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.
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.