Creating global citizens: Matthew Upchurch speaks on family travel
Virtuoso Chairman & CEO Matthew Upchurch travels extensively with his wife and two young sons

Whether Matthew Upchurch travels for work or play, his wife and two young sons come along. Virtuoso’s chairman and CEO, who travels much of the year, believes strongly in the value of travel to create lasting memories and family bonds. “When you look back on your childhood, what do you remember? You remember the trips,” Upchurch said in a Yahoo! Travel article.

In an increasingly interconnected world, travel takes on even more importance as the best way to create global citizens. Today’s parents want more from their travel experiences than just photos or a tan. They want their offspring to understand different cultures and acquire a broader perspective.

Never Too Early to Shape Global Citizens

Upchurch says it’s never too early to start young children off on a lifetime love affair with travel. “There is a lot of formal research that shows so much is being absorbed at a young age,” he points out. “One perfect example that I see in my own kids — their palates. Now they are 5 and 9, and they’re telling us where they want to go.”

The Gifts Travel Provides

Creating global citizens: Virtuoso agency owner Malaka Hilton has taken her children all over the world
Virtuoso travel agency owner Malaka Hilton credits travel with expanding her children’s worldview

Virtuoso travel agency owner Malaka Hilton lauds travel’s role in shaping the worldview of her two children, 13-year-old Alexandria and 11-year-old Carter. Hilton has taken her budding global citizens to destinations including Zimbabwe, Egypt, Cambodia, India, and Russia. “They are more aware of the world and more accepting of race, religion, and culture,” she told Yahoo! Travel.

One gift that travel gives children: the flexibility to cope with unfamiliar surroundings and learn to thrive in them. “The world is moving so fast today that by the time our kids graduate, everything will have changed,” Upchurch says. “You’d better teach them how to be creative thinkers, how to collaborate with other human beings, and how to fuel their passion.”

Planning Family Travel

Parents who look at travel as an investment in their children are working with travel advisors to map out a long-term vision for family vacations. Upchurch explains, “We already know the power of family vacations to bond us. But we have clients sitting down and mapping out the next 5, 10, or 15 years of travel. So they’re planning it in a more conscious way for their children, as they would for financial planning.”

Creating global citizens: the value of educational travel
Exposing children to different places creates global citizens

His top destination tip: take kids to China. “If a parent can afford it, it is almost irresponsible to not take them to China at least once,” he says. “The chances that your children are going to be sitting across the table from a Chinese banker, professor, doctor, or scientist are high.”

Are you hoping to share the joys of travel with young global citizens? If so, Virtuoso travel advisors who specialize in family vacations can create an educational experience that will give your children lifetime memories. Click here to see a list of family travel specialists at