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New Family Travel Trends for 2018

This post is in partnership with Expedia.

Expedia recently conducted a American Travel Habits Revealed survey consisting of “1,000 Americans who have traveled at least once in the last two years. Participants included men and women, at least 18 years of age, with a range of interests and backgrounds. Of those studied, 48 percent were employed, 8 percent were students, while the remainder identified as unemployed, retired, or homemakers. Overall, 42 percent of the research group were married, and 71 percent had at least one child.”

What pleased me most was seeing what an important part family travel played in futures plans, and how much family vacations have changed over the years.  Day trips to the beach and vacations centered around theme parks have now migrated to globetrotting and exploring different parts of the world and cultures. This naturally piqued my interested because not only am I always on the look-out for the latest and greatest trends to share with my audience, but I need to start brainstorming my 2018 travel plans stat!

Over time I’ve personally observed an increased interest in quality over quantity which makes me squeal with happiness. This often results in extended vacations, and more international trips, and domestic road trips. It’s safe to say I am a huge proponent of that practice.

Kids Rule

A few years ago we saw the luxury travel sector adopt the “pint-sized VIP mentality.” They not only knew that children would eventually become their loyal future clients, but that they held the key to return visits. If the hotel staff were able to cater to children and make them have the time of their lives, then the parents were sure to not only return, but give glowing referrals to other parents.

Now properties across the globe are stepping up their family travel game big time. In 2018, you can expect to see more and more sophisticated destinations introducing camps and discovery zones, top of the line welcome amenities, themed workshops, and on-property activities for the kids such as practicing with the golf pros, or cooking with one of the chefs. I’m also seeing a rise in destinations planning full on festival weekends for children,  and airlines are also following suit with on-board child care complete with “sky nannies.”

2018 family travel trends

Cruises

Whether it’s cruising on the high seas, or aboard a riverboat cruise for a magical adventure, the results Expedia released clearly show a spike in interest. Cruising offers the best of both worlds for families because there is something for everyone. Board the ship, unpack once, and travel from port-to-port seeing more than normal in a short amount of time. Many families use cruises to scout future vacations. They have the ability to visit multiple ports for just the right amount of time and soak in the culture. This allows travelers to see which spots are best for their families to return for longer periods of time.

Expedia is clearly onto something because I just booked our first family cruise and we can’t wait to experience this together. So stay tuned!

Divide and Conquer

Whether it has to do with more one-on-one time, or finances, many parents are switching gears and traveling solo with one of their children creating quality time to bond while traveling the world. How cool is that? This past year, Kiddo and I went traveled to Mexico, Alabama, Tennessee, and Central America together while Hubs held down Casa de JetSet.

2018 family travel trends

We missed him so much while we’re gone, but we also grew closer which is so important during the tween years. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to hop on a flight and travel with your child. I’m not only excited to see where next year brings us, but I can’t wait to schedule a trip for Hubs and Kiddo as well.

Volunteer Tourism

Many families want to use their vacation time for the good of the world, and one of my favorite trends for 2018 is the flux in volunteer tourism. Combining volunteerism and tourism has been around for awhile, but you cannot ignore how incredible it is to be able to give back to the communities you visit. Whether you are heading to the Amazon jungle, or spending time in the Middle East, you can arrange with tour operators who specialize in tourism travel so you and your family make a difference this trip by improving the lives of other families.

2018 family travel trends

Glamping

This mom doesn’t camp. I have camped, but as much as I love the great outdoors, I much more prefer the cushy life. I’ve had my eye on a few spots over the years and 2018 is the year! Located 30 minutes northeast of Missoula in Greenough is The Resort at Paws Up. A luxury Montana guest ranch located on 37,000 acres of terrain in the Blackfoot Valley, Paws Up offers luxury lodging in vacation homes as well as 24 glamping tents throughout the property. Sign. Me. Up.

Ancestry Travel

Want to do something really fun? Test your the DNA of your children with a kit at home, and determine your next trip based on the results! Embark on a world tour visiting where their ancestors your ancestors roamed, and see part of the world you are connected to. The three of us received our results this year, and we were thrilled to find out Kiddo and I were part Panamanian and now we can check our trip to Panama off the list!

2018 family travel trends

Multi-Family Tours

This summer we went on our first multi-family tour and it was hands down amazing! We had the best time ever on an international trip with Thomson Family Tours. They matched our family up with two others beautifully, and together we toured the country and the kids had a BLAST! I can be a bit of an introvert and Kiddo is an extrovert. I wasn’t sure how this was going to play out, but it will go down as one of the best trips of our lives.

The parents got along, the kids played beautifully together, the tour guides and planners were fantastic, and we all still keep in touch! And the itinerary is beyond. I appreciated using a tour guide visiting an area we were not too familiar with because they brought out only the very best of the destinations. I cannot wait to go on our next multi-family tour. I have my eye on an African Safari, but it was such a positive experience that I would go anywhere!

Where Are You Headed in 2018?

We would love to know more about your plans! By sharing your tips, experiences, and recommendations in our comment section below, you help fellow travelers in The JetSet Family community decide the best fit for them and their families. Let us know what you liked most, or if you have any questions about Expedia.

Promotional consideration is courtesy of Expedia. On occasion, contributors of The JetSet Family are invited to experience gifted products and services. This practice does not hinder the influencers’ point of view. Our descriptions have always accurately reflected our overall feelings, and The JetSet Family will only ever share things that we genuinely love and believe worthy of being featured. This post may include affiliate links, but that’s OK. Any purchases made using these links helps The JetSet Family blog continue to share great content with our readers. Thank you for supporting us and our sponsors.

Written by Nicole Standley

Nicole Standley

Founder + Creative Officer, Nicole Standley, shares her favorite trends in travel, food + wine, fashion, health, and fun on The JetSet Family and is a long time travel + lifestyle contributor for CBS Los Angeles, Huffington Post, and Hilton Hotels. She is a brand ambassador for Netflix and O, The Oprah Magazine, and has been named Top Family Travel Blogger by Trip Advisor and Red Tricycle. Follow her on Instagram at: nicoleDstandley

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4 COMMENTS
  • Ashley November 24, 2017

    Kaya, I’m trying to complete the historical collection.

  • Colleen Lanin December 4, 2017

    So far for 2018 I have NYC & California on my travel list – both for conferences. The big excitement, though, is that my family is hoping to move to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Fingers crossed!

  • Dawn December 4, 2017

    Great post! We did our first family cruise this year and loved how we got to see different places. As a family of 5, it wasn’t super cheap, but would be very economical for a family of 4. I also did a solo trip to Singapore with my middle and it is so nice to have that special time together!

  • Nancy December 6, 2017

    Really interesting post! I love your ancestry travel idea – I’d be fascinated to get a DNA test and then link it to a trip. Also encouraging to hear how well your multi-family tour worked out!

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