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Five Things You’ll Bring Home from a VBT Vacation with Family

Posted on Monday, June 19th, 2023

Story by: Molly Waldstein | Travel Writer


To get a better picture of how families connect during VBT vacations, we talked to some recent VBT guests about their experiences traveling with family members from different generations. Here are five important things they came home with after their trip.

Five Things You’ll Bring Home from a VBT Vacation with Family

If you’ve ever considered taking a trip with family members, you know it can be both complex and rewarding. Families come in all shapes and sizes—some with grandparents who love bicycling vacations and want to teach their kids and grandkids to love them too, and others with brothers and sisters who grew up together in the saddle. Other families have members who love to bike, members who love to shop, and still others who just want to chill by the pool. That’s the beauty of VBT cycling adventures—there’s room for everyone to try different things and find their individual bliss. One thing’s for certain—family travel is a great way to bring the generations together, make new memories, build shared experiences, and strengthen family bonds.

To get a better picture of how families connect during VBT vacations, we talked to some recent VBT guests about their experiences traveling with family members from different generations. Here are five important things they came home with after their trip:

1.      Memories That Are Worth More Than Money

At a certain point in life, it’s natural to consider one’s legacy. For some, the idea of leaving the younger generation with wealth only goes so far—which is why many VBT seniors choose to make memories by funding family vacations. “When we thought about a biking vacation, we thought—what a way to make memories!” recalls VBT traveler Ann Tutundjian. “We always figured we can leave them money if we have any left, but we’d rather make memories. To me, getting to spend time with the family is something we’ll never be able to repeat.” Building those memories is an invaluable gift for the younger generations—creating amusing anecdotes, charming family photos, and heartwarming souvenirs to be cherished for decades.

Especially for families with far-flung branches, it can be difficult to gather everyone together. Plus, family gatherings involve a lot of cooking and cleaning—which can often be a distraction. A VBT vacation is the perfect opportunity to relax and spend some care-free time with your loved ones—and let us do the heavy lifting for you.

2.      Fresh Discoveries to Bring Home

Many families love to learn and experience new things together—and these experiences become a bonding centerpiece, something family members refer to for decades to come. For example, a family trip on VBT’s France Bike & River Cruise: Lyon to Nice Guided Bike & Boat might inspire a deep dive into the splendid wines of Burgundy—prompting thoughtful wine pairings at holiday gatherings for a generation. “One day we had a visit to a family-owned vineyard,” says Mary Ropka, recently returned from VBT’s Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca & Ses Salines Guided Tour. “We saw the vineyard and learned about the wines, then had a delicious lunch in a beautiful setting. Excellent food and wine tasting!”

Perhaps, your son-in-law discovers a fascination with truffles while accompanying a professional trifolao on the hunt during the family trip on VBT’s Italy: Piedmont, Langhe & the Italian Riviera Guided Tour—and before you know it, family dinners featuring tajarin al tartufo become delightfully regular occurrences. Or perhaps your family explores the secrets of artisanal extra-virgin olive oil in an ancient village where oil pressing techniques have been preserved for centuries—learning how to distinguish top quality extra virgin, and where to find it. “We visited a small, local family-owned olive oil mill,” recalls Mary, of her recent trip to VBT’s Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca & Ses Salines Guided Tour. “The owner talked with us about how they made the oil and the history of the company—and they prepared a traditional lunch with cheeses, meats, fresh tomatoes, and, of course, incredible olive oil.” No matter what discoveries you make as a family, they’re sure to be something you can share and savor together for years to come.

3.      Shared Life Experiences

Most of VBT’s cycling vacations in Europe last six nights at least—and longer if you add a Pre- or Post-Trip Extension. That’s quite a few days to spend in the company of your loved ones—and it often means you learn more details about their lives than you knew before. For Ann, a trip on VBT’s British Columbia: Vancouver Island & the Gulf Islands Guided Tour gave her the opportunity to participate in a major life transition with her son: “My son was preparing to move from New Mexico to New York,” recalls Ann. “He had to buy and sell a house—and while we were all traveling with VBT, he was making these decisions. I remember being with him in Butchart Gardens while he was on the phone negotiating the house sale. It was nice for him to have us there to bounce ideas off, and it was fun for us, as parents, to be part of it.” Spending that much time together gives you a whole new window into the lives of loved ones who live far away—and those shared life experiences bring you together more closely than ever before.

4.      Amusing Anecdotes and Inside Jokes

When you’re introducing the younger generation to the wide world, certain comedic moments are inevitable. If your younger family members haven’t spent much time in Europe, there can be, shall we say… an adjustment period during those first encounters with European customs. For example, the common French blessing after sneezing, loosely translated as “to your love life,” might cause tell-tale red blushes to sneak up the neck of a teenager standing beside his mother. “I loved watching my kids get embarrassed during our trip to the Dolomites,” says Ann with a chuckle. “Our guide there was hilarious—and watching their faces as she described the function of the bidet… priceless!” Other entertaining encounters might include a young person’s first experience with a French pissoir, or perhaps the perplexed expression resulting from one’s first taste of Marmite.

5.      A Chance to Grow

VBT vacations are more than just a bike trip—they’re a chance to relax, to learn new things, to be pampered—and, for some travelers, they can even be a chance to heal. “Before the trip, my daughter-in-law had a bike accident, and I gave her a lot of bravery credits for being willing to do the trip,” describes Mary. “Our VBT trip leader, Bibi, was really great, and helped her get back on the bike. It was rocky at first, but once the rest of the family went on ahead, Bibi and my daughter-in-law worked it out. Before you know it, my daughter-in-law was not only on the bike, but had caught up with us and was having a great time.” VBT trip leaders are experts when it comes to helping travelers feel comfortable cycling—whether that means adjusting the seat height and handlebars, changing a saddle, or just cheering on a rider who needs a little extra encouragement.

Whether your growth goals include getting back on your bike after a hiatus, learning a new language, picking up some new cooking techniques, or finding great new vintages to bring home, VBT cycling adventures give everyone the chance to grow—as individuals, and as a family.

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