By Patrizia Montanari
From camping to hiking, sailing to skiing… nature has always formed the perfect backdrop to a happy and memorable family vacation.
We carry those golden memories of childhood vacations with us forever, often reminiscing about the smell of the campfire, the sound of seagulls over crashing waves or the cold fresh snow in our tiny hands.
Will our kids carry the same wonderful memories? And how do we awaken their young senses while at the same time creating a stress-free vacation for mom and dad?
Those days or even weeks spent away from home as a family are important steps in every child’s life, so why not turn those moments into educational activities that will broaden their minds while creating fun for all?
Analysis of a U.S. Department of Education study found that children who travel over summer break – whether to a beach, historic site or a national park – did better in reading, math and general knowledge than their peers who didn’t vacation.
“The data is clear – and gives hardworking parents another reason not to put off a summer vacation trip,” said Dr. Bill Norman, Clemson University. “Providing kids with the experience of travel broadens their horizons and opens up their minds to learning.”
There is no doubt however, that planning your hard-earned vacation with the family can sometimes be a difficult and time-consuming ordeal, – requiring hours of scouring the internet for the right deal that ticks all the boxes. In a world of comfort and instant pleasure where we always appear to be running against the clock, surrounded by smart technology that apparently we can’t live without, we often find ourselves making decisions of convenience to save valuable time, and not looking beyond the few dollars we may have just saved. So, how can we avoid making the wrong decisions, and instead find the perfect destination that not only gives you the escape you’ve been waiting for, but will leave your kids yearning for more?
We often forget that consulting a travel expert can make all the difference. These days the Internet is the solution to all our modern needs, but it can sometimes be overwhelming and make it hard to identify the right package that is designed for a family. There is a lot to plan and much to consider before we pack our bags and travel with our kids to another state or country.
It’s an investment of time and knowledge that no money can bring back.
The travel market offers plenty of adventure tours designed for kids and their families, but only a handful of companies work hard to create a lifetime experience for you and your children, while respecting the local culture and nature.
Abercrombie & Kent is one of those companies. They believe in creating life lessons for kids on a family vacation - from Story Telling Adventure, a tour that takes your children to unearth ghostly legends and explore secret underground tun¬nels in cities like Budapest, Vienna and Prague; to Africa Wild Adventure, where kids can experience wildlife in all its natural glory and which includes a visit to an elephant orphanage and a trip by hot air balloon over the majestic Masai Mara.
Abercrombie and Kent received the 2010 Travel + Leisure Global Vision Award for Leadership: Philantropropic Travel. A very esteemed panel of judges such as Oscar-winning documentarian Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) recognized A&K’s support of conservation, health and education causes around the world as the latest and best example of the power of travel as an engine of positive change. (akphilanthropy.org)
Another amazing educational opportunity is offered by Tauck Bridges, a tour operator specializing in family vacations. Tauck Bridges has developed tours like the Cowboy Country Travel Adventure, where a family will experience the Wild West, riding horses and discovering the restless geology of National Parks with a chance to volunteer with park experts in the Grand Teton National Park.
With a little help, your vacation has the potential to become an unforgettable educational experience for you and your children.