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As most parents know, this is the time of year when kids perk up because they can just about taste the freedom of summer. This is also when many parents suddenly realize that there are only four weeks left in the school year and they haven’t planned a summer getaway yet.
Unfortunately, many families will never take their ideal vacation — foiled by the hassle of trip planning, turned off by the perceived expense and scared away by safety concerns.
Contrary to the vague travel warnings released by the U.S. State Department, safety concerns are not limited to any one place. Still, perception becomes reality, and there will be parents who are especially worried about the security situation overseas and who are overwhelmed by the stress of travel. Rather than give up on these potential travelers, agents should try to calm their concerns.
First, make sure families are aware of the options available to them. For instance, parents who are concerned about traveling in foreign cities should consider an escorted tour. Many tour companies have years of experience dealing with safety issues, as well as access to local networks that can help if anything goes wrong. Another option for families is cruising or river cruising, which both provide a secure home base and the assistance of local resources.
It’s also important to give parents reasons for traveling now rather than waiting. For example, the dollar is currently strong, with favorable exchange rates, and there is no telling how long this situation will last.
Finally, parents should be reminded how special time with their kids can be. When all is said and done, parents have about 10 summers when their kids are at the ideal family vacation age. Summer vacations are precious, and there are a lot of places to be experienced.
It’s a travel agent’s duty to help families overcome their complacency and fears and give them a summer to remember.