Posts Tagged ‘multigenerational travel’

August 24, 2016

Why Grandparents Make the Best Travel Companions

There is something to be said about grandparents. After all without them, family reunions and family dinners wouldn’t be possible; they were the beginning of it all! One thing at Thomson Family Adventures that we’ve all come to learn and love is exactly how great travelling with grandparents can be. Mulitgenerational vacations have become somewhat of a favorite around here for this reason. Grandparents can be the secret ingredient to having the best family vacation of all time.

a grandparent posing with an elephant while on a multigenerational vacationFirst, grandparents are wise. Much more wise than most. They know all kinds of things and this can translate well into travel. How did grandma know to take a right turn up ahead? It’s a mystery to us too, but we don’t ask questions because grandparents have super powers. They always have the best advice and this can come in handy when you forget what kind of clothes you need for safari in Tanzania or for a trek to Machu Picchu.

Grandparents also let loose more as the years go on. They are always good for a joke, no matter how corny it may be, or a laugh. When you’ve been on this earth long enough you stop sweating the small stuff and can focus on what’s really important. This is hands down the best quality to have in a travel companion. The people who don’t get flustered during an airport transfer or when the peanut butter doesn’t taste exactly the same in Costa Rica are the people that make traveling fun and relaxing.

Another reason grandparents are great to take vacation with are for their grand-kids. There’s nothing more special than watching your parents spend time with your kids. They know how vast the world is and how much it needs to be appreciated. Seeing them pass those sentiments on and sharing incredible experiences with your kids will be a memory worth more than any gift. Taking a multigenerational vacation also gets another set of adults on the trip you can trust to keep an eye on your kids if you want an afternoon or night of peace and quiet.

a girl with her grandmother on a family reunion vacation

Getting the entire family together for a vacation can sound like a lot of work. It can sound like details will be looked over and something will go wrong. But this isn’t the case! We love to plan these types of adventures because we know how gratifying and satisfying it is for the families that take them. There are never more laughs during vacation than a family reunion vacation. We can plan all of the details and make this a stress free and exciting time for everyone.



June 24, 2016

5 Must Do Things in China

China is one of the oldest and most ancient cultures in the world. For nearly 5,000 years, since the Xia Dynasty, China has been a major player on the international scale. It has influenced the world in numerous ways and will continue to do so. What this means for us as travelers, is that is a place with tremendous sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and excitement!  With so much to see and a lot of ground to cover it’s hard to prioritize what to see on your family vacation. China can be a great place for multigenerational families with a great mix of culture and excitement. Families with teens can also have an age appropriate adventure in China. This is a great culture for teens to embed themselves in. They will undoubtedly begin comparing their life growing up to what they see in China. We promise this will be fascinating for them and for you to watch! Cultivating this experience for teens, younger kids, or yourself, can be overwhelming when looking at all that China has to offer. Here are five things that you shouldn’t miss.

Acrobat Show

This form of entertainment is almost as old as China itself. It dates back to 4,000 years ago and its popularity exploded around 2,500 years ago. The acrobatic shows in Beijing will look similar to Cirque du Soleil, but will be much different. You’ll experience traditional lion dancing, stunning cycling acts, fire stunts, and contortionists among much more amazing feats that will leave your family in awe.

Tiananmen Square

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This is the largest public square in the world. Now four times its original size, Tiananmen Square was originally constructed in the 15th Century. Since then, it has been a place for celebration and expression. In the square you can find the Monument to the People’s House, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, the Tiananmen Tower, the National Museum and the gate to the Forbidden City.

T’ai Chi Class

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This ancient Chinese martial art is known for teaching graceful movements that have major health benefits for its practitioners. Take a T’ai Chi lesson in its most basic form, focusing on spiritual and mental strength. Your family will find it calming and peaceful while learning this meditative martial art from a T’ai Chi master.

Shanghai

This is one of the most fascinating cities in China. Shanghai has one of the most distinct and recognized skylines in the world. It has fully embraced architectural advancement and creativity. Walking around this economic epicenter gives unlimited people watching opportunities, lessons in culture, and a window into a futuristic city within an ancient country. Walk around the city, take a boat ride down the main river, and explore the many international neighborhoods in the Huangpu waterfront area.

