Family Vacation Tips

Family Vacation Personalities - Which Types Are In Your Family?

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 26, 2012 2:34:00 PM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

family travel personalitiesA successful family vacation is the perfect blend of everyone's expectations becoming reality. Of course there is the nitty gritty of travel planning details that have to be taken into consideration...who, what, where, when and how much. Besides the practicalities of planning, it is also important to consider family travel personalities. After years of working with thousands of parents, our Vacationkids staff has identified six different types of distinct traveler personalities...

The Avid Adventurer - This person is an extreme experience seeker and adrenalin junkie. They are the type who want to visit all 7 continents and have a very long bucket lists. They keep a worn and highlighted copy of "1000 places to visit before you die" and start their vacation planning from this check list. If two avid adventurers meet at a cocktail party it's best to stand back as there will be dueling "can you top this..." dialog to follow that will begin to sound like a script from an Indiana Jones movie. They enjoy spontaneity while traveling and leave many itinerary details to chance because they are so laid back about the journey. They will seek out the road less traveled, sleep under the stars and eat very strange foods just because they can.

The Travel Snobs - These folks are not really snobs, they just enjoy the finer things in life. They really enjoy the art of travel; they just don't like extremes. They enjoy traveling to foreign destinations but they appreciate being surrounded by fine amenities. This is because they are experienced travelers with means of comparison. When visiting a destination they will want to see major historic sites, museums and the "must sees" of that particular place. Travel snobs tend to like itineraries that cover a great deal of ground in a short amount of time. Many have careers that require them to travel for work. They frequently travel alone and appreciate a good insider's tip. Travel snobs can easily navigate public transportation in foreign countries but would prefer to hire a driver. They will research and make reservations at the best restaurants in town. They tend to have more controlling or type A personalities. They enjoy the vacation planning process but do not need much hand holding away from home. They just don'do not like surprises.

The Typical Tourist - This is the largest majority of vacationers out there who are looking for a great value for their vacation dollars and the chance to build fun and exciting memories. Tourists are easy going folks looking for fun in all the right places. They are most influenced by their friends and the latest travel ads. If they visit Hawaii, they are happy to visit one island and return with hula skirt and a box of pineapples. To a tourist, this means they have "done" Hawaii. They've seen the highlights and now they are done. These are the same folks you see wearing the huge purple somberos in customs after their flight home from Mexico. Tourists tend to like cruises, all inclusive resorts and theme parks. If they really love a particular destination they will return every few years but will probably want to stay at a different resort. They "say" that they want new travel experiences but chance are they will engage on the same type of activities year after year.

The Repeaters - These people live by the mantra "if it's not broke, don't fix it". Repeaters take the exact same vacation, generally during the same week, year after year. This may partially be a matter of family tradition but generally these people are not big on taking risks. They hate surprises and find comfort in the same old things. They are loyal if not down right stubborn with their opinions. The repeaters are the ones you will find purchasing a time share. They tend to vacation not too very far from home. Generally they drive. They do not fly and do not have passports. These are the families that take their first child to Disney world in a stroller and return every year until all their kids graduate college. Repeaters tend to travel in packs or groups because they sense a certain safety in numbers.

The Home Bodies - Let's face it, there are a handful of folks that should just stay at home. They don't like to travel nor do they enjoy making vacation plans. They are travel pessimists and can give you a long list of reasons why not to travel. Their perfect idea of a week off from work is a staycation in the back yard. Often they have fears or phobias that will prevent them from leaving home. They only way they will go on vacation is with very strong encouragement, like an important family wedding. At best they can be decent travel companions as long as they do not need to plan or think about planning or the itinerary. Thinking about leaving home will consume them with stress. These folks find comfort in groups. They do best with group escorted tours where there is a tour leader to hold their hand every step of the way.

Now stop and think about the family members of your own household. Perhaps you are a typical tourist and your spouse is a home body. Maybe your teen is an avid adventurer and you are a repeater at best. Maybe you and your spouse are both Explorers but now you have a new baby in tow. I trust you can understand how travel personalities can quickly complicate a family vacation when the expectations of several family members needs to be met. Success is found in compromise and communication. Trying to force someone into being a different type of traveler will only lead to arguments, frustrations and not a happy vacation for anyone.

The good news is that a family vacation can be planned to suit any and every travel personality. Just about every destination offers the opportunity to custom build itineraries that will suit any traveler personality profile, including families with blended personalities. Often a good travel agent will spot these traits in your family and make appropriate suggestions. Having frank conversations about vacation expectations in advance can avoid many conflicts that could ultimately spoil your vacation. Perhaps your family's vacation to the Caribbean may need to includes a day of sightseeing that caters to the home bodies with an escorted bus tour and while your explorer heads off to an open water dive. You all will be staying at the Hilton because your repeater always stays at a hilton.

If your family's travel personalities completely clash, then you may want to consider separate family vacations. Surprisingly separate vacations can often lead to more harmony and family togetherness. Remember there is no such thing as a "best" family vacation. The best family vacations are the ones that offer the best opportunities for particular needs of your own family. This will insure that even the most reluctant travelers will enjoy a wonderful time on vacation.

Topics: family vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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