Celebration Vacations

Wow, I didn’t know how “on the cutting edge” I really am!

For about a year or so now I have been promoting myself as a specialist in “Celebration Vacations“. This includes things like honeymoons, destination weddings, anniversaries, milestone birthdays, family reunions, graduations, etc. — basically any life event that can be celebrated by taking a fantastic, memorable vacation.

Family trip to Krakow for a wedding

Family trip to Krakow for a wedding

Lately, it seem like everyone is jumping on this bandwagon, and I’m seeing the “celebration vacation” trend everywhere in the media.

Walt Disney World, who basically invented the concept (I mean, really, a birthday trip to WDW is like a childhood rite of passage), is heavily promoting the fact that anyone celebrating a birthday gets free entry into the parks that day. They have also created a whole department that caters to family reunions (and other groups). These “Grand Gatherings” have access to special experiences and perks that help make the vacation even more magical.

Several resort chains in the Caribbean and Mexico are promoting special packages (free nights, luxury amenities, and more) for honeymooners who return for an anniversary stay.  Cruise lines are offering special rates and discounts for groups — perfect for those multi-generational families celebrating milestone birthdays and anniversaries.  And, one of my favorites blogs just posted a list of the top five destinations for a celebration vacation (not surprisingly, Disney tops the list).

So what advice can I offer to someone thinking about a celebration vacation of their own?

– The number one suggestion is to lean on a travel professional to help you with the planning. We know what specials and discounts are out there and, more importantly, we’re experienced in handling the myriad of questions and concerns that come up.

– Be sure to involve everyone in the advance planning. If it’s just an anniversary “escape” for your and your spouse, that’s easy. But if it’s a 50th anniversary trip with your parents, siblings, kids, nieces and nephews, it’s doubly important to make sure you’re getting input from everyone upfront and taking their needs/desires into account.

Build in some special moments. This is the time to splurge a little on a relaxing couples’ massage, a first-ever ride in a helicopter, a group portrait on the beach for Grandma and Grandpa, etc.

Most importantly of all, remember to seek out those life events that deserve celebrating!  And share your thoughts (below) on memorable celebration vacations that you’ve enjoyed.

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You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)