Family Travel: I’m dreaming of a White Christmas–and traveling in 2013!

Preparing for and enjoying the holidays is so often laced with a lot of excitement (and a little frustration), followed by exhaustion once the packages are wrapped and unwrapped and the gifts are put away. Decorations come down and hopefully some decompression time kicks in. By that time, dreams of a white Christmas have come and gone and visions of relaxation take shape as the New Year approaches.

As the 2013 calendar comes out, if you haven’t already planned for next year’s spring break or decided upon a summertime jaunt, consider some of the suggestions that travel experts have been serving up of late. Some trends might surprise you, while some might have you nodding your head in agreement as to why the list is what it is for popular family travel choices. And, with a little planning and a little luck, you might be singing Halleluiah, for a much-needed vacation will be on the horizon.

According to a study released in 2012 by luxury travel network Virtuoso, “family and multi-generational travel will emerge as the biggest travel trends…river cruises, active or adventure trips, luxury cruises and celebration travel will also prove popular among vacationers and international destinations for families this year are expected to be Italy, England, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Turks and Caicos, and South Africa, dismissing suggestions that long haul travel may be avoided due to rising fuel and accommodation costs.”

Come One, Come All

Multigenerational travel continues to be a huge deal.  As family time and extended family gathering opportunities decrease in today’s global market, reserving and preserving close bonds with grandparents, adult siblings, grandchildren and nieces and nephews is precious and priceless. Cruising continues to grow, giving families a real variety of choices for together time both onboard and off shore. Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, says, “Families as small as six as and as many as 35 are taking advantage of the all-inclusive, elegant, destination-focused, hassle-free cruises.”

Conroy’s favorite itineraries include a 7-night itinerary from Athens to Venice if you’re pressed for time or a cruise through the Best of the Dalmatian Coast, Italy, and the French Riviera.” Of course, less lengthy cruises continue to be a favorite option, out of nearby Galveston, TX or off the coast of Florida to gorgeous Caribbean and Bahamian Islands, offering some cultural exposure and some fun in the sun.

All-Inclusive Resorts Rank High

But that’s not all. All-inclusive, family-friendly resorts are also key highlights for memorable bonding time.  And, getting wet and wild in elaborate pools is highly desired. According to a study conducted by Hilton Resorts this past year, “Pools and water activities are the No. 1 resort touch point for parents and kids, followed by spacious (and potentially adjoining) guest rooms and a variety of dining options.”

And just where are American families heading when looking for an all-inclusive? Top destinations include Hawaii, Orlando, the Grand Canyon, Southern California and Continental Europe. The Hilton report also notes, “Family Guests are a key segment for the global hospitality industry, and hotels and resorts are continually seeking ways to attract and maintain consideration from families.”

Ready, Set, Action!

Aging parents and growing kids are increasingly more interested in adventure travel itineraries. It’s a real departure from hanging poolside while the kids romp around on the beach or in the pool, but sometimes, active families want to stay fit and healthy while on the move and are making time to hike in unknown terrain, bike through the hillsides, and kayak along unchartered waters. Adventure travelers “want to go to places where they have plenty of options to take day trips and enjoy active excursions from trekking and diving in Vietnam to fly fishing and white-water rafting in Park City, Utah and Colorado,” says Stacy Small of Elite Travelers International.

Learning and Getting Smarter Together

The U. S. Travel Association recently interviewed people from coast to coast and found that “opportunities to learn” was one of the top motivators for taking a leisure trip.

“From museums, to reenactments, to historical tours, cultural vacations offer families a chance to unplug and learn together in an interactive and meaningful way,” says Mara Gorman, founder of The Mother of All Trips.”

In an increasingly competitive global economy, what better way is there to prepare our kids for the future than by taking them on fun and enriching family vacations that teach them about the world?

Categories: Travel