Here's a list of places my friends are taking their kids for summer vacation:
* Universal Orlando
* Walt Disney World
* Atlantis Resort
* San Diego Zoo
* Disney Cruise
Now, here's a list of where my friends really wanted to go:
* Yellowstone National Park
* Beach house in the middle of nowhere
* Costa Rica
* Hiking in New England
Guess who picked their final destinations? Yep—the kids. One of my friend's daughters, who is Harry Potter-obessed, begged since last year to see new Diagon Alley (it really is incredible), another kid we know gave up a birthday party and presents so she could meet Anna and Elsa. Turns out, my friends fit right into the trend—85% of kids ages 6 to 12 play some role in choosing where the family goes on vacation, according to a new survey by HomeAway (the go-to site for vacation rentals). Granted, most parents don't give the children the full say, but the majority either decide together as a family or took a few suggestions from the kids and made a final choice.
I confess too that I've often given in to where my 12-year-old wanted to go—that's why on our last trip, you could find me screaming on a roller coaster rather than chilling out under an umbrella with a good book. (In the survey, 41% of kids wanted to visit a theme park on their vacation—twice as many as wanted to hit the beach. Figures.)
So are we being pushovers? Or are we trying to keep the kids are happy and occupied, so our lives will be easier? Six in ten parents in the survey thought their kids would enjoy their vacation more if they had input. Now tell me what you think.
Karen Cicero is contributing travel editor at Parents magazine. Follow her on Twitter @karencicero to see her latest roller coaster adventures.