Summer travel was a hot topic during the recent Family Getaways takeover of #TWChats. // © 2017 Getty Images
On June 14, the staff behind Family Getaways took over #TWChats, a monthly Twitter chat hosted by the editors of Travel Weekly and TravelAge West. More than 300 users contributed a total of 2,130 tweets during the one-hour chat, which covered trends and advice for family travel this summer.
The chat was hosted by TravelAge West/Family Getaways; Travel Weekly; Mindy Poder, Executive Editor of TravelAge West and Family Getaways; Valerie Chen, Senior Editor of TravelAge West and Family Getaways; Rebecca Tobin, Managing Editor for Travel Weekly; Johanna Jainchill, News Editor of Travel Weekly; and Carrie Finley-Bajak, a contributing writer for Travel Weekly.
Co-hosts of the chat included the Family Travel Association; family travel agents including Julia Slatcher of Inspire World Travel, Patty Monahan of Our Whole Village and Hazel Boone of Someday Vacations; family travel writers including Heather Mundt of Momfari and Erin Kirkland of AK on the GO; and family travel suppliers and destinations including Le Guanahani Resort, Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, Abercombie & Kent, Royal Caribbean, Vicki Freed of Royal Caribbean, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, GeoEx, Alaska Travel and MSC Cruises.
The chat started promptly at noon PST, and participants spent the next hour responding to the questions focused on family travel with tips, stories of past vacations and personal preferences.
Following are a few of our favorite responses to each question.
What trips are you planning for your (or your clients’) family vacation(s)?
Holland America Line (@HALcruises): With fall just around the corner, our #cruises to Canada & New England are a hot commodity for families!
Carrie Finley- Bajak (@CruiseBuzz): I am headed with the family to #Alaska on a dream cruise!
Vicki Freed (@VickiLovesTAs): I have a family trip planned to South Africa is July. Any tips for me?
On theme: When is a theme park vacation the right choice for a family? Shout out your favorite park!
Valerie Chen (@ValerieChenTAW): Nerding out: I can’t WAIT to ride the new #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy attraction at #Disneyland!
AAA Travel (@AAA_Travel): Orlando & its theme parks are the top summer travel destination again this year. #AAADiamonds
Julia Slatcher (@InspireWrldTrvl): Ages/interests key to timing! Faves for tweens: @UniversalORL for #HarryPotter & thrills; @WDWHY for theming & rides.
What comes to mind first when thinking about off-the-beaten-path family travel?
Lindblad Expeditions (@LindbladExp): #Alaska & #Galapagos are ideally timed for summer vacation! Learning disguised as fun for kids.
Abercombie & Kent (@AKTravel_USA): The Amazon River is remote, but accessible, and a great family travel experience. Kids love piranha fishing!
CDC Travel Health (@CDCtravel): A health kit is key when you’re off the beaten path – remember sunscreen, insect repellent, first aid supplies, Rx meds, etc.!
Party of 5: Name your favorite way to deal with this potential room dilemma!
Nancy Schretter (@kidtravel): Cruise ships offer good options for families of 5+ including family suites, family staterooms and connection/adjoining rooms.
Alaska Travel (@alaskatravlnews): Explore alternate options such as camping or renting an RV – there’s room for everyone!
Patty Monahan (@ourwholevillage): When there’s no other option, some families get creative and have one child sleep in the tub.
Valerie Chen (@ValerieChenTAW): To be honest, my family had me sleeping on the hotel floor as as kid ... I think it helped build character? #middlechild
Digital detox: What’s a good way (or place) to ease families into this concept?
MSC Cruises USA (@MSCCrusiesUSA): Best place for Digital Detox is on a #cruise! It’s easy to breakaway from technology in the middle of the sea.
Hazel Boone (@hazelboone): Here’s where a destination spa shines! Limited places where cellphone use is allowed and the dining room is cellphone-free!
What else is trending in multigenerational summer travel right now?
Phocuswright (@Phocuswright): Top international destinations for U.S. families according to a 2016 survey: 1) Europe 2) Asia 3) Caribbean
Family Travel Association (@FamilyTravAssoc): The best way to make multigen trips work is with the help of travel agents. More multigen groups than ever rely on their expertise.
Protravel International (@Protravelint): Celebrating milestones or exploring a family’s ancestral history is trending in multigenerational summer travel!
Onboard innovators! Shout out your favorite kid-friendly features on cruise ships.
GeoEx (@geoex): It’s an oldie, but kids love the pool! Especially if there’s a slide!
Ken Shapiro (@KenShap): My favorite innovation is having so many food outlets. Everyone in my family has their own faves and now we have options!
Ethan Gelber (@thetravelword): In general, family suites at sea are hitting the spot, so kids (and their families) can feel more comfortable.
Nancy Schretter (@kidtravel): Love @CarnivalCruise’s innovative Family Harbor area, awesome waterparks and cool SkyRide. So much fun for families!
Say cheese! Share a photo of you and your clan during a recent family vacation.
Lindblad Expeditions (@LindbladExp): Family fun can mean connecting w/ local families too! Meeting the people of the #Amazon is a highlight
Family Travel Association (@FamilyTravAssoc): Here’s @thetravelword’s sons at the Summer Palace in #Beijing just a few weeks ago.
When planning a cruise for your family clients, what items, activities or amenities are most requested?
Tzell Travel Group (@TzellTravel): Onboard credit never fails.
MSC Cruises USA (@MSCCrusiesUSA): We get asked a lot about specialty dining and food onboard. Delicious food for adventurous and picky eaters alike!
Costa Cruises (@CostaCruises): Our captain or princess for a day program available for younger guests!
Fly away! What’s a common concern when flying with kids, and what’s your tip?
Johanna Jainchill (@JJainchillTW): Long lines! There should be separate family lines when entering the U.S., as other countries have.
ValerieWilsonTravel (@VWT_Travel): When traveling w/ infants, request bulkhead seats. Review each airline’s policies beforehand; @Delta’s website does this well
Abercombie & Kent (@AKTravel_USA): Be prepared. Bring more than you think you’ll need – of everything: diapers, food, entertainment, toys. Expect delays.
Heather Mundt (@momfari): I once told a woman she could politely trade seats so I could sit w/ my boys or referee their fights. She wisely chose the former.
Where do you get ideas and info about planning a family vacation?
Mindy Poder (@mindypoder): A travel agent! I always tell the story of my dad making me plan our family vacay and me going directly to an advisor.
Ethan Gelber (@thetravelword): We go where we have friends! Then we rely on their recs and local word of mouth, with some internet research.
Hawkins International PR (@HIPR): Social media is our best friend when it comes to finding #travelinspo!
Family Travel Association (@FamilyTravAssoc): According to our 2016 research, family/friend recs are the *top* #familytravel planning source
Sunshine steals: Any tips for families on a budget planning a last-minute summer vacation?
Paradise Coast (@ParadiseCoast): Be flexible, especially with last-minute travel plans.
Inspire World Travel (@InspireWrldTrvl): #RoadTrip to #NationalParks! Gas is cheap now; "booked" hotels may have cancellations (call); if not, @Airbnb or #camping. #TWchats