Did you know that Americans travel more than any other citizens in the world? A new report from Tourism Intelligence International predicts that American outbound arrivals to overseas destinations will reach 32.9 million in 2015.
That number reportedly includes a lot of families with children—and even grandparents! According to Dave Austin, Vice President of Marketing Services for AARP, “one of the most significant trends is multi-gen family travel.”
The types of trips Americans take have also changed. Many are no longer interested in endless sunny days, a sandy beach, and cute umbrella drinks.
They want holidays that provide deep exploration, cross-cultural shared experiences, and maybe even a touch of self-improvement. Contributing writer and family travel expert Kerri Zane shares some of the top family travel trends in 2015.
Luxury travel outfitter Cox and King International predicts that 2015 is likely to see a new twist on the “sharing economy.” Like-minded families with similar price ranges will increasingly link up for activities or lodging. It’s the Airbnb experience kicked up a notch. So, for example, if your family is interested in a long day of bike touring, you might do so with a local family that also shares that common interest. This allows the visiting family to experience a more personal perspective in a new locale.
2. Total Immersion
Gone are the days of visiting or touring a festival or landmark during the day and then driving back to a hotel at night. Families want a total immersive experience. That means glamping right on the festival grounds or motorhoming from state park to state park.
3. Sharing & Immersion in Food
This trend combines the first two, but with meals. Families who love the idea of integrating into a culture and bonding with a local family who still want the hotel experience can simply arrange for a private dinner with the locals during their trip. Several websites will connect you and your family with local individuals, who will prepare a meal for you in their home. One site to check out is www.bonappetour.com.
P.S. This is a great opportunity for single parents to meet other single parents abroad. Can we all say The Parent Trap?!
4. Bespoke Trips
Having your trip personally designed for your family’s tastes, interests, and needs will no longer be a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. Many independent tour operators have popped onto the scene to curate the perfect vacation for you at a variety of budgets.
One such tour company comes from actress Linda Kozlowski, who recently launched a new travel tour business, Dream My Destiny. This company is dedicated to creating and planning trips to Morocco. Linda will take time to personally speak with you and create a custom tour. Whether it’s photography, cooking, donkey rides, or kiteboarding, they will arrange every detail.
5. College Town Weekend Getaways
One of the biggest family travel trends for 2015 will be an upswing in weekend getaways to visit the kids at college. Instead of staying at a local motel and dining at the connected Starbucks, parents and younger sibs will be choosing home exchanges.
It’s like bringing home to your college student. Everyone can stay in the same house (a plus for your kid, too, who can escape his or her dorm room for a weekend), eat home-cooked meals together, and still maintain some privacy. Unlike a vacation rental, once you get there, it doesn’t have to cost any more than staying at home. One website to explore for this kind of getaway is HomeExchange.com. It has more than 130,000 home swaps available across more than 150 countries.
6. Remote, Raw and Real
Family travelers—kids, and adults alike—want to feel as though they are among the very first to visit a destination. Think about it: it makes for great storytelling when kids return home and can brag at school. Want some suggestions? Cox & Kings has seen an uptick in travelers wanting to visit places such as Greenland, Sardinia, and Western Australia.
7. Light on Luggage
Parents will no longer have to lug every bag through the terminal while trying to keep their kids from running in every direction. TRS Ballistic Luggage has a unique bag system, which allows each bag to connect and roll at once. When not in use, the bags can store inside one another like nesting dolls.
Or, just save the hassle altogether and ship your luggage with Luggage Forward. Luggage Forward will pick up your bags from your home or office and deliver them directly to your hotel, rental home, or cruise ship.
8. Spirited Destinations
We all want to sneak a bit of education and soul-enriching activities into our vacations, right? That’s exactly why spiritual vacations are on the rise in 2015. From walking in the footsteps of Buddha in India to attending a private healing ceremony with a Shaman at Machu Picchu, there are a variety of ways to incorporate the mystical and the spiritual into your next trip. Even Adventures by Disney offers excursions like China to Egypt, while Southwind has developed a family itinerary with spiritual activities to Peru.
9. Private Flight
Richard Zahar, CEO of private jet charter brokerage Paramount Business Jets, predicts that travelers will take more than 28,000 private trips in 2015. It’s hard to ignore the advantages of taking a private jet (think about all of the time and energy you will save lugging your family through the terminal), but many get discouraged thinking such a luxury is out of their financial league. Don’t give up so quickly.
If you’re a multi-gen family of 6 or more and have some flexibility, you can save up to 75 percent on the cost of a standard charter by flying an “empty leg.” An empty leg is when a private jet flies without passengers, which occurs much more frequently than you might think. You may have to book your own commercial return flight on the way home, but the time and stress you save might make it worth it.
10. Multi-Gen Bucket Listers
If you haven’t yet, it’s time to get in good with Gramps and Gram, because Baby Boomers will be taking their families on dream vacations this year.
Ninety-seven percent of all travelers age 50 and over are planning one big trip for 2015. Of that number, 33 percent will be taking their offspring, and their offspring’s offspring along with them. Number one on the destination bucket list will be Europe, followed closely by the Caribbean, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Orlando. You can find discounts through AARP—and keep in mind that you don’t have to be 50 to join AARP. Plus, you can extend your membership to family members. This is a trend I love, so you’ll be seeing more multi-gen bucket list family “window seat or aisle seat” adventures for my daughters and me this year.
Do you know of a trend you’d like to share? Do you have a 2015 bucket-list trip suggestion?
Want to read more about new travel trends and family travel?
- Peter Greenberg’s Hot Destinations for 2015
- Celebrating the Holidays with a Multigenerational Trip to Jamaica
- Six Flags & the Smithsonian: Washington, D.C. as a Family
By Kerri Zane for PeterGreenberg.com. Kerri Zane is a family travel expert and author of It Takes All 5: A Single Mom’s Guide to Finding the REAL One, on sale now. For more advice on health, parenting or Kerri’s exclusive MomEscapes, visit her at KerriZane.com.