As every parent knows – time flies. One day you are celebrating baby’s first steps, and before you know it you are celebrating a new driver’s license.
In fact, time seems to speed up as our kids get older. If you have kids that are rocketing towards leaving the nest, you are probably looking at the next 3 to 4 years and making more long term plans than ever before.
Now is the perfect time to fit in a few big, bucket list family trips.
As kids get into middle- and high-school it’s possible to think bigger and look at destinations a bit further afar. Kids are old enough to handle long haul flights, strong enough to handle active adventures, and have schedules that are predictable enough to plan a few years in advance (which won’t happen once they start working or have families of their own).
At this point in life, it’s all about making special memories and spending time together as a family. Now is the time to take the big trips you’ve always wanted to with your kids before they leave home.
Here are the trips our clients in this stage of life are planning and what you need to know to get started planning these trips for your family.
Safari in Africa
An African Safari is perhaps the quintessential bucket list trip. But it’s particularly powerful for teenage children for a few reasons. This is a trip that can incorporate volunteer work or even some extended stay biology coursework that can be helpful for college admissions. Also, it’s possible to add in a ton of really fun active adventures. Climb Kilimanjaro. Trek with Mountain Gorillas. Enjoy a walking safari in Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Mountain bike in Tanzania. For active families there is no shortage of adventure.
When to plan:Safari camps are small by nature, so to confirm the most in demand properties in the best locations, booking well in advance is recommended. Furthermore, for experiences like gorilla trekking, permits are limited and book up well in advance. We recommend booking a safari in Africa 1-2 years in advance.
Age Sweet Spot: Africa loves children. While children of any age will be warmly welcomed across the continent, an African safari is ideal for children ages 10 – 17. At this age children will have some global perspective, and be more easily able to handle the long haul flight.
History and Culture in Europe
A trip to Italy or Greece should be on every family’s list. These destinations combine history and culture, with la bella vita. Spend a few days exploring antiquities in Athens or history in Rome, followed by some time to relax on an island in the Mediterranean.
When to plan:If you’re planning to travel during the summer months, be sure to book these destinations at least 9 months in advance.
Age Sweet Spot:The ability to hit some historic and cultural highlights in combination with a relaxing beach stay makes this a great trip for younger children. Ages 7 – 14 are perfect for this. Hit them while they can still engage in the museums.
Machu Picchu and the Galapagos
Machu Picchu, the famous 15th century Incan “lost city”, is as impressive (or even more!) as the pictures portray.
Visiting this archeological site is a highlight of every trip to Peru. The actual visit to the citadel is typically only half a day, so when planning a trip to Peru it’s important to understand all the other experiences that go into a fabulous itinerary. We have created a unique, family friendly program that combines the adventure of hiking in the stunning Andes mountains with an awe-inspiring Machu Picchu experience.
Then, head to the Galapagos Islands to round out an epic family adventure.
When to plan:Thanks to limited space on the small ships and land-based properties, the Galapagos typically books up years in advance. Permits for Machu Picchu, particularly during the most in-demand travel months, also book up well in advance (though accommodation space is less of an issue here vs Galapagos). If Galapagos is a must, plan on booking something 12 – 18 months in advance.
Age sweet spot:Because of the physicality of hiking in the Andes and all the water-based excursions in the Galapagos, the age sweet spot here for kids is 10 – 18.
There are a few destinations that really lend themselves to exploring by boat. Of course the Caribbean is home to some epic sailing adventures, but Tahiti and Croatia are also destinations we consider to be best explored by boat.
The great thing about a sailing trip is that the vessel comes with a captain and first mate to ensure your safety and comfort. You literally don’t have to lift a finger, and can have a truly unique adventure exploring an exotic destination.
When to plan:To secure the best boats and captain teams, we suggest booking a sailing trip one year in advance.
Age Sweet Spot:This is an active trip, so great for kids who love to swim, plan on paddle boards, and snorkel. As long as kids are confident swimmers, this trip is a go!
Schedule a complimentary consult call today to get started planning your family’s next big adventure!