Experiential travel is hot and it’s not just for grownups. Travel Leaders Group’s recent Travel Trends survey revealed that luxury travelers are most interested in experiential travel and that’s no different for families, according to Tzell Travel Group Co-President Cindy Schlansky.
“At Tzell Travel, we’re finding our clients increasingly looking for culturally enriching experiences to share together as a family that will educate and enlighten both children and parents,” said Schlansky.
Families make up the largest segment of the Millennial generation, and millennial families intend to spend 15 percent more on vacations this year ($4,577 household average) than last year ($4,099 household average), according to MMGY Global’s recent survey, Portrait of American Travelers 2018-2019.
Tzell’s luxury travel agents see that trend in their client’s inquiries and bookings, including an increase in more exotic and educational family destinations where children can experience new cultures firsthand.
“Travel is a great way to expose children to different cultures, lifestyles, careers and to reinforce some of the things they’re learning in school, as well as your own personal values,” said Schlansky.
Tzell agents offered the following Family Travel Tips for successful cultural trips with children:
- Involve children in the choice of destination and planning of activities. This will engage them in the experience on a deeper level. Even young children can make choices about an activity they would enjoy.
- Tie trip destinations and excursions to what children are learning in school such as a rail trip through the southern U.S. to tie into the history of the Civil Rights Movement.
- Schedule down time. When traveling to a location that involves a lot of sightseeing, book a hotel with a pool. Sightseeing in the morning with an afternoon break at the pool helps keep children interested and not overloaded.
- Consider a “voluntourism” activity to more deeply connect to the culture or issues surrounding the destination.
- Work in some independence for both kids and adults. Adding a simple activity kids will enjoy, such as watching turtles hatch in Costa Rica, while parents spend some time together brings great value to everyone.
- Strike a balance between education and hands-on experiences for kids. Cooking classes, such as learning how to make dumplings in Asia, or gelato in Italy are always a big hit and great on any budget.
- Be sure to expose your children to different cultures and foods in the U.S. before your trip to get them accustomed to the different tastes and cuisines they will experience on their journey. This will go a long way to appeasing even your pickiest eater when they are away from home.
Tzell agents offered the following suggestions of unexpected educational vacations for families to take that go beyond the predictable beach destination:
- “Bali offers ancient temples, royal palaces, art galleries, incredible topography and spectacular beaches. May to July is the best time to be there. The island’s West Coast is still considered ‘off the beaten path’ and perfect for families looking for more of a cultural emersion.” – Leslie Tillem of Tzell Travel
- “People think Ibiza is just a party island, but that’s far from the truth. It’s an incredible spot for family vacations. There are gorgeous, tiny secluded beaches and the water is incredibly clear and calm. There are endless coves to explore and Spain is generally family friendly, so children are welcome and included everywhere you go.” – Henley Vazquez of Passported, a Tzell Travel affiliate
- “Singapore is very family-friendly with attractions for both kids and adults. I planned a multi-generational family trip to Singapore for five days then a ferry ride to the nearby Indonesian island of Bintan to stay in the fabulous child-friendly property, which was a nice pairing of city and beach that kept the whole family engaged.” – Grace Giso of Tzell Travel New England
- “For families with teens looking to contextualize current events, I’ve arranged meetings with a decorated war veteran and Colonel & Tank Battalion Commander in the IDF Armored Corps or a drive to one of the highest mountains on the Golan Heights to have a talk with a high-ranking intelligence officer and scholar of Middle Eastern studies for an in-depth explanation and insight into the complex situation in Syria.” – Jody Bear of Bear & Bear, a Tzell Travel affiliate
- “The volcanic islands west of the Portuguese mainland are little-known and offer a variety of activities perfect for adventurous families. Families with older kids can take a short boat ride from Vila Franca do Campo to swim in a volcanic crater in the ocean or hike into Algar do Carvão, one of only three dormant volcanoes in the world accessible to hikers. One of the most memorable experiences I found while visiting with my son was a visit to hot geothermal springs called Furnas then eating the food that local chefs cook with a special technique in those springs. We also visited the UNESCO World Heritage town of Angra do Heroismo and ate amazing Portuguese food.” – Christy Danforth of The Artful Traveler, a Tzell Travel affiliate
For more family travel inspiration from Tzell advisors visit: blog.tzell.com/