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Jul/Aug 2013 Issue

Kids’ best memories: vacations

In case you’re wondering if the money and time spent planning those family vacations are worth it, the answer–according to the U.S. Travel Association–would be yes.

Children polled as part of the association’s family vacation survey replied that memorable things happen while on family vacations (90 percent), and that they got to spend quality time with their grandparents (78 percent). Family vacations help bring people together, and 60 percent of the kids said they feel closer to grandparents after spending time together on vacation.

Does the experience stick with children? Apparently, it does, as 65 percent said they reminisce about what they did with their grandparents, and nine out of 10 answered that some of their best memories are from family vacations

Healthy hotels top spa trends

Hotels are embracing the health/wellness trend in travel, adding healthy meals to menus, and opening on-site spas, according to a global spa trend by SpaFinder. Health-focused clients are finding walking/jogging maps at Westin hotels and “Stay Well Rooms” at the MGM Grand.

Another trend known as “earthing” is bringing urbanites back to nature with barefoot spas and different lodging options, such as tree houses.

And more men are seeking cosmetic treatments and procedures at spas. “Brotox” getaways are increasingly popular at spas for men only.

Children surveyed by the U.S. Travel Association said they enjoyed spending quality time with grandparents on vacation. Disney Cruise Line photo


Special travel to Israel growing

Travel to Israel for many years has appealed to people interested in archaeology and religion, but specialized travel–or niche travel–is growing in popularity.

“The market for niche travel to Israel is very strong,” said Dan Manor, spokesman for the Israel Ministry of Tourism’s Western Region. “Food and wine, adventure tours, spas, cycling–even bird watching–all are popular options.”

Leading the specialized interest groups by far is religious travel. A study last year conducted by TravelStyles that was commissioned by Globus indicated than 16 million people describe themselves as “potential religious travelers,” an increase from 2007.

While faith-based tours to Israel look at the country’s many biblical sites, they can provide more to travelers. Discovering the country’s hot springs and mineral baths–some of which have been touted since ancient times–appeals to travelers interested in spa or wellness travel, and is a natural add-on for pilgrims seeking religious experiences in Israel.

Outdoor adventurers may choose hiking, biking, climbing, or diving the diverse terrain. More than 200 wineries in Israel wait for food and wine lovers.

If Israel is one of your once-in-a-lifetime vacation dreams, AAA and General Tours offer an eight-day Holy Land tour that takes in highlights such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. See your AAA Travel professional for more information or visit

Jerusalem’s Old City with the Holy Sepulcher looking northeast toward Mount Scopus. Israeli Ministry of Tourism photo

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