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Family Travel Experiences Improve Educational Attainment & Future Success. Well planned family vacations matter more than ever and for those parents or grandparents who know the value of combining family fun with learning, the news is good in so many ways.
Family Fun & Learning at CEDO in Puerto Penasco, Mexico.As the final plans are being made for a family spring break or summer family vacation ideas are being discussed at dinner, consider the adding extra value to your vacation ideas. For those who combine family fun with learning, the investment will yield success and the memories will be priceless.
Here’s the scoop. Educational travel has a clear positive impact on children’s academic performance and career growth, according to a new survey by The Wagner Group, conducted as part of the Travel Effect campaign. The "Travel Improves Educational Attainment & Future Success" survey revealed that adults who took learning-focused trips between the ages of 12 and 18 had higher academic achievement, achieved higher grades, and enjoyed greater incomes than those who did not travel. Adults who traveled in their youth were more likely to graduate from high school, and 63 percent of that group went on to graduate from college, according to the research findings.

“Not only did we see a considerably higher graduation rate among students who traveled, but as adults, they earned 12 percent more annually,” said Dr. Jeffrey Wagner, president of The Wagner Group.Family Adventures & Learning the Travel Effect

The survey analyzed a cross-section of 400 American adults on their perceptions of taking, or not taking, an educational trip between the ages of 12-18. Key family travel findings include:

Develop a greater interest in learning. Travel added to context and depth of classroom discussions: For 80 percent of those surveyed, educational travel sparked greater interest in what they were taught in school. Among those who traveled, 86 percent believe educational trips made them more intellectually curious inside and outside the classroom. For more than half, these trips also influenced their later career paths — even when the “tipping point” wasn’t directly connected to the purpose of the trip. One respondent, for example, recalled how a teacher’s explanation about humidity after a swim in Lake Mead ignited an interest that led to a career in science.

Be bored no more.
Educational travel was not perceived as boring: Ninety percent of adults who took educational trips during this age range reported that their travel was fun, engaging and/or inspiring.As one respondent said, “When you’re someone like me, who wasn’t always the best student, going on these trips is a break from textbooks. I remember seeing the Egyptian mummies and going to the school library to check out books about them. The librarian was shocked because I had never checked a book out before.”

Achieve higher grades.
Students who took educational trips had higher grades: Travel helped 59 percent of those who took educational trips achieve better grades.

Excel at higher learning.
Students who traveled more likely to graduate and seek higher learning: Fifty-seven percent of adults who took educational trips as children and teens attained a college degree or went on to do post-graduate work, whereas only 33 percent of those who did not went on to higher education. Travel Effect Living History in Williamsburg, Virginia

Enjoy higher earning potential.
Adults who traveled saw benefits in their careers later in life: Fifty-two percent of students who took educational trips reported that their career choice was influenced by educational travel, and 89 percent reported that the trips had a positive impact on their education and/or career. Students who traveled on educational trips in their youth make nearly 12 percent more (or $5,000) annually later in their careers, than those who did not travel.

Gain greater self-confidence.
Others describe early travel as having boosted their self-confidence, and several noted that educational travel experiences not only made them realize how many different kinds of careers they could pursue, they also helped connect learning to real-world applications.

Enable thinking outside the box.
An even greater number of respondents report learning effects beyond the classroom. Many respondents look back on their early trips as being foundations for “thinking outside the box” and inspiring them to want to see more places and have more learning experiences. A full 86 percent said travel in their youth made them more intellectually curious not only in school, but outside the classroom, as well.

Share real world experiences.
In addition to making specific subjects and lessons more interesting, more than one in three people value their youth travel experiences for a broader dimension of education: awakening them to a world more diverse than they had previously imagined.

See diversity.
Many report that travel was their first significant exposure to cultural differences. As one respondent expressed, “Experiencing economic diversity, seeing where we came from, how we evolved as a people — it certainly influenced my thinking, especially when I started working and meeting other people from different backgrounds.” Others credit early travel as having made them “more tolerant” and having introduced them to “other people and different viewpoints.”Travel Effect Porshe Museum Family Fun & Learning in Stuttgart, Germany.

Experience cross-cultural situations.
While teachers and textbooks can introduce children to communities and cultures beyond their own, respondents recall travel experiences as opening their eyes to that reality like a key opening a lock. One respondent recalled how “they showed me there was a lot more to the world than my small town,” another noted, “My family didn’t travel much, so this was a way for me to see places I normally wouldn’t see.”

More than half of people surveyed describe their educational travel experiences as “transformative,” for reasons summed up beautifully in this simple response: “The world gets very big once your eyes have been opened.”

"The best part of this survey is that regardless of ethnicity, family income, age or gender, travel’s benefits to education and future successes are universal,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “This research shows that simple educational additions to your itinerary whether it’s local culture, history or nature can have major impacts on future career success.”

More information about the benefits of travel for families, businesses, communities and more can be found at

Report Methodology:
The Wagner Group conducted the survey “Travel Improves Educational Attainment & Future Success,” in the summer of 2013 to determine the impact of learning-focused travel on academic performance and career growth. A 10-minute random digit dial telephone interview was fielded from June 24 to July 1, 2013. Wagner interviewed 400 consumers between the ages of 21 and 69; 200 who took an educational trip in the USA and 200 who did not. For the purposes of the study, an educational trip was defined as any domestic trip taken between the ages of 12 and 18, that involved learning about the history or culture of the area visited, either as a school or family trip, where the respondent traveled at least 50 miles from home (one-way) or had an overnight stay regardless of mileage.To minimize any unintentional bias, the “Traveler” and “Non-Traveler” groups were sample balanced in terms of gender, age, ethnicity and family income-class designation during the time when the respondent was between 12 and 18 years old.

Report generated by US Travel Association; images by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for Copyright 2014. 

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