The new Family Journeys tours from National Geographic and G Adventures, now on sale for departures that start in March 2020, seek to fill a “gap” in the family tour market, offering tours to iconic places that are moderate and accessible for the whole family.
“We thought that we were in a good spot and we were doing a lot of research in how to introduce this type of travel and fit into a family space — we saw there was a gap. We saw a special little spot in the middle that was more moderate and accessible,” G Adventures’ National Sales Manager for U.S. Jeremy Brady told Travel Market Report.
The trips range in length from eight to 13 days, visit 12 different countries on five continents, and are all led by two specially trained chief experience officers who cater the trips to both the interests of the adults and the children. The first set of itineraries include the nine-day “Alaska Family Journey: Wilderness Explorer”; the nine-day “Costa Rica Family Journey”; the eight-day “Iceland Family Journey: Geysers, Glaciers, and Fjords”; and the eight-day “Italy Family Journey: Venice to Rome.”
The tours are an evolution of a partnership between Nat Geo and G Adventures that started over five years ago and now includes 89 trips in 53 countries.
With a partner like Nat Geo, the tours feature a heavy emphasis on wildlife and conservation — excursions planned during the tours take guests to places where they can build an educational base about their destination. For instance, during the Yellowstone tour, travelers go on a wildlife safari through the Lamar Valley where they learn about the wolves, buffalo, and grizzly bears that inhabit the area.
There is also a focus on history — the Japan tour includes sumo wrestling lessons and samurai swordplay — and on photography and storytelling, including pre-trip content that guests can use to enhance their trip ahead of time.
The destinations and itineraries were chosen by looking at data and research from G Adventures about where most of its travelers were looking. Some of the destinations include areas that G Adventures was well-versed in, including Peru; and others included places that Nat Geo really wanted to hone in on, like Yellowstone.
Part of the goal while creating these tours, Brady said, was to look at activities that cater to all ages, so no matter how far the age range reaches on one side, everyone can stay involved.
“We wanted to make sure the entire family could participate,” he said. “Nothing is too far-fetched on one side of the spectrum as far as activity level. It’s right in the middle.”
Aside from making it doable for an entire family to travel together, G Adventures also wanted the tours to make it possible for families to travel to exotic destinations that “a lot of times they don’t even realize is possible,” Brady said.
The bottom line, Brady said, was to make the tours affordable and accessible — ranging between eight to ten days and overlapping so parents are not missing a lot of workdays with their schedule.
For advisors, G Adventures has ten reps across the country that they call Global Purpose Specialist, or GPS. GPSs can arrange in-house training at agencies.
G Adventures also has a travel advisor portal called Sherpa where agents can book trips, register for monthly webinars, and order brochures. All other advisor-centric information from G Adventures — including promotions, news, fam trip announcements, and more — will be posted to its Agents of Change Facebook group.
For these tours, Brady said, advisors can look toward families and parents who are well-traveled and lifelong learners “who want to extend the travel opportunities to their children.” Because of how accessible the tours are, they are also a good fit for advisors with clients looking for multigenerational options.