NEW YORK - As 2012 comes to a close, tour operator members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) can help travelers get a jump on their New Year resolutions with enriching and engaging travel options to spend quality time with family, get fit and healthy, learn a new skill or any number of experiences across the globe.
"It’s that time of year to reflect on the past and make resolutions for the upcoming year,” said Terry Dale, president of USTOA. “Fortunately, USTOA members are offering countless opportunities to help jump start travelers on the road to success."
From Central America to Asia, here is a sampling of family, health, and bucket list-oriented vacations offered by members:
More than a trend, multi-generational travel is a rewarding way to spend more time as a family, offering unique and enriching experiences for every age. Travelers who bring six or more family members on Celtic Tours World Vacations' "Celtic Dream" itinerary, available weekly from May to October, 2013, will save 8% per person (land only) on the tour of a lifetime with visits to Dublin, Belfast, Donegal, Galway, Limerick, Killarney, Blarney, Cobh, Waterford, and Kilkenny. Whether visiting an ancestral home or just enjoying family time, travelers will have the opportunity to explore some of Ireland’s most famous sites, including Giant’s Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher, and Trinity College and the Book of Kells. Prices start at $2,162 after discount. Visit www.celtictours.com for more information.
Adventurous families looking to share the experience of a lifetime will enjoy face-time with protected wildlife and a thrilling safari with family-friendly accommodations on African Travel’s 11-day "Wild and Wondrous Family Adventure" itinerary throughout South Africa. Highlights of the trip include sitting among penguins on the Cape Peninsula, looking out for whales, skyhopping at Plettenberg Bay, and feeding elephants at Knysna Elephant Park. Available year round, prices start at $5,095 per person based on double occupancy for adults and $1,995 for children. Additional details can be found at www.africantravelinc.com.
Adventures by Disney’s 6-night “Quest for the West” vacation allows families to spend quality time together in Wyoming. Available various dates June through August 2013, travelers will enjoy learning to ride, fish, and rope together like true wranglers during a stay at the historic Brooks Lake Lodge, hike together to an 80-foot waterfall in Grand Teton National Park, learn about the power of Old Faithful on a tour of Yellowstone National Park, and white water raft down the Snake River. Prices from $3,349 per person. Visit www.adventuresbydisney.com for more information.
From December 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013 families looking for a cultural experience will enjoy SITA World Tours’ 10-day itinerary "Highlights of Kerala" in India. Highlights include a Kathakali dance drama, game viewing in Periyar, an interactive session with a chef on local cuisine at Coconut Lagoon, and a houseboat ride through the backwaters of Kumarakom. Prices start at $3,765 per person based on double occupancy. Visit www.sitatours.com for more details.
Spend New Year’s in the City of Light with go-today’s "New Years in Paris" itinerary, available December 2012. Guests will enjoy fireworks, champagne, and romance with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop. Prices from $1,199 per person based on double occupancy. Roundtrip airfare, 6-night hotel accommodations, continental breakfast daily, and hotel taxes and service charges included. For more information visit www.go-today.com.
On Collette Vacations' "Alpine Family Adventure," a 9-day tour of Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein, children and adults alike will enjoy touring Rocco Borromeo, home to one of the largest collections of dolls and 19th century automaton toys anywhere in the world. Other trip highlights include a boat ride on Lake Maggiore in Italy, an interactive Swiss cheese demonstration followed by a fondue dinner, and a horse drawn carriage ride through the picturesque Austrian town of Seefeld. Available June through August 2013, prices start at $2,149 per person based on double occupancy for adults and $1,749 for children. Visit www.collettevacations.com for additional details.
International Expeditions' "Galapagos Voyage: Expedition Aboard the 32-Guest Evolution" offers families the perfect opportunity to reconnect as they explore Earth's most legendary haven for wildlife in an area with limited cell coverage and no television. Available year round, this 10-day adventure includes kid-friendly daily excursions such as hiking dormant volcanoes, snorkeling alongside sea lions, and kayaking. Prices from $5,098 per person based on double occupancy for adults and $4,598 for children (kids receive a 10% discount). For additional information visit www.ietravel.com.
