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Why Polar Expeditions Make the Best Family Adventure Vacations

5 min read

Ahh, family vacation. Can't you just hear the little munchkins playing together nicely, remembering their manners and giving their work-weary parents ample time to unwind and enjoy each other's company?

OK, stop laughing.

Mother And Daughter pictured hiking in Antarctica. Photo: Grange Productions

Mother And Daughter pictured hiking in Antarctica. Photo: Grange Productions

There's a reason that movies like the National Lampoon's Vacation series were such a hit. As those beloved Griswolds showed us, family vacations are typically anything but relaxing! Even when you take the time and effort to find the best family vacation spots, read the reviews, whittle down your choices and book your trip, traveling with kids usually means more work for Mom and Dad.

Now, that's not to say you shouldn't travel as a family – not at all! Savvy travelers have learned that the best family vacations offer something for everyone, young and old alike. Adventure travel is particularly beneficial for families, and what better place to explore and experience together than the most remote, pristine places on the planet? Here are 5 reasons polar expeditions really do make the best family adventure vacations:

Vacationing Is Good for the Soul – Science Says So

The personal and societal benefits are real: people are happier and more relaxed while on vacation. Yet researchers have found that few people retain that happiness post-trip. What gives? It's entirely possible that typical vacations, while they remove you from the daily grind for a short time, have no lasting benefit because eventually you're plunked back into your routine, the same as when you left it.


Adventure travel has the potential to change your perspective. Pushing your limits physically and mentally can create a strong sense of accomplishment that lasts long after the plane touches down and the bags are put back in the closet.

Traveling Provides Great Bonding Time

Andrew White and Allie at Arctic Watch

An awesome group aptly named Project Time Off, which campaigns for Americans to start being kinder to themselves by taking vacation, recently found that almost three-quarters of survey respondents suffer stress at work. What's more, they found that more than 90 percent of people recognize the importance of taking paid time off, as it helps make them happier both in the workplace and at home.This time away is critical for families. We live in an age when cell phones and tablets may be a child's only company at the dinner table – we're just so busy! A recent survey by Disney Parks found that family vacation time brought families closer together and made 75 percent of respondents feel more relaxed, while 68 percent felt more silly and 54 percent experienced greater feelings of affection.

Parents Need a Break – No, Really

In some cases, we're working ourselves into an early grave. Women who don't take vacations are 8 times more likely to develop heart disease, according to the Framingham Heart Study.

A 2000 study of 12,000 men over a 9-year period found that men who failed to take annual vacations had a 21 percent higher risk of death from all causes and were 32 percent more likely to die of a heart attack.

The health benefits of adventure travel are real. Expeditions to the Arctic or Antarctica offer plenty of walking, hiking and Adventure Options to keep the entire family active. Taking a trip to the Polar Regions can be a great way to kick-start your family's journey to a healthier lifestyle, especially on a ship like Ocean Endeavour, the first health- and wellness-focused ship in Antarctica.

A 10-, 11- or 12-day Antarctic Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent expedition on board Ocean Endeavour offers a variety of Adventure Options, like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and cross-country skiing for parents, with exciting and interesting shore landings for the whole family.

Expeditions Are a Chance to Unplug & Unwind

The U.S. Travel Association notes that family vacations in 1975 typically lasted 1 week, while in 2010, they lasted a mere 3.8 days. We're only giving ourselves half a week to bond and relax together.

We can change that. A societal shift needs to happen, but it can be done. Staycations are nice for a quick getaway, but some of the best family vacation spots are way off the beaten path. Immersing yourselves in a completely new environment means that you can really get off the grid, get out of your collective comfort zone and put some distance between your family and its normal routine.

It's not possible for everyone to pull the kids out of school and take off work for several weeks at a time, but don't let that stop you. Convenient charter flights over the legendary Drake Passage take days off the crossing time, and with our Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake itinerary, we can have you and your family experiencing all Antarctica has to offer in just 7 or 8 days. Itineraries are offered on board Sea Adventurer, or you can really relax by taking a fly/cruise on Island Sky, our all-suites, all-inclusive ship.

Expeditions Intrigue & Delight the Whole Family

Each Quark Expeditions® polar cruise offers a top-quality, immersive educational program led by polar experts. One day, you may be chatting with a penguinologist who's en route to Antarctica to do research. The next, you could see a fascinating presentation led by a marine biologist about the types of marine life you can expect at your next destination.

Imagine traveling with world-class experts in their fields while exploring – alongside them – the most remote and unique regions on earth.

Gold Harbour, South Georgia- Photo by David Merron

If that doesn't bring the family together and capture the interest of even the most reclusive teen, what will?

Check out our Ways to Save page to explore how you can save on exciting voyages to the Arctic and Antarctica, and the many trip options to customize your vacation of a lifetime.

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