"How we define the "experiences of a lifetime" for ourselves and our families is as diverse as families themselves. So what matters to you? What are you aching to experience with your clan? As you plan for grand family travel, here are a few ideas to consider:
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.
After more than fifteen years of providing family travel resources, we are excited about our updated editorial focus and travel-friendly design. Whether you’re an armchair traveler, a city seeker, a National Park explorer or a global adventurer, we want to be your wellspring of Family Travel information and inspiration.
Note that our definition of “family” has expanded. The game has changed. Combine the geographic spread with the multi-layered demands of the modern family and what do you get? Folks who are time-starved and hungry for connection.
Often the only time we see our extended tribe is when we gather at a beach house, a ski resort or a high mountain camp ground to celebrate a special family event. So we plan to provide plenty of creative suggestions for gathering the clan in ways that will be as much fun for Aunt Gloria as Baby Ben (and for his parents).
In between those multigenerational meet-ups, we hope you plan time away with your children, your siblings, and those friends who are often more like family than…well, you know, those truly treasured friends!
Expect thoughtful travel writing and inspired photography from our intrepid crew of professionals. Browse our pages for tips and ideas for great weekend getaways, thrilling adventure trips, traditional summer vacations and off-the-beaten path exploration.
You’ll also find gear and book reviews, luxury and budget booking options, great travel deals and opportunities for trading travel secrets.
We hope you enjoy the new FamilyTravel.com and will spread the news to your friends and family. We invite you to return time and again to share your stories and to enjoy our window onto an amazing world.
Go far. Grow close.
Lynn O'Rourke Hayes