Top Family Travel Trends from the 2014 Travel Show

Our resident travel expert and Little Pim blogger Melissa Klurman hit the floor at the NYT 2014 Travel Show to find the “Next Big Thing” in travel for families. Here are a few of her favorite finds, just in time for summer vacation planning.

1. Croatia – Looking for an affordable European vacation destination without the crowds? Croatia, the newest member of the European Union (they joined in Septemer 2013), should be at the top of your list. The country has beautiful beaches lining the crystal blue Adriatic Sea, storybook Medieval cities, and great value for money. And for proof that Croatia is family friendly, look no further than Disney Cruises, which has added the picturesque walled city of Dubrovnik to all of its Mediterranean cruises.

2. TripWing – There are probably more travel apps available for download than raisins squished into your minivan, but this is one of the most innovative we’ve seen: It let’s you research and compare trip itineraries from travel tour operators and then book directly on the site. Currently, only 3 of the 30 tour operators on TripWing let you book directly without a travel agent. So now you can do your family travel research and booking completely on your own schedule (check out some of the offerings for family friendly Biking in France or Eco-Tourism in Costa Rica if you need an afternoon distraction.)

3. Jersey Shore – Proving they’re “Stronger Than the Storm,” New Jersey pulled out all the stops at the Travel Show to highlight their family friendly beaches as THE east coast destination to spend your summer vacation. If you’ve never been before, fly into Philadelphia and drive to lovely Cape May – kids love the historic lighthouse and you’ll be enamored of the Victorian architecture. Stay at historic Congress Hall, which offers beach chair and umbrella service along with chair-side waiter service.

4. Puerto Rico – Tropical beach fans should say Hola! to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico– their Travel Show stand highlighted not only their easy access (a short 3 hour direct flight from the NYC area), but also the fact that they’re a Commonwealth of the US, meaning you can visit without bringing a passport or exchanging currency. Once you arrive, you have your choice of white sand beaches, wonderful Latin culture, and a number of affordable family-friendly resorts (we especially like Copamarina Resort in Guanica on the southwest corner of the island).