Posts tagged safaris
Family Vacations: Where to take your teenagers.

I love traveling with teenagers!!  They are so excited to see the World and really appreciate their new experiences.  Where to go just depends on their interests and how adventurous they like to be.  Consider one of the following adventures for your teenagers:

Clayoquot Wilderness Retreat

Clayoquot Wilderness Retreat

Clayoquot Wildnerness Resort.  I am most excited about this choice for families with teenagers who like the outdoors.  It is a very exclusive, eco-safari destination located on the Western edge of Vancouver Island, Canada.  You fly into Vancouver, then take a scenic 45 minute private seaplane transfer across Vancouver Island, landing at the resort.  Accommodations consist of 20 luxury tents beautifully furnished with hardwood floors, ensuite bathrooms and an indoor/outdoor shower.  The tents sleep 5 people, so they are perfect for families.  The food is incredible, and the resort recently earned the distinction as a Relais & Chateaux property.  Daily activities are customized based on each guest’s interests, weather, animal sightings and your willingness to go wild!  You may choose to learn how to surf (very popular in this region-wear your wetsuit!), hike on Flores Island, kayak, ride your horse through the rainforest, fish, zip line, enjoy heli-hiking, visit wildlife such as black bears, whales or enjoy the onsite spa.  All these activities, meals and drinks are all-inclusive.  Thus, a family can enjoy as many or as little activities as they wish.  Visitors to this resort come from all over the World.  Some families stay up to two weeks!  I visited this resort last summer and cannot recommend it more highly for families with teens.

Photo by Anup Shah/Digital Vision / Getty Images
Photo by Anup Shah/Digital Vision / Getty Images

African Safari.  Another favorite option for families with teens is a safari in South Africa.  South Africa is a great place to visit with your children, because its wildlife is plentiful, while its infrastructure is better than other countries.  I think Micato Safaris is your best choice with your family.  Don’t take my word for it though.  Travel & Leisure magazine has voted Micato Safaris the best 9 years in a row.  The company is family owned by Felix and Jane Pinto, whose children and teenage grandchildren are active in the company.    On a Micato safari, you are a VIP everywhere you go.  It is a blend of excitement and elegance, a place of delightful surprises and uncommon luxury.  You may even find yourself at the Pinto’s home enjoying dinner with them on your first evening.  The Pinto’s treat their guests, as Travel & Leisure notes, like “well-loved, out-of-town relatives.”  Any African safari is a journey of a lifetime, however, 

Photo by MLiberra/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by MLiberra/iStock / Getty Images

Iceland.  Another great trip with teens is Iceland.  Experience nature, culture and adventure at the edge of the Arctic Circle.  This is a trip for active families to explore a mystical, raw, wild landscape by land, water and air.  I recommend Backroads for this active trip.  They do a terrific job of designing trips that ensure a wonderful time is had by family members of all ages.  You fly into Reykjavik, Iceland and travel by bike, foot, Zodiac, plane, horse and “super jeep” through incredible geologic wonders, from glaciers and geysers to volcanoes and sea stacks.  After riding hardy Icelandic horses, you may relax in geothermal pools.  Again, this is a trip of a lifetime.

New York City.  Everyone remembers their first trip to Manhattan.  The parents and children in your family can enjoy the trip if done correctly.  There is nothing better than having a private guide and driver take you to the city highlights, such as Rockefeller Center, Times Square, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown, Little Italy, The New York Stock Exchange and Grand Central Station, just to name a few.  Everyone will also want to visit the 9/11 Memorial.  Your teens are at the right age to appreciate the events that took place when they were babies.  There are also so many unique things to do in New York, such as a scavenger hunt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and dinner at Dizzy’s Coca Cola Jazz at Lincoln Center.  One day must be dedicated to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Tenement Museum, where you learn what it was like for an immigrant child living in in the 19th Century and tour their restored home.  It truly brings history to life.  See Central park while in a pedicab, take a tour of NBC, dine at Katz’s Deli and catch a family friendly Broadway show.  Make sure that your trip is organized prior to your visit and includes activities of interest to all family members to ensure that everyone has a wonderful time.

Contact me at 314-780-8845 or julie@topflighttravels.com for more information on traveling with your teenagers.

 

 

FAMILY VACATIONS FOR THE ACTIVE FAMILY

When I picture my family on vacation, I often envision us relaxing on the beach with warm trade winds, clear blue water, a few magazines and young children playing in the sand for hours.  When your kids are young, there is no better or easier way to entertain them to exhaustion while also getting must needed rest and relaxation for yourself.

However, there comes a day when the beach starts to sound "boring" or "there's nothing to do at the beach."  When you get over the shock of hearing such ridiculous, whiny complaints, you start to realize that your kids have finally reached an age where they can travel more independently and would be a lot of fun to take on an adventure family vacation with exciting experiences in other parts of the World.  It doesn't matter if you take them to a neighboring state or to the other side of the World.  In fact, parents often give their children a voice in where to go and what to do on vacation.  

In response, the travel industry has made great strides in catering to the whole family.  There are now many tour companies that have developed itineraries that make the interests of both the parents and the children a priority.

I think one of the stand-out tour companies for families is Adventures by Disney.  They really know how to make kids happy, thus, make their parents happy.  They have trips you can take with your family all over the World-places you would never have considered taking your children.  There are oftentimes separate tour guides for both the adults and the children.  While you are viewing the Mona Lisa, your kids may be on a scavenger hunt in another part of the Louvre.  I can't think of a better way for the whole family to visit the Louvre and leave with everyone saying they had a great time!  Now, I strongly believe there is a sweetspot age of children who will most enjoy an Adventures by Disney trip.  I also think it is best for a small family.  It creates a better environment for all the kids on the trip to get to know each other and make lasting friendships.

Another wonderful family vacation is a biking tour either in the United States or Europe.  Backroads is a wonderful family-centered company.  You can take a biking, hiking, walking or multi-sport tour just about anywhere in the World with Backroads.  It is a great way for families to bond and truly have a trip of a lifetime to always remember.

For the truly adventurous family, nothing will compare with a trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic/Lindblad Expeditions.  Your family will hike, kayak and zodiac cruise around the islands making new discoveries everyday.  Africa has also become increasingly popular with families.  Children used to be unwelcome at safari camps.  Increasingly, tours are being designed specifically with families in mind.  Micato Safaris is owned by a warm, friendly three generation family.  They often cater to families.  Unique to Micato, they pay for and send an African child to school for every safari booked with them.

There is so much of the World that your children would enjoy seeing while also learning and growing from the experience.  While the beach is wonderful, every now and then, try something new.  You will gain lifetime memories for your family.  Contact TopFlight Travels to explore these and many more options for truly unforgettable family vacations.