In the names of Clark and Ellen Griswold from National Lampoon’s Vacation, American families are hitting the road.
At least that’s one takeaway from a recent survey report from AAA, which suggested that roughly 35 percent of American families will travel more than 50 miles away from home with at least two other family members in 2017.
The report, which was released earlier this week and included replies from 1,006 respondents, also included a number of data points on the kind of trips family travelers plan to take.
Leading the charge: the old-fashioned road trip (79 percent of respondents), national parks (51 percent), and theme parks (40 percent). Trips to international destinations (33 percent), guided or escorted tours (22 percent), and ocean cruises (20 percent) also made the list.
Drilling deeper, road trip numbers were 10 percent higher than last year—a curious finding, considering that gas prices are more than 50 cents higher than they were in February 2016.
Another noticeable spike: Numbers for guided or escorted tours rose 7 percent from 2016.
A press release that hit wires Tuesday quoted an AAA executive as saying that Americans preferred the “structure and convenience” of group tours over the flexibility of a road trip.
“Many tours are specially designed for multi-generational groups, plus there’s no better way to learn about a destination than from a knowledgeable, local guide,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA’s senior vice president of travel and publishing.
Overall, survey data indicated that while the vast majority (70 percent) of respondents said they were planning to take one or two vacations this year, 28 percent of respondents said they would take three or more. AAA did not offer any explanations for this data, but it did note the number of frequent family travelers rose 13 percentage points over last year.
The Griswolds would be proud.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.