The Walsh family of five just returned from our August 1 Costa Rica Family Journey. Among the reasons they chose to go on their second Classic Journey now: eldest son John is heading off to Denver for college on September 5.
As his mom Jill said when she reserved the trip with us, “This may be our last time to travel together like this as a family.”
Happily for the Walshes and many of us who are (or are about to be) in the same circumstances with our kids, that may not be the case.
Eileen Ogintz, who writes the travel column TakingtheKids.com, recently had a conversation with AP writer Beth Harpaz in an article called “College-bound kid doesn’t mean end to family vacation”. “When they realize how much traveling costs, they will rethink traveling with you," she said, as long as the trip is "something they think is fun and exciting." And eventually, even college-age kids "realize what a good deal it is to have mom and dad pay the freight," especially because they get to stay in nicer places with their parents than they could ever afford on their own.
Eileen also said, "As they study abroad or spend a summer abroad, you will think, ‘What a perfect time to visit Costa Rica, Thailand, Madrid, Paris, etc.,’ and they will lead you in directions you never anticipated."
My own two boys are only 13 and 11, and I’m already asking myself, "Will they or won’t they still want to travel with us?" once they head off to college.
Jill Walsh was a lot more upbeat when she returned from the Costa Rica trip with her husband and three sons, telling us, "After this trip, I honestly don’t think we’ll be empty-nesters when it comes to vacations!"
That got me checking…and I’m relieved to report that from what we’re seeing on our tours, older teenagers are still traveling with their parents and even grandparents. While our typical Family Journeys do tend to attract more 7- to 16-year-olds, we are seeing a significant number of college-age kids on our Private Journeys. These larger family groups often consist of multiple generations, like the seven members of one family–including kids aged 19, 17, 14, 11 and 8–who recently traveled with us to the Amalfi Coast and Croatia, and the 19 members of a California family (aged 8 to 86) who celebrated their matriarch’s 70th birthday in the Canadian Rockies.
I have to say that the grandmother who recently treated her twin 18-year-old granddaughters to a private journey to Morocco gives me reason for hope — as do Eileen’s words — that our own two will still find time to travel with us when they’ve left home.
I’d enjoy hearing about how your family finds ways to continue traveling with the kids. And if you’d like more information about how we can help you make travel easy and interesting for everyone in your family in any of our 90 regions in 40 countries on 6 continents, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.