The One Thing Parents Wished They Did on Vacation But Didn’t This Summer

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Jet-setting with friends used to be a staple of many millenials lives this time of year, but once children arrive, less than 15% of millennial parents travel with friends.

It’s not for a lack of interest. Over 70% of families would like to travel with another family, but struggle with finding the right family to travel with, as well as trip logistics, according to data from Red Tricycle’s 2016 Family Vacation Survey of over 5,000 millenial moms.

The idea of traveling with another family is appealing: parents can share the day-to-day responsibilities and get some time off from the kids. Yet only 14% of millennial families surveyed regularly travel with another family, compared to 40% who travel with friends before kids.

Among the thousands of open-ended responses in the survey, Sharon, a mom of two shares her experience as part of the 4% of respondents that have, “tried it once, never again.”

“We traveled with another family with kids the same age. We swapped ‘babysitting’ for each other, since that’s the whole point of traveling together, but on our shift, their three-year-old got into a tube of diaper cream, smeared it on himself and in his little sister’s hair, as well as the walls of the condo we were renting. The parents came home from their date night completely wasted and made a beeline for the bedroom, so we essentially had to babysit for 12 hours, as well as clean up the mess. It was more work than it was worth.”

Despite a few horror stories that make their rounds on social media and in moms’ groups, the real obstacle seems to be a matchmaking issue. Over 46% percent of respondents said they would love to, if only they could find the right family to travel with, with kids ages, traveling style and budget all receiving almost equal votes.

From Gina, a NY mom who contributed an open-ended response to the survey:

“All of my close friends had kids out of college, and I didn’t have kids until my thirties. While I would love to vacation with them so their kids can babysit for me, they’re much less excited about bringing their college kids to Disney World.”

Of the 14% of families that do travel together, most were friends before they had kids (60%), with “the kids going to school together” taking a distant second place with 22% of votes.

If you are part of the 22% who are venturing out on a vacation with new friends, Hannah, a mom from San Francisco, suggests starting off with an overnight or weekend trip to test travel compatibility, “We always start with a weekend trip with new friends 2 nights in Carmel or Wine Country will give you a pretty good idea if everyone is going to get along on a longer trip, without much risk.”

The most popular vacation that families take together is camping (65%). According to Lisa, a mom from Chicago, “Camping works for us as it offers the ‘lowest common denominator’ for a family vacation. There are no squabbles about types of accommodations, food or expenses when you are roughing it in the wild. As long as there are plenty of adult beverages and s’mores, everyone is happy.”

About Red Tricycle
Red Tricycle is a digital media company that fuels the parenting universe with daily inspiration for family fun. Over 8 million moms across the US rely on Red Tricycle for ideas that are both aspirational and actionable, that they can do at home, in their city or wherever their adventures take them.


Have you traveled with other families or are you too nervous to? Share your opinions below and then let us know what other topics and questions we should cover in our next survey.


photo: Rusty Dollar via flickr