Posts Tagged ‘teen travel’

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.



May 5, 2011

Top 10 – Why Costa Rica?

In the Forest

Some people say Costa rica is just not exotic enough. After all, it’s been on the tourist scene for awhile now and with its all inclusive beach resorts on the north Pacific coast it became accessible to lots of people at a reasonable price. Problem is, those resorts are self contained beach vacations and could be anywhere. We promise, those people who think it is ordinary are wrong – Costa Rica is so much more than that.

1) Luscious Forest. Have you discovered the wonders of a walk through rain or cloud forest, maybe even in a warm rain? Troops of Leaf Cutter Ants marching along the forest floor. Sloths hidden in the trees (but your guide will spot them!). Birds, often brightly colored or full of song. Vines and trees and plants and bugs, all living symbiotically. Epiphytes! Orchids and butterflies the size of your first. Worlds you may never have known existed.

2) Action: Zip lines, rafting and kayaking. Canyoning and tubing. Stand up paddle boarding and surfing. Some of the world’s best activities, all rolled into one destination. With forest, coastline, and mountains so many options are available to you.

3) Monkeys: Capuchin. Howler. Spider. Squirrel. SO MANY monkeys! All out in their natural habitat, and sometimes trying to snatch your lunch, or hurling nuts onto the roof of your jungle cabin to wake you in the morning…

4) The people. So warm, so welcoming, so generous. From our local guides to drivers, the innkeepers to the surfing instructors, to the children and teachers on the schools. I’m pretty sure you’ve never met nicer people.

5) Nonstop Flights from New York, Atlanta, Houston, Miami … so easy to get there

6) Pico de Gallo. Now, Costa Rica is not known for its gastronomy, but please give yourself the opportunity to discover the delicious joy of pico de gallo! Like Costa Rica – fresh, simple, but complex in its flavors, it might just become a regular at your table at home.

7) Pura Vida! Believe me, you want this phrase in your life. An expression of the entire culture of Costa Rica, it means literally ‘pure life‘. Once you experience its context in the country that lives it, you will find an infinite number of ways to use it. As a greeting, an exclamation, a state of mind. Pura Vida!

8) Coffee. Did you know the fresh beans, seeds really, are red? Even if you don’t drink it, you know how big this crop is in the world. Seeing how it is grown and harvested – fascinating.

9) Everything you always wanted to know about volcanoes. Costa Rica is part of the Pacific Ring Fire Circle and has a ton of volcanoes, about 100 or so, with 5 currently active. Come peer into the caldera of a dormant volcano or listen to the not so distant rumble of an active volcano. Learn about how volcanoes form the landscape of Costa Rica. Pretty, pretty amazing.

10) A lovely climate all year long. Warm in December and February when the Northeast is frigid. Warm in March and April when we’re not quite thawed out. Is it hotter and wetter in the summer? Sure, but who doesn’t like a warm rain in the rain forest? Or green sea turtles nesting on the beach? Winter is great to escape the cold, and summer is great to escape the crowds.

11) OK one more – all the things I didn’t get to mention. Hanging Bridges. Kayaking through canals. Surfing lessons at the beach. White water rafting. Canyoning. Hiking. Swimming. Snorkeling. Pen pals. And even more….



March 18, 2011

Killer Kayaking @ Beautiful Balandra Bay

Thursday: (Sorry I am out of date – just too much to do here to spend time on the computer!)

Balandra Bay is a thing of beauty. Clear blue water, and shallow enough to walk forever (thankfully our guides told us how to shuffle our feet so we would not be stung by sting rays; others were not so lucky) Kayaking here is easy on the smooth water, and the kayaks are steady. Though if you fell out you’d just stand up and climb back in. I think the boys did that a couple of times. We took off for a nice paddle around the bay and down into narrow lanes of mangroves – such awesome and peaceful beauty with egrets and herons gracing the shoreline. Our lunch spot was on top of a steep dune (can you guess how many times the kids ran and rolled up and down it??) overlooking the bay. We could see the tide going out – and in fact ended up having to pull rather than paddle the kayaks for the last 20 feet to ‘shore’. In no time the bay became the perfect field for an impromptu game of soccer….. then the ride back to Todos Santos became the perfect opportunity for a bit of a snooze!



March 16, 2011

Cliff Walk + Awesome Views = Full Heart

Yesterday I think I forgot, that if you are going to walk along the top of a cliff to enjoy amazing views, you first have to climb to get there. I am relatively NOT in great shape, as has been proven in the last few days. My legs are feeling, well, more alive, and it has been worth every muscle I had to wake up. The dogs came along too which was a blast, and we all remembered to drink lots of water. In Baja they say “the sun is our enemy….”



February 12, 2011

Top 10 Things About Traveling with Teens

Is your teen too cool for you?

Just because your child has become a teenager – or is acting like one – doesn’t mean you have to be intimidated by their demands or sacrifice your meaningful family vacation. Just remember these wise rules, and all will be well.

