What the “Long-Term Family Travel” Niche Means for Travel Advisors
Extended family travel was already on the rise, driven by the inspiration of influencers like The Bucket List Family and Four Around the World. The trend of living abroad for a short time or taking a family gap year is easier with more and more people working from home or pursuing an entrepreneurial lifestyle. And now, in the wake of COVID-19, many companies are giving their employees the technology and flexibility to work wherever. If you can swing it, a work-while-you-travel lifestyle is really, really appealing.
Long-term family travelers are a great opportunity for travel advisors to step in with professional help. The reward is building a great, loyal relationship with your clients. We’ll talk later about how a travel advisor can uniquely position themselves to reach this market. But first, what exactly is long-term family travel?
What is “long-term family travel?”
There is a range of lifestyle choices that the term “long-term family travel” encompasses. This might include a family spending a summer in Paris, while still maintaining a permanent residence in the United States. Or it might include a family selling everything and living a more nomadic life as they travel around the world. And still, other families choose to take a family gap year with a more intentional goal such as volunteering abroad or giving their children a rich learning experience through travel.
Work-from-home trends make family travel easier
The Amex Trendex, a consumer trend report by American Express, recently included two statistics that may hint at more growth for this niche. 67% of consumers said they would prefer to travel with members of their households once restrictions lift. On the other hand, only 10% said they would prefer to go alone.
Secondly, the Amex Trendex reported that 50% of consumers would be willing to live elsewhere for a year if they had the economic means to do so. This might indicate that, while people are eager to travel, they would prefer a slower pace. Travelers may feel more comfortable settling into one place for a long period of time rather than sightseeing all over the globe.
Meeting the needs of the long-term family travelers
Long-term family travel is a unique and new market, just waiting for a travel professional with the right set of skills!
The needs of families living abroad are much different than your tourist groups, honeymooners, or solo travelers. Long-term family travel is a unique and new market, just waiting for a travel professional with the right set of skills! There are many services you to consider offering to your families. Some of these, such as airfare or travel insurance, are absolutely imperative services to provide. Others, like budget assistance, might be optional depending on what you want to offer. Since it is such a new market, there is lots of flexibility for you to explore what is truly a useful service and what is best left the clients to sort through on their own.
Below are just a few things to consider:
- Round trip airfare or one-way?
- Travel insurance
- Will their travel insurance allow them to extend past 12 months if needed?
- Assistance shipping items abroad
- Cheaper to ship or buy new things at the destination?
- Visa guidance
- Making living arrangements
- Making education arrangements for children
- Will they attend an international school?
- Will they do tutoring or homeschool?
? Pro Tip: Check travel insurance aggregator, Yonder, for finding the perfect, custom insurance plans.
The role of the travel advisor in this niche
Extended family travel is an amazing niche for travel advisors who love to build long-term relationships with clients. Your role as their go-to source of information doesn’t stop after you initially get them abroad. Even if they are moving abroad for a season, many families like to return home to visit relatives over the holidays. Many gap year families keep their US-based jobs while they travel. In these cases, you might also be assisting them with return flights for business meetings or company events.
If the long-term family travel market interests you, it is helpful to have experience both with gap years and family travel yourself. Even study or work abroad experiences are extremely helpful in understanding the needs of this niche. There is a lot to learn, but it is very rewarding!
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