Travel industry insiders call the months January-March "Wave Season". This was a phrase coined by the cruise industry. Basically it was the time of year the cruise lines published their deals and everyone booked their cruise vacations.
At Vacationkids, we say "wave season" doesn't just apply to the cruise industry. We say the months of January-March is the time of year when families want to "wave" goodbye to the cold weather. It's the time of year when our staff gets hundreds of calls from desperate parents..."Hello, Can you help us? - We want to go someplace warm and cheap".
This year, Christmas came a bit early for us. LOTS of families have already booked their spring breaks and summer 2016 vacations. We're not sure if this an industry trend or if folks are FINALLY listening to our advice on how to save money by booking early. Either way, we thought we'd share with you some of the trends we've been seeing and hopefully they will offer some ideas to help you plan your 2016 family vacation. So here goes:
Multi-Generational Vacations - We saw more extended families vacationing together in 2015 than we have in any of our past 15 years. So far, it looks like we'll surpass this record for 2016. Whether it's an immediate family traveling together, a larger reunion or a celebration vacation for an important anniversary or birthday, more and more families want to be together on vacation. Group vacations like these can be arranged for any destination in the world either domestically or internationally. Trips can be designed to suit the needs and wishes of everyone. Normally the most difficult part is getting everyone to agree. These itineraries can quickly become complicated so it's important to work with a travel agent experienced in handling groups.
Family Cruises - Family cruise vacations continue to be in high demand for 2016. I presented a session dedicated to family vacations at Cruise World 2015 which is an industry event focused on Cruise Industry trends. There are several reasons for this enormous growth. In keeping with our biggest trend, a cruise vacation is ideal when it comes to exceeding the expectations of multi-generational vacations. The cruise lines offer something for every member of the family including on board complimentary kids camps from toddlers to teens. Next, the Caribbean ranks high on the wish lists of many families and a cruise vacation makes it easy for families to explore many different ports of call. Finally airfare prices are running high for 2016. With 70% of Americans living within driving distance to a cruise ship port this certainly helps with affordability. When you consider family cruise vacation prices start around $70 per person per day including your accommodations, gourmet meals, children's activities, ship board entertainment and taxes - it's an affordable option. Some families have yet to appreciate how much the cruise industry has changed in recent years.
Disney World - Walt Disney World vacation to be a perennial family favorite when it comes to beloved vacation spots. It constantly evolves and continues to draw new generations over to the Disney side. Most recently we've witnessed a newly imagined Fantasyland over in the Magic Kingdom. 2016 promises us major additions in Disney's Hollywood studios with an 11 acre themed Star Wars area and a 14 acre Toy Story Land. If it's been a while since you've paid homage to the Mouse, it's probably time to head back to Disney. No doubt, it's gotten a bit more complicated - My Disney Experience, Magic Bands, Fast Pass+, Memory Maker, Disney dining and more. Do yourself a huge favor and let us help.
Family Tours - According to a recent Family Travel Association study "Intrepid Travelers" are considered to be one of the three main types of family travelers. These are the adventure seekers, the explorers, the families who travel for the thrill of discovery. Until recently it's been a bit difficult for these types of families to hit the road, especially with small children. The types of experiences and tours they craved were often packaged and sold to their baby boomer grandparents. In recent years all the major tour companies have started offering guided tour vacations that cater to families. In keeping with the growing need for multi-generational vacations, many of these companies have lowered the minimum number of guests needed to create a "private" tours. Now 2 or 3 families can travel together and enjoy that bucket list African Safari, A river cruise down the Rhine or a visit to see the animals of the Galapagos.
Weekend Getaways - Many of our long time clients have been opting for 3-4 long weekend escapes in place of that 7 day week at the beach. Many of these weekend trips are escapes already mentioned here like a quick visit to Disney or a 3 day Bahamas cruise. Other opt for a NY city weekend and show or create a short theme trip around a particular sport, hobby or passion (yes, a girls shopping trip qualifies in all three areas). It's a way to reconnect, recharge and help balance the desires of multiple family members.
Safety first, as it always should be. Parents do need to be alert but we also need to bear in mind that sadly history has never afforded us a time of total peace. We can retreat and hide in an attempt to keep our children safe but what kind of example is this setting for them. Children learn by the example of their parents and family vacations offer kids the opportunity to learn so very many important life skills and lessons.
When it comes to affordability we can help with vacation payment plans and many other ideas to help your budget. We can also explain how to put group buying power to work for you making it profitable for your family to take vacations year after year.
So no matter what kind of family travel plans, ideas or dreams you have for 2016, talk to us and learn about the many ways we can help.