What Is a Family Tour?
Family tours are designed by travel companies who understand that children (and adults!) need a mix of included activities and down time for rest and relaxation while they’re on vacation. So day-by-day itineraries are crafted with all ages in mind.
On an escorted tour, all of your sightseeing arrangements are made in advance, so there’s no chance that shows will be sold out or you’ll miss anything important. You don’t need to worry about picking up maps, figuring out directions or determining which attraction to visit first. Escorted travel operators are experts in arranging sightseeing excursions, so they know the best times of day to visit the most popular attractions to avoid the crowds. Plus, you probably won’t have to stand in line anywhere; usually tour groups can skip to the front of the line, saving you precious vacation time.
Also remember that large escorted travel companies enjoy great buying power (they book hotel rooms, transportation and sightseeing in bulk), so traveling with a group will cost much less than if you tried to make all of the arrangements yourself. This is an important consideration as costs for a family of four can add up!
Family tours are available in worldwide destinations. Travelers of all ages can relax in the Hawaiian Islands, learn about American history in Washington, D.C., spot toucans in the Costa Rican jungle or tour ancient castles in Europe.
What You Can Expect on a Family Tour
While the details of each escorted-tour itinerary vary among tour operators and destinations, typically on a tour designed for families, you will enjoy the following:
Centrally located hotel accommodations that are in the middle of all the action, often with kid-friendly amenities, such as swimming pools or game rooms.
Airport transfers with bagging handling, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out how to get from the airport to your first hotel.
Included or optional activities that appeal to all age ranges, from snorkeling in Hawaii and game-viewing in Africa to horseback riding in Arizona and gelato tasting in Italy. (Some itineraries include “kids only” activities, as well.)
A leisurely pace to provide time for family bonding and learning. (Few early morning wake-up calls ensure non-cranky travelers.)
A friendly tour director who will smooth the way for you, sharing expert commentary throughout your vacation.
The opportunity to meet like-minded families who share similar interests (on most family tour itineraries, only adults with children are allowed on the trip).
Buffet meals or menus with kid-friendly options for picky palates.
Free time for your family to enjoy explorations on your own.
As always, check the day-by-day itinerary and “What’s Included” information to confirm exactly what comes with the price of your vacation. ^Top
Age Minimums for Family Tours
The escorted travel companies that offer specific family trips have different minimum ages required for travel. While on tour, there may be some age restrictions for included or optional activities, such as horseback riding, river rafting or snorkeling; ask an AffordableTours.com travel consultant for details.
Globus Family Vacations – Minimum age is 8 years old.
Trafalgar Family First Class – Minimum age is 5.
Tauck Bridges – Minimum age is 3; recommended age is 8.
Abercrombie & Kent Family Holidays – Minimum age 5 or 6 depending on destination.
Adventures by Disney - Minimum age is 4; suggested ages vary depending on destination. ^Top
The Benefits of Traveling with Children
Indeed, traveling with children on lengthy plane flights, through multiple time zones and then bunking in strange beds, can, frankly, have its touchy moments. But the benefits of taking your children on a trip far outweigh any “what if” concerns.
Here are just a few reasons to plan your escorted family vacation this year:
Kids love spending time with you. At home it’s too easy to get distracted by housework or office obligations. On vacation, you have fabulous quality time with your whole family, with opportunities to carve out some one-on-one time with each child if you like.
Children are learning, and they don’t know it! Seeing important historic buildings in Europe or getting acquainted with the environment in Central America doesn’t seem like “education” when it’s in the form of exciting day trips and adventures. They’ll be introduced to different cultures and foods, broadening their horizons along the way and learning so much more than if they simply read about locales in school textbooks.
You’re making amazing memories. Years and even decades after family vacations, your children will still be able to tell funny stories about the time that Dad tried surfing in Hawaii, even Grandma climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the entire family spotted elephants on safari. Travel often inspires lifelong memories.
Introduce the concept of traveling to your children now, and they will grow up understanding that there is a huge world outside of their hometown. They’ll have firsthand experiences that they can take with them to college and beyond, and then pass down their love of travel to their own children and grandchildren!