Heathrow press releases

30 December, 2016

Generation destination: Modern kids clock up air miles on foreign adventures

Tiny traveller 2


Average British parents spend £29,962 on holidays for little ones


•    2016 saw a fifth (19%) of children take at least seven trips away, compared to their parents who only took four breaks last year
•    Dream destinations for under 16 year olds include Australia, Hawaii, Mount Everest and Thailand 
•    Tiny travellers receive an average of £46.80 pocket money per trip 
•    Average getaway costs parents £616.47 – totalling over £29,962 during the course of a childhood (under 16)

Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport, has revealed that today’s kids are a generation of tiny travellers, visiting more countries, clocking up more air miles and having more overseas experiences than ever before. New research reveals that in 2016, one in five (19%) kids went away seven or more times and one in 20 went on more than 10 breaks taking into account family holidays, school trips and vacations with friends. 

The current generation of kids are dreaming of Bondi Beach, kangaroos and the Outback, with nearly a quarter (23%) of children citing far-flung Australia as their dream destination for 2017. Meanwhile, parents were dreaming of vacations closer to home, with the likes of Mallorca (17%), Tenerife (17%) and Blackpool (16%) topping their holiday wish lists. 

The rising popularity of American television shows may be why many children also now want to take a trip across the pond - first place on the dream list for little ones was the Big Apple, one in three (31%) said New York is the place they would most like to visit this year. This was followed by Australia (23%), Hawaii (13%), Mount Everest (11%) and Thailand (10%). 

To help parents make airport experiences as smooth as possible, Heathrow has revealed its top tips for airport travel – including free play areas, kids-eat-free meals and complimentary pampering with over 50 free beauty treatments - before it’s time to fly. 

For many kids, the fun starts before reaching their destination – a fifth (21%) of parents say their child’s favourite part of a holiday is going through the airport or being on a plane.  

Wanting to make sure their little ones can capture every moment, 15% of parents will buy them a new SLR camera, video camera or iPhone to give them the best possible technology for sharing their adventures abroad.

While swimming (46%) and camping (23%) was a favourite childhood holiday activity for today’s parents, this generation of mini adrenaline-junkies are increasingly excited by adventure activities such as scuba diving (18%), safaris (14%) and jet skiing (12%). 

With getaways becoming increasingly action-packed, parents are now spending £2,333 on an average family holiday, around £616.47 per child. This totals £29,962 on holidays over the course of a childhood. 

Parents also give their kids £46.80 pocket money, a 56% increase on the amount they received from their parents.

Parents can help their kids’ holidays get off to a flying start with Heathrow’s Tiny Traveller’s guide on the Heathrow Airport YouTube channel here: Heathrow’s Top Tips from #TinyTravellers

Notes to editors:

Children under the age of 15 travel free on Heathrow Express and adults can save a further £18 by booking a Heathrow Express Duo Saver ticket online which gives two adults a 25% discount when travelling together. Details of the Heathrow Express Duo Saver ticket can be found here. Details of available Kids Eat Free restaurants during half term are available here.

Heathrow is the UK’s hub airport, home to more than 80 airlines connecting to more than 180 destinations. Every year Heathrow welcomes over 70 million passengers with a commitment to ‘making every journey better’. Following an investment of more than £11 billion over the past 10 years, passengers have voted Heathrow the ‘Best Airport in Western Europe’ two years in a row, ‘Best Airport Terminal’ for the Terminal 5 five years in a row and ‘Best Airport for Shopping’ seven years in a row. 



Nadia Vere
Senior Press Officer