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Cormorant Fishing

The cormorant is a type of bird that has traditionally been trained to catch fish. Li River fisherman will start to train these birds at just six months old. In the evening they will take the grown birds out onto the river to help them catch fish to sell the next day. It’s unique to watch man and bird work together to catch fish. This traditional fishing technique is definitely something to see!



June 3, 2016

Why Kids Should Plan Family Vacations

Planning a family vacation can be a lot of work, a lot of hassle, and let’s face it— a lot of stress. Family vacations are a tremendous amount of fun and deciding where to go and what to do with that vacation should be fun too. One of the things that we’ve found is a great exercise and can get kids excited about vacation and take a little bit of stress off of you is to let your kids have an active role in planning the next family vacation.

Responsibility

The best way to teach kids about responsibility is to give them a specific task to be responsible for. Giving kids the reigns over the family vacation is one way to do this. First, it won’t be the same kind of responsibility that their friends have and it also is not an everyday responsibility. These two factors alone make it an exciting and different kind of challenge for them. Playing only an advisory role and lending a helping hand when needed will free up time for you to focus on other things, like who is driving the kids to practice later?

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Communication

Planning a vacation for the whole family is a good practice in communication. Your kids will have to talk with parents, grandparents, siblings, maybe even cousins, aunts, and uncles. If there are differences in opinion, it’ll be their job to come up with a compromise. You can even let them speak with one of our family travel advisers to communicate to us what your family needs. Who has dietary restrictions? How many people are interested in kayaking versus hiking? Communication is key when planning a multi-generational vacation or family reunion vacation because everyone will have different interests. Learning how to effectively communicate and make the best decisions for the group is a trait and skill that will always be helpful!

Financial Planning

It is never too early for kids to start learning about financial responsibility and understanding a budget. Funny enough, planning a family vacation requires those skills! Let the kids know exactly what the budget is. They’ll have to start deciding if they want to spend a little extra money on plane tickets at the sacrifice of an extra activity while on vacation. Budget could also affect what time of year you choose to travel. When real money is involved and certain concessions need to be made because of it, kids will start to understand how real their role is and gain a new sense of importance and confidence.

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Real Interest

The one way to ensure that your kids, whether teens, pre-teens, or kids in their 20s, giving them control over the outcome of the family vacation will be the best way to ensure they’re interested in the place you go! If they weren’t interested they wouldn’t have chosen the place to begin with. After choosing a place, your kids will be much more likely to research that place and learn about it on their own.

This is a great exercise for family teen travel and travel with younger kids. Have your kids look into our different group tour options or take it a step further and let them plan a custom or private trip. Have one of your kids give us a call and let the planning begin!



May 25, 2016

When is it Time for a Custom or Private Family Vacation?

Planning group family tours is how we got started in the family travel business. We love pairing similar families together to have the adventure of a lifetime. We’ve paired together families with young kids, families for teen travel, and multigenerational family travel. While we always love to set this type of adventure up, for ourselves and the families that travel with us, we know that sometimes a different style of trip is needed. That’s why we’ve set up custom travel and private travel options. So when should your family take a custom or private vacation?

You Have Something to Celebrate

Custom and private vacations can work best when there is something special to celebrate. This could be anything from family reunions to Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th year anniversary. It’s no issue for us to get the whole family to a villa. We’ll handle the transportation, restaurant reservations, and all of the details to make sure everybody is on time and well fed! Spend your days on new and exciting adventures and spend your nights celebrating your wonderful family.

You Have a Large Family

Some families are bigger, much bigger, than others. You shouldn’t be stressed trying to find things that can accommodate all of you. We already know where to look. Invite all of the Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and even some friends! If you’re traveling with a large group, then a private vacation may be just what you need.

