CHARLOTTE – Now is the time when families across the Carolinas start to plan getaways for spring break, summer vacation and long holiday weekends throughout the year. According to a recent AAA survey, more than one-third of Americans (35 percent) are planning to take a vacation of 50 miles or more away from home involving two or more immediate family members this year. The overall volume of travelers remains unchanged from last year, indicating that Americans continue to prioritize traveling as a family.
While most families (70 percent) are planning to take one or two vacations, there is a significant increase this year in the number of Americans who say they are planning to take three or more vacations. The 28 percent of Americans who will take three or more family vacations this year is 13 percent higher than in 2016.
“Families still view traveling together as a way to reconnect and bond in today's busy world,” said Sarah Henshall, AAA Carolinas Vice President of Travel and Branch Operations. “We've noticed more Carolinians planning to cross off their bucket list destinations with a vacation spent together as a family.”
The old school family road trip (79 percent) and visits to national parks (51 percent) and theme parks (40 percent) remain the most popular types of vacations for families planning to travel this year. Trips to international destinations (33 percent), going on guided or escorted tours (22 percent) and ocean cruises (20 percent) are also popular with family travelers. The number of American families planning to take a guided or escorted tour is expected to increase 7 percent over last year
GAS PRICES SLIGHTLY HIGHER THAN 2016
Those planning to pack up their cars for a road trip this year will be in good company. Compared to 2016, 10 percent more families are expected to take road trips this year, despite national average gas prices that are 47 cents higher than they were this time last year.
Right now, the North Carolina average sits at $2.19, which is 44 cents more than last year. In South Carolina the statewide average is $2.04 a gallon, a 47 cents increase from 2016.
TOP INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS:
TOP DOMESTIC DESTINATIONS:
- Florida beaches
- Las Vegas
*Top destinations based on AAA Carolinas Travel bookings