Nature research in Costa Rica and exploring the Sahara are among the exciting family-friendly experiences from the new National Geographic Family Journeys with G Adventures range.
What could be better than a bucket-list adventure shared with your family?
To capitalise on the adventure travel trend, and the growing number of families seeking a less traditional holiday, adventure operator G Adventures has recently expanded its partnership with National Geographic to introduce a new range of family-friendly escorted tours.
National Geographic Family Journeys with G Adventures comprises 12 trips across five continents, with activities designed around four National Geographic themes: photography and storytelling; history and culture; wildlife and conservation; and exploration.
“All the activities were painstakingly designed to make sure they would appeal to not only seven-year-olds but 47-year-olds too,” says Amanda Dunning, brand partnership manager at G Adventures.
“We chose a lot of food-themed activities because that’s something that everyone can enjoy. In Vietnam, on our South-East Asia Family Journey: Vietnam to Cambodia trip, families will visit a tailor and have a shirt made. It’s a quintessential experience where everyone can get together, pick out the fabrics and get measured,” she says.
"We also have a visit to the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica, provided by Nat Geo. There, kids get to go on a nature walk with a researcher to understand conversation efforts in the country before planting a tree."
The tours, which depart in March, have already been selling well, says Dunning. Popular options include the nine-day Morocco Family Journey: Ancient Souks to the Sahara (from £1,349pp), and the 11-day Southern Africa Family Journey: In Search of the Big Five (from £2,999pp).
“To secure the best rates and availability, we are seeing families booking six months ahead of the trip,” says Dunning.
“They know when their holidays and breaks are, which is especially important in the UK where parents aren’t able to take their children out of school [outside of holiday dates].”
While the group size of the Family Journeys collection is slightly larger than G Adventures’ standard trips – with a maximum of 20 guests compared with 16 – the presence of two chief experience officers (CEOs) ensures everyone gets the same level of care.
“Safety comes up again and again; parents want to make sure their children will be taken care of. That’s why we have the two CEOs to help,” says Dunning.
She adds that the product has been specifically created with family needs in mind. “We thought about wake-up times, about how many early morning starts there will be.
“Logistics are also important, such as how long the drives are going to be, how many stops there are and when meals will be served. We also took into account how many activities there will be a day, and how long clients will stay in a particular destination.”
G Adventures has ensured each trip contains three- to four-star accommodation options, adds Dunning. “I would categorise [the accommodation] as clean, comfortable, charming and convenient.
“It’s centrally located, and we’ve featured hotels with pools when possible. Of course, we ensure there are as many triple and quad rooms as possible too. We know families come in all shapes and sizes.”
The trips are open to children aged between seven and 17. Dunning adds that the pre-planned nature of the trips cater to busy families who want a straightforward yet adventurous holiday.
“Families want a getaway they don’t have to think about. That’s why cruises and all-inclusive holidays have been popular: they book it, show up and everything is sorted.
“Historically, adventure travel may have seemed too complicated. But by working with us and a travel advisor, everything is taken care of.”
G Adventures’ Amanda Dunning offers the inside track on what to consider ahead of booking:
Matchmaking: Understand what the family is looking for, that way you can match them with the most suitable tour.
Knowledge is power: Agents should get to know the Family Trip Specialists at G Adventures, who are dedicated to the family programme and can answer any questions.
Be prepared: Make sure you pass the pre-trip materials to your clients – like the Explorer’s Journal, the Photography Guide and the link to the iNaturalist app, which allows clients to take pictures of flora and fauna and have them identified by other app users. People have discovered five new species using the app.
A matter of taste: Work with your client to understand their dining requirements and if they have any allergies so our on-the-ground teams can accommodate them and make sure everyone is safe.
G Adventures is the world's largest small-group adventure travel company, offering more than 700 tours in 100 different countries, and service levels to meet all tastes, ages and budgets.