At OutThere, family travel isn’t something we’ve spent a lot of time covering. But with more and more OutThere travellers opting to have little ones these days (yes your Labradoodle counts too, although that’s a whole other story) – developing features on experiential journeys for modern families is something that’s high on our radar. We’ve spent a lot of time understanding the underlying complexities of travelling as an OutThere family, so we have been extra vigilant about reporting on family travel, only really working with the people who are equally empathetic to the needs of what the industry terms as an ‘unconventional family unit’ (although that statement in itself poses some challenges).
So you can only imagine that we are thrilled to introduce the world’s first tour operator focusing on experiential travel for parents with young children, two point four. And having had lengthy discussions with the brand’s founder and family travel enthusiast, Richard Liddle – we are confident, although through his own admission there is still a lot they proactively need to do and learn – that the company has gone some distance to cater to the needs of modern families.
As a start, two point four has launched three fun-filled journeys to offer parents a momentary escape from a life of dummies and diapers. Head to Bali for traditional Barong dance performances, get up and close (well, not too close) with South Africa’s majestic wildlife or take to the white waters of Costa Rica on a river rafting adventure – and don’t worry, the kids will be entertained with a cookie and tortilla cooking class back at the hotel. “People’s sense of adventure does not vanish because they have young children”, claims Richard. But it’s not only the parents getting their money’s worth. All activities, accommodation and restaurants have been carefully selected to provide a toddler-approved experience. What’s on offer, if you ask us, is a joyride to ignite a lifelong passion for travel for the next generation of experiential holidaymakers: think kayaking the Rio Frio River and Willy Wonka-style sampling sessions at an Indonesian chocolate factory!
two point four works with specially selected and curated partners who are stringent in their approach to diversity and training for staff and the company itself is committed “to delivering our product in a way that is welcoming and inclusive to all guests, no matter their background or community,” adds Richard. He went as far to tell us that one of his partners was able to share a revised diversity policy for members of the LGBT+ community, with specifics on addressing gender identity.
“I can assure you that they have taken steps to handle gender identity, how local laws and customs may be an issue and how to address this, operationally how to handle any issues and are making sure that their staff are comfortable and knowledgeable in these areas. Of course, the reality is that in some destinations there are heightened risks and we along with our partners are committed to ensuring that our travellers face no discrimination on any part of the trip we control and do encourage that individual passengers make themselves aware of local laws and customs in the destinations they choose to visit. We are always available for a discussion with individual passengers should there be any specific concerns,” says Richard.
There are more destinations down the pipeline, too – we can’t wait to find out more. From exploring Jordan’s mystic cultural heritage to dancing under the northern lights up in Norway, if your children are between two and five (older siblings are welcome too, this isn’t Home Alone), an adventurous escape with two point four might just strike the perfect balance between fun, thrills and authentic cultural immersion for your family – after all, the experiential route is one we’ve seen many a luxury property open up to its youngest guests, with parents positively thrilled to see their little ones learn and explore.
Sound intriguing? The first trips are scheduled for early 2020; and you might even bump into us. While no one in the team has kids of their own (although Cinta, our office news-hound may choose to differ), we’re proud ‘G-uncles’ and sure we would be welcomed too.
Photography courtesy of two point four