Wherever Awards 2019

by Kimberly Krol

Sep 1, 2019
Features

YOUR FAMILY MAY LOOK DIFFERENT than your next-door neighbor’s, and it’s likely your son or daughter’s best friend at school has another type of family configuration. While today’s families come in a variety of shapes and sizes, wanderlust and the desire to see and experience different destinations and cultures through travel are as universal as the concept of family. The team behind Global Traveler and Trazee Travel recognized the need for a trusted travel source for the modern family when we debuted whereverfamily.com in 2017, and now, two years later, the web publication continues to deliver daily content across a range of topics, bringing a worldwide focus to family travel no matter the makeup of the family, its income bracket or the ages of a family’s members.

In that same vein, families seek to find the best of the best when it comes to travel providers, knowing if they want a family vacation to go off without a hitch, these are the companies they need to use. As such, we asked, and our whereverfamily.com readers answered, naming the absolute best in the world of family travel in this year’s Wherever Awards, now in its second year. WhereverFamily conducted an online survey of its readers Sept. 1, 2018–March 31, 2019, with openended questions for the best in many categories important to family travelers. Only those questionnaires with 50 percent or more of the questions answered were counted. Entries from employees of the web publication and individuals associated with the travel industry were not accepted.

Without further ado, we present to you the winners and offer congratulations to those travel companies and destinations earning accolades from family travelers.

Let’s start with the (family-) friendly skies and say “Way to go!” to our airline winners. American Airlines nabs the top spot as Best Family-Friendly Domestic Airline, while TAP Air Portugal secures its second consecutive win as Best Family-Friendly International Airline. Air Canada wins for Best Family-Friendly Airline in North America, and its Aeroplan program wins for Best Family-Friendly Frequent-Flyer Program. If you’re taking a good, oldfashioned family road trip or just looking for reliable transportation around the locale you’re visiting, Avis is driving away with its second win as Best Family-Friendly Rental Car Company.

Families in transit can spend a lot of time in the airport, and it’s important the facility’s family-friendly amenities can entertain excited, anxious kids and give frazzled parents a break. Here are the airports guaranteed to be a win for your family: Pittsburgh International Airport wins Best Family-Friendly Domestic Airport; Singapore Changi Airport nabs the Best Family-Friendly International Airport title for the second year in a row; Dubai International Airport wins Best Family-Friendly Airport Shopping, two years running; and another two-time winner, Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is Best Family- Friendly Airport Dining.

You’ve arrived, and it’s time to get the real fun started. Consider these family-friendly options for your next getaway with the clan. For the second year in a row, The Ritz-Carlton takes home the top prize of Best Family-Friendly Hotel Chain, while Wyndham Hotels & Resorts takes its first-time win for Best Family- Friendly Resort Chain. Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, Bahamas appears twice on the survey, including a twotime Best Family-Friendly Hotel Kids Club win and a nod as Best Family-Friendly Individual Hotel.

Revamped and ready to help your family rack up rewards, Marriott Bonvoy is this year’s Best Family- Friendly Frequent-Stay Program. Kids and adults alike will find endless entertainment at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa, Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Hotel, while even the four-legged family members will be doggone happy at Fairmont Hotels, Best Family-Friendly Pet Hotel.

Where to go? What tour company to use? Ever think about sailing there? The rest of the categories in this year’s survey answer those questions and more. American Airlines Vacations is this year’s Best Family-Friendly Vacation Company, while Adventures by Disney claims its second nod as Best Family-Friendly Domestic Tour Company. On the international side of things, National Geographic Vacations earned Best Family-Friendly International Tour Company. Lindblad Expeditions takes home its second nod as Best Family-Friendly Travel Provider of the Year.

Disney racks up its second accolade, this time for Disney Cruise Line, Best Family-Friendly Cruise Line. If you’re looking to take the entire family to sail the seven seas, from the youngest to the oldest member, opt for two-time Best Family-Friendly MultiGen Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises. New to the survey this year but seriously important for traveling families: Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Ocean wins for Best Family-Friendly Cruise Line Kids Club.

As parents know, getting there and enjoying the time away are only parts of the process. There’s also the allimportant trip payment. But dollars spent can be dollars earned, and our readers voted two credit cards as the best for accumulating points: United Explorer Card from Chase, Best Family-Friendly Credit Card, and Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa, Best Family-Friendly Credit Card Rewards Program.

