I love having a future trip to which my family is looking forward. Anticipation is half the pleasure of a vacation.
With a Galapagos Island adventure scheduled for my own family, we've used up all our travel resources for the year (and maybe decade), but I want to share this list of adventures I've flagged for those that like to plan ahead.
None are hop-in-the-car-and-go style; these are things you need to book well in advance.
Backroads Trips. Headquartered in Berkeley, this tour operator arranges domestic and international family trips like a multisport adventure in Northern Italy and a Canadian Rockies bike tour. Days are spent on bicycles with meals all pre-arranged along the way. There are camping tours and hotel tours, so something for everyone, as long as everyone can ride a bike. Activities are designed for families and there are some forks in the road where the kids head to a pottery-making session while the adults go for a wine tasting. This is my absolute dream vacation, and I'm thinking next year, we'll go for it. In Spain. The minimum age for the trips ranges from 7-9 years old. See all the family trips here >
Out N About Treehouse Resort. I've had my eye on this Oregon destination for a few years, but when we did drive to Oregon, Out N About was just too far from our other destinations to squeeze it in. Guests stay in treehouses on a unique property that offers zip lines, horseback riding, and a general outdoor hippie camp vibe. It books up in advance, so plan ahead if you have your heart set on a room up high at this “treesort”. Get the details here >
Home Exchange. After uploading photos of the clean version of your home — and paying for a membership — on HomeExchange.com, the offers will begin to flow in. (Tip: Use “20 min from San Francisco” in your headline!) With enough patience and flexibility, a match may be made, allowing you to travel to a far-away destination without paying for lodging, as long as you allow someone else to stay in your home. We have found that planning a year an advance is a good idea. Start browsing to get inspired >
National Geographic Expeditions. Browse by continent and look for the trips marked Family Expeditions. These tour packages offer similar itineraries to many other lower-priced ones, but offer the specialty service of having National Geographic naturalists, photographers, and scientists on the trip with you to help families get the most out of the natural world they are visiting. Disclosure: I won a family expedition from National Geographic for 2017. Learn more here >
Steep Ravines Cabins. You don't need to reserve plane tickets for this get-away, but the cabins at Steep Ravine, overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Mount Tamalpais, get booked, so the further you plan ahead, the better. Get all the details from one of our favorite local bloggers, The Thrifty Traveler.
[Photos credited above]