Memorable Family Vacations: Which Memories Are The Most Enduring & Why?

A new survey conducted by Ypartnership, America’s leading marketing services company serving travel, leisure and entertainment clients, has revealed some interesting facts on memorable family vacations.  ‘

After surveying adults in both the U.S. and Canada, during the months of August and Septemner, 2010, the results reveal that vacation planning to create memories was the choice of nearly nine out of ten U.S. and Canadian adults surveyed.

Nearly three-quarters canvassed said they think back “often” or “very often” to their vacation memories. They also identified the dramatic way in which new technology has altered the manner in which Americans and Canadians “memorialize” vacation memories, increasingly in “real time” and through postings on social media websites. And although the traditional role of the scrapbook has been diminished, souvenirs continue to play a very important role in the recall of vacation memories.

“The most enduring vacation memories derive from the people with whom the vacation was taken, and vacations taken with both parents and siblings trump all others,” said Peter C. Yesawich, chairman of Ypartnership. “The results also underscore the emerging phenomenon of people sharing memories in ‘real time’ as the events that create those memories actually take place.”

Selected highlights of the survey results are provided below:

Vacations an Important Part of Our Psyche

  • Parents view vacations as an important way to create special family memories.
  • Almost nine out of ten (88%) U.S. and Canadian adults actively plan vacations with the hope they will result in special memories for/about their children
  • Vacation memories occupy a prominent place in our psyche: almost three quarters of U.S. (72%) and Canadian (70%) adults think of them “often” or “very often”.
  • Vacations taken with immediate family are the most memorable, regardless of when they were taken (as a young child or after becoming a parent).
  • Vacations taken with immediate family are cited as most memorable by both U.S. (89%) and Canadian (88%) adults, while only four out of ten U.S. (43%) and Canadian (46%) family travelers state their best vacation memories “include friends”.

How We Record and Share Vacation Memories

  • Family vacationers have quickly adopted new social media and digital technologies to capture and share their memories.
  • Digital photos represent the most popular way to memorialize vacation memories today, cited by 82% of respondents, with over four out of ten (43%) using a smart phone to capture the images. Souvenirs play a very special role in memorializing memories, however, mentioned by almost half (46%). And the tradition of composing and keeping scrapbooks was mentioned by just one out of four respondents (25%).

Kids play a very influential role in planning vacations in both U.S. (52%) and Canadian (61%) households.

On the “Must Visit” List of Travel Destinations

The top three “must visit” vacation destinations with children less than 12 years of age include Disney Parks, Sea World of Orlando, and Hawaii.

The top three “must visit” vacation destinations with children between 12 and 18 years of age include Disney Parks, Europe and Washington, DC.

Respondents included non-Hispanic white, Hispanic and African American family travelers, all of whom were asked to recall the specifics of their most memorable vacations at three different life stages: 1) as a young child (less than 12 years of age), 2) as an older child (between 12 and 18 years of age), and 3) since becoming a parent.

A total of 3,600 adults (3, 000 U.S., 600 Canadian) and 600 children (U.S.) participated in the survey, which was commissioned by Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. All statistical estimates have an error interval of less than 2%.