More Spring Break Travelers Seek Active & Adventure or Off the Beaten Track Vacations, Say America’s Travel Leaders

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Travel Leaders travel agents prepare itineraries to meet the needs of shifting demographics and changing travel interests of their spring break clients.

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Spring breakers are steering away from past popular destinations.

For some, spring break season conjures up images of beach parties with college students; for others it’s a family vacation with teens or grade-schoolers exploring a theme park or enjoying a cruise. However, trends are shifting, according to travel agents at Travel Leaders – America’s largest retail travel agency brand with thousands of travel agents across the United States. Whether they are older students, multigenerational families, or Baby Boomers, the demographics of who travels for spring getaways, as well as where they go and what they want to do, are shifting.

“The preferred destinations for springtime travel typically shift over time. For example, Ft. Lauderdale was once the epicenter for spring break among college revelers after the 1960-released book and film announced the location in ‘Where the Boys Are.’ Today, it has reemerged as an upscale family-friendly spring destination,” said Roger E. Block, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network. “The same could be said for Cancun, which now offers a multitude of options appealing to families. With more than 30,000 hotel rooms in the city, many even have kids’ clubs and water parks. Emerging trends and shifting demographics is something our skilled Travel Leaders travel agent professionals stay on top of in order to help their clients seek an experience ideally suited for their lifestyle and interests.”

A recent report by AARP even shows that a high percentage of Baby Boomers (ages 53 to 71) prefer to travel for vacation in the spring (30% choose it first for international travel and 26% as second for domestic travel), compared to summer, fall, winter or the end-of-year holiday season. Travel Leaders agents say some Baby Boomers opt for multigenerational trips with their grandchildren, and thus are looking to vacation in spots less trafficked by the college set.

The shifting demographics of springtime travel are reflected in the activities and locations for the vacations offered by Travel Leaders agents, who describe some of the top trends they are seeing for spring 2017 travel:

  • Active & Adventure vacation. “I am finding that spring breakers are steering away from past popular destinations (Jamaica, Ft. Lauderdale, Cancun, South Padre Island, etc.). They are looking for more adventurous destinations than just the beach and pool bar,” said Nancy Cronin, with Travel Leaders in Nashua, New Hampshire. “For example, Costa Rica, St. Lucia, Barbados, and the Pacific coast of Mexico are top choices this year. I have also had requests for Canada due to the value of the U.S. dollar.” Besides the beach, these are great locations for the active set interested in hiking, horseback riding, jeep tours or underwater expeditions.
  • Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Mexico, which attracts more than 30 million people every year, remains a top spring destination, even for those looking for something totally different. “When you want to get off the grid and go where most people never go, then go to Zihuatanejo, Mexico. There are no traditional spring breakers here and no kids,” said Rey Alton, Travel Leaders, Houston, Texas.
  • All-Inclusive Cruises. Cruises are popular among spring travelers. American travelers taking a cruise roundtrip from a U.S. port – such as Ft. Lauderdale or Galveston that originates and terminates at the same port – are not required to have a passport. However, you’ll still want to bring a passport, advised Michelle Weller, a luxury travel specialist with one of Travel Leaders locations in Houston, TX. “I would never book anyone on a cruise without a passport. If they have to get off the ship for emergency medical attention in Mexico or the Bahamas and have to later fly home, they’ll need a passport.”
  • International Vacation without a Passport. Some travelers seek the flavor of an international trip without needing a passport. “This year in particular, we are seeing a lot of interest in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” said Terry Brennan of Travel Leaders in Marietta, Georgia. “Many of the spring break clients do not yet have a U.S. passport and these are truly exotic international destinations, yet part of the U.S. with no passport or visa required. The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have world class beaches, fabulous 5-star resorts and very diverse cultural and entertainment options to enjoy.”
  • Multigenerational Travel. The idea of spring travel is forever evolving. “I find spring vacationers are traveling with parents, grandparents and other family relations,” added Cronin. “Some have expressed an interest in renting a villa where they can all be together. The villa requests are usually for the islands – most recently St. Martin and Barbados.”
  • Cat Skiing. “The trend I see is that the families want to do a variety of activities. Besides skiing, they want snowboarding, and now Cat skiing, which is a form of guided backcountry skiing. Our clients from Oklahoma have no qualms about driving 10 to 11 hours to Santa Fe or Colorado for a vacation, but they still turn to us to help them plan their trip,” said Donna Cheek, of Travel Leaders in Oklahoma City. “We book horseback riding, fishing, skiing and other activities. Keystone, Colorado, is one I book consistently and Red River, New Mexico – mainly because it’s so easy to get to from Oklahoma. As for under the radar destinations: they would be Copper Mountain (Colorado), Santa Fe, Wolf Creek (Colorado), Alta in Utah, Lake Tahoe.”

“Travel Better” with Travel Leaders. Travel Leaders has many travel agent specialists who advise on the perfect vacation, domestically or internationally. To find a qualified travel agent or to find the nearest Travel Leaders location, visit TravelLeaders.com or call 800-335-TRIP (8747). #iTravel Better with @TravelLeaders.

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Travel Leaders is transforming travel with a name that boldly embodies our commitment to our vacation and business travel clients via a progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. As one of America’s top ten-ranked travel companies, Travel Leaders has assisted millions of travelers through our strong roots – the former Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates, TraveLeaders and Tzell Travel Group joined together in 2008 to form one of the industry’s fastest-growing and robust networks of travel agents. Travel Leaders Franchise Group can trace its beginnings to 1984 as the franchise system “Ask Mr. Foster Travel,” which itself was North America’s first travel agency chain established in 1888.

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