Overdue: 55% of parents haven’t taken their family on vacation in 3 years!

NEW YORK — Planning your next family vacation soon? A new survey suggests vacations are more enjoyable for the whole family when you plan them out in advance. That’s according to a new survey of 2,000 American parents, which finds 68 percent take on new roles when they plan to go on a family vacation.

When preparing for vacations, one in four parents say they are the “planners” of their family — keeping everyone on track and organized. Meanwhile, others name their partner or co-parent as an “agent of chaos” who always seems to cause trouble (18%) or is always running late (17%).

In partnership with Chase IHG Rewards Credit Cards, the study, conducted by OnePoll, also finds that 68 percent agree there’s a lot of planning involved in their family vacations, so they can go smoothly. Seventy-six percent of families are able to plan out their entire itinerary within six hours over a span of a few days. Six in 10 (61%) families start planning at least five weeks in advance.

Nearly two in five (39%) like to be prepared “at least days” in advance before leaving, while 28 percent are frantically getting ready up to the very last minute. More than half (55%) haven’t had a vacation in at least three years however, 70 percent are planning to take one within the next 18 months.

Can you really relax on a family vacation?

When looking to book a place to stay for vacation, parents say the most important factors are the available amenities (47%), making sure it’s kid-friendly (41%), and being in proximity to local cultural attractions (40%).

While 65 percent of parents surveyed feel they can’t relax until their family has reached their vacation destination, 72 percent “finally get to enjoy themselves” when they reach their hotel room.

“Families are ready to travel again, and we’re excited for parents as they plan to take back lost vacation time and create new memories with their kids,” says Heather Balsley, Senior Vice President of Loyalty & Partnerships at IHG Hotels & Resorts, in a statement. “We want families to feel welcomed by their destination, wherever in the world they go. We believe everyone deserves to be cared for in a way that meets their needs – and more than anything, just have fun.”

Let the fun begin!

After arriving, parents say the first thing they like to do is to head straight for the pool or bar (31%), look around the hotel (23%), or grab a bite to eat (17%).

During their much-needed vacations, families make an average of four memorable moments. These moments include trying or learning something new (41%), finding reminders from their childhood or other happy times (40%), or finding reasons to be proud of each other (40%).

Additionally, two in three (67%) parents note their kids are very helpful in planning activities on vacations and nearly as many (62%) admit their children decide whether or not the vacation is fun. Parents surveyed add that their older kids tend to help the most with planning (35%), while their younger children just want to have fun (25%).

“Stepping into the lead planner role for an upcoming family vacation is no small feat, especially as it has been quite some time since most families have hit the road together,” says Ed Olebe, President of Chase Co-Brand Cards. “Consider what tools are at your disposal to help alleviate some of this pressure. For example, your travel credit card might be able to simplify trip logistics with benefits like a credit towards TSA Precheck or provide perks like a free night’s stay.”

“The whole family should enjoy their long-awaited vacations, and we hope that a little bit of planning and having the right resources at-hand can go a long way to ensure everyone has a memorable time.”

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