Maybe you’re already familiar with the quote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,... Broad wholesome, charitable views of men cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth...”
If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you already agree with Mark Twain, at least as you live your own life. Now, let’s talk about the kids and grandkids.
Child psychologists and educators tell us that travel can be soundly beneficial in building a healthy foundation on which children view the world. It’s an organic lesson in history, culture, religion, politics and geography which, the experts tell us, dramatically boosts a child’s development. They learn that, outside the bubble we grow up in, people, cultures, food are different. They learn to respect the power and majesty of nature.
Plus, it gives families quality time together, outside of the norm and beyond the hassles of work, school and home life. While birthday and Father’s Day presents may find themselves in the back of the garage after a few months, travel memories are shared over Thanksgiving dinners for decades.
Without warning, we all faced 2020 with the prospect of no travel. Borders were closed, hotels shut down and flights cancelled. Families have been sheltering together at home, spending more time in one place than perhaps ever before (thank goodness for the tips Mel Robbins passed on during the early stages of lockdown).
But as borders begin to reopen, we now have hope of travel in 2020. Whether you’ve been spending too much time indoors with your immediate family, or haven’t seen your extended family since stay home orders were put in place, it’s finally time to enjoy quality time together and a much-craved change of scenery.
Our Zoom calls have been with our local guides and hoteliers around the world, our guests around the country, and the editors of travel publications from AFAR and Fodor’s, to Travel + Leisure and the Wall Street Journal. Here’s a round up what the travel trends for the second half of 2020 are looking like.
Virtual travel-inspired trips
We’ve been confined to our homes in an age where the internet and social media are everyday staples. It’s taught us you don’t have to step outdoors to experience flavors, masterpieces and landscapes thousands of miles away. We’ve been exploring museums, safari parks and natural phenomena—virtually—from our couches. We’ve joined Instagram cooking classes live from Italy and attended real-time Zoom whiskey tastings from Scotland. Netflix has transported us to cities and countries never before visited.
Now those places are opening for visits and we have the chance of experiencing them IN REAL LIFE!
“We have never been to Morocco, but chicken tagine has become an almost weekly family dinner during lockdown and everyone is keen to go there!”
“We watch live safari streams as part of the bedtime routines and their faces are in a constant state of amazement, I would love to see their reactions to seeing those animals in real life!”
Trips down memory lane
Hands up if you’ve flicked through photos from previous trips and recalled happy travel memories with friends and family. Over the months, many of us have thought of places we wished we could return to, instead of being home.
“When I was in middle school, my parents took us on an incredible trip to Zion. I would love to give my kids the same experience.”
“We had a wonderful time in Costa Rica when my children were young, now they are teenagers I’m thinking of all the things they’d enjoy if we went back there.”
Substitute Summer Camp
Social distancing guidelines may not allow for big group camps, but that doesn’t mean your kids can’t try new activities and benefit from new perspectives away from home.
“I was always jealous of the fun activities the kids got to do on summer camp. Now we get to do them together.”
“I feel like a well-connected local guide has to be ten times better than the best camp counselor ever!”
Nurture global citizens
A lot has happened in a short time this year, and for many it’s got us thinking about family views and values. Raising responsible global citizens feel more important than ever.
“We’ve learned a lot about climate change with the kids doing their geography classes at home. In our future trips, I want to give them the chance to see the effects of global warming (like the glaciers in Iceland) and over fishing (like the turtles in the Galapagos).”
“I want our kids to grow up understanding different cultures, to make friends with and learn from children from other countries and backgrounds. How amazing would it be to take them to lunch with a rainforest tribe in Panama or dinner with desert tribes in Morocco.”
Cancelled events don’t mean you can’t mark milestones. Where families haven’t been able to gather for graduation ceremonies, anniversary celebrations or birthday parties, they are booking once-in-a-lifetime trips instead.
“My daughter and niece can’t walk across the stage to get their diplomas this year. But they can walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. And we can give them that.”
We love family Zoom calls, but nothing beats spending quality time together in person. Families are wanting—aka needing—to get back together again and multigenerational vacations allow that without leaving any age-group at a loose end.
“I still can’t believe my 75-year-old, technology-hating mother mastered Zoom and Facetime. It’s been great for celebrating Mother’s Day, virtual bedtime stories and so on. But now I want everyone together properly on a vacation the grandparents will enjoy as much as the grandkids.”
Social distancing measures have changed the way we feel about group gatherings. With a private tour, you can leave your neighborhood but stay in the comfort zone of just your posse. You won’t have to be on high alert when it comes to other travelers and it also allows for ultimate flexibility.
“I want to travel but I don’t want to have to worry about social distancing with other guests all of the time, especially when the kids sometimes forget the 6-feet rule. So a private trip is perfect. Plus we can pick dates that suit our family and have the whole trip tailored to what works for us.”
Several cruise lines are cancelling their departures for the rest of the year, due to coronavirus concerns and 'no sail' orders in the US and Canada. Destinations where the majority of visitors arrive by ship, will see a shift towards land travel.
"It makes me want to visit Alaska even more. I know it's never crowded because the state is so huge, but without cruise ship passengers piling in, it will be an Alaska we haven't seen for years and years."
Where a short, face-masked flight feels achievable, a whole lot of opportunity opens up. In this enormous and fabulously varied country, domestic flights can land you in desert, glacier, mountain, island archipelago, or historic city within a few hours.
“I’ve always associated vacationing with going to a different country, but I am realizing that there is also so much to explore in the US. I’ve been at home every weekend thinking, wow, if only I could hop on a plane. In two hours, I could be somewhere totally different. Now that airlines are back in action, I want to take advantage of this!”
To bypass flights completely and drive means no luggage weight limits, no wearing masks while traveling, less time constraints and not having to think about social distancing with other passengers.
“In our daily ‘outdoor exercise’ with the dog, we have discovered so many cool places in the neighborhood we didn’t know existed that are only a few minutes’ walk away. It makes me think of all the places we could explore with only a few hours on the road.”
Drive yourself trips
You don’t need to be cooped up on a coach with dozens of strangers to get around destinations. The new norm is seeing a lot of tours where you—or a private driver—is behind the wheel.
“I don’t want to go somewhere like Iceland and only be constrained to places within walking distance. But I don’t feel comfortable sitting on a coach or bus either. There is something about being in control of my own car, containing just my household, that feels liberating and comforting at the same time.” (Editor’s note: For you, fellow adventurer, check out our Special Edition Land Rover Defender tour.)
Bucket list destinations
We all have somewhere we always wanted to take our families, but didn’t get around to visiting before the decision was taken off our hands as countries shut their borders. Now destinations are opening, many of us are ready to make our dream trips reality.
“We spoke about this in an extended family Zoom happy hour recently. I always wanted to see the northern lights, my son wants to visit the Grand Canyon, my mom said whale watching in Alaska, my sister chose a camel ride in Morocco… We ended the call agreeing to make at least one of those happen as soon as it was possible!’
And if you’d like to read a parent to parent retelling of how travel has impacted his sons who are now adults, take a look at the blogs below by Classic Journeys founder, Edward Piegza:
Mario the shepherd boy in Peru’s Sacred Valley.
“No, Matthew, you are not a Fiordland crested penguin and mommy does not have to choose between you and Jack.”