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Bypasses to Backseat Boredom. In an interesting juxtaposition, families rank both technology and classic road trip diversions high on the list of most effective ways to keep kids carefree on the road. Bringing along plenty of snacks and drinks is by far the preferred way to keep children happy while in the car, cited by nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of families surveyed. Other favorite activities reflect a mix of media, technology and oldies but goodies, including:

  • Watching DVDs on a portable player (59 percent)
  • Playing video games and other electronic toys (51 percent)
  • Listening to music on MP3s (36 percent)
  • Stopping for frequent breaks so kids don’t get too fidgety (32 percent)
  • Playing classic car games like I Spy as a family (27 percent)
  • Singing along to music as a family (20 percent)
  • Playing with small non-electronic toys (20 percent)
  • Telling funny family stories (18 percent)
  • Coloring and doing arts & crafts projects in the car (18 percent)

Affordability: King Of The Road. “Families are looking for affordable fun,” Joyce explained. “This sentiment echoes throughout our survey, suggesting the lessons learned during the downturn remain top-of-mind for family travelers this summer.”

For example, affordability is the most influential factor in hotel selection, the survey found. Nearly three in four families (73 percent) cite “is affordable for my budget” as the top consideration in choosing a hotel. Approximately half of the respondents also place a premium on having complimentary, engaging amenities and being close to the action, including: free breakfast (50 percent), a pool (49 percent) and a location near attractions and restaurants (48 percent).

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