First in Service News

Creating Unforgettable Family Vacations

giraffe

Giraffe Manor, Nairobi

Traveling to an exotic destination for a family vacation is not as difficult as it sounds. It also can be far more rewarding than choosing the same old family getaway every year. F1S associate Susan Quillin of SQ-Travel By Design, LLC offers some planning tips:

Consider interaction with animals.
Child friendly African safaris are great for parents and kids alike because the entire family is taken out of their comfort zone, says Quillin. Seeing animals in their natural habitat creates astounding memories for everyone. At Nairobi’s Giraffe Manor, imagine sharing breakfast with giraffes as they poke their heads through the window.

Consider spending time volunteering at an elephant sanctuary. You and your kids will get to interact with animals in a way they cannot while on safari. At the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, activities include bathing and feeding the animals, as well as prepping their food.

Closer to home, the Salamander Resort & Spa, an F1S Wonderwall property in Virginia, includes hands on equestrian programs and falconry classes.

Make it an adventure and a global education.
Quillin recently organized family scavenger hunts in Florence, Rome and Venice. She advises sticking to authentic experiences – like the catacombs in Rome – to spark genuine curiosity. Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris, an F1S Wonderwall property in Paris, offers DJ lessons for teens and arranges for girls to follow in the footsteps of a prima ballerina for a day. A trip to Borneo can include coral “adoption,” where you’re able to monitor its progress until it is permanently placed in the ocean.

Hands on fun is key.
Cooking classes are a great way to create and achieve a sense of accomplishment as they learn. An Italy getaway can include classes to make mozzarella or gelato or pizza. If you’re visiting a vineyard, get involved in the grape picking and crushing process.

New experiences build confidence.
F1S Children’s Travel Ambassador Sofia Gonzalez recalls an unforgettable camel ride up a mountain in Israel with her family. “We were going along the edge of the mountain, and it felt like riding a roller coaster. I was on one hump and my mother was on the other hump. The camel was so nice and it made me feel safe. I didn’t feel scared.”

For older kids, cave hiking, or spelunking, in the Barra Honda National Park in Costa Rica is an unforgettable way to admire the million year old rock formations.

In the end, kids can’t compare being immersed in a new culture – the sights, sounds, smells and adventures – with reading about it online or in a book. Plus the real deal is just way more fun.

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