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The Rise of Intentional Family Travel: Why Mindful Journeys are the New Vacation Norm

Whether you've been planning a family trip or scrolling through aspirational travel pages on Instagram, you've likely come across the term "Intentional Family Travel". Its rising popularity is sparking conversation and for good reason.


Intentional Family Travel

With over 194,000,000 searches happening on Google for 'intentional family travel', if you have a family, it's worth looking into. So, first thing first, what does it mean? Let's start by diving into the definition of intentionality. According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, intentionality is defined as

“the fact of being deliberate or purposive”

As it pertains to family vacations, one can interpret 'intentional family travel' as setting a goal for your trip. With the term gaining so much traction, let's unpack what intentional family travel truly means for families seeking more than just a getaway.


What is Intentional Family Travel?

Intentional family travel is the act of being mindful about where you go, what you want to contribute to the place you visit, and what you plan to gain out of your stay. For some families, culture is a huge part of why they travel. It doesn't mean you don't stay at the prestigious resort, it just means that while you're there, you make plans to leave the premises and spend time (and money) where the local people can benefit. That could look like leaving the resort for a lunch or dinner in town. It could also be a visit to the marketplace with or without a travel guide.


While visiting Marrakesh, Morocco for my best friend's birthday in 2019, we took a local travel guide-led trip to the Jemaa el-Fnaa marketplace and it was better than anything we could have done on our own. The tour guide was able to translate on our behalf, let us know which vendors were the most reputable, and secure us a private shea butter-making class and herbal shop tour. The experience allowed us to spend responsibly while giving back to the local people.


The bottom line is that it's not just about the destination, it's about what you want your family to gain (and what you want to leave behind) during the stay.


The Shift from Traditional to Intentional Travel

The concept of travel has evolved significantly over the years. Gone are the days when vacations were solely about escaping daily life and indulging in leisure. According to a report by Skift Research, there's a growing trend towards "sustainable travel," where travelers are more aware of the impact they have on the destinations they visit.


The Rise of Conscious Choices

The Global Wellness Institute reports that wellness tourism, a sector that aligns closely with intentional travel, is a $639 billion market, growing twice as fast as general tourism. This indicates a shift towards travel experiences that offer more than just relaxation but also an opportunity for personal and communal well-being.


Cultural Immersion Over Tourist Attractions

The focus of travel is shifting from ticking off tourist hotspots to immersive cultural experiences. According to a survey by National Geographic, 56% of U.S. travelers acknowledge that travel has an impact on local communities and that it’s important to protect natural sites and cultural places. This growing awareness is steering families towards more intentional travel, where the aim is not just to 'see' a place, but to connect with its people, traditions, and way of life.


Family Values and Travel

A report by the Family Travel Association shows that 67% of families are interested in "experiential" vacations where they can learn something new together. This aligns perfectly with the concept of intentional family travel, where the journey is as enriching as the destination itself.


The Bottom Line

The shift from traditional to intentional travel is not just a trend but a reflection of evolving societal values. As travelers become more conscious of their impact and seek more meaningful experiences, the travel industry is responding with offerings that cater to this new, intentional way of exploring the world.


How to Start Your Journey Towards Intentional Family Travel

Embarking on a journey towards intentional family travel doesn't have to be overwhelming. In fact, it can be as simple as rethinking your approach to planning your next family vacation. Here are some steps to guide you:


  1. Identify Your Family Values: Before you even start looking at destinations, sit down as a family and discuss what values are most important to you. Is it sustainability, cultural immersion, or perhaps adventure?

  2. Research Mindfully: Once you have a clear understanding of your family values, start researching destinations and accommodations that align with those values. Look for places that offer opportunities for meaningful engagement with the local community or environment.

  3. Plan Activities with Purpose: Don't just fill your itinerary with tourist traps. Choose activities that will enrich your family's understanding of the destination. Whether it's a cooking class using local ingredients or a guided tour of historical sites, make each activity count.

  4. Engage Locally: Make an effort to spend time (and money) in local businesses. This could mean dining at a family-owned restaurant or buying souvenirs from local artisans. Your engagement can have a positive impact on the community you're visiting.

  5. Reflect and Share: After your trip, take some time to reflect on the experiences you've had. Share these reflections with your family and discuss what you've learned and how you can use those learnings to amplify your everyday life.


By taking these steps, you're not just planning a vacation; you're curating an experience that aligns with your family's values and desires. The result? A more meaningful, enriching travel experience that leaves a lasting impact, not just on your family, but also on the places and people you visit.


#familyvacation #intentionalfamilyvacation #familytrip #mindfultravel #responsibletravel #familytravelwriter

2 Kommentare


Bea Divine
Bea Divine
26. Okt. 2023

I'm a new mom so rethinking how I travel and explore the world has been a must! Amazing article!

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Justin Swanston
Justin Swanston
25. Okt. 2023

I never took the time to think of travel in this way. I also feel like traveling has become more available to everyone than our yester years. Overall there‘s so much fulfillment to obtain through travel and thank you for exploring it in this way.

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