Ted Bauer on celebration travelBy Ted Bauer
Digital Content Manager

Nearly two-thirds of luxury leisure travelers took a vacation to celebrate a life event in the past year, according to MMGY Global’s 2013 Portrait of the American Traveler. Similarly, according to AARP, more than three-quarters of people 45 and older are planning celebration travel in the next two years.

In the past decade or so, multigenerational travel has become a major focus. Typically, large family trips will occur around a celebratory event – typically a wedding, anniversary, birthday, or retirement gathering. (Honeymoons, logically, tend to involve only two people.)

The question now becomes: how do you do it right? Here are 4 steps for creating the best celebration travel experience ever.

Celebration travel: who's coming along?
The first step for a great celebration vacation is decide who’s coming along

Start with the who

Begin by thinking about who’s traveling. What generations might be involved? What’s the age range (lowest to highest)? How will this influence the types of places you need to visit? Some parts of the world are better with young children – think all-inclusives that cater to families – and some are less desirable. If it’s an adult-focused trip, the options may be more diverse.

“It’s attractive to bring the grandchild generation because you can help turn them into global citizens,” says Shreveport, Louisiana-based Virtuoso advisor Linda Gage White.

Then move to the where and what

Once you’ve decided who’s coming along and when the trip will take place, think about where you’ll go and what you’ll do.

Celebration travel: destination wedding
An advisor can be invaluable in helping plan a destination wedding or other celebration

Ron Phillips, a Virtuoso travel advisor, recently booked a multi-family trip to Venice, Lake Como, Florence and Rome. The parents with children were typically first-time travelers to Italy. Phillips made sure there was something for everyone: for the men, a trip to the Ferrari museum with test drives. For the women, a shopping tour of Rome. And for the children? Pizza-making and gelato-preparation classes. The nightly restaurant stops were a mix of family-oriented and higher-end.

“We even had them arrive by private boat to their hotel in Venice,” says Phillips. “They came back and reported having a wonderful time.”

Partner with a travel advisor

You can get in touch with an advisor at any stage of the process. They’ll help you sort through ideas and decide on the who, what and where (as well as the when). And they’ll take on the heavy lifting for you – sorting through options and booking you the best celebration travel experience.

If you don’t already have an advisor, you can find a celebration travel expert at virtuoso.com. You can sort advisors by specialties including destination weddings, honeymoons and family vacation.

Prepare for more celebration travel

You have countless opportunities for celebration travel: anniversaries, birthdays, graduations and more. The first thing you should do when you get home is connect with your travel advisor.

Celebration travel: client satisfaction
96% of celebration travelers found their vacation extremely satisfying, and 92% are likely to take one again in the near future.

Hopefully they’re already connecting with you, as Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch has noted that the difference between a old-style travel agent and a trusted travel advisor is the conversation after the trip.

Think about the aspects of your recent trip you loved, and then think about the aspects you’d change. Make a two-column list and discuss it with your advisor. If he/she knows both the good and the not-so-good, the next celebration travel experience will be even better, as they’ll customize the trip even more.

One of Virtuoso’s core tenets is “Return on Life.” That means that travel should vastly improve the “bottom line” of your life – namely, your experiences and memories. Celebration travel does just that.

If you follow the steps above, it should be a truly memorable celebration for you and your loved ones. After all, AARP found that 96% of celebration travelers found their vacation extremely satisfying. And 92% are likely to take one again in the near future.

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