1) Choosing a destination that offers activities to challenge and excite – like a zip line, white water rafting, or kayaking – will keep your big kids active, engaged and satisfied. If they’ve done an activity before, try in a new environment for new excitement. Look for a variety of activities that give everyone a chance to try many things; don’t give them the chance to feel bored with the same old thing.

2) This is your family vacation, but diversions are very useful. Traveling in a small group of like minded and similar aged families gives you the chance to meet new people and make new friends. For many families, having company to share the fun with helps prevent the family bond from fraying under the stress of too much togetherness.

3) But don’t forget many teens suffer under the pressure to be Cool all the time in their peer group. For some kids, traveling as the oldest in a group will be the ticket to success. This gives them the opportunity to let down their guard, and remember how much fun it can be to just be a kid again.

4) If you let someone else be in control, the pressure is off! Your guide can call the shots, motivate the troops, get your teen to respond in ways you never could. Other kids in the group will inspire them to join in. Settle back and relax, this is your family adventure to enjoy too!

5) Don’t you want to get out of your all inclusive resort routine? Sure that was fun once, but in a resort you could be anywhere. Our kids are growing up, and rapidly forming their opinions and habits…What do you want to teach them? Your family vacation can be a fun and easy way to show them important things about the world. Step off the beaten path and discover the qualities special and unique to the destination – and local people – you are visiting. This makes everything more interesting – and more meaningful.

6) If you create a safe environment where where your kids can try new things – remember, these are the experimenting years – they will. But please, not at home in front of their friends! Karaoke? Salsa dancing? Noodle making? Weaving? Photography? Trekking? In the right context, and a more anonymous one, these unusual activities can be enthralling. And maybe your teen will discover a new talent!

7) If you let your kids be the askers, their natural inquisitiveness and leadership will blossom as they discover new cultures and lifestyles. When you travel with a local, expert guide you don’t have to know the answers – indeed, you will be learning too.

8) (I don’t know why a smiley face is in place instead of an eight, but I’m leaving it here!) Often it seems we work too hard to make everyone be the same – but we’re not, and that’s OK! Some are stronger, bigger, wiser. When you plan for things the younger kids can’t do, like bigger water on the rafting trip, or climbing Kilimanjaro, it shows your kids that growing up has its privileges, and they have earned the right to try new things.

9) Even teens get hungry all the time. Be sure there is a constant flow of food and water to keep them fueled. Full children are rarely cranky children, even with teenagers.

10) Sound overwhelming? Call the experts with your questions and concerns. A personable, knowledgeable advisor – not a phone bank – can make reaching your family travel goals a snap.



February 8, 2011

Noodles, Pandas, and the Love of my Daughter

Learning the Fan Dance with family in Huxian

As soon as my daughter Mira could speak, or maybe even before, she began her obsession with all things Chinese. So when, at age 15, she and I had the chance to visit China we never gave it a second thought. Little did I know then what an impact this family adventure would have on the rest of our lives.

China is so spectacularly different from anything we see, smell, eat, or do in our lives in the USA and Canada. First of all it is ancient. Their history goes back so many dynasties your head will spin with the history. Then, not only do they speak a different language (duh) but the culture is so entirely different. It’s in the air; you will see and feel it as you walk through the cities and villages, and speak with your guide. Not only does the food taste different than Chinese food at home, even the KFC tastes different.

Oh, but it is wonderful, so enchanting to visit this place with a Wall so Great you could see from outer space, and peaceful pandas munching on bamboo, and fishermen training the cormorants to catch their fish. Terra Cotta Warriors lined up endlessly, to protect their sleeping emperor. Temples and palaces, and tai chi in every beautiful park….

There is so much to learn about when you visit China. This makes the visit thrilling, but also a bit, well, stressful. Yes, having everything seem different, and nothing seem familiar is exciting and draining. And this is why, at the end of the day when Mira and I would return to our top rated hotel – not to be confused with an American 5 Star but a small semblance of Western life – we bonded in a new way. WE were all that was familiar to each other. Laughing, sharing our amazement, talking about what we had done that day; what would be an ordinary mother-daughter conversation about our day at home in Boston took on a completely different, unique, unforgettable glow in China.

Did you know that in China, a bowl of noodles is actually just ONE LONG NOODLE?

Now I am preparing for Mira to turn 21. We’ve had our many difficulties over the years as mothers and daughters do, and I think a lot about the things I wish I could have done better as she was growing up. (do all parents do this?). But one thing I am so grateful for is our adventure to China. In any moment of family tension or discomfort, she and I can still pull up the stories, the shock and amazement and fabulous wonder of our adventure. Yes, even the embarrassing moments, like learning the fan dance or trying to learn Tai Chi. We can instantly laugh about the things we did together, the entirely unique experience of our two weeks in China. Would I be wrong if I said we love each other more for it?

