Let AAA Help You Travel and Make Memories with Family
AAA Travel Editor Sherry Mims
Quality time matters, and there’s nothing more iconic than a family vacation. In a survey “Family Vacations Create Lasting Memories,” conducted by Harris Interactive for the U.S. Travel Association, 62 percent of adults report that their earliest memories from ages 5 to 10 included family vacations, reflecting the long-lasting effects of time spent together.
Here are a few ways to recharge, reconnect and create lasting memories.
Ask the Experts in Family Travel
Travel with kids can be tricky, so consult a AAA Travel Agent for a plan to suit your budget and situation. Do you need something manageable for babies or children? Follow some best practices for a safe, enjoyable journey. Pick a destination for the entire family. Theme parks offer things to do for all ages. Family-friendly hotels and restaurants sometimes provide kids’ programs.
Capture the Moment
Families are traveling again and much more open about sharing their adventures. Fifty-eight percent of travelers ages 13-18 will share experiences on social media, while 58 percent of 18-34 will share them in some format, whether in albums, blogs or social media platforms, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Engage your family (and their followers) by picking memorable sights to post.
Incorporate Extended Family
Including grandparents in your vacation plans can make the trip more meaningful. According to the U.S. Travel Association, “Children who traveled with their grandparents on family vacations reported that they get to spend quality time with their grandparents (78 percent), they feel closer to their grandparents (60 percent) and they like to remember stories about what they did with their grandparents after they return home (65 percent).”
When planning a trip for a family group, it’s important to book early, especially during the busy summer season. … (Fortunately, quite a few hotels have extended cancellation policies these days—just keep in mind the terms.) Places to consider include all-inclusive resorts, vacation rentals and theme park resorts, many of which often feature savings and benefits for group travel. All-inclusive resorts, vacation rentals and theme park resorts are all great options for group travel. Read more about savings and benefits from .
Pick a Top Destination
Picking a popular destination might be helpful in getting your fellow travelers on board. In May 2021, AAA National calculated Orlando as a top pick based on AAA Travel Bookings. The City Beautiful, featuring Universal Orlando Resort and nearby Walt Disney World Resort, offers not only entertainment but also convenience with on-site resorts and local restaurants. Rounding out the list are , Nevada; Honolulu, Hawaii; Anchorage, Alaska; and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Top road trip destinations are Las Vegas; Orlando; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Denver, Colorado; and Nashville, Tennessee.
For some people, the place to stay is what makes the vacation, especially if there are on-site family attractions such as game rooms or lazy rivers. If you need some ideas of where to stay, consult our AAA Inspectors’ top picks for family-friendly hotels. (When you book, note if you plan to travel with a baby and need a crib. Most AAA Diamond designated lodgings can provide either a portable or a standard crib upon request.)
Save with AAA Discounts
It’s easier than ever to save on travel, especially when the tools are right at your fingertips. AAA members can save 15 percent off on shows or sporting events and up to 40 percent off tickets for attractions or movies. Then there are AAA TourBook® Guides — travel information that’s ready when you are; no packing needed! Download a copy to learn about things to do in your destination.
Try to carve out some free time, even if vacation seems like a no-go; 22 percent of parents who work say it’s been more than a year since going on a family trip, according to Project Time Off’s “The Work Martyr’s Children: How Kids Are Harmed by America’s Lost Week.” A day trip to a local garden, an outing to the beach or a brief overnight trip are just a few ideas, but where you go isn’t as important as why. In the survey, some 61 percent of children say they want a getaway to include quality time with their parents.
In addition to securing travel insurance, which can protect your family from the unexpected, you’ll want to do a little preplanning; you can either check with your trusted agent or let some AAA products guide your own trip research. AAA TripTik can help you find the best route if you're driving, while AAA TourBook Guides offer expert insights and recommendations.
Planning ahead helps with packing as well. Remember extra clothes, snacks, toys and devices like breast pumps or iPads. (Check out our “7 Best Travel Tips for Families” for more on how to travel with kids.) Also plan ahead at attractions to avoid surprises such as mask requirements, minimum heights for rides and rainy weather. Map out special quiet rooms that some attractions, such as Dollywood and Legoland Florida Resort, which provide accessible accommodations for children with disabilities.
With just a little planning, travel with kids can go beyond a “break” and make lasting memories for the whole family.
Start Your Next Vacation with AAA
AAA Travel provides peace of mind when you travel — before, during and after your vacation! Members enjoy the advantages of membership including exclusive benefits, map routing, savings with the AAA Discounts & Rewards® program as well as recommendations for AAA Diamond-designated hotels and restaurants across the U.S. and Canada. Let AAA provide the rest of your travel needs with AAA Travel Guides, AAA Digital TourBooks®, access to travel agents and counselors and travel insurance. Your next vacation starts with AAA — your complete travel solution. Visit AAA.com/Travel.
AAA Travel Editor Sherry Mims
AAA Travel Editor Sherry Mims is an AAA Travel Expert.