IMAGINE yourself on the teak deck of a timelessly elegant clipper ship, a warm breeze blowing in your face as the crew unfurl 54,000 square feet of sails above you.
You begin to tingle head to toe.
As you sail into the sunset, you sigh when you realize this is one of the most incredible experiences you have ever had.
Addicted to your smartphone? Chances are pretty high that your answer is YES! And I'm sure your spouse, children and friends would say the same. In fact, I recently saw a statistic that over 50% of teens feel they are addicted to the phone, and on average we check our phones 75-100 times per day - texting, email, Facebook, Instagram and all those other apps. Wow, right?
Do you need time in a NO PHONE zone?
Check out these fun, active (and healthy) vacation experiences - perfect for families needing time away from technology, time to re-connect (but equally great for singles, couples, friends and even affinity groups). So much fun that no one will miss that phone (guaranteed at least for a several hours but usually all day if not longer)!
One of the fastest growing markets in the travel industry these days is multi-generational travel. It could be because 10,000 boomers are retiring every month, and many love to travel. Maybe they realize how quickly time passes by, and now is as good a time as ever to tackle that bucket list. Maybe they realize how travel brings families together, reconnecting and strengthening bonds.
Whether its three generations (grandparents, children and grandchildren) or two (grandparents and grandchildren, parents and children, aunts and nieces and nephews), there are many destinations that can be explored together to create memories you just can't stop talking about.
Photo courtesy of New Zealand Tourism (100% NZ)
I've always been active, and enjoy some form of activity when I travel. Not "uber" active, extreme sport active, mind you. It is vacation after all. I'm more of the soft adventure active. I love exploring areas I visit, whether its a walk through town, a short hike, eating at local cafes, getting away from the crowds, seeing wildlife, just experiencing the more authentic side of things. Of course starting and ending my day at nice accommodations makes the experience that much better. Based on recent travel trends, I'm not alone.
60 is the new 50 these days, right?
Trips that include hiking, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling or getting out on a skiff matched with cultural immersions and learning opportunities are growing in popularity, especially with the boomer population. But not just this group - families and multi-generational groups are onboard as well. Nothing like fun activities to bring family groups together!
Some companies have been in the active travel space for quite some time; other companies are getting ahead of the trend (or jumping on board) by adding active options to their existing itineraries. I for one am excited to see this. While I enjoy creating my own adventures, when I look at these trips, I would be hard pressed to create the same experiences.
Read on to explore some of my favorite active vacation options.
If you are looking for fun in the sun like swimming with the sting rays in the Cayman Islands, river tubing in Jamaica, snorkeling in Cozumel, or just enjoying all the activities and venues on board ship, the Caribbean as a destination offers a great number of family friendly cruises. Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean have hundreds of itineraries to choose from.
Yes, the Caribbean offers a lot, but there are also fantastic family friendly, multi-generational cruises available outside this region, all around the world. Here are my top seven:
Even though I live in Arizona and we have the most wonderful, sunny and perfect temperatures during the Christmas season, I still on occasion like brisk weather, snowflakes in the air, crackling fires and warm mugs of hot chocolate. Well no, let me take that back. Gluhwein - yes gluhwein more so than hot chocolate!
Having grown up in Germany, I still have fond memories of the lovely Christmas Markets that pop up in just about every city from the mid/end of November to the end of December. Oh, and the aromas... pretzels, freshly grilled sausages, gingerbread cookies, hot chocolate, hot cider and yes the gluhwein (well, this memory is more recent... promise, I didn't drink gluhwein as a child.). And of course the fresh scent of the pines trees. The Christmas trees were always so beautiful. Christmas Markets really are a wonderful experience, from all the regional foods to the locally made crafts - every market has it's uniqueness!
One of the best ways to enjoy the holiday season in Europe is on a Christmas Market river cruise. No worries about driving, you unpack once, you experience fewer crowds, numerous cultures and numerous markets all on one itinerary. Shall I go on? Imagine picking up that perfect gift in Prague, Vienna, Amsterdam and Strasbourg, one of the oldest Christmas markets in all of Europe. Or spending Christmas through New Year on board ship - what a way to celebrate the holidays and bring in the New Year!
Here are 7 great reasons to consider a Christmas Market river cruise in Europe.
One of my all time favorite books is "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien. Though not usually a reader of fantasy novels, something about Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, Gandalf and The Shire always intrigued me. Seeing how popular both "The Hobbit" and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogies have been, I'm not alone in favoring these stories.
Ever since the first "The Lord of the Rings" movie was released in 2001, New Zealand has been known as the 'Home of Middle-earth'. Both trilogies were filmed all throughout the North and South islands. Hobbiton, the village in the Shire where Bilbo, his nephew Frodo and others lived, was built in the Hamilton-Waikato region, located a few hours south of Auckland.
Hobbiton is now a major attraction, especially for fans of the Hobbit trilogy, offering an insider's view of where the entire story began to take shape. Your guided tour starts with a drive through the
Most people choose a big ship adventure the first time they go to Alaska. I did - the first and second visits! The first time we explored Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and College Fjord, the second time we ventured into Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka and Glacier Bay. I absolutely LOVED both trips! But now I'm ready to enjoy another side of Alaska... the uncrowded, un-touristy, down to earth, time for me, side of Alaska. This is what I consider to be the REAL Alaska.
A fantastic way to experience this side of Alaska is on a small ship adventure.