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I’ve been traveling quite a bit the last few weeks, and no matter where I go, the airports are packed. Spring break is in full effect, and flights have more college students and families than I’ve ever seen before. Consumer confidence is up, and all indications point to a strong summer travel season.
Classic family destinations are of course going to be busy, but travel agents should not focus solely on theme parks and beaches. Today, families are not afraid of international travel or more adventurous itineraries. Data studied at a recent TMS Family Travel Summit showed that multigenerational families want to experience new and different places, sometimes fueled by millennials’ strong sense of wanderlust. As the “2014 Virtuoso Luxe Report” states, “Whether on a family vacation or a honeymoon, people want far-flung, exotic destinations with plenty of activities.”
As you’ll read in this issue’s cover story, “Extended Family” (page 20), my daughter and I took a trip to Fiji earlier this year, and we discovered a destination and culture that makes the happiness of parents and kids a top priority. One reason we picked Fiji is because my daughter is fascinated by the ocean. This trip gave her the chance to learn to scuba dive in one of the best dive destinations in the world — even the Pixar animators behind “Finding Nemo” stayed at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort for inspiration.
This illustrates another common theme in family travel: the desire for education and self-improvement while on vacation. In today’s multitasking world, it’s often not enough to lie on a beach somewhere. Parents want trips to enrich their children, so that they come home with life lessons and new skills. This desire can be a major selling point for agents during discussions with clients — sometimes the farther afield and more exotic the trip, the greater the opportunities for personal growth.
In this issue of Family Getaways, we offer stories about several far-flung destinations. In addition to Fiji, we look at family options in Iceland and an adventure in Peru. But just in case you think it’s all work and no pampering in this issue, we also have a report on the trend of family spa trips.
So don’t be afraid to suggest that your clients dust off their passports. It’s a big world out there, and it’s never too soon for kids to start exploring it.