Families interested in scenes of the Old West can pull out their cowboy boots on Trafalgar's "Wild West, Cowboys & Buffalos," an 8-day journey through Jackson, Grand Teton National Park, The Ranch at Ucross, Black Hills, Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, Bear Country USA and more. Beyond natural wonders, majestic views, and exciting ranch life, families will enjoy Trafalgar’s exclusive Insider Experiences such as a private tour of Yellowstone National Park with a local expert. Available May 13 to September 30, 2013, prices start at $1,825 per person based on double occupancy with a young traveler discount of $183. Visit www.trafalgar.com for more information.
Travelers looking to lead a healthier lifestyle and get fit in 2013 will enjoy Country Walkers' "Costa Rica: Pauare River & Nicoya Peninsula," a 6-night multi-activity experience available year round. Costa Rica’s most spectacular white water route, the Pauare River offers unsurpassed beauty and exhilarating rapids as it courses past scenic canyons, crystal clear waterfalls and dense vegetation. Other outdoor activities include a guided rainforest canopy tour, a guided walk to visit with Cabecar Indians, a Tortuga Island boat tour with optional snorkeling and a surf lesson or self-guided kayaking. Prices from $3,448 per person depending on season. Visit www.countrywalkers.com for more details.
During Goway Travel's "Eat Pray Love" itinerary travelers are offered the opportunity to improve their spiritual health in Bali with rejuvenating daily yoga and meditation, consultation with an experienced traditional Balinese faith healer, an Ubud bicycling and temple tour, and an authentic Balinese cooking class. Available January 10-December 20, 2013, prices start at $1,169 per person. For more information, visit www.goway.com.
Travelers who book Abercrombie and Kent’s 9-day "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" itinerary, available January to December 2013, will be motivated to start moving in preparation for the trek up Africa’s highest peak. Led by a professional guide, hikers will experience dense rubber tree forests, haunting volcanic lava landscapes, and breathtaking canyons on the mountain. Priced from $5,460 per person based on double occupancy. Visit www.abercrombiekent.com for more information.
Travelers looking to relax and rejuvenate in the New Year will enjoy 20% off a la carte at the spa & salon from Travel Impressions at the Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort in Phoenix. This legendary hotel known as the “Jewel of the Desert” is nested on 39 acres at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain Reserve with views and panoramas of the majestic Squaw Peak. Available through May 21, 2012, visit www.travimp.com for additional details.
Through March 31, 2013, travelers can hike the 4-day trek to the mountaintop citadel of Machu Picchu on “Inka Trek & Galapagos Safari Adventure” from Cox & Kings USA. This 16-day journey also includes visits to Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, and the Galapagos Islands. Prices start at $9,235 per person based on double occupancy, including a $1,000 per person savings. For more details visit www.coxandkingsusa.com.
Remaining largely untouched by humans, Greenland rewards people with sites and experiences unlike any other place on Earth. Travelers interested in crossing off the magical northern lights from their bucket list should consider Quark Expeditions’ “Greenland Explorer: Valleys & Fjords” itinerary available August 16 (15-days) and August 28, 2013 (14-days). Additional package highlights include whale watching, sea kayaking, and visits to traditional Greenlandic communities. Prices from $6,495. (Northern lights not guaranteed as dependent on weather.) Visit www.quarkexpeditions.com for more details.
Travelers longing for the exotic experiences of Asia can climb the Great Wall, stand face-to-face with Terracotta Warriors and watch acrobats fly in Shanghai on Ritz Tours’ “Majestic China Experience.” With stays in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian, this 10-day itinerary showcases three diverse yet defining cities packed with the best of China’s cultural and natural highlights. Available various dates March through November 2013, prices start at $3,299 per person based on double occupancy. For additional details visit www.ritztours.com.
Spend New Year’s down under with Swain Tours’ “New Year’s Eve in Sydney Australia” package, available December 29, 2012 to January 2, 2013. Highlights of this 4-night vacation include a tour of Sydney’s sights, a guided journey to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge, and a deluxe or luxury New Year’s Eve Cruise on Sydney Harbour with fireworks. Prices from $3,170 per person. Visit www.swaintours.com for additional details.
