The percentage of parents planning to travel with their children has declined for three consecutive years, according to the Family Travel Association (FTA), with affordability being cited as the main reason. 

Seventy percent of parents say they are "likely" or "very likely" to travel with their children in the next three years, according to the 2019 U.S. Family Travel Survey. But while interest in family vacations is very strong, intent to travel is down from 79% in the 2018 survey, and from 93% in the inaugural 2015 report.

In 2015 and 2016, 93% of parents were "very likely" or "likely" to travel with their children. In 2017, this reduced to 88%, in 2018 to 79%, and this year to 70%. 

The 2019 U.S. Family Travel Survey, conducted by the FTA and the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, found that affordability was the greatest impediment to taking a family vacation, with 32% of respondents saying they could not afford one. Twenty-six percent said they have other pressing needs in their budgets, while 13% said they had difficulty taking time off.

"Parents know family vacations are very important, but the strain of paying for travel weighs heavily on the American household’s budget," said Lynn Minnaert, clinical associate professor at the Tisch Center. 

Despite the decline in intent to travel, the survey of 1,580 parents found that the great majority (77%) of U.S. parents have taken their families on a trip in the past three years and that average annual spending on family travel during that time was $3,835.

The survey also found that "gramping," another term for skip-generational travel, is on the rise. About 37% of grandparents were likely to take their grandchildren on a skip-gen trip in the next three years, and 17% have taken their grandchildren on such a trip in the past three years. 

The separate survey of almost 1,170 grandparents found that 78% of grandparents typically plan and organize the skip-generational trip and that 92% of grandparents pay for the trip. 

The survey found that there is a lot of potential for travel agents to tap into the family travel market: 16% of parent respondents have used a travel agent to plan and book a trip in the past three years and 53% would consider using a travel agent in the next three years. 

Of the grandparent respondents, 8% have used a travel agent to plan and book a skip-generational trip in the past three years while 13% have used a travel agent to plan and book a multigenerational trip in the past three years. Forty-four percent of grandparent respondents would consider using a travel agent in the next three years.

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