When I was a little kid, traveling always seemed a little bit magical: We climbed into the family van (or, even more bafflingly, walked into a massive airport and somehow stomped onto the right plane) and, a few hours later, showed up for our new, temporary lives—a world where bedtimes shifted, dessert came standard, and mom and dad seemed so gosh darn relaxed. That’s why I had fun perusing new research from HomeAway and FamilyFun, released today, that examined how kids and their parents feel about family vacations. Travel-planning, in my mind, is all about anticipation, making tough choices, and compromising—plenty of good life-skill lessons for kids.

Here are a few findings that caught my eye:

Kids, for your next birthday, would you rather receive presents or go on a special vacation?

  • Vacation: 43 percent
  • Presents: 38 percent
  • I don’t know: 19 percent

It seems the experiences-over-things movement has taken hold in children, too! I love the very torn 19 percent who just can’t settle on an answer.

Parents, do your children have an idea of what your typical family vacations cost?

  • They have no idea whatsoever: 41 percent
  • They have somewhat of an idea: 50 percent
  • They know what we spend: 10 percent

Also noteworthy: About one-third of kids would bring their pet (32 percent), their cousins (32 percent) or their grandparents (29 percent) along on their dream family vacation. Perhaps it’s because they don’t know how much the whole shebang is already costing you.

What’s your ideal nontraditional place to stay? Here’s how parents answered:

HomeAway
Source: HomeAway

And here’s how kids felt:

HomeAway
Source: HomeAway

Treehouses: standing tall as kids’ utopian dream for as long as I can remember, anyway!

And finally, the most adorable finding of all: 

What is the most embarrassing thing your parents do on vacation?

HomeAway
Source: HomeAway

Hey, if you have two children, one isn't embarrassed of you at all! See below for an infographic of some of the findings about just how a trip would look if kids were in charge:

HomeAway
Source: HomeAway

How do you include your kids on trip-planning?

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