Are you thinking about sharing something life altering with your child or even your whole family? Maybe it is China, or maybe something a bit closer to home. Thomson Family Adventures has the expertise and creativity to set the stage for your adventure to one of many exciting places we know well. You’ll discover all of the meaning and have all of the fun, while we ensure you don’t have to worry about a single detail. Except showing up at the airport on time! Call us now at 800-262-6255 to change the rest of your life



January 11, 2011

New Year, Same Thought, Best Family Memories

Why Some Don't Visit Utah in Winter...

Happy New Year to Everyone. I like to keep saying this right through to February. Really we should continue it into March when those of us in inclement weather have moved past the bleakness of winter and then don’t have to work so hard at being cheerful. This is more than Happy Holidays. The New Year is universal, it stretches across the landscape of time and place, religion and tradition. Everyone steps into a new year of the calendar. So here we are, at 2011.

I am sure I am not alone when I become focused on what I did and didn’t do last year, and what I want to do this year; it’s called Making Resolutions. If you want some helpful clues about setting your goals for 2011, you might like this: http://margiewarrell.com/category/blog/

What are your resolutions? Where are you going in 2011?

I have had the best time over the last week listening to our families tell their stories of holiday adventure with their children and loved ones. Some made new friends and new discoveries on their exotic Thomson Family Adventure travels – and some just stayed home. A few were stuck in airports :( Boston shoveled out from two feet of snow!

But isn’t it glorious to slow down and appreciate where we are. Even if this year wasn’t your best family memory, I bet you talked about when that was, as you reminisced them all.

I love having all of our family adventures to remember, those involving travel and those that hit unexpectedly at home. And I love there will be new ones to look forward to. For me, 2011 is the year my youngest graduates from high school. Don’t worry, I’ve been assured the family travel isn’t over yet – my kids have the travel bug, and we still have many places to discover in this big bold world we live in.

So for now I am considering my resolutions, and planning for our next fabulous family adventure. Oh, and the next snowstorm, due tomorrow. Maybe even another two feet!

What are your resolutions? Where are you going in 2011? Share!



January 4, 2011

A Man, a Plan, a Canal – a New Family Adventure!

Land Crab in Isla Iguana - there are tons of them!

In August Beth went to Panama to check out some new ideas for 2011. We’ve been showing families the beauties of Panama for years, but we are always looking for the fresh perspective, and the places waiting to be discovered. So we decided to check out some new directions. Like El Valle de Anton, inside the crater of the world’s second largest extinct volcano. (Whoa!) And for beaches and snorkeling along with fascinating wildlife we explored the Azueros Peninsula with its artisans and Spanish influenced villages.

After witnessing troops of howler monkeys swinging through the trees, humpback whales breaching, and tropical land crabs swarming the beach, Beth feels pretty confident that we’re on the right track for a unique and wonderful new family adventure. Add to that: meeting a Diablo mask maker, pen pals with the local Embera kids, a walking tour of Casco Viejo, the old part of Panama City – and of course the Panama Canal. The perfect recipe for an awesome adventure for all generations.

Call us now to book! We have space for your vacation week in February, March and April 800-262-6255



December 8, 2010

Secretly Stuck in a Vacation Rut? We Can Tow You Out.

family visiting waterfalls in Costa Rica

At the Waterfalls, Costa Rica

Hello Parents and Grandparents!I know you’ve been talking about taking your child / grandson on an adventure next year but something has stopped you from setting your plans. This year flights are limited and fares are up; let’s get going before you don’t have the choice anymore!

Being stuck is terrible; it stresses your brain and makes you feel unsettled. We can help!

If someone is concerned about safety, security, or comfort we’d love to to help you understand how a family adventure works. After all we’ve been running these trips designed exclusively for families longer than anyone else. We’re small and personal, but loaded with expertise. We’ll always take the time to be sure you understand the steps we take to ensure a safe and comfortable family adventure.

If the destination doesn’t feel quite right, we’d love to talk with you about other ideas. With all of our years specializing in family travel we’d love to help you choose just the right thing.

The perfect family adventure is an investment that you want to be sure will pay off for years to come. So don’t shop for price, rather look for the value for your money. This is a wonderful trip for both you and your child or grandchild. We know you want it to be perfect.

If you just can’t make a solid plan until after the first of the year we understand that too, but it doesn’t cost a cent to begin the research. Call us at 800-262-6255; we’re waiting for you!



December 1, 2010

If you waited for a Bargain, This is a Dream Come True

Galapagos Wonder

A Galapagos Wonder - the Blue Footed Booby

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS AN OLD POST FROM DECEMBER 2010!

Due to unexpected circumstances a large family had to cancel their holiday adventure – very sad!

Now we have room for the Galapagos December 25 – January 2 2010. – so exciting!

We are offering this to you at almost 50% off full fare. Wowie!!

Even with international flights, your total cost will still be a significant savings

Adults $2990, Age 12 – 17 $2890, Child under 12 $2690

Call 800-262-6255 and you’ll be snorkeling with sea lions in just a few weeks