Wherever Awards 2018

By Kimberly Krol

We’re pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Wherever Awards, the awards for the best in travel as decided by you, the readers of WhereverFamily. The ballot ran on whereverfamily.com Sept. 1, 2017–March 31, 2018.

Without further ado, we present to you the winners and offer congratulations to those travel companies and destinations winning accolades from family travelers.

When it comes to family-favorite airlines, Alaska Airlines, Best Family-Friendly Domestic Airline; TAP Air Portugal, Best Family-Friendly International Airline; and Delta Air Lines’ Delta SkyMiles, Best Family-Friendly Frequent-Flyer Program, earn kudos. If you’re driving, consider Avis, Best Family-Friendly Rental Car Company.

While your family might be used to your local gateway, if you can schedule your travels through these family-fun hubs, you’re guaranteed to kick off the trip with family-friendly amenities. The 2018 award-winning airports are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, earning double honors as Best Family-Friendly Domestic Airport and Best Family-Friendly Airport Dining; Singapore Changi Airport, which nabs the Best Family-Friendly International Airport title; and Dubai International Airport, winning Best Family-Friendly Airport Shopping.

After getting there, it’s time for some real family fun to begin, and these hotels and resorts ensure your crew has the best possible experience. Martinhal Family Hotels & Resorts takes two nods: Best Family-Friendly Resort Chain and Best Family-Friendly Individual Hotel for Martinhal Sagres, Algarve. The Ritz-Carlton takes home the top prize of Best Family-Friendly Hotel Chain. Catering to all the members of a family, even the furry ones, Westin Hotels & Resorts wins Best Family-Friendly Pet Hotel.

Rack up the rewards with Radisson Rewards, Best Family-Friendly Frequent-Stay Program. Or let loose with the kids at Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda, Mexico, Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Hotel, or Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas, Best Family-Friendly Hotel Kids Club.

Sometimes it’s easier, especially when coordinating a large family or a multigenerational trip, to leave the planning to someone else. Take advice from our family traveler readers and utilize these family-approved tour companies: Delta Vacations, Best Family-Friendly Vacation Company; Adventures by Disney, Best Family-Friendly Domestic Tour Company; and Thomson Family Adventures, Best Family-Friendly International Tour Company. Lindblad Expeditions is the first-ever Best Family-Friendly Travel Provider of the Year.

Lindblad Expeditions at sea © Brian Grant | Dreamstime.com

If you’re taking to the high seas with the whole clan, consider Royal Caribbean, Best Family-Friendly Cruise Line, or Silversea Cruises, Best Family-Friendly MultiGen Cruise Line.

When it comes to paying for it all or collecting points on everyday purchases to cash in for your family travel, our readers think these two credit cards are tops: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, Best Family-Friendly Credit Card; and Marriott Rewards Card from Chase, Best Family-Friendly Credit Card Rewards Program.

And where to go? For an exotic family getaway, Fiji was named Best Family-Friendly International Destination. A bit closer to home, it’s no surprise Orlando reigns supreme as Best Family-Friendly Domestic Destination. Find fun in the sun with the fam in the Bahamas, Best Family-Friendly Caribbean Island. Bring the parents, grandparents, kids and siblings to Ireland, Best Family-Friendly MultiGen Destination of the Year. Find family thrills at LEGOLAND California Theme Park in Carlsbad, Best Family-Friendly Amusement Park, and Aquatica by SeaWorld, Best Family- Friendly Waterpark.

Here’s to the kid-tested, parent-approved winners of the first-ever Wherever Awards!

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY DOMESTIC AIRLINE
1. Alaska Airlines
2. American Airlines
3. JetBlue
4. United Airlines
5. Delta Air Lines

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE
1. TAP Air Portugal
2. Alaska Airlines
3. Qatar Airways
4. Air New Zealand
5. EVA Air

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY FREQUENT-FLYER PROGRAM
1. Delta SkyMiles
2. United MileagePlus
3. American Airlines AAdvantage
4. Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Miles
5. JetBlue TrueBlue

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOTEL CHAIN
1. The Ritz-Carlton
2. Martinhal Family Hotels & Resorts
3. Hyatt Hotels
4. Westin Hotels & Resorts
5. Sheraton Hotels

