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Sometimes the obstacles seem insurmountable for families who struggle to plan and book vacations together. In fact, according to the Family Travel Association’s (FTA) 2018 Family Travel Survey, 58% of American parents are not utilizing all their paid time off. This means, among other things, that there are fewer clients for travel advisors, fewer cruise cabins sold and fewer hotel rooms filled.
Equally important is the fact that American families are missing out on all the life benefits that vacationing together can bring.
But being aware of a problem is only part of the solution. Figuring out what we can do to solve it — and how we can motivate people and organizations to focus on it — is key to making a change.
So, what can be done? We recently asked FTA travel advisor members for their input.
Advisor Aikaterini Makatouni of Kids Love Greece in Chesnut Hill, Mass., would like to see employers encourage parents to take all their vacation time — and not make them feel bad if they ask for multiple days off in a row.
Meanwhile, Ann Forstenzer, an advisor with Magic Family Getaways in Glen Ridge, N.J., pointed to Europe’s example of offering more vacation time.
Joy Hess, owner of Outside the Lines Travel in Wexford, Penn., wants companies to educate and encourage employees to spend time with their families by posting vacation photos in the office. Hess says if we want to elevate the importance of time away with family, we should equate it with other elements of corporate life, such as community service and performance awards.
Lauren Goldenberg, an advisor with The Family Traveler in Jacksonville, Fla., agrees with that approach.
“Make it part of the work culture,” she said. “Hang posters promoting vacation destinations, leave out travel brochures to motivate employees, and give away trips at holiday parties.”
Goldenberg also suggests that companies find ways to share frequent traveler points with employees, or offer services such as dog-sitting for families boarding pets while on the road.
The FTA hopes to alleviate the impact of these issues — and you can help. Take the first step by visiting our website and following the FTA’s Facebook page.
We know that advisors have a lot to contribute as we help America #takefamilytime.
The DetailsFamily Travel Association www.familytravel.org