Disney Parks commissioned a blind study earlier this year that asked 1,000 parents of children age five to 17 to share thoughts on quality time at home versus quality time on vacation. Naturally -- as Disney no doubt planned -- the parents said their lives were hectic, quality time was ephemeral and that a vacation was the solution.
Indeed, 97 percent of the parents responded that their children learned new things about them while taking a family trip, including more about their childhoods (86 percent) or facts about other family members (74 percent). Those surveyed said they ate twice as many meals together on the road, expressed more affection and rekindled family bonds.
“We know vacations are important, but to have parents validate how important vacation time is to their families was insightful,” Leslie Ferraro, executive vice president of global marketing for Disney Parks, explained. “As we’ve learned from families who participated in the survey, those moments of quality family time can feel fleeting in our everyday home lives.”
Tom Gilmore, CEO of VacationHomeRentals.com, said traveling not only brings everybody together but also helps kids learn and it expands their horizons. “But it’s really about the memories. I look back at photo albums and 70 percent of the photos are from family vacations. These memories will last a lifetime.”
But where is the best place to make those memories? VacationHomeRentals.com conducted a separate survey of 5,000 Americans who offered up some surprising tips, according to Gilmore. “We expected Disney World to win, but the Grand Canyon was only a few votes behind. I’ve never been there myself, so clearly we need to put this on the family wish list.”
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For Gilmore, who has two young sons, destinations such as Disney World or the Grand Canyon will keep the family talking 20 years later. “Didn’t the Brady Bunch go to the Grand Canyon,” he joked. “It’s that kind of a list -- places you can see the whole family having fun.”
The website for family-to-family vacation home rentals conducted its survey last month through its online database. Participants were asked to rank top destinations in the U.S. to take children before they turn 18. The places should all be familiar, but the order in which they’re ranked may surprise you. Scroll through the slideshow above for a look.