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Taking the Kids: Spending New Year's with the penguins and whales in Antarctica

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Obviously, a trip like this is for very well-heeled families (it's more than $50,000 for a family of four). But these families say they would rather have experiences than "stuff." Others are celebrating -- a recovery from cancer, a graduation, a retirement.

And when it comes to a place like Antarctica, they are anxious to see it before more of it disappears. That includes young adults who increasingly travel with their parents.

"The Best Christmas morning ever," said Sydney Beal, 21, from Minneapolis. She and her sister, Kyndall, 18, had told their parents a few years ago that they'd prefer experiences rather than holiday gifts. "We could never think of anything we wanted," she explained. "We prefer doing something instead of opening a bunch of presents."

"You can have presents anytime," said Conrad, 12. "But you can't ever see so many penguins like this."

Everyone, however, was happy to welcome Santa, who arrived via Zodiac.

These families may have been wealthier than others who travel, but their sentiments aren't dissimilar. At our recent TMS Family Travel Conference, research from MMGY's Portrait of the Family Traveler found that not only are millennial families traveling and spending more than their peers who don't have kids, they are also traveling farther afield. More than half of those surveyed said they took an international trip in the past year and more than 60 percent plan to do so in the coming 12 months.

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That may be why Abercrombie & Kent is hosting 40 kids on their holiday Antarctica trip this year -- more than last year -- and reports that bookings are up on family trips in 2018 to Kenya and Tanzania and Family Japan and Family Australia are significantly ahead of the same time last year.

"Boom!" An avalanche of ice and snow falls from one of the peaks and lands in the water with a gigantic splash.

Happy New Year!


(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow "taking the kids" on, where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments.)



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