Now is the Time to Double Down on Family Travel

Rainer Jenss is the Founder of the Family Travel Association.

With the global pandemic now mostly behind us in 2022, what have we learned? For starters, we’ve seen that family and multigenerational travel has been leading the charge in the tourism industry’s recovery, with reports indicating that there have now been a record number of families traveling during the summer and holiday months.

This was mainly a result of the strong pent-up demand for seeing our loved ones as a result of being subject to all kinds of restrictions and lockdowns. That really speaks volumes to the priority families are now placing on spending time together and traveling. This is why I believe that now is precisely the time to double down on family travel. Despite the not-so-inconsequential looming economic downturn, inflation, and war in Eastern Europe, I still believe strongly that despite the steady increase in family/multigenerational travel, there’s still plenty of room for growth.

I can say this with greater confidence after seeing the results of our just released 2022 US Family Travel Survey – a research study we’ve been conducting annually since 2015 in partnership with NYU. As we sifted through this year’s data, we found that travel spending is robust, and that as the worst effects of the pandemic are receding, while international vacations, city trips and events are making a comeback. We also see that hotels have strengthened their position vis-à-vis vacation rentals, and travel advisors continue to solidify their position in a post-pandemic travel landscape.

Here’s what else we see:


This year’s study shows that 85% of parents are likely or very likely to travel with their children in the next year. Larger family group bookings also remain strong. Almost half report that they are planning to take vacations with people outside of their immediate family unit.


While many families made changes to their vacation habits in the past two years, some of these trends seem to be reversing and some pre-pandemic travel types are making a return.

  • Multi-day international vacations are planned by 38% of respondents, which is a significant increase over 2021 when only 19% of respondents were planning this type of trip.
  • City vacations are also experiencing a considerable rebound: the percentage of families expecting to take a family trip has increased from 34% in 2021 to 65% in 2022.
  • The percentage of families expecting to travel for events has doubled compared to last year: events received a score of 23% in 2021 and of 46% in 2022.
  • Museums and cultural attractions also show an increase in appeal from 36% (2021) to 48% (2022). Conversely, the increased interest from families in nature/active vacations appears to be waning. The percentage of families planning to visit National or State Parks has dropped from 46% (2021) to 32% (2022), and the demand for active vacation types (such as camping and hiking) has seen a decline from 36% (2021) to 19% (2022).
  • Vacation rentals seemed to be experiencing an unstoppable rise in popularity in previous editions of this survey, but this trend isn’t continued this year. Vacation rentals were an accommodation choice for 54% of respondents in 2021, and this has declined to 47% in 2022. Conversely, the percentage of families projecting to stay in hotels has risen from 74% to 84%. Reflecting a decrease in the percentage of families planning active/outdoor vacations, campsites have decreased in projected use from 24% to 8%.

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By Rainer Jenss

To learn more about the 2022 Titans of Tourism, visit the December issue of Leisure Group Travel.