Individual Travel: The Perfect Trip for Every Child
At cazenove+loyd, we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to travel, which is why all of our trips are truly tailor-made. But this personal philosophy can even extend into individual families.
It is only with a family of my own, that I fully realise, especially with more than one child, that even the best planned holidays mean a level of compromise for the oldest or the youngest. And the greater the age span, the greater the compromise. There tends to be an optimum moment for each destination for children and teenagers and it is a challenge to get it just right for one and all.
There are no hard and fast rules, which is where the longer the conversation at the beginning of planning a trip the better. Sometimes our questioning may seem to be over the top, but it really is the case that the greater the collaboration in discussing and developing the detail of a trip, the more likelihood there is in getting it exactly right for every member of a family.
But also a lesson of parenthood is that the older the children get, the more their interests tend to diverge. There are two particular female travel writers who I admire for their taste and understanding of the world of travel, and both of them have made a point of taking each of their children off on mother and daughter or mother and son trips and have also encouraged their husbands to do the same. And with two working parents (and money always a consideration) it is often a really sensible and affordable way for all parents to have very special one-on-one shared experiences with their children at key points of their childhood.
There are lots of different ways to do it:
- I can think of one father who does something special with each child after a particular landmark exam. He chooses the destination in conversation with us and presents it to the particular child on the day the exams start, a perfect ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ motivator. He’s climbed a volcano with a son, done a week’s safari in Kenya with a daughter and is now planning another with his youngest.
- Almost twenty years ago I remember a mother and son planning a safari trip with us specifically around a teenage son’s love of photography and, with the help of an excellent guide and on the spot tuition, he returned with a photograph which gained a prize at the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, for all I know this (now) 30 something is still at the top of his game.
- My own son would think he was in heaven in the Amazon jungle but my daughter would get far more excited by the design, craft and architecture of modern Japan. Ten years ago they were both equally blissful snorkelling together off a beach in the Maldives and even last year, whilst both got an extra kick from exploring the temples of Angkor by bicycle rather than with all the other tourists in vehicles, Teddy was more drawn to the insects which our brilliant naturalist guide was able to identify, whilst Martha was more inspired by the stone carvings and the human interest.
- And it needn’t stop in the teen years. One of the most enjoyable pieces of feedback I’ve had recently was from a mother and daughter on one of our Small Group charters to Burma. A 50th birthday present from mother to daughter, they were able to be together as much as they wanted, but also had fellow travellers on their boat to dilute the intensity of the one on one.
- A variation of the diluting the intensity of a one on one trip for parent/child (particularly for active parents/children) is to team up with others and do something like a mountain trek or riding safari as a group of four- perhaps two fathers and two sons doing the Inca Trail in Peru in the summer holidays, or two mothers and daughters doing a riding safari in Kenya over Easter.
I have just had a conversation with a mother, one of three children, who has just returned from a trip to the Galapagos with her own mother and two siblings and all of their children (spanning ages 8 to 21) so there are ways to do it and destinations we work with where we are able to make it spot on for everyone, however big the age span and broad the range of interests. However sometimes separate holidays can be just as special as a complete family trip.