As you recall from last week's letter, I've been hanging with my kinfolk in Houston all week. It's been interesting...you may have heard about the enormous water-main break - 'enormous' referring both the the 8-foot diameter pipe that provides 50% of the city's water, and the rupture that caused the flooding, the subsequent boil-water requirement for four days, and disruption of normalcy for 3 million people. But I digress... ...so, speaking of family, let's talk about traveling with yours; by 'family' I mean yourself, accompanying adults, plus kids/young people in a variety of sizes, ages and with a gamut of interests. You have undoubtedly noticed that having a family didn't eliminate your desire for travel or adventure; travel is one of the most memorable, rewarding, and enjoyable things a family can experience together. Education is a bonus, too. At the end of the day, the whole point of a family trip is to make lasting memories. With that accomplished, the whole family is happy. Multigenerational travel remains the most popular family trend, and multiple generations are the second most frequent travel companions behind the immediate family. In 'Insider Travel Report' for Feb 26, 2020, James Shillinglaw writes, "Today’s sophisticated kids are blazing new trails as global citizens, impacting everything from their family and friends’ travel choices to new products, destinations and motivations for travel. Never ones to be casual observers, the younger set are requesting culturally immersive experiences that map to their passions, at least according to a new survey by global luxury travel network Virtuoso, which polled its travel advisors specializing in family travel. The results revealed that authenticity tops the list of emergent trends, with children driving travel decisions coming in second place. It comes as no surprise to those with energetic kids that active experiences are the number-one choice for traveling families".
Family travel comes with an array of needs and challenges; as a result there are trips designed specifically for families, as well as ways of adjusting an itinerary tailored to the range of needs within the group: kid-friendly and age-appropriate activities, educational local experiences and loads of memorable, show and tell-worthy adventures, some of which are available only through an advisor. It helps when that advisor has a specialty in family travel - my expertise has evolved to include a significant percentage of family travel, and I enjoy the challenges those itineraries present. It helps to have someone thinking of things you might miss - handling the family's comfort and entertainment after a long day of exploration; Kids Clubs to give parents a break and, wherever possible…swimming pools! A little extra thought on where you stay can make the difference between bored kids and kids that don’t want to leave. The logistics of the trip can be overwhelming and difficult for you to navigate, especially when you’re pressed for time. It’s easy to keep pushing the dream family getaway further down the calendar. Listen, the kids grow up, and grow away, so stop doing that. Reach out to an advisor for help and get the ball rolling on planning that adventure - the details, from the itinerary, to safe transportation, accommodation, activities and meals sufficient downtime and excursion leaders that are comfortable with young children, yet who can keep the teenagers engaged. The little things will matter. Avoiding the dreaded "are we there yet?" of boredom is the goal. Excitement, adventure, rest, and relaxation bundled into a single vacation - it's possible! Spending the night with a local Peruvian family, falling asleep under the night sky of Africa – these are the sorts of memories you’ll cherish for years to come whether you’re seven or 70. Just wait till your daughter gets back from Italy and tells her history class how she didn’t see just Mt Vesuvius in Pompeii – she climbed it! 'til next week.