Italy, a dream destination for many, makes two appearances this year, winning Best Family-Friendly International Destination and Best Family-Friendly MultiGen Destination of the Year. Here in the United States, Philadelphia was dubbed Best Family-Friendly Domestic Destination, and the Bahamas wins Best Family-Friendly Caribbean Island for the second year in a row. Keep the kids entertained at Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio, Best Family-Friendly Amusement Park, or at Great Wolf Lodge, Best Family-Friendly Waterpark.

It can be a challenge to delight hard-to-please kids and discerning adults, but these winners prove they’re not only up to the challenge, they’re also exceeding expectations. Earning kid-tested and parent-approved accolades is no small feat. Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Wherever Awards!

WINNERS’ CIRCLE

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY DOMESTIC AIRLINE
1. American Airlines
2. Delta Air Lines
3. Hawaiian Airlines
4. United Airlines
5. Alaska Airlines

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY AIRLINE IN NORTH AMERICA
1. Air Canada
2. American Airlines
3. Delta Air Lines
4. United Airlines
5. Alaska Airlines

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE
1. TAP Air Portugal
2. Delta Air Lines
3. Alaska Airlines
4. Air New Zealand
5. American Airlines

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY FREQUENT-FLYER PROGRAM
1. Air Canada Aeroplan
2. United MileagePlus
3. American Airlines AAdvantage
4. Delta SkyMiles
5. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOTEL CHAIN
1. The Ritz-Carlton
2. Holiday Inn Club Vacations
3. Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
4. Westin Hotels & Resorts
5. Sheraton

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY RESORT CHAIN
1. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
2. Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
3. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
4. Crowne Plaza
5. Westin Hotels & Resorts

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY INDIVIDUAL HOTEL
1. Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, Bahamas
2. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World
3. Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
4. LEGOLAND Feriendorf, Gunzburg, Germany
5. Beaches Negril Resort & Spa, Jamaica

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY FREQUENT-STAY PROGRAM
1. Marriott Bonvoy
2. IHG Rewards Club
3. Wyndham Rewards
4. Loews First
5. Hilton Honors

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY ALL-INCLUSIVE HOTEL
1. Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa
2. Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
3. Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmerelda, Mexico
4. Club Med Pragelato Vialattea, Italy
5. Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Costa Rica

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY PET HOTEL
1. Fairmont Hotels
2. The Peninsula Hotels
3. Westin Hotels & Resorts
4. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
5. Sheraton

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOTEL KIDS CLUB
1. Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, Bahamas
2. The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado
3. Club Med, Sandpiper Bay, Florida
4. Sea Island, Georgia
5. Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY VACATION COMPANY
1. American Airlines Vacations
2. United Vacations
3. SAA Vacations
4. Delta Vacations
5. Holiday Inn Vacation Club

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY DOMESTIC TOUR COMPANY
1. Adventures by Disney
2. National Geographic Vacations
3. REI Adventures
4. Trafalger
5. Intrepid Travel

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL TOUR COMPANY
1. National Geographic Vacations
2. Lindblad Expeditions
3. Classic Journeys
4. Thomson Family Adventures
5. Austin Adventures

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY CRUISE LINE
1. Disney Cruise Line
2. Holland America Line
3. Viking Ocean Cruises
4. Princess Cruises
5. Celebrity Cruises

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY MULTIGEN CRUISE LINE
1. Silversea Cruises
2. Celebrity Cruises
3. Viking Ocean Cruises
4. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
5. Royal Caribbean

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY CRUISE LINE KIDS CLUB
1. Royal Caribbean Adventure Ocean
2. Norwegian Cruise Line Splash Academy
3. Disney Cruise Line Oceaneer Club
4. Carnival Cruise Line Camp Ocean
5. Princess Cruises Camp Discovery

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY CREDIT CARD
1. United Explorer Card from Chase
2. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
3. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card
4. Chase Sapphire Preferred
5. Citi AAdvantage MasterCard

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY CREDIT CARD REWARDS PROGRAM
1. Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa
2. Royal Caribbean Bank of America Visa
3. Delta SkyMiles American Express
4. Princess Cruises Visa Signature Card
5. Disney Premier Visa

