Taking embarrassing snaps, attempting to speak the local language and spending way too much time checking work emails are among things kids wish their parents didn’t do on holiday. An independent study of 1,000 British children aged six to 12 years produced by Marella Cruises found what would happen if you let your children plan your holiday…

Nearly a third (31.9%) of little ones stated that spending time with parents is the most important thing to do on holiday. In comparison, a meager 2.8% of those surveyed would want to play on their phone. The great outdoors also triumphed over tech, with a quarter of kids (25.5%) saying they’d rather explore and go on an adventure than stare at a screen while on their family holiday.

Of those surveyed, one in 10 think their parents worry about work too much to truly unwind and enjoy their time together. Meanwhile, 20.8% of kids claim total and utter embarrassment when mum and dad get carried away with the camera, taking too many photos.

Renowned child psychologist Dr. Anna Colton said: “We were lucky enough to spend a whole day working closely with a group of children and asked them what they would do if they planned their family holiday. By listening to their moments of mini-inspiration, it has become very clear that involving children in all aspects of the planning process of a holiday will make them feel more grown up, valued and listened to.

“The fact that there was an overwhelming response in wanting to spend more time with their families on holiday shows that this primal desire to connect is very powerful. The group was also incredibly keen on being adventurous. Wanting outdoor activities further demonstrates the desire for connection and family time, as these activities are not done alone. It is fabulous to see that the research backs up what we already know is of such fundamental importance to good mental health in our children.”


  1. Spending time with parents/family
  2. Exploring/going on adventures
  3. Swimming
  4. To play games
  5. Freedom to do what they want

The research also reveals children thrive when being involved with the holiday planning, with 59% wanting the freedom to choose the family activities and over half (51%) stating they would feel more grown up if their parents let them pick where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do while away.

Chris Hackney, Managing Director of Marella Cruises added: “Of course, we were delighted to discover during the research that our tech-savvy younger generation prefer quality family time on their holidays.

"Holidays are a great time to reconnect with your kids, and many adults feel much closer to their family when they’re abroad.”



About the study

The research was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Marella Cruises and polled 1,000 children aged 6 - 12 in March 2018. Back to top

Marella Cruises, part of TUI UK and Ireland and TUI Group/World of TUI is a cruise line in the UK. There are currently five ships in the Marella Cruises fleet, Marella Dream, Marella Celebration, Marella Discovery, Marella Discovery 2 and Marella Spirit. New ship Marella Explorer will begin sailing in summer 2018. Back to top

Hide comments (0)


  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Saturday, 28 March 2020

PLEASE NOTE: If you have a specific question for or for other dads, please post it on our Forum.

We may use your email address to respond to you about your comment. View our Privacy Policy for more details.