Families seeking adventures in surprising destinations, new Virtuoso report finds

Single father and daughters enjoying an Icelandic vacation

Australian families are voyaging far and wide in search of experiences that transform their hectic daily lives into memories of a lifetime, according to new research by Virtuoso.

The travel network’s 2019 Virtuoso Luxe Report surveyed its affiliated advisors to discover where, why and how families are traveling this summer.

Adventure trips rose to number one in the new report from third place last year, bolstered by travellers’ excitement for active experiences. Sun-and-sand travel has fallen from the top spot, but remains popular for family togetherness and as a means of disconnecting.

Travel with multiple generations, the leading overall trend in Virtuoso’s 2019 report, is third on the family-specific list.

‘Skip-gen’ travel is also on the rise, with grandparents eager to educate, explore and leave a lasting legacy with their grandchildren, while working parents stay behind back home.

Here are the top 10 family travel trends identified in the report:

  1. Active or adventure trips
  2. Beach resort stays
  3. Multigenerational trips
  4. Celebration travel
  5. Mother/daughter or father/son trips
  6. Ocean cruising
  7. Cultural immersion
  8. Touring (guided or private)
  9. Educational trips
  10. Passion-point travel (art, movies, sports etc.)

While Aussie families love to extend their holiday reach as far as the UK and US, they are exploring closer to home for shorter-haul escapes. Here’s the list of Virtuoso’s top 10 hottest family destinations:

  1. Fiji
  2. Italy
  3. Hawaii
  4. Thailand
  5. Japan
  6. Los Angeles
  7. England
  8. New Zealand
  9. Indonesia
  10. Vietnam

Exploring new destinations is the top travel motivator in the report, and seeking unusual places is a priority for the influential Gen Z, so Virtuoso said it was no surprise to find that families are searching for lesser-known and more remote parts of the world.

In particular, pristine destinations such as Iceland, the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica are trending. The desire for authenticity and deep cultural and nature-based interactions is driving families to places such as India, Cuba and Rwanda, according to the report.

Here are the top 10 most unconventional family destinations identified in the report:

  1. Iceland
  2. India
  3. Cuba
  4. Galapagos Islands
  5. Antarctica
  6. China
  7. Morocco
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Croatia
  10. Rwanda

Virtuoso chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch said: “Australians live in a destination the rest of the world wants to visit, so we were curious to see where they head for their own holidays.

“For a country where almost 60 per cent of the population has a passport, it’s no surprise Australian families are travelling together and seeking out some of the most interesting and unusual destinations on offer.

“The next generation of travellers are primed to explore the world, seeking out genuine human connections and ways to experience the local cultures and a sense of the unique.”

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