Kids benefit from having a say in their families' vacation plans. // © 2015 iStock
Parents surveyed said:
42 percent plan vacations so kids can learn about new things
25 percent see trip planning as an educational opportunity
77 percent let kids choose vacation activities
49 percent give kids the power to choose the destination
Nearly 90 percent of U.S. parents give kids some say in vacation destination planning, according to the HomeAway Kidfluencer Survey. The study found that more than half of parents surveyed involve children in order to get them enthused about the trip, 42 percent do it so kids can learn about new things, and a quarter see trip planning as an educational opportunity.
So what are kids deciding? Most parents surveyed (77 percent) let children choose vacation activities, while about half allow them to review the itinerary (53 percent). Nearly half (49 percent) give kids the power to decide the destination.
Parents are seeing the benefits of engaging children in vacation planning, and kids are speaking up.
Twelve-year-old Bella Tipping of Australia recently launched Kidzcations.com, a site where kids can review hotels, restaurants and attractions from their perspective. She was inspired after watching her mom give a great TripAdvisor review to a hotel Tipping thought was too adult-focused, serving things such as rubbery chicken nuggets and flavorless hamburgers. The site is not the first to capitalize on the idea of kid-created travel content.
Sydney-based Bound Round touts itself as “the world’s first by kids, for kids travel information and reviews platform.” The comprehensive website and app is geared to children ages 6 to 12 and includes peer reviews, as well as content such as travel guides. Guides are photo-heavy and full of age-appropriate travel facts and tips, as well as reviews and recommendations for activities to do nearby. Other child-friendly components include an interactive map that shows country flags and leads to country fact pages, and numerous unscripted and semi-scripted destination videos that feature interviews with kids.
While not all destinations are equally reviewed, it’s easy for children and parents to find what they’re looking for using the search function. A search for New York led me to one glowing review, just in time for the holidays.
“New York City is the perfect place to go for Christmas,” wrote Kenzie, a Bound Round user. “Christmas is the best time for evening ice-skating, and the snow is absolutely beautiful. There are many shops that children like me would love exploring, and it was the best experience in a long time. New York is a great place for a family winter holiday.”
Another user, three-time New York City visitor Beth, raved about climbing the Empire State Building, seeing two musicals (“Mamma Mia!” and “Matilda the Musical”) and scoring two dolls at the American Girl shop.
Both websites prioritize child safety by using avatars for reviews and forgoing features such as live chat.
“The whole family is now invested in the experience, with kids bringing their own travel preferences to the table,” said Brian Sharples, co-founder and CEO of Home Away.