While we’ve become expert armchair travelers, at-home trainers, tutors and, well, you name it, here’s another project to put your energy toward: finally planning that bucket-list adventure with the family. Considering the logistics take some time, coordination and financial planning, having this time at home to plan, save, get organized and even pick up a few key phrases of the native tongue is a blessing in disguise.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few choice destinations you can plan for in 2021 and beyond:
For the nature lovers and wildlife seekers in your family, Uganda is an underrated gem and should be on your list. Plan a Big Five trip and see safari animals roam in the wild, connect with locals through community-based tourism or book a gorilla trekking adventure. As one of three countries in the world where travelers can see endangered mountain gorilla, with only 152 gorilla trekking permits available each day, Uganda is one destination worth planning for. Experts recommend booking a year in advance to ensure travelers are able to trek during their visit.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
While Puerto Vallarta is famous for its beaches, nightlife, stunning resorts and vibrant, yet quaint city streets, it’s also a hub for authentic Mexican culture and natural beauty. Between meals, shops and hikes through the diverse landscape in and around the city, travelers should plan early for the annual migration of humpback whales. This trip will require some advance planning, as whale migration season (December–March) happens to also be high-travel season — locals suggest booking early to ensure accommodations and tour availability.
If you’re craving some music and a family-friendly festival atmosphere, Guadalajara’s International Mariachi Festival should do the trick. Each August–September, mariachi groups from around the world flock to the city to compete to perform with Jalisco’s philharmonic at Teatro Degollado. The annual event is so popular, it’s recommended guests plan a year in advance (through a travel agent or tour operator) to attend.
China may be on the way back burner for your first trip post COVID-19, but this bucket-list destination famously allures travelers from around the world with its incredible springtime and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Plan well in advance to see more than 40,000 blooming plum trees during Plum Blossom Hill in Nanjing, conveniently located at the foot of Purple Mountain. Travelers should make a point to visit nearby attractions, including Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum and Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum of the Ming Dynasty. Check out cherry blossoms of Suzhou (March–April) and visit UNESCO World Heritage Chinese gardens all around the city.
Florida’s oceanfront Shelborne South Beach, an iconic and glamorous 1960s destination, was revamped for 21st-century families. Its fanciful allure — and fabulous pool and tropical beach access — is an exciting family destination in the heart of the historic and walkable Miami Art Deco District.
With technology advancing faster than ever, children globally are becoming attached to devices. Adults too. Our Netflix queue and ever-expanding inbox call our names even when we’re on vacation. We carry distractions with us everywhere, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to truly connect with your loved ones.
Although Alaska may not be on everyone's radar, it might move higher on your family’s must-visit list when they learn more. There are countless activities and breathtaking sights throughout the state, plenty of wildlife to see and much more, whether you spend time in the top tourist areas or venture off to explore Alaska’s hidden gems.
As I wander the canals of Amsterdam on a bright spring morning, the sun plays on the water as shoals of cyclists navigate the tight streets. The city’s inimitable narrow houses teeter overhead, and one particular street erupts in a riot of color as the De Wallen red light district gives way to the Singel canal to the south.
Harvard Medical School released a study that mothers and daughters who take at least one trip together per year have less stress, stronger immune responses, decreased risk for heart disease and more. That’s right: It turns out spending quality time together provides benefits similar to sticking to a healthy diet and getting enough sleep every night. And, let’s face it, traveling is a lot more fun.