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Young adults are vacationing more with their aging parents

Melody Hahm
Senior Writer

Family vacations don’t end when children graduate from high school. Young adults are increasingly choosing to tag along on their aging parents’ vacations.

“Millennials don’t have the cash and their cost of living is high, but they want a holiday more than generations at their age have ever wanted before. They’re craving these experiences, but don’t have the money to do it, so they’re tapping into the bank of mom and dad,” said Alison Angus, head of lifestyles research at Euromonitor International.

These so-called ‘genervacations’ are a cost-effective way for millennials to get an all-inclusive experience on their parents’ dime.

Educated 20- to 29-year-olds, many of whom eschew materialistic lifestyles, are signing up to vacation with their parents, said Angus.

The obsession with vacationing

Last year, 9.5 million U.S. millennial households traveled either domestically or internationally. They plan to travel 36% more and spend 19% more on vacations this year, according to travel marketing agency MMGY Global.

This stands in stark contrast with the neutral landscape of U.S. travel overall. The 60 million U.S. households who traveled for pleasure in 2017 intend to spend about 1% less on travel over the next year (after the industry hit an eight-year high in 2016). In other words, millennials are traveling a lot more with or without their parents.

However, multi-generational travel is the fastest-growing area for many travel companies, according to the Family Travel Association. Luxury travel agency Scott Dunn, which has headquarters in the UK, U.S. and Singapore, said it’s a top request. And Expedia’s (EXPE) HomeAway is differentiating itself from Airbnb by highlighting their spacious properties, using the tagline ‘The whole house. The whole family. A whole vacation,’ according to Angus.

Whether in the shape of staycations or adventurous getaways, multi-generational trips are on the rise, and as older millennials start to form families of their own, maybe the grandkids will get to tag along.  

According to an extensive study from tourism research firm Longwoods International, 11.2% of all overnight trips 55+ travelers took in 2016 included at least one child. 8.7% of all overnight trips those 65 and older took included at least one child.

Three generations walk along the beachside promenade on July in Fuengirola, Spain (Getty)

“Multi-generational travel is definitely on the upswing. We’ve been noticing it for the past several years, whether it’s mom and dad springing on the vacation and bringing the adult kids and even grandkids. We’re even seeing grandparents take kids off mom and dad’s hands,” said Amir Eylon, president of Longwoods International.

At least in the short to mid-term, consumers will continue to act this way. As members of Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2014) go to college and enter the workforce this behavior will only increase, said Angus

Under a cynical lens, it may appear shrewd for adult children to be taking advantage of their parents, but it’s arguably not just stemming from selfish motivation for a free trip.

“As they see their children save up to buy their first homes and get on better footing financially. mom and dad definitely want to treat,” said Eylon. “And millennials are recognizing that they should be spending quality time with their parents. There’s an emerging refocus on being with the family, valuing that time together.”

Melody Hahm is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.


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