‘Revenge Travel,’ Family Edition – The New York Times
“We could have just taken them to the west side of Florida, to a nice hotel,” said David Egozi, speaking of his three children and the dream of their first big family trip from the pandemic. But Mr. Egozi, a 36-year-old real estate developer from Aventura, Florida, and his wife, Jessica, have always been frequent travelers, dotting the schedule from trip after trip, including regular visits to see family in Israel. .
“They have been locked up for so long,” Egozi said of his children, aged 10, 8 and 4. “We needed to do something big; we wanted to make sure we gave them a memorable trip.
So last month, the family slammed down waterslides, rode the waves on a jet ski, saw sharks and turtles up close, and dined at upscale restaurants in Baha Mar, a 1,000-acre resort in the Bahamas. .
While not all parents (or kids, for that matter) share the Egozi’s strong stomachs for, say, diving in swimming pools, the overall tenor of their recent vacation – making up for lost time and doubling the fun factor, like s ‘it was about exerting’ revenge ‘on the last 18 months – is the one that is now guiding the family travel industry in big and small ways.
“All of a sudden it was ‘boom’. Everyone’s looking: Travel is back, ”said Karen Akpan, founder of The Mom Trotter and Black Kids Do Travel, a pair of family travel websites and social media communities. “Many parents are more comfortable with the idea of traveling than before. “
But even for families keen to travel, the disturbing Delta variant and lack of vaccines for younger children continues to be a priority for parents. To prepare for a trip to Disney World, Orlando, Fla., In mid-August, Erica Tijerina-Rojas, 36, practiced social distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands with her daughters, 10 and 11 years, who have not had any in-person schooling since March 2020.
“I’m still a little nervous about this,” she said. “My husband and I are fully immunized, but the girls are not. But that’s going to be the new normal, and we have to teach them how to take care of themselves – how to protect themselves. “
The Delta variant now accounts for the majority of coronavirus cases in the United States and has created another set of virus hotspots, many of them on the Gulf Coast. Disney reinstated its indoor mask policy at the end of July for employees and guests aged 2 and over, regardless of their immunization status.
As for Mrs. Tijerina-Rojas: she will hardly be the first parent to make up for lost time under the doe-eyed – albeit distant – gaze of Cinderella. In the Walt Disney Company’s second quarter earnings report, Orlando and California park attendance figures were cited as “at or near” reduced capacity levels. And although the family regularly visits South Padre Island – about an hour and changes from home to Pharr, TX, the week at Disney takes on added weight and significance.
“This might be the last chance to go to Disney together because they might get too big – at some point they won’t be interested anymore,” said Ms Tijerina-Rojas, office manager at a real estate agency. .
Suspicious but willing parents
In a recent survey of around 3,500 active leisure travelers, research firm MMGY Travel Intelligence found that family travelers – those with children under the age of 18 – are more interested in vacations this year than non-family travelers. Data from Vacasa, a leading vacation rental platform, shows summer bookings with children are up about 33% from 2019. In a move no doubt in favor of parents, Hilton is in the process of implement “Confirmed Connecting Rooms”, a new online feature that allows customers to book – and instantly confirm – connecting rooms in its 18 hotel brands. Even travel companies that aren’t usually associated with tumblers are getting in the game: the newly renovated W South Beach has just started hosting outdoor yoga classes for kids.
“The pandemic has been a wake-up call beyond wake-up calls,” said Nicole Wineland-Thomson, director of family expeditions at Thomson Family Adventures, which runs private, small-group and personalized trips. “Parents feel a sense of urgency that they didn’t have two years ago. We used to say, “Oh, we’ve got the rest of our lives to take our kids instead.” This has changed.
Even though Priyanka Desai Agrawal, 36, cautiously monitors infection and vaccination rates while considering where to go on a four to six week international trip in December that will mark her husband’s 40th birthday, she is still determined to do not stay confined at home with her. two children, 3½ and 1 years old.
“My oldest son had made 32 flights by the age of 2,” said Ms. Agrawal, who lives in Tysons Corner, Va. “I was devastated that I couldn’t travel; I was at least trying to go for walks, but that was not enough for me.
In the spring – when attendance was severely constrained – Ms. Agrawal and her family spent nine days at Disney World. She took her sons to Indiana to see her family. A day trip is planned to Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster, PA, as well as Labor Day weekend to Myrtle Beach, SC
Thomson Family Adventures’ most popular departures this year include Hawaii, Baja, and Costa Rica, all of which are relatively easy to get to the outdoors. But for 2022 and 2023, there is unprecedented demand for considerably more ambitious trips venturing into Europe and beyond as the world reopens; say, Italy, Peru (where Mrs Wineland-Thomson just took her 6 year old son, only to meet an almost empty Machu Picchu), Tanzania and parts of Asia.
“People look to the future and think, ‘OK, there’s a chance we can get to these places that we haven’t even been able to touch in the last 18 months,” Ms. Wineland-Thomson said.
At Backroads, an adventure travel company that segments its family trips by children’s ages, family travel bookings next year are up 150% from what they were in 2019, with Ecuador, Costa Rica and Peru up sharply for fall and holidays.
“The pent-up demand is huge,” said Tom Hale, Founder and President of Backroads. “People plan ahead and put vacations on their calendars now so they can have an adventure on the horizon to look forward to.”
Lest even more time pass before Madison, 21, the eldest of her three children, entered the workforce, Chris Miller, 56, who lives in Houston, was also determined to get big this spring.
“We probably won’t have another chance to do two weeks with the family,” said Miller, head of North American energy investment banking at Citigroup. “It was this summer, so we were sure to go somewhere when things got doable.”
The Millers tapped Indagare, a members-only travel planning company, to coordinate a 12-night trip to Egypt, open to Americans with a virus test. They cruised down the Nile, kitesurfed in Sharm El Sheikh, and marveled at the Great Pyramids of Giza.
“Kids love the adventure of long transatlantic flights,” he said. “There was a certain exhilaration in getting on the plane and leaving.”
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