The New Faces of Family Travel

We are proactive in spotting and pinpointing trends, behaviors, signals, and initiatives that repeat enough to forge a new reality and potentially a new concept. This is how we came across the so-called DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) and DINKWADs (Dual Income, No Kids, With A Dog). This “new” (?) way of defining a family brings a new niche and audience to the list of people who live, experience, eat, consume, be entertained, and… yes, travel.

As we dive into how modern life and big changes in society are shaping up, the focus on dual-income households without children, or with pets instead, opens a fascinating chapter in the narrative of travel.

They’re not just changing what families look like; they’re also changing who travel companies think of as their main customers. With what they want, what they like, and the money to spend, these couples are exploring new ways to have fun and relax.

DINKS and DINKWADs: a new niche or a mass behavior?

The emergence of DINKs and DINKWADs marks a significant cultural shift, reflecting changing perceptions of family and personal fulfillment. While individual reasons vary, the trend towards child-free living is influenced by a broader cultural move towards prioritizing personal desires and interests, changing definitions of family, competitive career landscapes, and a desire for freedom in life’s decisions, including travel.

Harris Poll | Personal independence behind declining birth rates

When we pay attention to the facts, we see that the income of couples without children, in addition to having grown in recent years, is also much higher than that of couples with children — at least in the United States. With greater purchasing power and more time to dedicate to your interests, a new business niche may be born here.

Transforming Family Travel

This diversification encourages the travel industry to offer a wide range of experiences, from tranquil retreats to exhilarating escapades, catering to the eclectic tastes of today’s modern travelers. The evolving landscape of family travel now presents opportunities to design unforgettable trips for every kind of family, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and innovation in addressing the dynamic demands of contemporary society.

We know that there are many places where the birth rate has decreased and/or the population has aged significantly, making “not having children” go from being a trend to a very present reality in countries such as Japan, Portugal, South Korea, and Norway, among others. It is important to highlight, however, that this is not a fact for developing countries.

Almost half, 43%, of unmarried American adults want to get married in the future, according to a 2022 Harris Poll survey. But only 28% said they want to have a child.

Harris Poll | Personal independence behind declining birth rates
Opportunities for innovation

In the travel industry, we may take the greater presence of DINKs and DINKWADs as a new form to family travel and question whether we are assessing them with compatible businesses, attractions, and experiences. If not, here is the insight to study the new opportunities that arise now.

Restaurants with immersive experiences, silent trips in nature, focus groups with a corporate objective in mind, and music festivals with diverse entertainment attractions: the possibilities multiply when keeping in mind these more or less mature adults thirsty for new experiences and able to pay for them.

Having said all that, it is known that couples with children invest — a lot — in travel, whether considering the couple or the whole family. And, when with family, there is a vast ocean of business opportunities, mainly focused on entertainment, at a slower pace of travel, and focused on collective experiences. Let’s keep in mind that there is a whole world to invest in this particular niche as well.

77.6% of adults in the US say they plan to travel for leisure this summer, demonstrating their keen interest in exploring new destinations and enjoying vacation experiences.

PMG’s survey of 2,000 US adults, asking about their summer travel plans and how the state of the US economy is impacting their discretionary spending. 
Looking Ahead

As the definition of family travel evolves, so too must the travel industry’s strategies. DINKs and DINKWADs are not just a fleeting trend but a demographic shift with lasting implications for business strategy, marketing, and customer engagement. Recognizing this change, the industry must adapt, offering new ways to meet the diverse wants, needs, and desires of today’s travelers.

By embracing this shift, the travel industry can ensure it remains relevant and responsive to the changing dynamics of modern families, offering experiences that resonate with a wider audience and enrich the travel landscape for all.

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