Family travel in the new normal
Families need travel. Kids and teens need it to learn and develop. Parents and grandparents need it to relax away from home and work. And we all need it for quality time together in a new environment. Travel forms many of the memories we cherish the most and is often cited as the best gift that we can give our kids and grandkids.
After months of stay-home orders, border closures and cancelled family events, all generations are itching to get away more than ever.
As states and borders begin to reopen, families are looking to add more destinations and more experiences to their travel bucket lists.
But in this new normal of social distancing, hand-sanitizing and online schooling, what does travel look like?
Read below for the newest travel trends that we’re hearing from travelers who are actually making post COVID travel plans.
Revenge travel bookings
Long awaited graduations, proms, sports events, spring breaks suddenly got canceled. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and birthdays had to be pared down to stay-home celebrations. That big family Thanksgiving dinner may not be the same this year…
Teenagers, just when they’re getting their own sense of freedom, have had it completely taken away from them.
We’ve missed out on a lot this year and many families are feeling the urge to make up for it in a big way, taking vengeance by booking trips they’ve always wanted to take.
If your kids couldn’t walk across the stage to collect their diplomas, plan an equally unforgettable walk along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
If you couldn’t celebrate a milestone family birthday or anniversary, book a traditional Turkish gulet and cruise the Aegean coast together.
Study abroad tours
Well versed travelers with children often have that “what if”… What if I took the kids out of school, quit my job, left the family home and set off to see the world. More than a one-week vacation, a longer term, completely immersed experience abroad…
Most likely the daydream dissolved at the difficulties of taking them out of school, arranging a sabbatical and saying goodbye to the homestead for a while. Suddenly those difficulties don’t hold the same weight: schools have gone online. Work is remote or furloughed. Time away from home doesn’t just sound nice, its necessary.
Travel itineraries are being adapted to combine remote working hours and awesome adventure. Get on top of their studies (a change of location is proven to help), add organic lessons in geography, history, culture, politics that naturally come with travel.
Why be in their rooms reading about the Parthenon when they can be at the Parthenon, with a local guide who brings it to life? Teeming in history, culture and natural beauty, the Greek Isles is somewhere schoolwork won’t feel like hard work.
Inspire their thirst for learning in Ireland. As one mom told us when reserving her family on a trip to Ireland for next spring, “We’re going to let the castles be the classrooms.”
We’ve suffered long being told what we can’t do this year. No sports. No school. No socializing. A lot of strict structure. We want to call the shots, causing a move from set activities and mealtimes to the adventures and flavors we’ve been craving during lockdown.
Not just that, each family has their own comfort zone when it comes to social distancing and standards of cleanliness. A ready-made package might not fit in with that in every way, but a trip tailor-made entirely to your preferences will.
If you could take the family anywhere, where would it be? What would your lodging be like? And what are everyone’s dream activities? Let us know and we’ll craft you a custom itinerary.
Hub & [be]spoke travel
We want to shelter safely in one place, but at the same time satisfy cravings for adventure, culture, scenery and flavors. It sounds impossible but it’s not, and we’re not talking about virtual travel or cooking exotic recipes at home.
Pick one solid hub for the duration of your trip (one so luxurious you won’t want to leave it anyway) and pair it with an itinerary of a lifetime. It might be villa, a flat, a rainforest lodge, a converted castle, or even a hotel.
Not only does it work perfectly for social distancing, it makes family travel far easier (no need to pack everyone up after a night or two, or repeat the “who sleeps where” debate). Unpack, settle in then wake up in the same place each morning for a completely different day. A multi-centered experience of landscape, theme and adventure, without the multi-center mix of hotels.
With a local islander as your guide, see all the different sides of Saint Lucia, returning each night to your own heavenly hub.
Family road trips
After staring at the same walls for weeks on end, swapping home for a journey with ever-changing scenery—mountains, desert plains, rugged coastlines—is more appealing than ever.
And while for some, a family road trip would raise a sense of dread, this year is showing it in a whole new light: less “are we nearly there yet?” and more “where are we going next?”
You’ve gotten used to sheltering in place under one roof, so suddenly the idea of being in a car together for a few hours doesn’t seem so bad.
If your kids are old enough to drive, everyone can take turns at the wheel—it gives parents a break and kids get a feeling of independence. If you’re the only driver, hire some new wheels to make the drive even more part of the experience.
You won’t have to wear masks like you would on a plane. No luggage weight restrictions either.
Technology has evolved since the road trips of your childhood—air conditioning, cruise control, smartphones, and podcasts are game-changers.
(We tested this one ourselves, sending Classic Journeys Travel Experience Manager and dog mom, Kristin, on a road trip of US national parks, with her toy poodle Ernie.)
Drive between three of the most amazing national parks in the world, Bryce, Grand Canyon & Zion. When you’re not behind the wheel, you’ll have a guide in charge of route planning, restaurant booking, and some amazing adventures.
Take Vermont’s captivating country roads in the fall to experience the fiery foliage close-up. With your route, lodgings, meals and activities all planned and paid for in your itinerary.
Likeminded families have been joining forces to form social distancing bubbles for shared home studies, childcare and weekend activities. And as travel has emerged, so have ‘vacation pods’, fixing our desires to travel, spending time with others and staying in a safe environment. Book a group trip for your family and another on your wavelength for a socially distanced but still sociable family vacation.
All ages will go wild for Alaska, and with no cruise passengers this year, don’t be surprised if your travel-pod has the whole scene to yourselves.
Short family getaways were the growing trend before COVID became a household name. But with the warped sense of time brought about by lockdown—weekends rolling into weeks, spring break into studies—a few days no longer feels long enough. A longer trip lets you explore one place thoroughly, or a series of destinations linked together.
Leave soon, taking advantage of the change in the usual PTO and school schedule travel restrictions (working and learning remotely is possible anywhere with Wi-Fi), or add up the time you would have spent traveling in 2020, and plan a bucket-list tour for the future.
Take a two-week trip to Tahiti, combining home study/work with island adventures and extreme relaxation.
Other countries and states are already welcoming travelers, our family calendars are freer than ever and with less people traveling, there’s more last-minute availability. As stay home orders continue, the urge for a break away builds. We’re seeing a lot of things with a new perspective and with amazing itineraries ready and waiting, destinations open and with a ‘seize the day’ mentality, more families are taking spontaneous trips.
Bring the brood to Belize for rainforest and coral reef adventures.