It wasn't just vacationing that was put on hold in 2020. For many people, quarantines and travel bans meant that important relationships had to take a backseat to health and safety. While video calls and group chats offered a stop-gap solution, it doesn't change the fact that countless families and friends are eager to get together once again. And when they do, it's a safe bet that a many will choose to do so in the form of a shared trip.
This should come as no surprise. For a few years now, we've been monitoring a burgeoning trend in the travel industry: family and friends using a shared trip to catch up and deepen their relationships. These travelers use everything a great vacation offers–lack of distractions, beautiful setting, stress-free outings, and shared experiences–to reconnect in meaningful ways that are impossible to achieve on a computer screen.
We were curious what’s behind this travel trend. So we asked those who know best: The people who gather family and friends for life-changing active vacations.
It’s About Sharing the World and Sharing Moments
Bob and Lois Deboer of Englewood, Florida are looking forward to reconnecting with their children and grandchildren in Puglia this fall. The family will fly to this stunning coastal region on Italy’s heel from all over the United States–Utah, Washington, Colorado, Michigan–just like they all did when they cycled Ireland together in 2019.
“I remember after a short rainstorm on our Ireland trip,” recalls Lois, “a beautiful rainbow appeared alongside an old Irish castle and we all just paused and marveled at it. What a magical moment we could all share!” To say nothing of all the silly hats the kids tried on in the village shops!
Traveling together gives Bob, 92 years old, and Lois, 88, incentive to stay active year-round so they can continue their cherished family tradition. It also gives them a chance to see their grandkids grow up year to year. Even the little things bring them joy while they’re on the road. “We love watching the kids interact with people outside the family in a polite and mature way and seeing what wonderful young adults they are becoming. We would never be able to see that if we weren’t traveling with them every year.”
It’s About Legacy
For the Delgados of Hermosa Beach, California, an annual cycling trip fits well with the entire family’s active lifestyle and love of the outdoors. It also fits with the family matriarch Ethel’s ideas about her legacy.
“Mom is in her 80s,” her son Greg explains. “Three years ago, she decided to spend our inheritance money on family trips. So every year, she takes us all cycling overseas–her three kids, our spouses, and all our kids.” The clan ranges in age from 21 to 88 and travels from five different U.S states to meet at their destination. During the trip, long rides inevitably lead to in-depth, meaningful conversations, no matter the age difference. “We feel more included and in touch with each other’s lives,” says a grateful Greg.
The way Greg explains it, the annual Delgado biking trip serves as a glue that keeps the family together year-round. “If we didn’t have this trip, we would all have separate lives and only send each other Christmas cards. We’re all much more in tune. Sharing this experience each year opens doors to more opportunities for random phone calls.”
It's a lasting legacy you can’t put a price tag on.