The Howe family on the beach in Costa Rica

The Howe family on the beach in Costa Rica

You Want to Travel at a Time We Don’t Have a Scheduled Trip

Again, no problem! We can run one of our trips on a different date for you. We know that not everyone has the same school vacation weeks, so we’re flexible. It helps everyone out.

You Want to Travel Somewhere We Don’t Have a Scheduled Trip For

Just because a country isn’t listed with a scheduled trip does not mean we can’t get you there. Our staff is comprised of world travelers that have seen almost every corner of the globe— chances are we know a thing or two about where you want to go! All you need to do is call and let us know.

Rimer family in Belize

Rimer family in Belize

 

If You Want to Do Anything Extra

There are a lot of times that families just want to extend their vacations a little bit longer or maybe take a detour from what we have scheduled. We understand wanting to explore and see as much as possible when in a new place. We don’t want to suppress that feeling, but encourage it! If it will make your family vacation better to steer off course— we want you to do just that.

If You Just Feel Like It

One of the best reasons to take a custom or private family vacation is because you want to. It is your vacation after all!



September 29, 2015

8 Wildlife Species to Only See on the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are home to an amazing amount of endemic species from fish and insects to mammals and birds. The Galapagos wildlife may have become most famous after Darwin went to the islands in 1835 and came up with natural selection and evolution before releasing his famed study, On The Origin of Species, detailing what he found. Ever since that study was published the unique wildlife on the islands became one of the biggest draws for visitors and for good reason. There are many species that if you want to see them, you have to go to the Galapagos. Check out a few of our favorites!

Waved Albatross

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This is the largest bird that can be found of the Galapagos Islands. The waved albatross is the only albatross that only lives in the tropics. While this bird does fly far and wide, it only breeds in the Galapagos Islands, making your chance of seeing one of them here much more likely than anywhere else in the world!

Magnificent Frigate Bird

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One of the easiest birds to spot and pick out on the islands, the male magnificent frigate bird sports a large red throat pouch. The pouch inflates larger and larger as the birds try and make themselves more attractive mates for the female birds. The magnificent frigate on the Galapagos is thought to be distinct, genetically, from other frigates because it hasn’t bred with another frigate breed for hundreds of thousands of years.

Sally Lightfoot

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Possibly the most popular animal for photos is the Sally Lightfoot crab. Its beautiful colors shimmer in the beaming sun as it scurries across rocks in and near the ocean. What differentiates this Sally Lightfoot from others is its interaction with the marine iguanas on the islands. They have a symbiotic relationship and clean ticks off of the iguana, a good source of food for them.

Lava Lizard

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These tiny lizards can be found all over the Galapagos Islands. There are seven distinct species of this lizard that have been recognized so far. They are a great example of evolution and adapting to environments to survive— perfect specimens for Darwin’s studies!

Giant Tortoise

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The most famous and iconic animal from the Galapagos is the giant tortoise; after all, the islands were named after them! These are the largest tortoises in the world and can live for more than 170 years. Even given the long life span, there are only about 15,000 giant tortoises left in the world. Good news is that because of conservation efforts the population is on the rebound.

Marine Iguana

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This is the only iguana in the world that has the ability to go into the sea for food. This unique quality likely came from the need to survive. With little to no nutritious vegetation for the iguana on land, over hundreds of years the marine iguana started going into the sea to eat seaweed. It is now unlike any other iguana you may find!

A few other animals that are great to look for while on your family vacation in the Galapagos Islands are the blue footed booby, the fur seal, the Galapagos penguin, and many, many finches. This is one of the best locations for a multigenerational family vacation where you can relax and have an unforgettable adventure!



August 11, 2015

Where Will You Be This Winter?

A great way to spend the winter and the holidays is off on an adventure. If you’re a Northeast Coaster like we are at Thomson Family Adventures, there is nothing we understand more than wanting to escape the snow (especially after last winter!). If you’re from the warmer regions of the country, there is no way to make the holiday season more memorable or special than spending it in an exciting new place with the ones you love. Lucky for you, we have four great destinations for a winter and holiday time family vacation!

