Travels with Bob

21st Century Family Vacations


Family vacations used to be as simple as packing luggage and the kids in the station wagon and heading to the beach for a week or to nearby mountains for a camping trip. Families today, however, enjoy more vacation options than ever before and they appear to love it!Family-Vacations

Such vacations also no longer consist of just mom, dad and the children. Multi-generational family vacations, including grandparents and occasionally great-grandparents, are commonplace. It’s also not unusual to find grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters jetting off to Europe for a girls’ getaway and sharing a special travel experience together.

The leisure travel industry has responded to these trends by providing ever more opportunities and customizable options for family vacations.

Ocean cruises represent an almost perfect venue for multi-generational family vacations, especially on larger ships offering activities and amenities for everyone from age eight to 80+. Including grandparents in the family vacation can offer many rewarding experiences, particularly when they pick up the tab for the entire family.

All-inclusive Caribbean and Mexican coastal resorts have grown in popularity due their year-round tropical climate and programs oriented to adults and children alike. Some family-friendly resorts even offer “kids stay free” packages during the summer season.

Then there’s Disney, possibly the world’s best known family travel enterprise. Many families book a three or four-night Disney cruise from Port Canaveral, Fl., and spend the balance of their vacation at Orlando’s “Magic Kingdom”. Disney also has introduced family adventure travel experiences and is now offering a limited number of European river cruises created specifically for families.

European travel is a wonderful way to introduce teenagers to new cultures and a better understanding of world history. Several major international tour operators, as well as cruise lines, now offer itineraries that teenagers will appreciate and enjoy. (Yes, Wi-Fi is available.)

Back home, America’s 59 national parks are strong magnates, annually attracting millions of family vacationers either as independent travelers or with tour groups. Alaskan cruises also have become a family favorite in recent years. Washington, D.C. and New York City continue to be strong destinations for family vacations, while relatively low-cost air fares provide a host of opportunities for families to experience all sections of the country together.

Yes, family vacations are simply not the same as they were when many of us were kids . . . and that’s not all bad!