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This Summer’s Top Family Travel Destinations

by Holly Riddle

Jul 26, 2019

Nedrofly Fly | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

Summer is peak travel time for families, with the kids out of school and the weather a little more amenable to those traveling with small children. However, gone are the days where most families just head to the beach or take a big family trip to the lake.

This summer, families are taking advantage of more interesting travel trends, which is taking them to a wider array of destinations across the globe. And the people they have to thank for it? Generation Z.

Generation Z (or those under 19) is quickly overtaking millennials in regards to consumer influence, with a buying power estimated at more than $500 billion. According to a report by Virtuoso, Generation Z family members are highly impacting their parents’ travel decisions by involving themselves in the planning of trips, persuading others to embrace their desire for active experience, looking specifically for unusual destinations and letting social media play a role in their travel decisions — both looking at social media for travel ideas and looking specifically for travel destinations that will appeal to their followers.

So, what are the travel trends modern families are turning to because of this? Virtuoso’s Luxe Report names the top 10 family travel trends for this summer as active and adventure trips, multigenerational trips, beach resort stays, celebration travel, guided or private tours, river cruises, educational trips, ocean cruising, cultural immersion trips and father/son and mother/daughter trips.

Father and son on summer vacation in Iceland.

Father and son on summer vacation in Iceland. Photo: Noblige | Dreamstime.com

While some of these have been around for awhile — beach resort stays are certainly nothing new — others are a bit out of the ordinary compared to previous generations’ preferred family vacations. However, families are enjoying the bonding opportunities afforded by some of the more challenging travel experiences attracting Generation Z, those that force a family to get out of its comfort zones together, like cultural immersion trips or active and adventure tours.

As new family travel options trend, so do new destinations. While Italy has been the family summer travel favorite for 10 years in a row according to Virtuoso, and Europe’s overall appeal stays strong, other destinations known for active adventures are making headway.

This year’s top family travel destinations, in ascending order of popularity, are Spain, the Dominican Republic, France, Costa Rica, South Africa, England, Orlando, Hawai’i, Mexico and Italy.

Virtuoso also listed the top up-and-coming family travel destinations, those sought out by those really wanting something unconventional. These include Iceland, the Galapagos Islands, Cuba, Antarctica, Morocco, Japan, Egypt, Bhutan, Rwanda and India.

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