As we settle in for winter, the approaching holidays and upcoming school breaks, spending time with loved ones always feels particularly important. While most people travel home for the holidays, some choose to travel together to a different destination for the holidays or winter breaks.
As lovers of travel, we asked a few tour operator member executives to recount their favorite family travel stories. Whether from childhood, or a more recent adventure, here are some memories we hope will inspire you and your clients to travel together this winter season.
Anna Wolfsteiner, senior vice president-international sales and distribution, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours: The travel bug bit me at an early age as my parents always picked destinations that made me feel humbled by nature and its people. Our trips were a lot of fun as we returned home with more than souvenirs and pictures. Although we traveled a lot, one trip still remains the most impactful. At an early age we visited Australia’s Uluru at the Red Centre. Watching the sunset and colors change from pink to purple to dark red, as well as learning about the Aboriginal culture, was an unforgettable experience. Overjoyed by this adventure we felt so much closer and stronger as a family. To this day I have a warm memory of this trip – in particular when I hear the sound of a didgeridoo.
Gregg Marston, chairman of VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations: For me, it’s not necessarily a single memory from trips to far-away places like Europe or New Zealand, but the times when we’re traveling together as a family, away from our busy daily lives, which are full of work, school, sports and community meetings. I cherish the moments when we go off the beaten track as a family and are filled with the spirit and anticipation of yet another adventure to a new destination – especially with no electronics or other distractions. Just the awe of being together, sharing the trail to fill our days with unfettered conversation and laughter, observing the magic come alive and truly appreciating, absorbing and relishing every moment. That’s what it’s all about.
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Scott Nisbet, president and CEO of the Globus Family of Brands: There is an advantage to being a six-year-old in the Amazon. Every bug, frog and strange plant can be seen from that height and with young, curious eyes. Even the shaman and naturalist had to marvel at my daughter’s ability to spot all things of wonder. I can still see myself following those small rubber boots through the jungle. She was undeterred in her march, even when mud would not give back her boot. When we arrived at the canoes, the shaman marked her face as a warrior and blessed her search for the anacondas. Sara looked deeper than any of us into the inky water. These adventures appeared again and again in her class projects, writing assignments and, of course, in all of our memories.
For more information about tours and packaged vacations, visit www.ustoa.com. And, remember that when booking with USTOA Active Members, you also get the assurance of knowing that they are held to the highest standards in the industry with our $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.