A recent AAA survey says 35 percent of Americans plan to take a family vacation of 50 miles or more away from home with two or more immediate family members in the next 12 months.
AAA estimates that U.S. drivers have saved nearly $12 billion on gasoline so far this year compared to the same period in 2015 and drivers this summer will pay the lowest gas prices in 12 years. Lower gas prices have motivated Americans to drive at record levels. It should come as no surprise that family road trips will be the most popular type of vacation (69 percent) this year followed by trips to national parks (49 percent) and theme parks (42 percent). Vacations to international destinations (26 percent) and cruises (19 percent) round out the top five most popular vacation options for traveling families.
“Two-thirds of Americans say spending quality time as a family is the most important part of taking a family vacation,” said Robert Sinclair, manager of media relations for AAA Northeast. “Whether it’s a long road trip or dream foreign vacation, travel offers busy families an excellent opportunity to share experiences and connect with each other in meaningful ways,” Sinclair said.
AAA is North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization. AAA Travel experts offer the following tips for families planning vacations this year:
· Road Trips: Travelers should map out their route in advance. Drivers should take a break every 100 miles or two hours to remain alert.
· National Parks: The National Park Service celebrates its centennial in 2016, making it a great year for travelers to discover the parks. The parks can get very busy, so plan ahead. For families traveling on a budget, the parks are waiving entrance fees this year April 16-24, August 25-28, September 24th and November 11th.
· Theme Parks: Theme parks in Orlando and Southern California expect continued growth in popularity as new attractions debut. Early May and September are great times to visit theme parks when travelers can experience lighter crowds and shorter lines.
· International Vacations: The current strength of the dollar makes international travel especially affordable right now and Americans will get more for their money when visiting destinations around the world.
· Cruises: Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) forecasts 24 million vacationers will cruise the world’s waterways in 2016, one million more than last year. Cruises offer a variety of activities for all ages, plus children’s programs that give parents a chance to relax and unwind.