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY RESORT CHAIN
1. Martinhal Family Hotels & Resorts
2. Hyatt Hotels
3. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
4. Crowne Plaza
5. Westin Hotels & Resorts

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY INDIVIDUAL HOTEL
1. Martinhal Sagres, Algarve
2. Martinhal Cascais
3. Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
4. LEGOLAND Feriendorf, Gunzburg, Germany
5. Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY FREQUENT-STAY PROGRAM
1. Radisson Rewards
2. Loews First
3. IHG Rewards Club
4. Marriott Rewards
5. Hilton Honors

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY ALL-INCLUSIVE HOTEL
1. Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmerelda, Mexico
2. Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa
3. Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
4. Club Med Pragelato Vialattea, Italy
5. Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Costa Rica

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY PET HOTEL
1. Westin Hotels & Resorts
2. Loews Hotels
3. Kimpton Boutique Hotels + Restaurants
4. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
5. Sheraton Hotels

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOTEL KIDS CLUB
1. Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
2. The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado
3. Club Med, Sandpiper Bay, Florida
4. Sea Island, Georgia
5. Beaches, Turks & Caicos

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY VACATION COMPANY
1. Delta Vacations
2. United Vacations
3. SAA Vacations
4. American Airlines Vacations
5. Holiday Inn Vacation Club

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY DOMESTIC TOUR COMPANY
1. Adventures by Disney
2. Globus
3. REI Adventures
4. Trafalgar
5. Intrepid Travel

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL TOUR COMPANY
1. Thomson Family Adventures
2. Abercrombie & Kent
3. Classic Journeys
4. Lindblad Expeditions
5. Austin Adventures

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY CRUISE LINE
1. Royal Caribbean
2. Holland America Line
3. Viking Ocean Cruises
4. Princess Cruises
5. Celebrity Cruises

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY MULTIGEN CRUISE LINE
1. Silversea Cruises
2. Regent Seven Seas
3. Viking Ocean Cruises
4. Azamara Club Cruises
5. Royal Caribbean

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY CREDIT CARD
1. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
3. Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card
4. United MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase
5. Citi / AAdvantage MasterCard

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY CREDIT CARD REWARDS COMPANY
1. Marriott Rewards Card from Chase
2. Royal Caribbean Bank of America Visa
3. Delta SkyMiles American Express
4. Chase Sapphire Preferred
5. The Ritz-Carlton Card from Chase

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION
1. Fiji
2. Africa
3. Italy
4. London
5. Hawai’i

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY DOMESTIC DESTINATION
1. Orlando
2. California
3. Philadelphia
4. Washington, D.C.
5. Texas

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY CARIBBEAN ISLAND
1. Bahamas
2. Grand Cayman
3. Curaçao
4. Aruba
5. St. Lucia

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY MULTIGENERATIONAL DESTINATION OF THE YEAR
1. Ireland
2. South Africa
3. Italy
4. Patagonia
5. Mexico

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY AMUSEMENT PARK
1. LEGOLAND California Theme Park, Carlsbad
2. Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Orlando
3. Sesame Place, Langhorne, Pennsylvania
4. Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
5. Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY WATERPARK
1. Aquatica by SeaWorld
2. LEGOLAND Water Park, Winter Haven, Florida
3. Great Wolf Lodge
4. Zoombezi Bay, Columbus, Ohio
5. Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Orlando

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY RENTAL CAR COMPANY
1. Avis
2. Hertz
3. National Car Rental
4. Enterprise
5. Budget

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY TRAVEL PROVIDER OF THE YEAR
1. Lindblad Expeditions
2. Austin-Lehman Adventures
3. REI Adventures
4. Thomson Family Adventures
5. Ecoventura Family Cruises

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY DOMESTIC AIRPORT
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
2. Denver International Airport
3. San Francisco International Airport
4. Chicago O’Hare International Airport
5. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
1. Singapore Changi Airport
2. Munich Airport
3. Hamad International Airport, Doha
4. Incheon Airport
5. Frankfurt am Main Airport

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY AIRPORT DINING
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
2. Chicago O’Hare International Airport
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
4. George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston
5. Dubai International Airport

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY AIRPORT SHOPPING
1. Dubai International Airport
2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
3. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
4. Hamad International Airport, Doha
5. Singapore Changi Airport