The kind of family vacation you took when you were a kid is going extinct

Sorry, Clark Griswold.

The traditional family vacation, the one where Mum and Dad and two kids pile into a station wagon and head to a summer retreat all by themselves, is going away.

At least, that’s according to Brian Sharples, the CEO of HomeAway, the vacation home rentals service.

HomeAway just turned 10 years old, and, to mark the occasion (and/or to fight off competition from younger companies such as AirBnB) HomeAway is launching a big marketing campaign later this quarter.

In the research HomeAway did for the big campaign, it discovered that for many Americans, the concept of vacation is totally different than it was for those taking them a generation ago.

The reason: the traditional family construction itself is now rare.

“The modern family is no becoming the norm, not the exception,” says Sharples. “Only 19% of families today are considered traditional in th essence of two parents and a couple of kids. Half the people in our country are divorced.”

Meanwhile, says Sharples, grown up families don’t live near each other anymore.

“I grew up in Boston. It used to be that if you grew up in Boston and fast-forwarded 30 years, all your brothers and sisters would still live in Boston and all your aunts and uncles still lived in Boston.”

“That’s really not the case anymore.”

“I look at my family. Yeah, my parents still have a place in the Boston area, but I have one brother who lives in Seattle, and one lives in Santa Fe, and one lives in Austin. All of us have worked internationally in different countries.”

With traditional families going away and family members spread around the globe, people are now going vacations with people they have connected to in ways that having nothing to do with blood. People travel with their family friends now, not just their families.

“We see more and more that family vacations that people are taking include people outside of that core, nuclear family. Almost more often than not these days.”

To that end, HomeAway’s new marketing message will be that “you don’t need to leave anyone behind,” says Sharples.

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