Parents of children with ADHD, autism or other forms of neurodiversity share their plans, preferences and challenges for future family vacations in landmark travel survey

Continuing its acclaimed research series examining underrepresented traveler audiences, MMGY Global announced today the release of a new report entitled Portrait of Family Travel™: Autism, ADHD and Neurodiversity. Examining the unique travel preferences, behaviors and barriers of this audience segment, the study highlights the significance of accommodations such as low-sensory/quiet areas, clear and transparent information up front, and – perhaps most importantly – a call for greater kindness and patience.

“These findings not only provide a clear road map for the travel industry to enhance its understanding and services catering to this important market segment, but they also underscore the importance of doing so – both from a business perspective and from an ethical obligation to welcome all travelers,” said Executive Vice President of MMGY Travel Intelligence Chris Davidson.

Other key insights from the survey follow.

  • Trip Planning: Seventy-seven percent of respondents planning to travel with their children in the next 12 months will likely visit a destination they have never visited before. To help get them there, nearly half (46%) of families traveling with neurodiverse children prefer to make plans and purchase decisions with the aid of an online travel agency.
  • Getting Around: Families traveling with neurodiverse children primarily rely on their personal vehicle due to the flexibility it provides (64%), the ability to pack everything they may need (61%) and the lower overall cost of travel (59%) compared to flying.
  • Hotel Selection: Nearly two-thirds (64%) of families traveling with neurodiverse children plan to stay in a traditional chain-affiliated hotel within the next 12 months. In addition, more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents find online photos of specific rooms very/extremely important when choosing their lodging.
  • Itinerary Activities: Nine in 10 families traveling with neurodiverse children are motivated by family fun, relaxation, and the ability to get away and unwind. These travelers are especially interested in outdoor and family-friendly activities such as beach experiences, theme parks, zoos and aquariums.
  • Barriers to Travel: Families traveling with neurodiverse children are most impacted by costs, safety and service when choosing a destination. In addition, three-quarters of respondents say their travel decision-making is affected by crowds within a destination, which can be overwhelming for their children, while two-thirds indicate the attitude of other travelers and residents is a factor when choosing a place to visit.
  • Learning and Growing: The survey found that special accommodations at attractions, staff training and increased availability of destination information are the leading areas destinations can focus on to attract families traveling with neurodiverse children. When asked unaided what the CEO of an airline or a hotel should understand about families traveling with neurodiverse children, great emphasis was placed on patience and empathy.

For more insights or to purchase a copy of the full report, visit Sale proceeds will benefit Camp Encourage, an organization based in Parkville, Missouri, which is dedicated to providing campers on the autism spectrum a way to build self-esteem, independence and self-understanding.

Camp Encourage and another community advocate, the Champion Autism Network, helped support the study’s design, review and steering. MMGY Global also thanks the study’s sponsors – AFAR Media, Tripadvisor, Universal Parks & Resorts, Visit Myrtle Beach and Visit North Carolina – for their engagement and financial support.


About the Portrait of Family Travel™: Autism, ADHD and Neurodiversity
Part of its ongoing research series examining underrepresented travelers, MMGY Global’s Portrait of Family Travel™: Autism, ADHD and Neurodiversity is based on interviews with a sample of 1,000 U.S. family travelers with children who experience a form of neurodiversity, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The survey was fielded Feb. 1–20, 2024. To qualify for the survey, respondents had to be over 18 years of age and have children under 18 who experience one or more forms of neurodiversity.

About MMGY Travel Intelligence
MMGY Travel Intelligence is MMGY Global’s industry research and insights brand, offering proprietary data and research including MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers® as well as DK Shifflet’s TRAVEL PERFORMANCE/Monitor℠, which utilizes the largest continuous consumer travel database in the industry. The organization’s services are designed to power travel industry decision-makers through consumer insights, travel performance data, and audience modeling and segmentation. To learn more about the extensive collection of research, analytics and strategy services, visit or email

About MMGY Global
MMGY Global is the world’s leading integrated marketing firm specializing in the travel, hospitality and lifestyle industries. With operating brands across the world, the award-winning organization maintains a global communications practice in all marketing channels, serving many of the world’s premier travel and tourism brands. As a company dedicated to the travel industry, MMGY Global strives to create a connected, inclusive and peaceful world by promoting travel as a cultural bridge of understanding. For more information, visit

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