JOURNEYS INTERNATIONAL has always been a family business. Founders Joan and Will Weber had been teachers in the U.S. and abroad before starting the company in 1978 as a husband-wife team. They began accompanying family group trips in 1987 when their first child was a preschooler. Now their daughter Robin Pollak Weber is Director of the company. Their son Noah Weber is a teacher. Joan, Will, Robin and their senior staff in the U.S. and abroad -- all devoted family people -- personally design and review trips we offer in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific. The combined parenting and travel experience of the JOURNEYS staff will serve you well!
We bring you more than 30 years of experience in nature, culture and eco-tourism. We have helped hundreds of families visit most of the 60 destinations where we offer services. We cherish long-standing relationships with the people who will be hosting you. Because you're with JOURNEYS, they will welcome you as family friends.
We know that travel can be exotic, adventurous, whimsical and surprising, and at the same time, professional, comfortable and safe. We understand that for our trips to be successful they must be thoughtfully planned; and for our travelers to get the most out of their experiences, they must be well prepared. We provide adults and children with pre-departure packets that include background material and checklists. We believe that good planning does not mean over-scheduling. There need to be spaces of time for discovery and serendipity. We know that parents enjoy our trips when their kids are happy, and we know that kids are happy when they rest, eat well, and participate in engaging activities which stimulate their curiosity.
Family trips are not simplified or watered down versions of our general trips. Nor are they arbitrarily chosen departure dates of other itineraries. We've designed these trips to be special. They are very full, very active and very flexible. We do not expect all group members to do all the same activities, but neither do we impose age groupings. We look for opportunities to interact with local families, visit schools, try new games, sports, crafts or music. We try to have minimum stays of two nights in each location so you're not repacking daily. We favor accommodations with swimming pools where appropriate. We offer more frequent snacks and more options of familiar foods than on standard trips. While there may be opportunities for leisurely dining, we do not impose it. Family trips are timed to occur during school vacations.
We enjoy working with school-age children, teens, parents and grandparents. We set realistic and thoughtful minimum age guidelines for different trips. On many trips we can accommodate 5-year olds; for some trips we advise starting at 8 or 10. Don't let your teens talk you into leaving them at home. It's our experience that even teens who are reluctant to join the family are often the most enthusiastic trip participants. They can take advantage of the more adventurous options, and they bring the best spirit and best questions to the party. If you're looking to match your kids' ages, ask us who's already signed up, or consider being first and thereby setting the trip standard. Of course, part of the delight of a multigenerational trip is age mix.
On our calendar of JOURNEYS for Families you'll find a list of scheduled group departures open to adults with children. You may sign up as a twosome or as a larger unit. We are also happy to do custom trips for a single family, a group of families, or an extended family group. We've run trips as Family Reunions for as many as two dozen members.
Every day of your JOURNEYS trip will be full of new scenes, new people and new experiences of which you will be able to take full advantage. Because your trip logistics are all being handled for you, and you have the company of a highly-knowledgeable guide who lives in the destination you're visiting, you can make the most of all the opportunities. Your family may practice phrases of a foreign language while you shop in a local market. You may witness or even join in a cultural festival. And, in addition to the hands-on experiences, we give you educational souvenirs, we recommend readings, and we take you to museums and bookstores. We find that the learning continues long after the return home.
We do not attempt to segregate kids from adults. We do not provide kids' counselors. We do try to meet everyone's interests, even if that means forming and reforming subgroups to pursue certain activities. If every individual on a trip is engaged by their experiences and touched by what they see and do, a shared sense of group privilege emerges. And when adults and children all have the same new experiences — each for the very first time — the bond is magical and enduring.