The Family Vacation, Reinvented

Published: May 13, 2007

IT seems that a one-week trip to the shore, with days spent digging for clams and nights spent camping under the stars, has long ago ceased to be enough of a diversion for families planning their summer getaways. Now, the options range from cooking lessons in Italy (with even toddlers getting some kitchen time) to marionette-making courses in Prague to “volunteer vacations” that include trips to orphanages in China.

“Family travel continues to grow as more and more parents, particularly those working full time, view vacations as a way to ‘reunite’ the family, more than an occasion for rest and relaxation,” said Peter Yesawich, chief executive of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, a travel marketing firm. According to the 2007 National Leisure Travel Monitor, a yearly report by the company, family travel will be up this summer, as nearly 40 percent of adults plan to take a vacation with children, up from 32 percent five years ago.


Hands-on culinary skills is what families will get at Cooking Vacations’ new Secret Garden Positano trip to Positano, Italy; (800) 916-1152; www.cooking-vacations.com. Children as young as 2 are invited to learn to make pizza, pasta, fresh mozzarella, gelato and other Italian treats. Between classes, families will go to Ravello to visit a pastry maker and pick lemons, go on a fishing trip and visit Pompeii for a day. The weeklong program costs $2,800 a person (half that for those age 5 to 10; younger are free).