People looking to visit a place that is truly like no other should head to the bottom of the world with Tauck’s “Antarctica” package, available January 17, 27 and February 6, 2013. This 13-day journey includes a 10-night cruise with onboard naturalists that will teach guests about the icy habitats and natural wildlife of the region. Prices start at $9,165 per person. Visit www.tauck.com for additional details.
Travelers can cross off one of the Seven Wonders of the World from their bucket list with Contiki Vacations’ 12-day “China Adventure,” highlighting the Great Wall of China. Available April 1, 2013 to November 23, 2014, travelers will visit Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Yangshuo, and Hong Kong. Prices start at $2,665 per person based on double occupancy. For more information visit www.contiki.com.
From December 30, 2012 to January 2, 2012 travelers looking for a once in a lifetime experience will enjoy starting the new year at the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade in Los Angeles with Pleasant Holidays’ “Rose Parade Packages.” Packages include 3-nights accommodations, full American breakfast New Year’s Day, and reserved seating and transportation at the Tournament of Roses. Prices from $625 per person based on double occupancy. Visit www.pleasantholidays.com for more information.
“Beauty and the Beasts” from Great Safaris offers adventurous travelers a glimpse into South Africa’s grandeur. After a stay in Capetown, guests will embark on a safari through the winelands and two private game reserves and lodges in the Kruger region. Prices for this 13-day journey start at $3,995 per person. Children with two adults travel free. For more information visit www.greatsafaris.com.
Travelers looking to cross off Australia from their bucket list can enjoy Worldwide Travelers’ “Discover the Wonder Down Under” from February 20 to March 3, 2013. Highlights of the trip include a Sydney Harbour highlights cruise, Great Barrier Reef snorkeling tour, Uluru highlights tour and Melbourne highlights cruise. Prices start at $2,115 and must be booked by February 1, 2013. Visit www.worldwidetraveler.com for additional details.
Rise to the challenge of the world’s greatest golf courses with Go Ahead Tours’ “GoGolf-Play the World” itinerary, featuring tee times at top –ranked courses in Scotland, Ireland, Spain and Portugal handpicked by former European tour players. In addition to golfing at St. Andrews, Turnberry, Royal County Down and Valderrama, travelers will enjoy exploring the local culture and history. Available March to November, 2013, prices start at $3,399 per person based on double occupancy. For additional details visit www.goaheadtours.com.
Travelers interested in experiencing the local culture of Thailand will enjoy Travel IndoChina’s 10-day itinerary “Tuk Tuk Thailand.” Available on various dates through December 2013, highlights of the trip include staying in a tented camp on the historic River Kwai, exploring temples in the former capital, Ayuthaya, and meeting the amazing creatures at the elephant conservation park in the jungle near Chiang Mai. Prices start at $1,775 per adult and $1,695 per child. Visit www.travelindochina.com for more information.
Lion World Tours’ “Voluntourism South Africa” provides travelers looking to experience South Africa with an opportunity to become more than tourists and work with disadvantaged children, assist in teaching, and participate in reading, crafts, games, and sports in some of the country’s neediest communities. General maintenance of schools and homes are also included in the itinerary. Available year round, prices start at $3,799 per person based on double occupancy. Visit www.lionworldtravel.com for more details.
Travelers looking to increase their knowledge about the history of America should take advantage of Mayflower Tours’ “Seine River Cruise,” departing May 7, 2013. The exclusively chartered river vessel, MS France, will provide 6-nights accommodations as guests experience Paris and a full-day excursion to Normandy. Prices start at $2,199 including a $500 savings per person. For additional information visit www.mayflowertourscom.
For questions and more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com, call 212-599-6599, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Active member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow travelers unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each Active member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business. USTOA Associate members represent an array of travel supplier companies such as airlines, tourist boards, attractions, hotels and resorts, ground operators, and more.
As a voice for the tour operator industry for 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.
Editor Note: Information was provided by individual companies and was correct at time of writing. All tours/packages subject to availability.
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