May 1, 2015

One of a Kind Family Celebrations

We’re coming up on graduation and wedding season, so today’s post is about celebration trips.  Here are my top suggestions for a one-of-a-kind trip to celebrate a special occasion or milestone birthday or anniversary.
My criteria:
- It’s multi-generational, with accommodations and activities suitable for all ages
- It offers unique and exceptional experiences in the destination
- Meals are included or there is ample onsite dining.  No hassles figuring out what to do for dinner!
- There is a supervised children’s program or ample activities for kids
- It requires minimal advance planning on the travel organizer's part.  Just book it, show up, and have a fantastic time!

Lindblad Expedition Cruise-  No casinos or nightclubs, instead travelers get up close to wilderness and wildlife.  Great destinations for families are Alaska, Baja California, and the Galapagos.  There's hands on learning for everyone, kayaking and snorkeling right off the boat in warm waters, and intimate, personal service since ships have less than 100 passengers, and most less than 70!  There is no minimum age on family sailings, and kids under 18 get $500 off.

Virtuoso amenity:  $25 onboard credit on all sailings, additional credits and exclusive discounts on select sailings.

You won't have this view of glaciers calving
 from a traditional cruise ship.
If they were any closer they'd be swimming with them!
Alaska Wilderness Lodge – This is another trip perfect for outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts, the land version of an expedition cruise.  Expert guides and naturalists lead activities such as hiking, fishing, bear watching, and glacier climbing during the day, and then you have downtime or educational presentations at night.  The type of activities vary greatly by location and time of year, so research is key to find the best fit.  And advance planning is a must, as it’s not uncommon for them to book up a year or more in advance for peak periods.

Wilderness doesn't mean roughing it- fresh crab!
Relaxing after a full day of activity
Caribbean Villa Resort – There are lots of private villas and homes available, but if you book one that’s part of a resort, you get the benefits of both worlds:  the services & amenities of a luxury hotel, plus the space and privacy of a home away from home. It's the perfect compromise if you have some who want to relax beach or poolside, and others who want to be on the go. It’s also a good option for families with very young children. 
5 bedrooms and more available!
Great gathering spaces

Check out:

Round Hill Jamaica – 26 private villas, 100 acres of lush gardens, a pristine crescent beach, and complimentary children’s program starting at age 3

Virtuoso amenities:
Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
$100 spa credit
Early check-in/late check-out

Private pool (and lawn) with a view
Fun for little ones
Escorted Family Tour – This is a great option if your family wants to see as much as possible in a limited amount of time, but doesn’t want the hassle of managing travel logistics. These small group tours visit popular sights in destinations ranging from national parks to European cities to Africa.  Families get lots of quality time together,  but also get to socialize with other adults and children. (Great for families traveling alone!) Most widely known is Adventures by Disney, but Tauck and A&K also offer family departures.  Active families should check out cycling, hiking or multi-sport trips with Backroads 

Adventures by Disney in the Southwest
Guest or Dude Ranch – What’s the difference?  A very simple distinction is that guest ranches offer ala carte activities and more flexible check in /out dates,  where a dude ranch is all inclusive, generally runs Saturday to Saturday and has scheduled trail rides. But every ranch is unique so again, this is a trip that requires careful research to find the right match. Guests can do as much or as little as they want, so it suits a variety of interests and activity levels. Accommodations range from lodge rooms to large private homes to luxury tents.  And don’t worry about it being too rustic, gourmet dining and other resort-style amenities like a pool and spa are often available.

Heading out on the trail
Learning to rope
Check out:

The Resort at Paws Up – A guest ranch in Montana’s gorgeous Big Sky country, with 28 luxurious vacation homes and 30 luxury tents with private baths and a Camping Butler.

Virtuoso amenities:
Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
Complimentary round-trip private airport transfers
Early check-in, late check-out, subject to availability
A $300 activity credit
Bottle of wine in room on arrival

Private luxury at Paws Up
Brush Creek Ranch – An all-inclusive luxury dude ranch on 30,000 acres of Rocky Mountain wilderness in Wyoming. Rates include on site activities and trail rides, and the Lil Wranglers program for ages 4-8. Ages 9 and up can participate in most ranch activities.

Virtuoso amenities:
Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
A complimentary 50-minute massage for up to two people
Choice of complimentary Cattle Drive, Scenic Float, Premium Fly Fishing or Wing Shooting Experience for 2 guests
Early check-in/late check-out

Wyoming scenery
Imagine waking up to this view!
If your group is large enough, you can buy out an entire property or tour. This is the ultimate celebration trip, completely private and customized, something to remember forever!

Are these choices overwhelming?  No worries, just drop me a note at suzette@family-treks.com and I’ll help you design the perfect celebration for your family.

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