ASTA: Family travel up almost 20% since 2001

Surveys show the 9/11 terrorist attacks altered the travel patterns of many Americans. Trips closer to home became popular and more travelers opted for driving vacations.

Today, many of those travel patterns are not as pronounced, but a new survey conducted by ASTA shows one trend has remained constant -- family travel.

Ever since 9/11, families have been spending more quality time together, said Kathy Sudeikis, president and CEO of ASTA.

Agents responding to ASTAs 2004 Family Travel Survey said that over the past three years, they have seen on average a 19.9% increase in family travel.

For purposes of the survey, family travel was defined as parents traveling with their children or grandparents travel with their grandchildren. However, agents (50.6%) also noted that during the last five years they had seen an increase in single parents traveling with their children. The ASTA survey found families are traveling beyond traditional destinations.

Cruising has become a popular option for families, Sudeikis said, partly because [parents] dont have to worry about making dinner reservations.

The popular cruise lines for families were Royal Caribbean (41.5%), Carnival (35.9%), Princess (9.0%), Disney (2.8%), Norwegian (2.5%) and Celebrity (1.4%).

The top factors for influencing where families travel included: something for everyone (57.9%), cost (37.8%), time (3.3%) and distance (1%).

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