You want to learn about the land you’re visiting but your kids couldn’t care less about the history of the Moroccan marketplace or the crusade in the Scottish castle. Add another museum to your day and you’ll definitely start a mutiny. There are tour companies that know this about your kids and have created programs to engage them where they are and even teach them something while they’re at it.
Explore Italy and Europe with Tapsy Tours. Little kids will love the tour’s mascot mole, Tapsy, who accompanies the group during various parts of the day and helps them solve riddles and puzzles in the scavenger hunt book they receive at the start of the tour. And bigger kids will have a great time running into characters that suddenly appear and bring history to life. As the group progresses around plazas and ancient temples, a goddess may lead your kids into the Roman Forum and share her struggles with the god, Saturn, to whom a temple there is dedicated. Or, walk into the ruins of Pompeii and learn what happened from writer Plinio il Giovane, who witnessed the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, the terrible fate that met the doomed city. In London, kids will love tracing the trail of their favorite story-book characters like Peter Pan and Mary Poppins. Visit the parts of the city where the fairy dust flew and where “just a spoonful of sugar” helped the medicine go down. Then, pose for pictures with the disappearing trolley in Harry Potter’s Platform 9 3⁄4.
If your older kid has a bit of a pioneering spirit, then she can race through whitewater rapids around the rim of the New River Gorge in West Virginia, learning from guides about the land and the nature around it. Adventures on the Gorge, a premium whitewater rafting resort, offers tours that include tackling 24 miles of 100 different classes of whitewater rapids, including seven that are Class V. There are overnight camping options with hot tubs and gourmet dinners prepared by celebrity Chef Mary Brent Galyean, all-day float fishing trips and treks 120-feet below ground into the cave system of the Lost World Cavern. At night, kids can howl at the moon and tell stories around a campfire in front of their deluxe cabin.
Iceland has drawn a lot of attention to its most populated city, Reykjavik, but there is much of the giant island nation that is unseen and hard for families to access. However, the guides at Hidden Iceland know where those national treasures lie and can show visitors the way. They offer plenty of age-appropriate family trips like the Golden Circle: Platinum Tour, which starts with a dip in a geothermal pool called the Secret Lagoon. Kids will love to know the steaming, clear water they’re enjoying is heated by the underground movement of enormous tectonic plates and slowly flowing magma, from which all rock is formed. They’ll also love when they stop for lunch at Fridheimar, a tomato farm that produces a ton of tomatoes every day using the heat generated by the giant hot spots. Monstrous glaciers stretch overhead, streams of water hurl into the crisp air and fissures in the rock vent steam from beneath the earth during the day’s activities. Kids explore Þingvellir National Park, the area where the Earth’s tectonic plates separate and connect North America to Eurasia below the site of the first recorded parliamentary gathering. Encounters with Icelandic horses finish this magical experience. Longer tours for families with older kids also include hikes and a night in a sheep farm, but each tour can be personally tailored for every family’s needs.
Paola De Paolis, CEO, Tapsy Tour’s parent company Top Service Tourist Services said it best, “Holidays are not just for adults or for kids, they should be for the whole family! That’s why we care about organizing city tours that can meet both adults and kids’ needs, so everybody can enjoy the experience. Together, as a family.”
While large areas of Colorado are experiencing exponential growth with far too many trees being clear-cut (it’s one of the fastest-growing states in the country), it’s still the home for great businesses striving to make the world a little greener. Those businesses include Sherpani, creators of women’s day bags, backpacks and travel bags, including a line of sophisticated, beautifully crafted items made from recycled plastic.
By Hainan Airlines
It’s been almost three years since Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving most residents without electricity and clean water. Tourism, which accounts for 6.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, took a beating, with hotels closed for year-long repairs, airlines cutting service and cruise lines shifting itineraries to other Caribbean destinations. Timing for the hurricane couldn’t have been worse, coming on the heels of the government’s announcement in May 2017 that it was unable to pay more than $70 billion in public debt and thus forced to file for bankruptcy. Large protests and a change of government would follow. Then, in January 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south side of the island, forcing San Juan restaurants to close while power was restored. And as we write this story, coronavirus runs rampant across the globe with severe economic implications for all destinations, including Puerto Rico.
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.
My youngest daughter and I arrived from Barcelona on the high-speed AVE train (in less than three hours) and entered Westin Palace Madrid in time for the Sunday Opera Brunch — which takes place under the stained-glass cupola of La Rotonda, where daily breakfast and cocktails are served. I’d heard about this event on several occasions when I toured the hotel in 2015, and when my granddaughter and I stayed there in 2017.