Family Travel Season Part Two
We touched on family travel season a couple of weeks back and I want to dive in a little deeper. We talked about why you should use a travel professional now I want to talk a bit about the various ways families can travel this summer to really maximize their time together.
First - Road Trips! Who doesn't love a great road trip, everyone packed into the family car with all their crap - I mean prized belongings - empty fast food bags and food containers and the choral ensemble of bickering kids strapped in the back seats. Ahh, nothing signals summers' arrival more than family discord. While in a car. With no escape. It's enough to make anyone loose their sanity. Yet, we do it. Every. Chance. We. Get. To be fair, road trips are an amazing way to experience a destination. You get to get lost and off the beaten path to have experiences you wouldn't otherwise have. A few years ago I packed up my five youngest children and we hit the road to go to Virginia Beach for the 4th of July. It rained the entire time we were there so we didn't have as much beach time as we would have liked. On our last day there I decided that we should drive the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and see what happened. (I'm infamously famous for winging it but more on that later.) Anywhoo, we ended up on the peninsula of Virginia (how many of you knew Virginia has a peninsula? I didn't) and it was amazingly beautiful. We drove and drove and after several attempts to get my daughter to make a decision, I turned down this road and followed it. I didn't know where we would end up but I am all for an adventure. We finally reached our destination - Cape Charles, Virginia and it was charming. A quaint hamlet where all of the homes were decorated with flag swags hanging over the porches and all of the locals' golf carts were decorated for the occasion as well. There was a fishing competition for the kids and the streets were blocked and filled with vendors selling t-shirts, food and ice-cream. Take risks, go where you didn't intend. Experience life don't just live it!
Cruising is another option that families have at their disposal for time together and there is an escape built in - the ship offers activities that suits every ones interests. There is Bingo, arcades, miniature golf, rock climbing walls, pools, shows, ice skating rinks, go carts, zip lining - just about anything you can imagine is on these vessels. It's a matter of what type of experience you desire to have. The shore experiences are just as vast and varies as well. You can do just about anything you can imagine while in port at each island - snorkeling, jet skiing, swimming with the dolphins, zip lining, shopping, the list goes on and on. Remember everyones needs are different so just because one cruise line worked for your cousin and her kids doesn't mean it will suit you and your family. This is where a great travel professional who has helped you establish your families needs will be able to make a recommendation that will be closely in line with your travel goals.
Another great option for family travel is an escorted experience. Escorted travel allows for everyone to have the same experience at the same time. The husband who is usually the main driver gets to sit back and relax and have the same experience that the rest of his family is having and doesn't miss any of those "look at that" moments. Also depending on which tour operator you and your travel professional settle on, you will be able to pre-pay the gratuities as well as determine if one optional experience will work to accomplish you goals better over another and determine how many days you should stay before and/or after the tour. There are itineraries just for families that you can choose from which is great because you can cross off a bucket list destination with your kids in tow. What's an escorted experience I heard some of you ask. It's when you go with a company that shuttles you from place to place via motor coach - or as we call them in the south, a bus - and you have a dedicated driver, tour director and there will be local specialists at the locations you visit. This is a great value since many meals are already included as well as entrance fees which again depends on which tour operator you end up going with.
There are so many ways to experience destinations together as a family and they all work at different stages in your families growth cycle. What worked for your co-worker and her teens may not be the best option for you and your little ones. The beauty is that you can always have an amazing experience that includes your children with planning, patience and of course a great travel professional by your side.