If the last two years are any indication, family vacations in 2023 will be both exciting and turbulent. In 2022, gas prices rose and the economy faltered, but we collectively embraced the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in family vacation spots across the United States, Mexico, Europe, and beyond to hit the road and make the previous 12 months feel almost normal again. And, with family travel ideas still at the top of parents’ minds as they plan for the year ahead, it’s no surprise that 2023 is expected to be a banner year for travel.
With that in mind, here are ten travel trends we predict will shape the family vacation landscape over the next year – and how to take advantage of them.
- Finding cheap flights to Europe will be easier.
In 2022, both fuel prices and travel demand were skyrocketing, making transatlantic flights a risky bet for families on a tight budget. However, if you believe that flying to Europe will continue to be prohibitively expensive in 2023, a new Icelandic airline called PLAY hopes to change your mind. The low-cost carrier will operate daily nonstop flights from Baltimore, Boston, and New York’s Hudson Valley to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, from which passengers can connect to a variety of European cities, including Paris, London, and Dublin. Service to Washington, D.C., is set to begin in the spring of 2023.
Of course, PLAY isn’t the only newcomer to the transatlantic music scene. Norse Atlantic Airways, a Norwegian low-cost carrier, launched its first flight between Oslo and New York in June 2022, quickly followed by flights to Fort Lauderdale, London, Orlando, Los Angeles, and Berlin. French Bee, another low-cost European airline, is also expanding. In December 2022, the French airline launched a Miami-Paris route, with plans to expand to Los Angeles and Newark in 2023.
- The number of visitors to national parks will continue to rise, but you can still beat the crowds.
During the early days of the pandemic, there was a surge of interest in the Great Outdoors as families sought safe and socially isolated places to vacation. National park visitor numbers continued to rise in 2022, with no signs of slowing as we enter the new year.
But it’s not all bad news for families looking for a crowd-free national park vacation. Winter is still a great time to visit some of the most popular national parks and national park lodges in the United States, minus the crowds. And perennial favourites like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon are just as beautiful in the winter months as they are in the summer. Yosemite, for example, is absolutely stunning when covered in snow, and the nearby Rush Creek Lodge offers year-round swimming in a heated outdoor pool that the entire family will undoubtedly enjoy.
- Beach resorts will thrive even during the off season
There’s no reason to wait until summer to take a family beach vacation. Off-season seaside getaways, in fact, provide frosty fun long after you’ve packed your flip-flops, and what you miss out on in summer sun, you’ll more than make up for in low-season savings.
Consider the Hamptons in New York, where prices fluctuate with the weather. You’ll be shuttled to the ocean or bay beach from Canoe Place Inn and Cottages in Hampton Bays, then set up with chairs and blankets to watch the winter waves or build a surfing snowman in comfort. When you return, you can warm up with a steaming bowl of clam chowder at the onsite Good Ground Tavern while sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace.
- The time has come for unconventional lodging.
The pandemic has altered almost every aspect of travel, from how we travel to how much we tip. This is especially true when it comes to what families want from vacation lodging. These days, families are looking for more than just the four walls of a standard hotel. Parents are looking for unique accommodations such as dude ranches, treehouses, and Airstreams to add that extra wow factor, as well as special perks such as kids stay free deals.
What is one example? Cody, Wyoming, is a gateway to the majestic Yellowstone National Park as well as a great stand-alone family vacation destination in its own right. After seeing the Cody Night Rodeo and visiting the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, sleep in one of eight fully equipped tipis at Cody Trout Ranch Camp on the banks of the Shoshone River. Unusual, yes, but it’s a vacation experience the kids will remember for years to come.
Watching a live ballet beneath the sea at Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii or listening to a symphony in a candlelit cenote at Fairmont Mayakoba in Mexico’s Riviera Maya are two options.
- Glamping will continue to gain popularity among families.
Yes, families have enjoyed returning to nature, but for many, the added luxury of staying at family glamping resorts across the country has eased their return to the Great Outdoors. Glamping is an immersion in nature without the “roughing it” part, and after two years of rapid growth during the pandemic, this trend shows no signs of abating as a family-friendly alternative to campgrounds and RV parks.
Terramor Outdoor Resort in Bar Harbor, Maine, is my top pick for glamping in 2023, where you can soak in the beauty of Acadia National Park from the comfort of an upscale tent outfitted with Frette bed linens and in-tent toilets. The whole family should enjoy stargazing, yoga, and s’mores by the fire.
- Family-owned hotels will rely on personal relationships.
Owner involvement at family-run hotels frequently translates into excellent service, and many families have come to appreciate that added personal touch as they’ve re-entered the world of travel in the last year.
Family-owned businesses in Providence, Rhode Island The Beatrice elevates family to new heights: The hotel is a heartfelt ode to motherhood, specifically to their late mother, community activist Beatrice Temkin. Her portrait hangs in the lobby, her signature appears on marquee signage, and an in-house literary programme, Bea’s Book of the Month, inspired by her love of reading, are all part of this matriarch’s legacy.
Skip-generation vacations are here to stay.
Grandparents travelling alone with their grandchildren, known as skip-get travel because they “skip” the middle generation, is becoming more popular as a travel trend. Many grandparents missed time with their grandchildren during the early months of the pandemic, and they’re more determined than ever to make up for it with skip-get trips.
Two-generation vacations have the potential to strengthen grandparent-grandchild bonds while providing a welcome break for parents. Skip-get experiences are a sure-fire way to build memories, whether it’s an overnight staycation or a grandparent-friendly all-inclusive resort.
- Guided group tours will continue to be a popular choice for families.
Planning and carrying out a family trip to a distant land can be daunting, especially given the uncertainties of the pandemic’s current phase. However, on guided family travel adventures, your trip leader handles all of the tedious details, allowing you and your children to simply relax, recharge, and explore the world together.
Even better, guided group tours almost always include lodging and at least some meals; some even include everything from flights to transfers to gratuities for maximum vacation convenience. Who couldn’t use a little of that after the stress of the last few years? Adventures by Disney offers guided family vacations to over 40 destinations on all seven continents.
- All-inclusive resorts are increasing convenience for parents.
Traveling with small children is difficult. Every moment of delight or discovery with your toddler is usually followed by an equally intense meltdown. And travelling with an infant entails keeping a baby packing list and lugging multiple suitcases full of bulky gear.
A designated baby concierge takes care of everything your little one needs at the three Grand Velas resorts in Mexico, providing cribs, high chairs, baby bathtubs, bottle warmers, pacifiers, and more. You can travel light knowing that everything will be waiting for you at check-in. It’s part of a growing trend of all-inclusive family resorts becoming truly family-friendly.