Looking to make up for lost time, or experiences you've missed out on with loved ones over the years? Well, according to Original Travel, these are two of the main factors behind the recent growth in one-on-one trips for family members or friends.
Bonding holidays are on the rise for 2024, according to the tailor-made holiday specialist. That's right, among the travel trends for 2024, you'll find these trips involving a parent and child, a grandparent and grandchild, a grown-up child and an elderly parent or all manner of other combinations taking a one-on-one trip together.
Such trips are often based on shared interests, like gardening or stargazing, or a desire to learn something together, like horse riding. They also provide a getaway from daily life and all its distractions, creating an environment to reconnect with your loved one, and nurture your bond.
This trend for one-on-one trips for just two family members can be attributed to promises that were made during the Covid-19 lockdowns that are now coming to fruition, and making up for time lost to the pandemic now normality has resumed.
Thinking of adding a bonding holiday to your 2024 bucket list? We’ve shared some inspiration for bonding holidays geared to a variety of interests below, including stargazing staycations in the UK and Christmas market trips in Europe and beyond.
Celebrate NYE in Amsterdam at an André Rieu concert with a music lover
There can be few things more festive than this year’s New Year Eve concert at the Ziggo Dome Arena in the Dutch capital, with native violinist and conductor André Rieu and his Johann Strauss orchestra performing trademark waltzes and enchanting melodies from opera, musicals, film and classical music.
There’ll also be appearances by a choir, soloists and special guests. Spending two nights in a sleek central hotel, you’ll also have plenty of free time to see the city in all its seasonal finery.
See the Swiss Alps in style with a train buff
The most famous of Switzerland’s mountain railways for its jaw-dropping Alpine views, the Glacier Express is one of the very best ways to see the Alps – and also the most civilised, with local cuisine and regional wines served to you at your table as you soak in the panoramic views from the train’s vast custom-designed windows.
Make a mini-break of it with a five-day trip including first-class tickets for the Chur to Brig section of the Glacier Express – the most scenic, taking you through the meadows and woodlands of the Rhine Gorge before ascending to the Oberalp Pass. Your hotel in lovely lakeside Interlaken has glorious Jungfrau mountain views, too. What's not to love?
Live as cowboys and cowgirls in the US Far West with horse-mad kids
Staying on a real-life American ranch might just be the ultimate family bonding holiday as you team up and gain confidence with the likes of bison-lassoing, stagecoach-riding, and geocaching over a week in Big Sur, Montana – as part of a two-week holiday that also includes a safari in Grand Teton National Park and watching iconic geysir Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone National Park.
Evenings at the ranch can be spent indulging in pure Americana with a spot of country dancing or the toasting of s’mores around the campfire.
Cruise the Christmas markets of Europe with a shopaholic
There’s no better place to get into the festive spirit than a Christmas market – and a Rhine river cruise allows you to take in several of the very best in Europe in a single trip. Perfect for lovers of local crafts and regional food in particular, the seasonal markets of Frankfurt, Koblenz, Cologne and Rüdesheim are as German as can be, immersing you in traditional sounds, sights and smells as you feast on the likes of Bethmännchen (a marzipan pastry) and Glühwein while picking up unique Christmas gifts to take home.
And when you’re all shopped out, your luxury vessel beckons you back aboard with its sauna and hot tub. Divine!
Relive your backpacking days in grown-up style with a keen traveller
If your budget travel days are over but you still yearn for far-flung adventures, a river cruise is a brilliant way of seeing several cities, regions or even countries in one holiday without constantly packing and unpacking, and wasting lots of time in airports or train stations.
A journey along the mighty Mekong through Vietnam and Cambodia, for instance, embraces 13 excursions to archaeological and historic wonders, among them the world’s largest temple complex, UNESCO-listed Angkor Wat. Other highlights include meeting children at a local school and receiving a water blessing from Buddhist monks. But there’s also plenty of scope to simply relax aboard your vessel with its pool deck and spa.
Dive into Italian cuisine with a passionate foodie
Emilia-Romagna stands out for its gastronomic heritage even in a country revered around the world for its food and wine. Known respectively for their balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese, and their bolognese sauce, the neighbouring cities of Modena and Bologna are this region’s culinary hotspots and a great place for foodie tours, cookery lessons and visits to wineries and other producers, all offering samples of their wares.
A six-day tour with stays in stylish hotels in both cities will also give you time to take in their historic sights, including Luciano Pavarotti’s one-time home, together with the modern Ferrari and Lamborghini museums.
Take a stargazer to marvel at Northumberland’s skies with an expert astronomer
An International Dark Sky Reserve, the Northumberland Dark Sky Park has some of the lowest light pollution in the UK, and at its observatories you can use state-of-the-art telescopes to ogle amazing constellations as well as listening to talks, taking part in workshops, and watching demonstrations.
Other local must-sees range from Hadrian's Wall, intriguing castles, and the gardens of the market town of Hexham with is Viking history, to local craft breweries. Your base for two nights will be a cosy pub that has won awards for sustainability.
Admire the Keukenhof Gardens in springtime with a keen horticulturalist
A visit to the world-renowned Keukenhof Gardens in all their spring glory is made all the more fascinating if you’re joined by Gardeners' World presenter and award-winning landscape designer Adam Frost, who also gives a talk and Q&A during this five-day Dutch waterways cruise.
Other unforgettable sights include the 19 icon windmills of the village of Kinderdijk and the tranquil inland bay of Ijsselmeer, while urban exploring will reward you with the canals and art museums of Amsterdam and the unique architecture of Rotterdam, including Europe's first ‘skyscraper’.
Attend Madeira’s Flower Festival with a garden lover
May is the perfect time to discover the lush volcanic island dubbed the 'floating garden of the Atlantic’, allowing you to join in with its much-fêted annual month-long celebration of flowers and plants – a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in local life and traditions.
A week’s stay here, in a five-star hotel with pools, also gives you the chance to discover the island’s famous subtropical islands, including the Palheiro, the Funchal Botanical Gardens and the Quinta do Arco Rose Garden.
Go Greek-island hopping with a bookworm
Sailing aboard a traditional four-masted ship rather than ferries, a tour of the Cyclades becomes a literary event with the presence of Victoria Hislop, some of whose novels have been set in the region. Stunning sights to take in here are the Monastery of the Apocalypse with its priceless icons and manuscripts, said to be where Saint John the Divine lived, and the cliff-clinging Monastery of Hozoviotissas in Amorgos.
There’s also the opportunity for beach time in Mykonos, Spetses and Turkey’s Camlimani Bay, and a day or two in Athens with its world-famous relics.
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