystack Rock sitting in the ocean just across the street. Families may find the guest rooms with bunk beds and video games a good choice.
PORTLAND Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Portland/Pearl District 3 Family friendly After a day of sightseeing, my pre-teen kids love to hit the indoor swimming pool with its interactive kids zone. Conveniently located just blocks from shops, restaurants and the downtown core, this hotel features comfortable guest rooms. It’s a great choice for leisure and business travelers. The open and bright hotel lobby includes locally curated artwork and historic artifacts from the building that used to sit on the downtown corner lot. Looking to relax? Check out the rooftop patio, which has a year-round fire pit, or lounge poolside while the little ones splash in the kids’ zone.
SUNRIVER Sunriver Resort 4 Family friendly If bicycling through the forest, tubing in a lazy river and swerving down a water slide sounds like fun for the family, I’d start packing. This upscale planned community is an all-season playground for children and adults offering endless recreational activities. Bicycle and walking paths intertwine beautifully on acres of land. A large selection of condominiums, houses and hotel-style lodge rooms are available with views of championship golf courses, the Cascade mountain range or a lovely stream. Some rooms have a balcony or patio, but all have a stone gas fireplace. The amazing swimming pool complex offers cabanas, sculptures and a water park.

To learn more and begin planning a trip, visit

AAA’s family travel research is the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,005 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted January 26-28, 2018. This study has an average statistical error of ±7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at


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