Families seeking fun, relaxation and bonding have long booked trips to child-friendly destinations. Visiting Disneyland, a national park or the beach are time-honored favorites.
But a savvy breed of parents and grandparents are taking children to more exotic locales. They see travel as a necessity, not a luxury. It’s the latest evolution in the family and multigenerational travel megatrend. And it’s a trend Virtuoso has dubbed the Journey to Global Citizenship.
Benefits of Global Citizenship
People are looking to travel to build their children’s connections with their world. They want their children to meet local residents and experience different cultures. Travel to them is a powerful tool to supplement classroom learning. Global citizenship gives their children a positive edge for the future.
Exposing children to different places will:
• Open them up to the world’s diversity of cultures, beliefs and traditions
• Instill acceptance of and respect for their global neighbors
• Encourage creativity and collaboration
• Help them participate in the global economy
• Build awareness of what happens in our more globalized world
• Foster appreciation for the life they have at home
• Spark a lifelong love of travel and discovery
• Give them precious memories they will carry with them into adulthood
• Create more compassionate, knowledgeable global citizens
Parents who choose to fund this type of family experience feel it offers the highest return on their travel investment. How can you create your own Journey to Global Citizenship trip? Keep these 7 tips in mind.
Think about stepping-stone destinations to expose younger children or first-time travelers to different places. Those could be destinations where people speak the same language or have fewer cultural differences.
Another way to introduce the concept gradually is to add a cultural or educational component to a closer-to-home getaway. Pick a day or two to explore the destination and learn something about its people.
Select age-appropriate destinations. One example: Europe. Certainly there’s something for everyone there. But some experts advise waiting until children are older and can appreciate Europe’s history and art more.
To keep children’s attention, fill your itinerary with activities and experiences. Book a guide accustomed to working with children and making sightseeing engaging for them with hands-on activities.
Children identify with other children. Opportunities for them to interact with local young people are invaluable. Volunteering to help a school or children’s group is one way to meet locals and do good for the community you’re visiting.
Map Destinations to Schoolwork
More parents are making travel decisions based on the subjects their children are studying in school.
Boost classroom lessons in history and geography with real-life experiences in the destinations they’re studying. And with the expansion of school language programs, travel provides children with an opportunity to practice new tongues. These days, students as young as five are learning a variety of world languages, including Chinese, Russian, and Arabic.
Consult with the Kids
What are your children’s hobbies and interests? What’s on their wish lists of countries and experiences? Weave their input into your travel design to have even more impact on their future global citizenship.
Choose a Powerhouse Destination
Virtuoso Chairman & CEO Matthew Upchurch praises China as one of the most educational destinations for children. China’s influence on the world stage in business, science and education will continue to grow. Children who gain insight into its culture will have an advantage down the road.
Also on Upchurch’s list of key destinations for children: India and Brazil. Both also continue to emerge as important players on the global scene.
Plan Long Term
A Journey to Global Citizenship is just that – a journey. It’s not a one-off trip but a personalized strategy. Just as you’d work with a financial planner to reach monetary goals, work with an advisor on your travel goals.
Sit down with your advisor and plan three, five or ten or more years out. What destinations will be appropriate for children of different ages? What destinations are most important for you to experience as a family? Which destinations will empower them most for global citizenship?
Another advantage of long-term planning: deciding if a major journey could be right for your family. Many Virtuoso clients have taken family trips to multiple countries for several months or even a year. Those lengthy travels benefit enormously from an advisor’s expertise.
Find the Right Advisor
Don’t already have a Virtuoso travel advisor? Find a family travel expert to plan your own customized Journey to Global Citizenship at virtuoso.com.