One key problem with traveling as a family? Finding the time. Between work, school, sports, extracurricular activities and other obligations, it’s easy to let weeks, months and even years go by without hitting the destinations on everyone’s bucket list.
Global CommUnity, an innovative travel company helping families explore the world via bespoke itineraries curated with everyone’s age and interests in mind, is addressing this challenge with its Life Travel Map. For a $500 fee (which can be used as a deposit for your family’s first adventure), the company will create a long-term travel plan for families that looks ahead up to 15 years. Through an in-depth interview with the entire family, they will create a map which outlines recommended destinations, keeping in mind budgets, resources and specific considerations for adult children versus teens, tweens and younger ones. (They say the key years for travel with your children so they will learn and remember are 5 through 18.)
The process begins by completing a detailed online survey, followed by a family interview with a Life Travel Map advisor, either in person or via another method like Skype, FaceTime or telephone. Afterwards, you’ll receive an interactive digital travel map of trips, itineraries and timelines; if you don’t already work with a travel advisor or agent, Global CommUnity will connect you with one.
“Global CommUnity’s firm belief is that family travel can change a child’s life and that travel provides the ultimate classroom, [and] we want to teach kids from a pivotal young age that as much as we are different, no one is foreign,” says co-founder Christie Holmes. “We all share similar values and must celebrate our differences while advocating for a brighter future.”
If you do not wish to purchase a Life Travel Map, you can still study the company’s selection of online Purposeful Itineraries to plan future trips. Global CommUnity teamed up with the best travel providers in more than 25 destinations spanning the globe for seven-night itineraries available in three versions (young children, teens and adults) and two price points (4-star and 5-star). But it’s not just about helping you find accommodations and restaurant recommendations. These journeys immerse you in the culture by teaching you about local history, arts, science, industry and customs. Even more, they provide the opportunity to engage in a meaningful project or community effort. This could mean working at an organic garden and visiting a local school and orphanage in Peru, volunteering as a panda keeper in China or working alongside a group of local children on a project at the local boys’ club in Ecuador, then engaging on a long-term basis by becoming a sponsor.
Here is just a sampling of some of the incredible trips Global CommUnity offers, with the various activities geared toward different age groups:
Prepare afternoon tea and dinner for your parents, and sleep outside under the stars with the entire family (under 12); hop on a quad bike in camp at Makgadikgadi Pans National Park and explore the massive salt pans and head out on a guided mokoro canoe ride to see hippos and crocodiles from the water (teens); and fly over the Delta in a helicopter to view game from a different perspective (adults).
See a private Water Puppet Show at the home of Mr. Phan Thanh Liem in Hanoi, who comes from seven generations of water puppetry artists (under 12); see Ionah in Hanoi, a unique entertainment show with circus, dance, music and theater, then visit a cricket farm (teens); tour a local market in Hue, ride over to the exquisite compound of Tha Om Garden House, take a cooking class and visit Hanoi Hilton with a former U.S. soldier tour guide (adults).
Take a scenic drive along the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, arrive at the foot of the hill with the Christ statue, then embark on a small train ride to climb the mountainside (under 12); bike along the Beachfront Lagoon and see how the Cariocas enjoy their beaches, running, playing soccer and cycling along the seashore and lagoon (teens); go on a social and religious-focused tour in Salvador, Bahia Africa, the most African city in the Western World that’s a cornerstone of the vast African Diaspora to the New World, where you’ll experience their cuisine, arts, music, dance and religious traditions (adults).
Thanksgiving is the one annual long weekend when most families want to — and can — make time to spend together. “At home” may be your most typical choice, but it’s not the only option. There are lots of appealing places for your family to gather. Here are just a few to prompt your search for others, whether near or far from home.
If the hardest part of planning your vacation is worrying about leaving your family pet behind, DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, Myrtle Beach Oceanfront feels your pain. This season the hotel offers a Puppy Love package designed just for you and Fido.
While most travelers know Lake George to be a bustling lakeside beach town in the summer, it’s actually a true stunner in the fall and winter also. With warm-weather seekers and summer crowds heading home, Lake George stays open for business well into the fall and offers even better deals for traveling families looking for a budget — without having to compromise.
By Hainan Airlines
Yes, it’s not even Thanksgiving and we are talking Christmas — but this is a family-friendly festival to plan for: WinterFest 2019. Hosted at The Colorado Chautauqua, a national historic landmark in Boulder, Colorado, the inaugural event is a free, or close to it, celebration of all things Christmas and holiday cheer, Dec. 13–15.