Occupying an upscale niche in the travel world, "family adventures" are escorted tours take parents and kids around the globe: to the Grand Canyon or the Loire Valley, or on safari in Africa...
Often the destination is one that offers terrific outdoor experiences. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Canyon are prime spots for a family adventure vacation; some tours go farther, to the Galapagos, or Australia. "Multisport" activities on a trip might include biking, horseriding, kayaking, rafting, or maybe even a walk on a glacier.
Other tours have a cultural/historical focus, and might head, for example, to prehistoric cave paintings in France or medieval towns in Tuscany, or to an emperor's tomb in Southeast Asia. On such culturally-oriented family adventures, expect the educational and edifying to be balanced with just-plain-fun activities and physical recreation. The trip planners know what their (kid) audience needs.
Features to Expect in a Family Adventure Vacation
- small groups with congenial people
- personal attention from your guides
- top-quality experiences
- fine dining and lodging options
- all details handled
- no hassles, line-ups to check-in, etc.
- price range over $2000 per adult for 5-6 days (plus tip)
One trip we've sample was a "Yellowstone Family Adventure" by Austin-Lehman Tours, which featured hiking, rafting and horseback-riding.
Our exploration of this amazing National Park was top caliber. We viewed wildlife with a naturalist; visited amazing hot springs, steaming cauldrons, belching dragons, and other "geothermal features"; stayed at wonderful places. Our group of eleven was helped in every possible way by three guides. (Read a review.)
On another occasion, and with a larger group, my son and I sampled a Viva Italia! trip by Adventures by Disney. The terrific itinerary included Rome, the medieval hill town of Orvieto, the Tuscan countryside, Florence, and Venice. The trip had the quality expected of a "family adventure" plus some unexpected extras; and again, we had ultra-friendly and helpful guides. Read a review.
Price and Quality
A "Family Adventure" isn't for the faint of pocketbook. But sometimes in life you get what you pay for, and what these companies promise, and deliver, is a quality vacation with no time wasted on hassles or or anything mediocre. Smart trip planners have already done all the groundwork and the legwork, they've sussed out the best experiences and booked them in advance, so that your family can spend all its time on enjoyment.
Most companies offer a discount for kids, but usually only 10 per cent, perhaps 20 per cent if you're lucky. Occasionally Adventures by Disney has offered a "Kids Free" deal.
All activities and most meals are included. Families should budget for meals and "free time" on their own, and for gratuities for the "take care of everything" guides who've been with you throughout the tour. (Typically, gratuities for local sightseeing guides etc. are already handled.)
See more Family Adventure tour companies.