By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, November 9th, 2008 at 6:29 am in Family Travel.
And we’re baaaack with travel guru Donna Airoldi of TravelMuse, to answer your family travel questions.
Dear Donna: Our children were so fired up by the Olympics this year that we made a commitment to take them in 8 years. Their ages for the 2016 Olympics will be 8, 10, 13 and 15, which we thought would be good.
How far ahead should a family of 6 start planning/booking an Olympic vacation, and what resources are there to assist us with the planning? – The Gebhardts, Lafayette
Donna says:The International Olympic Committee (IOC) wonâ€™t announce which city will be awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, until Oct. 2, 2009. But the four destination finalists are Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. Without knowing where the games will take place, you canâ€™t really start to make too many plans this far out, other than to begin saving for the overall trip, which, especially if in Tokyo, will up the costs considerably.
To stay on top of the decision, keep your eye on the official Olympic Games Web site . You also might be able to get some useful info at the U.S. Olympics site. As for specifics such as airfare and hotels, airlines usually donâ€™t start taking bookings that far in advance. Your best bet might be to go with an Olympics package provider or travel agent who specializes in such deals, who might have access to advance sales of air, hotel and even ticket availability.
To see what companies might be offering such deals, look for packages sold for the 2012 London games. But be careful. As a lot of people found with the Beijing games, not all online sites selling tickets or packages are reputable. Look for well-established companies, especially those that specialize in large sporting events, such as Road Trips and CoSport, to ensure reliability. Note that not all packages include airfare, so double-check before you book.
CoSport also is the official Web site for tickets to Olympic events, if you prefer to book your travel a la carte. Tickets for the 2010 Winter Games went on sale last week, less than 18 months prior to the games, so donâ€™t look for ticket sales for 2016 to start much before late 2014 or early 2015.
In the meantime, you can start reading up on the four destinations, and once the final one is selected, get your kids ready for the big event by introducing them to the history of the destination and the Olympics, figuring out which events you want to attend, as well as sights and non-Olympic events you donâ€™t want to miss while at the Games. Having just attended the Beijing Olympics, itâ€™s great to be caught up in the excitement and energy of the Games and all that goes on with it, but you also want to be sure to set time aside to take in the culture and sights of the destination in general.
Got a family travel question or want to add your thoughts? E-mail it to us or click â€ścommentsâ€ť and add it here. Interested in the last Q&A? Click here for Donnaâ€™s advice on camping with a special needs child, Oktoberfest, squeezing large families into small hotel rooms, and last minute trip ideas.