What Type of Family Vacation is Best for You?
Families are as unique as fingerprints or snowflakes, so there’s no single best family-vacation destination. Instead, each family’s vacation planner needs to figure out what kind of trip suits the family best based on the ages, interests and energy levels of family members—and then choose a destination to match. There are five main types of family vacations that can help to narrow it down.
Hit the Beach
Beach vacations are a slam-dunk option for households with a wide age range. At the beach, grandma can enjoy watching her 3-year-old grandson play in the sand while an older child or teen tries out paddleboarding with mom or dad. Some water sports are age-specific—teens gravitate toward Jet Skiing and surfing while parents may prefer kayaking. But others are compatible for all ages, like snorkeling or heading out to open water in a rented fishing boat or houseboat. Can’t-miss family beach destinations include L.A., San Diego, Honolulu, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale, but don’t rule out Great Lakes cities like Chicago, which boasts of 27 beaches.
Head for the Hills
Trips to the mountains are ideal for high-energy school-age kids who like outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, river rafting and fishing—as long as their parents do too. As documented in the 2005 bestseller Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, kids are spending far too little time in nature, leading to problems that range from obesity to attention and mood disorders. Cities that are close to a multitude of mountain trails include Denver and Colorado Springs (near the Rockies), Reno (near Lake Tahoe and the Sierras), Knoxville, Tennessee (near the Great Smoky Mountains), Burlington, Vermont (near the Green Mountains), and Seattle and Portland (near the Cascade Range).
Sightsee in the City
The main advantage of visiting a big city as a family is the abundance of options—there are so many places to go and things to do, all of it within a few miles apart. Far from being “only for adults,” large cities are terrific destinations for kids too. In almost every major city, parents can choose among a kid-friendly science or natural-history museum (usually including a planetarium), a big zoo, a spacious city park with outdoor activities, an aquarium, a theme park with coasters, a water park or two, and often a choice of beaches and boat rides. Which city is best? It depends. For museum lovers, it’s Washington, D.C. For Hollywood lovers, it’s L.A. For history lovers, it’s Boston. And so on.
Focus on Family
Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers can make travel extra difficult for parents, but they can minimize the stress by accepting that invitation from out-of-state relatives to “come visit anytime!” Even if there’s no guest room, parents can stay at a nearby hotel, motel or vacation-rental cottage. They can then enjoy the hospitality of their hosts, who will probably insist on some home-cooked meals together—knowing that restaurants and 2-year-olds don’t mix—and show off the most family-friendly local spots. The relatives may even offer to babysit the little ones so their parents can enjoy a rare “date night.”
Traveling abroad can be adventurous, broadening and even life-changing—and that’s equally true for kids. Parents who take their children along to a foreign country are giving them a precious gift—an experience they will grow from, learn from and remember far more than a domestic trip. Older kids, especially if they’re curious about the world, are best suited to such trips because they’ll notice and appreciate cultural differences more than young ones and the adventure will leave more of an impression. Some of the safest and most family-friendly countries worth considering are Costa Rica, Japan and every country in Western Europe.
If you go
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom, a video conferencing tool that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
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When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.
We have operated more than 56 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 8,000 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.
Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.
Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:
- Quito, Ecuador
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Roatan, Honduras
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- Seoul, South Korea
- Melbourne, Australia
We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.