Of all the holiday travel in the US, three-quarters is down to family travel. And the traditional summer family road trip accounts for 76% of that (such as visiting friends, relatives and doing a little sight-seeing), according to research carried out by Avis Rent-a-Car.
As families are finalising plans for summer travel, the car rental firm aims to relieve its customers of some of the stress and anguish associated with road trips - by offering a special summer family drive package. With free upgrades to give families more room, plus travel tips and games, the drive could be a lot smoother than usual. The Family Drive Package, as announced, includes:
- A family drive upgrade: Customers who book weekend or weekly rentals, including a Saturday night, between June 13 and September 15, 2002 can have a bigger car for the price of a smaller one in several car classes.
- Savings on child safety seats: In keeping with the firm's emphasis on child safety, the package entitles customers to a 'rent one, get one free' deal for child restraints.
- A family road map: Avis provides an informative guide to a great family drive, outlining tips on travel safety and maintaining the vehicle while travelling. The guide also shares useful planning hints, projects and games that will entertain kids along the way, plus an offer to save money on future rentals.
The annual trip
With so many American families expected to spend so much of their summer holiday in the car, the company commissioned a survey of over 1,000 parents for their feedback on summer road trips. The survey addressed travel planning, passenger safety concerns, vehicle maintenance and that old favourite, entertaining the kids. The survey reveals some amazing insights:
- Traditional activities such as sing-a-longs, reading and made-up games are just as popular for entertaining children in the car as today's high-tech toys. Despite the prevalence of DVD and VCR players at home, only 14% of parents are using them in the car.
- Spending quality time together was cited by 46% of families as the primary reason to take a family holiday. Other reasons were visiting relatives and friends (25%) and exploring new parts of the country (14%).
- Men are more likely than women to try fixing a flat tyre. Second to relying on dad, 11% of families report they would call for roadside help.
- Nearly half (48%) said they will be taking multiple short trips this summer, as opposed to one long trip.
- Mothers exert the most influence over the final holiday destination 49% of the time, whilst fathers decide 24% of the time. Other influences included the children (10%) and grandparents (4%).
- Fathers typically handle 62% of the driving, while mothers handle only 33%, particularly on long trips.
- Most families (76%) will use internet and paper atlases as the major source of directions and maps for trip planning. Other less widely used sources included friends and family (50%), clerks at gas stations and convenience stores (20%), and rental car maps (7%).
To help reduce the steam and tensions of trip planning - and long car trips - the company is also offering travel advice, maps and information on its web site.