Family Travel: Stay a While, and Bring the Kids

Family Travel: Stay a While, and Bring the Kids

September 4, 2008

Any family getaway can have its benefits. A week at the beach allows for some relaxation, and a dose of ever-elusive “quality time”.  An extended trip should at least expand the options of family touring activities, and ideally widen everyone’s horizons. So how about setting off on a path through multiple countries, choosing to count the trip in terms of multiple weeks or months? With the typical US family vacation barely lasting 2 weeks, a longer trip may sound rather ambitious, but every year thousands of people are finding ways to slip away from their daily routines and fulfill their own vision of a family sabbatical.

Besides giving families a chance to spend more time together and stay connected, a well-planned journey can offer other “wordly” benefits that a shorter trip may only give a small taste of. Consider how speaking Spanish or Portuguese several levels higher than before, and gaining an inkling of what it is like to truly live, and even work, in a different culture can boost confidence and competence when encountering future challenges.

An important part of planning, and yes, justifying, and extended trip abroad is staying aware of the needs and interests of each family member, ensuring there are enough fun activities that are also truly educational, and/or resume-building. Enrichment could start with something as basic as a child mastering the local metro system, or be as thrilling as learning about environmental sustainability while hiking through a remote Andean community, in the valley of a majestic volcano. The last book report may begin to pale in comparison.

It doesn’t hurt that daily living expenses in Latin America can often be lower than what a family might spend by staying at home. Those who may choose to avoid traveling to Europe, Hawaii or the Caribbean islands due to unfavorable exchange rates and higher travel costs, may still have the option go to Latin America, where the diversity and quality of cultural and outdoor activities continue to offer incredible value.

With some inspiration and preparation, what might start as a short trip to a popular beach town in Costa Rica could lead to a plan to skip bunking in a hotel, and instead settle in for a few weeks to live with a host family and take Spanish immersion courses. With a bit more time, it might be easier than expected to continue on to explore some of Ecuador or Peru, balancing time for sightseeing as well as making a contribution to a local volunteer project.

Where to start?  Learn a few things from those who have already done it. Check out how one family chose to take their plans for quality time on the road  in a book called “BYOC: South America! A Family Sabbatical Handbook” – where BYOC stands for “Bring Your Own Children”. Information is available online at:  http://www.rumskytravelworks.com.  There are also a myriad of websites that offer tips and directories of resources related to traveling abroad as a family. Try starting with Transitions Abroad or idealist.com.

While airfares are rising in several markets, there are still some great discount deals that are perfect for an extended getaway. For example: Round-trip travel from from New York to Ecuador, with stopovers in both Costa Rica and Peru for under $650 including tax, per person. There are hundreds of similar combinations available, traveling from various US cities into Central and South America.

These special airfare deals are only available through a specialist like Exito Travel. A Latin America Travel Specialist at Exito has years of experience in digging out discounted fares in order to create an itinerary that matches both the vision, and the budget of the trip. For details on how to afford a family trip of a lifetime, contact Exito by phone at 800 655 4053 , or fill in an extended stay, or  multi-stop flight request form online.

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