Holidays are a great way for a family to bond – travelling together offers you the chance to spend some quality time as a family, while it might even make you see each other in a different light.
The concept of travelling as an extended family hasn't really caught on here in the UK. In the US, however, family trips are one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry, research suggests.
We're not talking just a beach holiday here either – families are seeking intellectual stimulation as well as relaxation.
Here are four family travel trends that will prove popular in the US in 2017, as per Family Travel Association experts:
1. History-driven trips
History-driven trips are a chance for the whole family to learn something new. They're an opportunity to step back in time and learn some context behind the freedoms we enjoy today. There are new museums popping up all the time in the US: for example, the Museum of the American Revolution, set to open in Philadelphia in April this year, promises to tell the "complete story of the American Revolution". As much as anything else, having history drive your trip will give it some much-needed purpose.
2. Exploring America's national parks
Since early 2015, the National Park Service has been running its 'Find Your Park' campaign, which has the aim of making the National Parks System a destination for millennials (who records show aren't visiting National Parks nearly as much as the generations before them) and urban dwellers.
During 2016 – its centennial year – the NPS national social media accounts added more than 1.2 million followers, while millions more followers were added to the 800-plus park and program accounts on multiple platforms. Its campaign is clearly working and families will make America's national parks the centrepiece of their travel plans in 2017.
3. Drop the device
American children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including phones, computers, televisions and other digital devices – that's not leaving much time for outdoor play.
It's not sitting too well with parents, who are keen to get their children out in the fresh air. A number of companies have stepped up to the mark and created nature-based vacations, such as UnCruise Adventures, a small-ship cruise line, which takes 80 to 100 people on week-long immersive trips to places like Alaska, the Galápagos and Mexico's Sea of Cortez.
4. Experience new cultures
Travel broadens the mind – that's true no matter the age of the traveller. However, it's arguably more important that children, who are just learning about life, experience new places and things. A study presented at the Family Travel Association Summit revealed that over half of parents want to expose children to new destinations and cultures.
In keeping with this trend, further research at the summit revealed the most popular region for family travel is the Caribbean and Central America, with Europe close behind.
Families are becoming more adventurous in their travel, it appears, which can't be bad news for travel brands.
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