Today’s hottest vacation trends range from family oriented getaways to wildly exotic adventures. What’s more, some of the trendiest destinations are not typically thought of as desirable vacation spots. If you are looking for a different kind of vacation, think about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new.
Did You Say Vietnam?
Americans are suddenly interested in the exotic. Flights to Tanzania increased 50 percent in 2013, surprising travel experts. The surge is likely due in part to reduced airline fares, but Tanzania is not a destination typically at the top of a vacationer’s wish list. It’s not the only unusual choice for tourists, either. Ecuador, Vietnam, Malaysia and Turkey are all seeing spikes in the numbers of vacationing American tourists. Chris Cuddy, CCO of CheapOair.com, believes the increased interest is partly due to the fact that Americans get so little vacation time compared to much of the world. When Americans plan their vacations, they choose places that feel like real getaways. Countries like Tanzania, with its unique combination of ancient culture and sweeping landscapes are particularly attractive.
What’s So Special About Tanzania?
Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa and one of the poorest in the world. It hardly sounds like an attractive tourist destination, but it is one of the most visited countries in Africa. In fact, the tourist industry is responsible for an improved economic outlook. There is no question that the reason people go to Tanzania is because of its alluring landscape and abundant African wildlife. The Serengeti National Park is famous for its lion, leopard, African buffalo, cheetahs, zebras, wildebeests and gazelle populations. The once abundant African elephant still lives in small herds in the northern parts of the park. The annual migration of over 1.5 million brindled wildebeest and approximately 250,000 zebras brings thousands of tourists to the park each year. The park landscape includes savanna, grassland plains, woods and rivers. For Americans, a trip to Tanzania is a trip to another world and that’s exactly what they are looking for.
A Vietnam Vacation
The scene of a long, tragic war and now a single party Communist state, Vietnam, too, seems like an unlikely vacation destination. It is, however, one of TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice Award winners and its capital, Hanoi, made its Top 25 Destinations list. Popular tourist destinations in Vietnam include Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Sapa, Nha Trang and Hue. Visitors to Hanoi’s 54 Traditions are treated to an exhibition of cultural artifacts and collections including local art, clothing and shaman tools. The Old Quarter is 40 streets of history. Historic neighborhoods, architecture and shops selling goods of all kinds provide a glimpse of the past. A 2014 Travelers’ Choice Award attraction winner, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum features the contributions of women to the country’s culture and history. Highlights include exhibits defining women’s roles in the family, military conflicts, commerce and how the role of women changed throughout history.
Another hot vacation trend that can be as laid back or exotic as you want is the multigenerational vacation. Family vacations don’t mean just Dad and Mom and the children anymore. A multigenerational vacation includes Grandma, Grandpa, aunts and uncles as well. Families often live far apart and increasing numbers choose to spend the family vacation time together. Planning a multigenerational vacation means taking into account the fact that older relatives may have less physical stamina than children and children have relatively short attention spans. It can be a bit of a balancing act, but spending a vacation together is a great way to strengthen the family bond.
Here are some great multigenerational vacation ideas to keep everyone happy:
- Take a cruise: Cruises are great choices for taking a family group that includes people of all ages. There’s something for everyone. Children can participate in programs, activities and games; adults can play bridge, sit by the pool and see shows. Some cruise lines have nurseries, so parents can have some alone time, if desired.
- Go on a city safari: Some cities, like Washington, are tailor made for a multigenerational vacation. Choose lodging within walking distance of the best attractions. Elders can choose which attractions they want to tackle and head back to the hotel if they need to. The White House, Capitol, Smithsonian and historical monuments are all free. If you go during the holiday season, you can see the National Christmas Tree, attend special programs and enjoy the celebration.
Visit a themed resort: Specifically geared to satisfy the interests of every age group, resort themes vary from Wild West dude ranches in the American Southwest to European discovery tours. Most offer a wide range of options to fit the family’s interests and budget.