Planning to explore the world in 2017? Here are five family-travel trends to consider:
1. Multigenerational travel continues to strengthen
While technology may make it easier for modern and mobile families to stay in touch, there is no substitute for building sandcastles on the beach, snuggling with grandkids on the swing or giggling through game night around the table.
That's why an increasing number of extended families are spending long weekends, holidays or milestone moments together in a vacation-style setting. Destinations, resorts, cruise ships and even theme parks continue to add programs and packages that make it easier to plan a grand getaway. Short-term rental properties, complete with kitchens, multiple bedrooms and space for kids to play, are also popular for large family groups.
2. An emphasis on experience
From country challenges and wild river runs to history-rich walking tours and cultural immersions, the trend toward outings that deliver a meaningful and memorable experience continues. Look for travel brands to offer more personalised, transformative experiences, intended to inspire even the youngest adventurer and his or her parents. Expect more opportunities to learn from, dine and dance with and share stories with locals in your next destination.
3. Digital detox
You may travel deep into a national park where the signal soon fades or simply close the lid on a technology box provided by the resort. Either way, families are voting to turn off the tech and tune in to each other. While the idea may cause short-term consternation, reports from families who have gone cold turkey on tech are encouraging.
Once liberated from the lure of Snapchats and sports scores, the generations are free to converse about the adventures at hand. Whether you journey to Siberia, a nearby resort or your favourite country escape, connecting with nature and those you hold dear will provide a renewable energy source for use in the year ahead.
4. A family of foodies
More families are making food part of the fun on family getaways. They are shopping at farmers markets, picking apples in the orchard, tasting honey at the beekeeper's shop and seeking fresh options for each meal of the day. They are introducing young explorers to distinctive local fare and encouraging the kids to sample new tastes and textures. Expect more cooking classes for every age group.
5. Now is a good time
Family travel is no longer relegated to a few weeks in the summer or the official school holidays. Expect more families with preschool-age children, homeschoolers, parents with flexible work options and those who consider a family trip the best kind of education possible to take to the road when the timing best suits them.
Off-peak travel provides the modern and mobile clan the option to find better deals, fewer crowds and that most satisfying, serendipitous experience that often manifests on the road less travelled.