In her latest column, Sue Alexander, Managing Director of Eagle Travel, highlights the new trends in family holidays, which go much further than a simple beach break, including exploration, cultural enrichment and journeys to remote destinations.
As a fully licensed Independent Travel Agency, Eagle Travel partner with a huge variety of travel suppliers to suit all tastes, requirements and budgets.
They have an experienced team who are parents and grandparents, so they know how to plan the perfect family holiday – remembering to include essentials for the children, such as car seats, babysitting services and kids’ clubs, and can share advice on how to survive travelling with children of all ages!
Multi-generational travel is becoming ever more popular and the taste for adventure and exploration has never been more prevalent.
Plus, many young families want to travel sustainably and are conscious of environmental damage left behind by tourism.
Not all families want to ‘fly and flop’, but for those that do there are some wonderful hotels and resorts ideal for the most relaxing holiday.
The Caribbean is ever-popular and can be a year-round destination. The Verandah Resort in Antigua boasts the largest free form pool on the island and features a Kids’ Club with splash pool and new Pirate Ship playground. Offering watersports, mini-golf, diving and snorkeling for older children and their parents, the best time to visit is our winter months when the sun shines and the sea breeze offers some respite from the hot sun. Just heavenly!
Costa del sunshine
Closer to home, the award-winning all-inclusive Ikos Resorts, voted the best in the world by TripAdvisor, will introduce its newest luxury Resort in Estepona, Costa Del Sol in May 2020.
Their other four resorts are set in spectacular locations across Greece and its islands. From tots to teens, Ikos Andalusia will run a fabulous full programme of indoor and outdoor events, with carefully supervised clubs offering creative activities, learning, sports (including a football academy) games and all things fun, plus healthy menus for younger guests.
Guests are also encouraged to get out and explore the region with a complimentary Mini to drive and a ‘dine out’ programme which allows you to eat in some of the best local restaurants at no extra cost.
Something that many all-inclusive resorts fail to offer is income for the community, so this initiative gives back to the region whilst allowing guests to explore the beauty of the local surroundings.
An experience to remember
If your family wants to do something a bit more active and off the beaten track there are now more choices than ever before, thanks to the growth of the “experience economy”.
National Geographic offer ‘Family Journeys’, designed to engage, inspire and educate all ages.
Each journey has two dedicated Nat Geo guides, with a focus on photography and storytelling, culture, history, wildlife, and geography. The specially trained local guides engage and inspire young minds to look at the natural world around them whilst exploring exotic destinations.
Think searching for red-eye tree frogs in the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica; exploring Inca ruins and treetop canopies in the Peruvian Amazon, or experiencing the bubbling mudpools, glaciers and fjords of Iceland.
National Geographic Family Journeys are designed for small groups travelling with children aged between 7 and 17 years with 12 carefully crafted itineraries to destinations across all seven continents.
For family cruising think no further than Royal Caribbean Cruises whose motto is “family comes first!”
Their larger ships are designed to completely immerse younger guests with slides, pools, surfing, climbing walls, bumper cars, video arcades and more – you may never see your children on one of these cruises!
The family friendly entertainment programme and shore excursions ensure that younger guests are entertained from morning till night. Royal Caribbean offer a wide range of accommodations to suit all pockets from the family staterooms with sofa beds or bunk beds to luxurious two-storey loft suites.
The World’s largest cruise ship “Symphony of the Seas” boasts the “Ultimate Family Suite” – complete with games table, chalkboard wall and a floor-to-floor slide!
Whilst many cruise lines will cater for families it is always best to check with an independent cruise expert such as Eagle Travel to ensure you choose the right ship and itinerary for your families tastes and age range.
Make motorhome memories…
Fancy driving something a bit different? Explore the great outdoors with a motorhome. Think campfires, barbecues and wide-open spaces and discover where the open road takes you.
Eagle Travel can offer motorhome rental in USA, Australia and New Zealand as well as Europe and even UK.
We have also had motoring holidays ourselves so know the ins and outs of what is needed. We can plan your route and book your overnight campgrounds if a more tailored holiday is desired.
If you prefer the luxury of a hotel room each night then let us tailor a driving itinerary to some of the most scenic and exciting destinations in the world and include a self-drive pickup truck, a convertible or a Hummer!
Inspired by the live action Lion King and David Attenborough’s stunning documentaries, families who wish to explore the wild have a world of choice for natural phenomenon.
Older children are welcome on safari and can expect to get up close to Timon and Pumba as well as Simba and even Scar.
For those wishing to contribute to well respected charities a visit to the Born Free Foundation in Shamwari in South Africa is a must. The “Big Cats” rescued from appalling conditions now call the massive natural enclosures their home and can be seen thriving in near natural surroundings by those lucky enough to visit.
Tailor-made holidays designed specifically around children can be created to some of the most spectacular places on earth: orangutans in Borneo, polar bears in the Artic, the Great Migration in Africa, and the incredibly diverse wildlife of Madagascar are all accessible for the more intrepid family.
As an independent agency, Eagle Travel have a huge variety of travel partners to work with and can source even the most obscure or unusual destinations on Earth.
Of course, the ultimate in family holidays must be a visit to one of the Walt Disney Parks. With direct access by Eurostar, a few days’ stay at Disneyland Paris is completely viable for a weekend break.
Now found in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Japan, a few days in one the Asian Magic Kingdom Parks as part of a wider tour can restore the spirits of children young and old.
Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort is by far the most popular destination for the British visitor and you can completely immerse yourself in all things Disney by staying at one of their on-site hotels.
This offers early access to rides and transport between parks and with Disney Dining offers it can be better value than you might anticipate.
A popular alternative is to rent a large family home complete with private pool, games room and BBQ if you want to dip in and out of Disney as well as having the freedom of a car to explore the Gulf Coast beaches, shopping outlets and other attractions of this spectacular region.
With some suppliers now taking bookings for school holiday dates in 2021 it’s possible to start planning your trip of a lifetime well in advance.
To find out more about the experiences highlighted in this month’s column, or for further family holiday inspiration, contact the award-winning worldwide Travel Consultants at Eagle Travel.
11 Goldington Road, Bedford MK40 3JY
Monday to Friday 09.00am – 5.30pm
Appointments available upon request – Ample free parking at rear
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