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION
1. Italy
2. Africa
3. Fiji
4. London
5. Costa Rica

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY DOMESTIC DESTINATION
1. Philadelphia
2. Orlando
3. California
4. Washington, D.C.
5. Texas

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY CARIBBEAN ISLAND
1. Bahamas
2. Grand Cayman
3. Curaçao
4. Aruba
5. St. Lucia

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY MULTIGEN DESTINATION OF THE YEAR
1. Italy
2. South Africa
3. Ireland
4. Patagonia
5. Mexico

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY AMUSEMENT PARK
1. Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
2. Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Orlando
3. Universal Studios Hollywood
4. Sesame Place, Langhorne, Pennsylvania
5. Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY WATERPARK
1. Great Wolf Lodge
2. Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
3. Aquatica by SeaWorld
4. Zoombezi Bay, Columbus, Ohio
5. Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Orlando

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY RENTAL CAR COMPANY
1. Avis
2. Hertz
3. Sixt
4. National Car Rental
5. Budget

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY TRAVEL PROVIDER OF THE YEAR
1. Lindblad Expeditions
2. National Geographic Vacations
3. REI Adventures
4. Thomson Family Adventures
5. Ecoventure Family Cruises

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY DOMESTIC AIRPORT
1. Pittsburgh International Airport
2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
3. San Francisco International Airport
4. Chicago O’Hare International Airport
5. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
1. Singapore Changi Airport
2. Munich Airport
3. Hamad International Airport, Doha
4. Incheon Airport
5. Frankfurt am Main Airport

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY AIRPORT DINING
1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
2. Chicago O’Hare International Airport
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
4. George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston
5. Dubai International Airport

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY AIRPORT SHOPPING
1. Dubai International Airport
2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
3. Hamad International Airport, Doha
4. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
5. Singapore Changi Airport

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Barrio Alto district in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Giuseppemasci | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 15, 2019

Hotel Barrio Alto Opens in Former Lisbon Palace

Two years ago, an 18th-century palace in the center of Lisbon closed for construction — the building is ready to re-open as a luxury boutique hotel.

© GNTO

The Island of the Knights

Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

© Ukrphoto | Dreamstime.com

News
Sep 15, 2019

Cunard Launches Exclusive Musical

Cunard premiered the musical Top Hat aboard Queen Victoria last week. Next week, the musical premieres aboard Queen Elizabeth. The musical is slated to appear exclusively on Cunard ships for the next four years.

Lufthansa. Photo: Alexander Efisko | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 15, 2019

Lufthansa Launches Innovative Carbon Offset Program

Lufthansa is starting an innovative new carbon offset program, Compensaid, which will allow customers to purchase CO2 neutral aviation fuels. The platform allows customers to replace the fossil fuel of their flights with sustainable aviation fuel.

To New Heights

United Airlines announces a number of new routes.

Desert. Photo: Galyna Andrushko | Dreamstime.com

Daily
Sep 15, 2019

Shop New Desert-Inspired Capsule Collection From The Luxury Collection

The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.

LG Pay. Photo: Piotr Swat | Dreamstime.com

LG Pay

Feature
Sep 14, 2019

Hawaiian Airlines. Photo: Ajdibilio | Dreamstime.com

© Brett Critchley | Dreamstime.com

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas. Photo: Jason P Ross | Dreamstime.com

Santa Monica, California. Photo: Tupungato | Dreamstime.com

© GNTO

The Island of the Knights

Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

Google Search. Photo: Viorel Dudau | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 13, 2019

Google Expands Price Comparison Tool

Google announced last month it added additional features to its price comparison tool. The tool helps users plan trips and compare rates. The new features include one that shows whether the price of a planned flight plus accommodations is low, average or high.

© VanderWolfImages | Dreamstime.com

News
Sep 13, 2019

Singapore Airlines Begins Non-Stop Service Between Singapore, Seattle

Singapore Airlines launched its non-stop service between Singapore (SIN) and Seattle (SEA), Sept. 3. Seattle is Singapore Airlines’ fourth U.S. destination following Los Angeles (LAX), New York (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO) to receive non-stop service to and from Singapore.