Consider the amount of time we dedicate to planning our children’s education and the effort we put into retirement planning. Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell feels that we should approach our precious holidays with just as much care and foresight and consider our families when ticking off the bucket list.
Returning from a destination with a head full of stories is one of the great privileges of travelling at an early age. And with myriad studies illustrating that travelling extensively as a youngster makes the individual more rounded, independent and employable, investing in travel may be every bit as valuable as spending on formal education. It is at the very least complementary to it.
Family travel, previously often limited to a short villa holiday in a sunnier climate, has become multi-faceted as of late with a number of trends popping up. Rather than the whole family heading off as a unit, it is increasingly popular for one parent to take just one child away for a special holiday – perhaps as a post-graduation treat or an exam results reward. Parents are also (not always with their children’s full approval) now choosing to plan their own holidays to take in their offspring’s gap year destinations, joining up with them for a few weeks with the carrot of parent-friendly pampering to break up youth hostel hell.
In a world where conspicuous consumption has become (for some) unfashionable, increasingly memories are prized over material possessions.
With families increasingly spread out due to far flung work or education locations, the annual get-together can often be more convenient for all when planned not at the main family home, but in a place on the globe best located for all, so the multi-generational holiday (often organised and paid for by grandparents) really has come of age and grown in complication. And that landmark birthday has now become, for some, a combination of holiday and celebration for friends and family with many operators becoming international party organisers, catering for 40ths, 50ths and 60ths for between 20 and 120 guests in destinations as varied as South Africa, Morocco, Oman, India, Kenya and Brazil. A long journey indeed from that marquee on the lawn.
As an investor, you might be focussed on retaining and growing your wealth, but it can be equally sensible to have a plan as to how to spend it. I know of one very organised family who have agreed a wish list of destinations which they revise from time to time. At the beginning of each year they choose one destination, agree a budget and dates, and then rotate the responsibility across the parents and three children as to who picks up the phone to plan the holiday. Not only does everyone share the excitement, it has taught all three children how to take on and enjoy responsibility.
“Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind.”
– Seneca, Philosopher
After all, as with education and retirement planning, it’s all about life stage. What’s right for a child or grandchild is very different when aged 10 to what is spot on aged 16. And the level of adventure you’re up for at 50 can be dramatically different from what you want to take on aged 70 plus. And with those one-off, bucket list destinations, it pays to take advice – both in terms of actual cost and opportunity cost, it makes sense to do your travel well and appropriately. It takes real knowledge to get the most out of a destination at any particular time of one’s life, and even more nuance when considering each individual member of the family.
Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell is a Director
and Co-Owner of cazenove+loyd
A FEW OF CHRISTOPHER’S SUGGESTIONS FOR FAMILIES:
For Pre-Teens (Ages 8-12)
- South Africa private game viewing in Madikwe and Cape Town
- A jungle trek and surfing lessons in Costa Rica
- Haciendas and beaches of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
For Young Teens (Ages 13-15)
- Sri Lanka temples, beaches, and walking
- Riding in the Pantanal followed by a trip to the Brazilian Amazon
- The royal palaces and rural villages of Rajasthan
For Older Teens (Ages 16-19)
- Gorilla trekking in Rwanda
- Whitewater rafting, trekking and mountain biking in Peru
- Trekking in the Himalayas in Northern India, Nepal or Bhutan