After planning far flung family adventure vacations for the past 25 years, we’re having great fun these days planning trips for large family groups including many of you who traveled with us when your children were younger and are now hosting trips for your extended family including grandkids in tow! This growth in multigenerational travel at Wildland Adventures hasn’t really changed much in our modus operandi because it is essentially an extension of the family adventures that we have specialized and expanded upon for a generation.
Our own family travel life experience follows the development of the Wildland Adventures family travel program. Five years after our son was born in 1989 we started designing family adventures and invited other like-minded families with young kids like ours to join us. First we designed our Costa Rica family adventures; next we designed Panama and Belize family adventures, and also our boat-based Alaska family trips with lots of options to kayak and hike.
Then as our own son, Tarek, became a teenager and we realized we needed to revamp our family travel program by adding another class of trips that would accommodate a higher level of adventure, flexibility and independence for the young adult travelers, their younger siblings and parents seeking an even greater range of activities to suit everyone. So, we started more adventurous trips to Central America and also venturing to more remote wildlands where we would also encounter native cultures who could teach us a whole new way of looking at life like the Maasai on our Kenya and Tanzania family safaris, and the native Quechua on our Peru family adventures.
While many of our family itineraries are perfectly suited to multigenerational family groups, we find that many extended families request a private custom trip since by definition most are of a sufficient number to take advantage of favorable group size tier pricing as well as triple and quad rooms that accommodate family members together. We often feature more well designed accommodations that can provide activities for your whole family and offer a wide range of things to do in your free time that are suitable for everyone and can be taken ala carte on a moment's notice. This is especially relevant for those families who are traveling with senior adults who may not be as active as the rest of the clan.
In many destinations like Costa Rica, there are opportunities to easily offer more adventurous daily activities for the most active family members including zip line tours, a hike to visit with a local farming family at Vida Campesina farmstead, canyoneering and rappelling down a waterfall, or white water rafting; this way all those who need action can get their fix! Our multigenerational family African safaris typically include a mix of driving, walking safaris, community visits and cultural encounters, and all of these are learning experiences so we are passing on a legacy to the next generations, not only the memories of having fun together. These may include a private camp chat with a wildlife researcher or a short course on tracking wildlife with their guides. In Morocco and Turkey it’s enough just to travel in a Muslim culture and learn how families in the Islamic countries really are like us after all in spite of impressions the present generation has grown up with from our news media.
Our adventure cruises in Alaska, Galapagos and Turkey cater to everyone easily where family members are accommodated in close quarters to enjoy time together with a wide range of daytime activities for each to choose ranging from very active to those who may prefer to stay on board and watch everyone else exploring and having fun.
In addition to many custom private trips we do for multigenerational family groups, some popular Wildland Adventures for mixed family groups include:
Custom Family Itineraries: We design more custom multigenerational family adventures in Costa Rica than anywhere else in the world. Our Costa Rica Active Family Adventure provides a wide range of activities especially for teens and active adults.
Cape to Kruger Adventure: Classic safari in Kruger combined with many multi-sport activities around the Cape and a beach camp on the Indian Ocean coast.
Tanzania, East Africa
Serengeti Family Safari, Tanzania: Our most affordable African let's you explore the most spectacular game parks of Tanzania on this well-equipped, active safari designed to maximize your experience in the African bush and among native peoples.
Peru Active Family Adventure: One of the flexible elements we build into our private family adventures in Peru is the one-day hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Because the Inca Trail Trek is limited to very fit hikers and takes 3 days, active families will often split up one day so the serious hikers actually get to hike on the Inca Trail and enter Machu Picchu through the "Inti Punku" Gate of the Sun just like the Incas did 500 years ago, and then meet up with the older or younger members of the family later that day.
Best of Patagonia, Chile and Argentina: This region tends to attract multigenerational families with exclusively active adults and older teens all of who enjoy and seek hiking. In the Torres del Paine Ecocamp, each day there is a challenging hike or a soft adventure based from a vehicle catering to all abilities so everyone can enjoy the park.
Turquoise Coast Odyssey: Includes Istanbul, exploring the caves and amazing landscapes of Cappadocia, and cursing in a gulet yacht with swimming and village visits.
Alaska Inside Passage Adventures: Based from 80 passenger specially equipped expedition vessels each day family members choose among optional hikes, sea kayaking, village visits or easy scenic shore explorations in motorized zodiacs--something for everyone, and the cost is very affordable.
Galapagos Adventure Voyages, Ecuador: Perhaps our second most popular multigenerational family adventure caters to everyone's interest and abilities. Learning about evolution, close proximity to wildlife, swimming with sea lions, and especially great guides oriented to kids and adults. Lots of boats to choose from catering to room configurations and various budgets.
What do multigenerational family travelers need that might be a bit different from other types of vacationers?
Perhaps first and foremost when working with multigenerational family groups, we take time to carefully get a realistic profile of everyone going on the trip including their interests, experience, abilities, etc, and we believe kids should also have some input to take ownership and get excited about what’s in it for them! We offer various options of where to go and what you can do based on this conversation. We try to discern your family group dynamics (to the extent that’s possible) and what you ideally want to get out of your trip. This helps us direct you to the best Wildland Adventures itineraries on our website and to explain where we can make adjustments that could make it fit even better for your family.
Oftentimes when multiple families are traveling together it is a celebratory milestone vacation in which grandparents are celebrating a 50th Anniversary, or planning a family reunion in a more exotic locale to create new life-long memories together. For those you who are celebrating a milestone we can certainly help to create the celebration. For example, just the other day we sent a list of activities with corresponding ala carte prices for grandparents hosting a trip to Costa Rica celebrating their anniversary including such things as a private picnic lunch at the waterfalls in Lapa Rios, flower arrangements, couples massages, wine, rose petals on their bed, etc, etc) so that they can choose what extras they wish to add to their experience. If you want see the extent to which we can take it, check out the short video of the Kurt and Anne’s India wedding anniversary celebration that I organized during our last trip to India.
How have we adapted your trips to be more accommodating to multigenerational travelers?
First and foremost, we offer private custom itinerary planning in whatever way that is best suited for your family. In Galapagos or Turkey we recommend chartering your own boat. In Africa we arrange safari guides and vehicles as a private group and in many small African camps you may very well take the entire small camp.
Built into the daily itineraries we offer alternative activities to some of the tours: ie. those who don't want to dangle from a zip line over the forest can ride the aerial tramway and walk on aerial bridges so that all can share a similar experience. If necessary we arrange a portable chair to have it available for anyone with physical limitations who may need it to sit from time to time while others are gallivanting around the vicinity. Recently we've noticed many multigenerational family groups need a/c in the rooms and wifi connections as a principal criteria in selecting accommodations.
Got questions about family travel? Check out our family adventure vacations or give us a call 800.345.4453