Children power drives family getaways

Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:07am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The family vacation has changed from the days when kids in the back of the station wagon pestered their parents in front with the unending refrain, "Are we there yet?"

Experts say these days the family getaway often encompasses three generations, and when it comes to calling the shots, it's the kids in the driver's seat and the grandparents with the bankroll.

"We are seeing more multigenerational travel -- the parents, their children and their parents," said Mike Weingart of Travel Leaders, a Texas-based travel agency.

"When planning a traditional family vacation, the decision maker or requestor is the child," Weingart added, "and grandparents pick up the tab."

Multi-generational means multi-tasking, according to Marcia Hurley of San Francisco-based Rascals in Paradise, which specializes in customized family travel.

"Consumers are looking for their kids' enrichment as well as their own relaxation," she said. "So a family in Costa Rica will combine beach time with a visit to the local plant-and-bug expert, or they'll commune with marine turtles while in Akumal Bay, Mexico."

Peter Yesawich, CEO of Ypartnership, a travel marketing company, has been studying family travel for over 20 years. He says multi-generational travel is the fastest growing segment of the industry.

"The incidence of travel with children is now higher than the incidence of households with children," Yesawich said. "No other segment has reflected that growth."   Continued...

<p>A family enjoys the beach of Jose Ignacio, Uruguay, January 16, 2007. REUTERS/Andres Stapff</p>