Lifestyle Fast Tracks the June 2020 issue

Stay, Eat, Do: Family Vacations

Dreaming of your next great escape while you’re stuck at home may be the boost you need.
By Carrie Williamson Posted on May 26, 2020

Thompson Family Adventures

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Sample Tours
Active Tours >> The Canadian Rockies Multi-Sport Adventure: Explore Rat’s Nest Cave, part of an amazing network of underground caverns, using a headlamp to guide you. Go whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River. Hike to the beautiful glacial blue lakes. Walk and bike the mountains, sighting bighorn sheep and bears along the way.
Multi-Generation Travelers >> Panama for Everyone: Visit the local indigenous community at Emberá Village. Get an up-close look at the Panama Canal. Take a boat ride to the remote Gamez Island to relax on white-sand beaches and swim in turquoise waters. Hike across suspension bridges in the highland jungles.

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Kid Friendly
Friends Across Borders >> On select trips, Thomson will pair your child up with a pen pal and arrange time for them to spend together while you’re on your trip. It could be a soccer game in the jungle, eating with a local family, or participating in a community service project.
Making Friends on Tour >> Thomson will match up families that have kids of similar ages so they’ll have someone around their own age to relate to.
Rafikis >> On most tours that have eight or more people, a rafiki, Swahili for friend, joins the trip to play games with the younger travelers, teaching them about the wildlife and giving basic lessons in the local language.

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What’s Special
Guides >> A native guide travels along on the small-group tours, providing expertise on the flora and fauna that only a local would know.
Flexibility >> As part of Thomson’s Smart Traveler Advantages, if you book your trip nine months ahead of the day that you want to leave, you will qualify for Travel Protection that allows you to transfer your deposit, for any reason, to a different trip up to 120 days prior to your departure.
Core Values >> Supporting local communities is an important tenet of the company. Guides, drivers and rafikis are paid a fair wage, and the company supports educational and economic opportunities to elevate their standard of living.

Backroads Active Vacations

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Sample Tours
20s & Beyond >> Argentina’s Patagonia Walking & Hiking Tour: Explore the epic lakes, peaks and glaciers of this breathtaking region on your own two feet.
Older Teens & 20s >> Hawaii’s Big Island Multi-Adventure Tour: Travel from Kilauea Crater to the Kohala Coast as you hike to an active volcano, bike through lush rainforests, and snorkel and kayak on the sparkling waters of Puako Bay.
Teens & Kids >> Norway Multi-Adventure Tour: Bike family-friendly routes past snowcapped peaks, hike to stunning vistas, and kayak on the fjords.
Younger Kids >> Loire Valley Bike Tour: Visit the chateaus and medieval castles of the Loire Valley and learn how to fence and make chocolate on this family-friendly bike tour.

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Kid-Friendly
Dining >> There are healthy and delicious options at mealtime just for kids. On many trips, there is one night when adults and kids dine separately so parents can enjoy adult conversation and kids can have a fun night with special treats and activities.
Making friends on tour >> Your trip planner will provide you with the ages and genders of the other children traveling on your tour.
Discounts for kids >> Backroads offers a variety of discounted rates for kids on its camping trips and at many of its hotels when your children share rooms.

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What’s Special
Trip leaders >> The experienced trip leaders make sure everything is taken care of so you can enjoy your family. They can fix your bike and your gourmet lunch, teach you about the local food, and translate conversations with the locals.
High-quality bikes >> Backroads’ roots as a bike touring company live on in its fleet of custom-built titanium bikes designed for comfort and high performance. For serious riders, there is also a pro carbon option from Cannondale.
Accommodations >> Whether you like to camp, cruise or stay in a hotel, there is a tour that will appeal to your family’s travel style. Premiere Hotels offer more amenities, like swimming pools (kids say yea!), while Casual Hotels offer a relaxed setting for sharing stories about the day’s adventures.

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