Galapagos

The holiday season is full of wonder and amazement, but nothing will compare to the wonder or inspire the amazement that the Galapagos Islands will for your family. This is one of the few places in the world that has sustained its pristine natural biodiversity and charm with minimal change from human intervention. The conservation efforts on the islands are top of the line and allow you to see beautiful beaches, swim with playful sea lions, find old giant tortoises, and explore picturesque islands. This will be the best gift you can get your kids for the holidays!

South Africa

One of our new family vacation destinations, South Africa has an unrivaled country spirit. With a deep history producing revolutionary figures like Nelson Mandela, South Africa is a cultural and historical adventure like no other. It is a country dedicated to social empowerment and development that will inspire you and your children. There are also great intimate family safari opportunities in South Africa. You can see the Big 5 up close and enjoy magical evenings as the sun slowly sets, casting dark hues of oranges, reds, and yellows, over the South African bush.

Baja

There is something in Baja for everyone. It has plenty of active sport options, good for all ages, from surfing and kayaking to hiking and horseback riding. Or you can saunter around the cultural beach towns of La Paz or Todos Santos taking in the local art and food scenes. Escaping the cold for a beach town sounds just about perfect to us, even more so after remembering the average temperature in December is a cool 80 degrees!

Costa Rica

 

A destination that is perfect for multigenerational family vacations is Costa Rica. The National Parks of Corcovado and Manuel AntonioCosta-Rica-Girl-Butterfly offer exciting opportunities to explore this amazing tropical land. you can sit by waterfalls in the jungle and enjoy fresh, juicy, and delicious fruit or relax on warm secluded beaches! It’s easy to fall in love with Costa Rica and sharing the experience with your family will make it even more unforgettable.

The holiday season is a great time to travel since everyone will be under one roof. Use this this time for a family vacation and have a holiday adventure your family will talk about forever!



July 23, 2013

On a Scale of 1 to 5, our Guides are Often a TEN

A Great time at the Great Wall.

Our friend Linda from Ohio just returned from a big family trip to China, her first with us. We try to call everyone when they get home, but we didn’t have a chance – her email came in almost immediately:

“You were right.  It was a great trip for a family.  We LOVED it. Tom and I have taken many trips but this one for us will always be the very special one. It exceeded any expectations that I had.

To see the eyes of our children as we traveled each day was incredible. They were filled with such excitement. I know that I was very nervous about taking the children to China and realize I could not have been more wrong. It was a trip of a lifetime for our family. All ages loved it and we loved learning about the Chinese culture and most of all we loved our new Chinese friends. Chuck and Ping were exceptional. They did everything possible to make our trip special for our family. They became part of our family almost immediately. They took very good care of us all. Chuck was the “magician” of the trip, making good things happen constantly and Ping was “Pied Piper and “Mary Poppins” all rolled into one. The children ( and adults) adored her. She had an endless bag of goodies and always kept the children amused.

The trip was a perfect blend for all ages (8-73) . China will always be a very special place for our family. We have so many wonderful memories and over 2000 pictures to share. It was a well documented trip! Many thanks to all of you for making this trip possible for our family!”



October 15, 2012

17 to Infinity: It’s a New World of Travel

Wachirathon Waterfall, Thailand

Family celebrations don’t stop just because the kids get older. Think of all the reasons: High school graduation. College graduation. Admission to college. College graduation. Admission to graduate school! Graduating from grad school. A job offer! Before they go to work for 80 hours a week. Celebrating a job well done…..

Or it’s Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary… the 25th. The 50th. The 60th.

Or big birthdays! Their 21st, or 25th. Our 50th. 60th. 70th. 80th.

All of these occasions are times we want to gather together with family, to share and appreciate the memories we’ve built over the years. And to make new memories to carry forward. Maybe you want to be with just your family, or maybe you want to join other families at the same stage of their life. Either way, it is a pleasure to have someone else do the dirty work, while you relish the anticipation of the adventure ahead.

As our kids get older we have more flexibility to travel at the fringe of peak season, and to enjoy more sophisticated encounters. Why not take advantage of this new stage of life and learning, and explore the world together?

Family adventures are not just for kids anymore.