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.
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit now offers a new, 90-minute Mexican Doll Workshop perfect for families. Children are invited to design their own Mexican rag doll using colored ribbons and fabrics. Offering a unique bonding experience for families, the workshop also supports the local community and honors the indigenous women who started the craft.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card recently launched BoldFamilyTravel.Chase.com, an interactive, online resource allowing families to plan future travel together. The launch followed the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card Survey of parents and grandparents that revealed most parents believe children are important resources for planning family vacations and that one-third of parents don’t currently involve their children in planning but would like to.
Valley Forge National Historical Park is a great place to bring your history-loving family. Located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the park is the site of the 1777–1778 winter encampment of the Continental army during the American Revolutionary War. Today, the 3,500-acre park boasts trails, replicas and other historical markers perfect for learning more about Valley Forge’s place in our nation’s history.
LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, amplifies the family vacation with a new partnership with KidsDreamFactory to provide themed glamping experiences customized for children at the resort.