We might know that spring break comes around every year, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready for it. That’s one of the surprising conclusions of the first-ever survey of readers of TravelingMom, our partner site, TravelingDad, and guests of Vacatia, the leading resort rentals company. Learn more about that and the other surprises from this survey.

Spring break planning 2017--the beach is just one option.

Photo credit: Renee Virata, Quick Weekender TravelingMom

Spring Break Planning 2017

Still planning your spring break family vacation for 2017? Don’t panic. You’re not alone. And if you’re a mom doing all of the planning herself, you also are not alone. Nor are those of you who are planning to explore a new spot during spring break 2017. Our survey respondents say they are still making last minute spring break plans, Mom is doing most of the family vacation planning and they are interested in heading to a new place this year.

Those are just some of the results of the first-ever survey of readers of TravelingMom and TravelingDad and customers of Vacatia. Here’s what our readers had to say about spring break family travel planning and its challenges.

Where to find Snow in the South - Beech Mountain NC

Photo courtesy of Beech Mountain Resort

Spring Break Planning at the Last Minute

Nearly 30 percent of the people who responded to our survey say they will finalize their spring break plans within a month of travel this year.

Another 27 percent say they are waiting even longer. They won’t make spring break plans until a week or two before the trip. Only a very organized 19 percent say they had their trip details nailed down before year-end 2016.

Moms Are Still in Charge of Most Spring Break Planning, but We Are Getting Some Help

Among the most surprising results was this one: Nearly one-third of our respondents say they share the responsibility (and the blame) for planning the family spring break vacation. In almost half of the families, Mom still has the power to plan the spring break. That also means we get all of the blame when things go wrong. And doesn’t something always go wrong when we travel?

Among the other responses: more than 11 percent say their family is a democracy in which everyone gets a vote on spring break plans. In just 2.84 percent of the families, the kids have major input. In 4 percent of the families, the power goes to the one who pays. Only a paltry 3 percent say that Dad makes the plans.

“We know that moms do most of the planning,” says Kim Orlando, founder of TravelingMom. “But we always recommend sharing the responsibility as much as possible—even with the kids. That means Mom doesn’t have to do all of the work, and she doesn’t get all of the blame if something goes wrong!”

Just the girls. Multigenerational family celebrating the holidays at The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, downtown Denver, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Diana Rowe, Traveling Grandmom

The Definition of ‘Family Travel’ Continues to Expand

While 60 percent of the survey responders say they will be doing a traditional Spring Break trip with their nuclear family – just parents and kids—another 10 percent are planning to bring the grandparents along as well.

Eight percent says they plan to bring grown kids or family members, and nearly 5 percent say they will “bring everyone in our big, multigen family.” Still others will be going the friends and family route—8 percent plan to bring grown kids or family members along, another 8 percent say they will bring adult friends and 8.5 percent say they will bring family and friends.

“We receive these requests all the time,” says Caroline Shin, CEO and co-founder of Vacatia. “We call them ‘like family’ trips. Our guests increasingly are booking our larger resort rentals—two-bedroom, three-bedroom or larger—or booking multiple resort residences to accommodate their friends and extended family members.”

Pack a Beach Bag packing tips for summer travel

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian / Lifestyle TravelingMom

The Icky Parts of Spring Break Planning

When it comes to the challenges of planning family vacations for spring break 2017, there was little agreement among survey responders on the toughest challenge. Nearly 40 percent said “coordinating everyone’s schedules” is the ickiest part of spring break planning, while 36 percent said it is “agreeing on a budget and coordinating payment. And then there’s the challenge of making everyone happy—31 percent said the “ickiest part” of planning if finding a destination that makes everyone happy and 24 percent said it’s choosing accommodations that will make everyone happy.

“It can be a real challenge to plan a family vacation, especially when the kids get older,” says Orlando of TravelingMom.com. “But we know that it’s worth the effort. There simply is no substitute for that family bonding time you get on a family vacation.”

What’s Different about Spring Break 2017?

More than one-third of the Spring Break planners say they will be heading to a new destination this year. Only 11 percent say they do the same thing every year.

Among other differences, 13 percent say they will spend less this year, while 5 percent plan to spend more. Nearly 7 percent will drive instead of fly this year, while 3 percent will fly instead of drive. Seven percent are planning a multigen trip, 5 percent will be bringing friends along, and 6 percent plan to stay longer this year than last. As growing proof of the trend towards non-traditional accommodations, 6 percent report they plan to stay in something other than a hotel—Airbnb, Vacatia resort rentals and other non-hotel options.