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View from the Cruise Deck

Family travel trends indicate we’re ready for some splurging. We took the family on a Baltic Cruise; Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Finland, and more.

 The urge to splurge is driving consumer travel habits this season. 

Take to the Sky: Airlines are rolling out new fees for everything from seat selection to bringing a carry-on bag. However, despite these new charges, the majority (62%) of travelers polled plan to fly to their end destination. Conversely, 27% are hitting the road and 10% of respondents plan to travel by bus.

*We cashed in all our miles and netted four tickets to Copenhagen where we boarded the Norwegian Sun for a ten-day cruise in the Baltic Sea. It was the perfect vacation for all of us. Tired parents, kids recovering from finals and law school, and everyone in need of a culture fix.

Location, Location, Location: Travelers take many factors into account when selecting a destination, with the most popular criterion being overall interest in the destination (37%.)  Families also select a location based on whether or not activities are offered for both parents and children (26%,) how family-friendly the destination is (23%,) budget (22%) and overall distance from home (6%.) The most popular destinations among respondents included the Continental U.S. (33%,) and Europe (28%,) followed by Alaska (6%,) Asia (4%) and Hawaii (3%.)

*We chose a cruise in the Baltic Sea because we wanted to learn more about Scandinavia, Russia and even Berlin!

It Takes Two: When planning a summer vacation, the majority of respondents (42%) prefer to travel with their significant other, while 14% plan to take a multigenerational trip. Other travel companions include children living at home (14%,) extended family (9%) and grandchildren (7%.)

Urge to Splurge: As the economy rebounds, travelers are able to spend more on their summer vacation. As a result, the majority of respondents (52%) are splurging on overseas airfare or flights to multiple destinations. The travelers polled are also spending more on attractions (36%,) accommodations (32%) and dining (24%) than in the past few years.

*The cruise was a splurge but money well spent to have two weeks of R&R and a crash course in European History, Art and Architecture with our kids.

Favorite Art Location: The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

The Unknown: There are several factors to consider when purchasing a travel insurance plan this summer. Of the 81% of respondents planning to purchase travel insurance, each respondent chose several options when selecting what they look for in a travel insurance plan this summer. Their top coverage choices as were trip cancellation or interruption coverage (86%,) medical expense coverage (72%,) trip delay coverage (60%,) lost luggage coverage (45%) and a plan that covers children at no additional cost (15%.)

Poll is courtesy of  TravelGuard, provider of  travel insurance and assistance, who polled travelers to learn about their habits when planning a summer family vacation.