Adventure Together

Everyone in the family should get involved in planning from the start By: Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro

A recent release from Family Travel Consulting (FTC) listed fitness, health and sports as top motivators for family travel. Specifically, multisport soft-adventure tours are becoming increasingly popular with parents, according to FTC.

Certainly, trips that are based on learning or advancing a skill provide a good starting point for a family vacation. In “Party in the Powder,” we look at a classic example of this sort of getaway: the family ski trip. As you’ll read in the story, there are a wide variety of considerations to keep in mind when arranging a successful ski vacation.

I just got back from a trip that featured a different kind of sport-focused travel. My 10-year-old daughter asked if she could learn how to scuba dive, and I thought that was a great excuse for a tropical getaway (something you will read about in a future issue). But I also felt this could be a skill for her to build upon throughout her life. Currently, she says she wants to be a marine biologist, so this trip was also a way for me to share her interests.

One aspect I had not entirely anticipated about this kind of vacation was the enthusiasm and overall level of involvement my daughter showed on the trip. In general, kids today have more say in where families travel, how they travel and what they do on their vacations. And my daughter was no exception. Add to this the fact that we were doing something she was passionate about, and at times it felt like I was just tagging along. While I had trouble accessing Wi-Fi, she posted dozens of photos to her Instagram account. She kept a detailed travel journal and made sure we stuck to our itinerary. I felt like a complete slacker.

What I learned from this experience seems obvious, but it’s often forgotten in the multitude of details that go into travel planning: A trip is more successful when everyone is involved in the planning from the very start. When parents are clear about the reasons behind certain travel options and they give their children a chance to help make those decisions, the result is simply more interest and more enthusiasm.

Agents should remind clients that they only have a limited number of vacations with their kids, and it’s a waste to squander such opportunities on a trip that’s doomed from the start by lack of interest.