Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Life is full of adventure!

If you are looking for a little inspiration, a few words to urge you into action, you've come to the right place.


"You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of shore." – Christopher Columbus

Who knew camping could be so comfortable?

Modern campers are eager to reconnect with nature, spend more time with family and friends and explore new territory.

If you are inclined to camp, here are five ideas to consider.

Allow the lure of the Pacific Ocean to entice the whole family to a day skipping over three miles of glistening sandy beach this summer.

Every beach experience should include blue sunny skies, the crashing sound of the waves and a Beach Butler to tend to all the details, so you don’t have to.

At The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel the Beach Butlers offer personalized service for guests enjoying their experience at the famous California surf spot, Salt Creek Beach. Allow them to load all the gear, shuttle the family to the sand and get the everyone set up with beach chairs, umbrellas and towels. Respect the sun with proper sun screen and tanning lotion, which is always on hand with our butlers. All you need to do is relax and play!

If mom and dad are looking for a few quiet moments with a book, these butlers can entertain the kids with sand castles or body boarding and they will get the whole family set up for lunch and drinks. All you need to do is connect with the family and create lasting memories. 

For more information visit

Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa, Henderson, Nev.

Have the bright lights and a retreat too when you stay at this sunny resort, just a free shuttle ride away from the glitzy Las Vegas Strip.

What can family travelers expect in the year ahead?  

Here are five trends to consider: 

1 More multigenerational travel options.

While technology may make it easier for modern and mobile families to stay in touch, there is no substitute for spending time together. Geographic diversity, two careers and busy school schedules makes it difficult to find time to convene. 

That’s why an increasing number of clans are celebrating milestone moments and annual holidays in destination resorts, on cruise ships and in places that hold sentimental value.

To make planning easier, the industry continues to develop programs and packages intended to engage every member of the family.

More hotels and resorts are catering to large family groups,  offering new room configurations and more resort options with multiple bedrooms. Vacatia, a resort marketplace, makes it easy to book spacious resort residences online. Family travelers can use Flexpay to split the bill or make payments. 


2 More sharing.

From unique accommodations to urban bike-share stations, the options for authentic, peer-to-peer experiences continue to expand.

Uber, the leader in the car-sharing movement,  launched UberFamily in several major markets with plans to expand in the year ahead. Families can request rides in vehicles that offer car and booster seats.


3 Enhanced technology.

Strap on your smart watch or access new functionality on your smartphone or tablet, and check in, track, plan and post with ever-increasing ease.

Guests of the B Resort & Spa in Orlando, Fla., and the B Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., can tap a smartphone app or lobby kiosk to send virtual postcards, check the weather and print boarding passes.


4 More authentic experiences.

Think behind-the-scenes access, opportunities to volunteer and the chance to learn from locals.

Expect a continued commitment to locally grown and crafted food and drink, and culturally significant traditions. Get the inside scoop or tap an expert for hikes, surf lessons or walking tours through Vayable, where you can book your own experiences with destination insiders.


5 Themed Suite Spaces.

More hotels and cruise lines will offer spaces designed to delight and comfortably accommodate your brood.

In Orlando, the Despicable Me-themed suite at Universal’s Loews Portofino Hotel offers two rooms, providing a private space for the adults and a second room for the kids with no access to the hallway. At sea, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess cruise lines are among those with new family-minded cabins.


Family travel can play a strong role in the education you offer to your children and grandchildren.

Here are six ideas to consider:

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1. Reflect your values.

The travel choices you make can send a strong message to your loved ones about what matters most to you. Consider the bucket list as a thoughtful and deliberate reflection of your own values, hopes and dreams. So before you begin listing desired destinations, ask yourself what aspects of the world - geographically, spiritually and culturally - you want to share with your children, grandchildren and perhaps other friends and family members.

2. Identify Priorities and Passions.

Are you a nature, history or art lover? Do you want your children or grandchildren to learn how to ski, photograph or scuba dive? Do you hope to share your love of baseball or botany with the next generation?  Will volunteer vacations or heritage tours be an important part of your mix? Take time to consider these ideas that will expand your family’s horizons and weave them into your travel plan.

3. Identify places.

Americans get low marks for knowledge of geography. Begin with a good map or atlas and consider studying the globe an important part of your family travel education. While your list will most certainly change over the years, think about which destinations you hope to visit while your children are in the nest and beyond?  And, when it comes time to involve the children in creating the bucket list, remember that kids don’t know what they don’t know. Certain theme parks and resorts will likely be on their radar screens. But they may not be aware of the glories of Yellowstone or Yosemite or the historical significance of Gettysburg or Montpelier.

4 About the money.

Choosing to make travel a priority is a decision that may require foregoing other luxuries or experiences. But the quality bonding time and lifelong memories are sure to be worth it. Consider creating a travel savings account. Opt for travel related gifts for birthdays, graduations and holidays. Encourage the children to establish their own travel fund. Saving for a specific trip can be an important part of the overall experience.

5. About the time.

Whether you begin by tossing up a tent in the backyard or strategizing to experience a safari in Africa, there is no time like the present to begin planning family travel. As children get older, their schedules become more complicated by their own commitments. Take advantage of school breaks. Consider off-season adventures when you will experience fewer crowds and lower prices, even if it means missing a few days of class.  Is a month, summer or year abroad on your family wish list? If, so, begin the research now.

6. And now.

You’ve planned and prioritized. Now, have fun. Take pictures. Repeat.

Planning travel with the grandkids? Check out our Grandparent Travel Collection!

Diving is a great way to discover the world and what lies beneath the surface. 

From Bonaire and Grand Cayman to Yap and Palau, Family Dive Adventures and Kids Sea Camp provide education about the underwater world and the tools needed to become safe, confident divers. In the last 15 years, the company has certified more than 5,400 kids. Children and their parents will learn about coral reefs, sharks, manta rays and the latest in global marine conservation during Kids Sea Camp weeks.

Join other families during organized group trips or customize your own getaway.

Find out more:

Tubac Golf Resort & Spa, a luxurious and tranquil vacation destination in Arizona's Southwest desert, is a family-friendly gem.

Set on the historic 500-acre Otero Ranch in the Santa Cruz River Valley, the Spanish Colonial architecture and lush

When the family takes a trip, it can be hard to leave Fido or Fluffy behind.

However, when making travel decisions, choose what is safest and most comfortable for your pet. For instance, unless you'll be able to spend a lot of time with your dog, he'll probably be happier at home than tagging along on your trip. As a rule, cats are always better off in their own home.

Are you ready to hunt and gather?

Discover “find dining” during a woodland shopping spree as your family learns the meaning of going “out to eat.” Under the tutelage of an expert guide, your crew will gather wild mushrooms, plants and other delectables and then enjoy a wild food “pick-nic.”

Later, as part of the experience, take the remainder of your “catch of the day” to a local restaurant where the chef will prepare your family’s forage-to-table feast at no charge.

Sounds like fun to me!


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