Families average three holidays a year with ‘intrepid travel’ on rise

Family holidays have veered away from  Disneyland and are now more likely to feature adventure breaks or visits to far-flung and exotic historical sites such as Peru's Machu Picchu, pictured. Picture: Getty Images
Family holidays have veered away from Disneyland and are now more likely to feature adventure breaks or visits to far-flung and exotic historical sites such as Peru's Machu Picchu, pictured. Picture: Getty Images
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The average UK family will take three holidays a year and an increasing number head to off-the-beaten-track destinations to ensure children get new cultural experiences, new research has revealed.

The study found adults travelling with children are now likely to make sure at least two annual holidays include visits to historical sites.

And a growing number of parents want their offspring to broaden their experience of cultures, taking them further afield, with Cambodia, Costa Rica and Peru among the emerging family hot spots.

Researchers say gone are the days of people with children holidaying nearer to home or at traditional family resorts such as Disneyland or the beaches of Spain, with a major rise in intrepid travel in order to educate younger travellers about different cultures.

A rise in the number of airlines offering different routes across the world and better access to online research and booking has made travel more accessible to families, travel experts say.

Claire Bentley, British Airways’ Holidays managing director, said: “The face of family travel has changed dramatically in recent years. We now live in a connected world, where new destinations are opening up all the time and the web has made the world more accessible.

“Children are not seen as restrictive to travel, but essential travel companions, with rich experiences and new cultures to discover. New routes to places like Peru and Costa Rica reflect this trend.”

BA, which carried out the study, says among the emerging adventures for intrepid family travel are backpacking and visiting ancient temples in Cambodia, desert treks in Dubai, and whale watching and visiting the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

Other new family hotspots are Sweden’s remote and rugged Nornotten Country and the World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu in Peru.

And with a good exchange rate this year, Cape Town in South Africa is becoming one of the hottest spots for family travel to Table Mountain and Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was in prison for more than two decades.

A different recent study of found having well-travelled children was named as one of the top modern-day pressures facing parents,.

The research found parents feel pressure to give their kids a variety of exciting experiences, with cultural trips and visits to art galleries and museums topping the poll.

Psychologist Emma Kenny, who worked with Thomson Cruises on the research, said: “With a generation of adults that have fully embraced the digital age, it’s clear the priority is shifting to ensure their children have a healthier balance between gadgets and new experiences.”