Travel is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children and grandchildren. The opportunity to see other cultures as you bond as a family is something you should not pass up.
As a travel agent, I increasingly see holidays planned as multigenerational affairs, with more and more grandparents taking their grandchildren on journeys they will remember for years.
Some clients want an unusual trip to fit all ages, a soft-adventure experience, action-packed with outstanding guides. They experience the special bonding that occurs when you tackle something difficult together. The shared adventures will never be forgotten.
There are some places in the world that are particularly appropriate for family visits. I just did an itinerary to Australia I called "Cool Capers with Kids." It was packed with animal viewing, surfing lessons, even staying on a cattle station. Members of the traveling group could select the adventures that interested them most from a list of alternatives.
Ideas for a multigenerational trip include:
â€¢ Alaska: Seek out a small-ship cruise with zodiacs that can take you into remote bays. There are opportunities to hike, ride horses, fish and kayak. You will see wildlife such as eagles, moose, bears and salmon. You can arrange to stay in a wilderness lodge and/or visit a dogsled facility.
â€¢ Utah: Stay at a guest ranch, river raft where there are only gentle rapids, visit Native American ruins with a Navajo guide and mountain bike. Utah hosts riding, hiking and fly-fishing, all in spectacular scenery.
â€¢ Latin America: One favorite destination in South America is the Galapagos Islands, a wildlife wonderland. Costa Rica's jungles and volcanoes make an exciting visit – everyone watches for monkeys and iguanas.
â€¢ Europe: London and Paris or Rome to Venice trips allow a family to visit castles and learn history firsthand. In London, enjoy a performance at a West End theater and take the Eurostar to Paris underneath the English Channel.
â€¢ Australia: Nowhere else can you cuddle a koala, try your hand at Aborigine dot painting, learn to surf and put some shrimp on the barbie in the Outback.
We've done women-only trips that can include a cooking school and spa treatments. The travelers can handpick female guides for the adventure part of the trip.
These adventures are good for children 4 and older, and often offer a family discount. On some group trips, a Fun Director, in charge of entertaining and educating the youngsters, brings along a bag stocked with games for all ages.
Maureen Jones is president of All Horizons Travel, 160 Main St., Los Altos. All Horizons is hosting its fifth annual "Cruise Night" 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday at the agency, featuring representatives from 18 cruise firms who will be on hand to answer travelers' questions and offer discounts. To RSVP, call 941-5810.