Lonely Planet Writer

What kids want from holidays – strong Wi-Fi, pool and staff that tell jokes

You know what’s important to you to make a vacation go from good to great – maybe it’s a killer pool, a luxury spa or room service that can be had at 4 a.m. – but have you ever wondered what exactly little Joey or Joyce might like to make it a vacation to beat all other vacations?

Korean boy jumping off platform into lake
Activity ranked high with teens.  Image by Getty Images

Booking.com has collected 22,500 post-vacation reviews from kids across the globe and found out not only what will keep your little adventurer happy, but the best spots to go to get those very things. It’s no surprise that teens aged 12-15 years old put connectivity at the top of their wish list; what’s the point of a great vacation if you can’t share it with your friends back home via Snapchat? Almost 90% of those polled say that they need fast Wi-Fi to be happy and that Japan is the place to go to fulfil the fast data dream. Teens also rank The Netherlands, Canada, Portugal and Russia as places that have great Wi-Fi service. And where to go to get those cool pics worth sharing? Brazil, Russia, Greece, Croatia and The Netherlands come out on top.

Three teenage girls using digital tablet in tree house
90% of teens said fast Wi-Fi was essential to having a happy holiday. Image by Getty

Teens also love hanging out around a pool (65%) or lounging on the beach (45%). They voted that the US is number one when it comes to having perfect pools and Greece is where to go for the most beautiful beaches. But when it comes down to a choice between lethargy or liveliness, doing stuff wins out. Close to 50% feel that having plenty of activities to do ranks high in the top five things that make up a great holiday and it’s the US that has a lot to offer in this department. Other countries, like Argentina, Mexico, Austria, Great Britain and The Netherlands, also have plenty to see and do for vacation family fun time.

Zip Line thrills are now available in Europe for those who want holiday adrenaline rushes
Zip Line thrills are popular for teens on holiday.  Image by nathanmac87 / CC BY 2.0

Unlike their teenage counterparts, kids 5-11 years old are way more social and, aside from vacationing near a pool —preferably one with cool water slides (73%) — or a beach (58%), close to half of those asked want to go to a place where they can play with other kids. They conclude that Mexico is the place to go to frolic with other small people like themselves.

Children want Wi-Fi and pools.
Children want Wi-Fi and pools. Image by Booking.com

Being able to do things that they can’t, or maybe aren’t allowed to, do at home ranks even higher with the little ones, at 54%, than finding new friends, though. And they’re pretty specific in their requests: having all-you-can-eat ice cream (52%), eating breakfast late (66%), staying up till all hours (46%) and having a bouncy bed (22%) are all things that help to make a vacation one to remember. Some of the best spots in which to find these goodies include Brazil, Canada, Thailand, Poland, Croatia and Taiwan.

The one final item that the youngsters think important? One in ten kids believe that vacation staff should be good at telling jokes. We don’t know how you’re going to qualify that request in advance.