Adventure Ideas 6:
I was at World Travel Market in London a couple of weeks ago and spent an exhausting four days wandering the globe in a room, talking to tourist boards, destinations and tour operators about what’s coming up for 2013. I’m going to be writing a top 13 for 2013 in the next couple of weeks, but for now here’s a few other interesting ideas I picked up for some interesting family adventures.
A World of ideas
Tailored teen adventures
I had an email a couple of weeks ago asking about adventure ideas that might fire up a teenager and persuade them to unplug. Ours aren’t quite teens yet, but my eldest did get a headphone hat for his recent birthday and already I sense the trouble ahead. Anyway, an increasing number of operators are targeting the families with teens market.
The folks at The Adventure Company (parents themselves) have put together a few itineraries for parents travelling with older kids. Claire Wilson, The Adventure Company’s MD encourages parents “to join a trip that’s tailored to the ages of your children,” and “get them involved with local customs and games. ” I checked out their latest offering and reckon sailing along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, getting up close to Jordan’s Bedouin culture or checking out the wildlife in Africa or India might get some teen attention. Their Breathtaking Burma tour has a great mix of temples, floating villages, language lessons, a chance to meet local kids and do some good at an orphanage. Which will either freak them out or make them more grateful for what they do have.
An African treasure hunt
We’ve always found geocaching a great distraction on long journeys and have experimented with using it in different ways; to disguise a long walk, inject interest to a journey or even tour a city by geocache. And the kids fall for it every time! So it was interesting to find some travel companies and destinations experimenting with it too. I was intrigued by some African and Indian Ocean destinations that are developing some quite unusual GPS treasure hunts. At The Pearls of Limpopo self drive circuit in South Africa, one lodge is putting in a geocache bird trail, while another concentrates on Venda art and ancient San rock painting sites. At the Kololo Game Reserve, you can soon do a combo of GPS walking, cycling and wildlife. Some other options in the pipeline are a coastal treasure hunt in a kayak and an underwater site reached by snorkel only.
One for all rock fans
Did you know over a million of us visit England’s Stonehenge each year? And if you are one of those, you may have noticed that the facilities are pretty…well…stone aged. And worse than this, the roads, fences and traffic noise are spoiling the attraction. How can you take in this vast story of human endeavour, and wonder at the mystery and magic of the Heel Stone when the A344 has 52 pensioners in a coach whizzing past your earlobes? English Heritage has plans to get rid of all the clutter near the monument while installing a state of the art visitor centre a couple of miles away, out of the sight-line of the stones. It should open late next year, but you can still catch the solstice while building work takes place. If you’ve rock fans of the other sort in your family group, then you could maybe combine your visit with a couple of days at Glastonbury? Go on, there’s a family field and you know you love the feel of mud in your wellies.
Happy birthday the world
Last week was all about birthdays in our house, with two of us celebrating notching up another year. As we head towards 2013 there are a few countries coming to the end of a year of anniversary celebrations and some just about to come of age. Jordan is bringing to a close a year of 200th anniversary celebrations of the discovery of Petra while starting to marking the 50th anniversary of ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’ Meanwhile its the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de León’s arrival on Florida’s east coast.
And not to be outdone by its American cousins, Disneyland Paris is celebrating being 20. It’s also the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, and in Germany Grimm and Wagner trails are being launched to celebrate their respective anniversaries. Meanwhile, as London signs off from a momentous year of sport, Derry steps into the spotlight as the city of culture 2013. We’re hoping to take the kids.
Family pitter-patter or adult chitter-chatter?
Finally, I’ve had a few e mails lately offering me a ‘child free holiday.’ “Not a Fisher Price in sight!” screams one of the adverts. Get them! They really haven’t read the title of our blog. And anyway, how boring would that holiday be? All that sophisticated conversation about tanking the cellar, failing to get a hole in one, and catching a whopper while out fishing. Frankly, I’d rather play with a plastic fire station. Wouldn’t you?
Want more ideas?
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