Travel – the gift that keeps on giving
Blog submission for TLN website authored by Anne Wild, Managing Director of Anne Wild & Associates in Australia and Board member of TLN, representing the Asia region.
There’s no doubt we’ve always loved to travel, and the family holiday isn’t a new concept. But in today’s increasingly hectic, time-poor, 24/7 society, the value of taking time out to get away has never been greater.
In fact, I’m a prime example. Together with my parents, my siblings, my nieces and nephews and, of course, my own children, I’m about to embark upon a once-in-a-lifetime (cliché I know but in this case it’s true) European vacation in search of a wonderful white Christmas.
And by doing so, I’m joining a rising trend in the travel sector. Multi-generational holidays, or 3G vacations as they’re sometimes called, are becoming increasingly prevalent, and their popularity is growing with good reason.
With our around-the-clock schedules of kids’ soccer, dance, swimming, music and parties, together with our own professional commitments, looking after elderly relatives, trying to squeeze in the occasional gym session, spending countless hours ferrying to and fro in traffic, cooking meals and more…it’s little wonder families, let alone extended families, are struggling to find the time to connect.
Even when the grandparents come over for dinner, you’ll often find teenagers watching TV (more likely YouTube) in different rooms, kids with their eyes glued to a screen and parents fielding work emails on their phones in between courses.
This isn’t connecting. Neither is sending an email or a text message. Travelling together provides a natural environment to genuinely connect: to talk, walk, slow down and share new experiences, side-by-side.
While I’m fortunate to be taking an overseas break with my extended family, the location isn’t the most important thing. Whether you’re planning a holiday with the nuclear family unit to the local caravan park or an adventure with the entire clan to a far-flung location, what makes it special are the shared meals, laughter, mishaps and memories.
Whilst our population is ageing, senior Australians and those in other countries are living longer, and in better health, than ever before and in their retirement, many have the financial means to continue travelling, making the multi-generational holiday more accessible, and appealing than ever before.
Technology makes it too easy to be constantly ‘on’ and ‘connected’ to our everyday activities, it’s switching to ‘off’ that allows us the opportunity to step back and prioritise what’s important in our lives – the people we love – and to find ways to enjoy them.
Research out of the UK has found that 49% of people cited their ‘happiest memory’ as being on holiday with their family, with the benefits of a family break lasting long after the holiday itself. More than half of those surveyed agreed family holidays had given them happy memories that would stay with them for the rest of their lives, with a third of adults claiming memories of childhood holidays were still vivid, and that those fond memories had helped sustain them through tough times. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t the fancy hotels or souvenirs accumulated which stood out in their memories, it was ‘smiling, laughing, experiencing things for the first time and being more relaxed’.
As part of TLN and as professionals in the travel promotion sphere, we’re in a privileged position to help promote a diverse range of destinations and experiences to clientele across the globe, to encourage them to take the plunge and commit to taking time out from the daily grind – together.
At this time of year, thoughts turn to the Christmas gift list. The greatest gift we can give ourselves, and especially our families, is often the most elusive….it’s the gift of time.
 A poll of 2000 British adults in April 2015 conducted by the Family Holiday Association