As the year ends, the industry's top tour operators package their 2010 offerings and present them to would-be travelers. This year, along with stunning itineraries, many companies have compelling offerings to encourage early reservations.
Here are five trips guaranteed to tempt the travelers in your family:
1. Sign on for a Botswana safari. You'll get the chance to see a rare young black rhino in the wild, as well as springbok, oryx, giraffe, blue wildebeest and red hartebeest, cheetahs and the exceptionally large black-maned lions that roam the 12-million-acre Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Book your family into Boundless Journey's new camp in Botswana's remote Deception Valley or any of the outfitter's 2010 journeys by Dec. 31 and receive a 5 percent early booking savings.
Contact: 1-800-941-8010; www.BoundlessJourneys.com.
2. Jet to Jamaica's white beaches and Blue Mountains. When the temperatures drop, the vision of Jamaica's stunning white beaches and beautiful Blue Mountains gain added appeal. You and your family can mountain bike to waterfalls and raft the Rio Grande aboard traditional bamboo rafts. Snorkel, sunbathe and soak up the culture that Bob Marley made famous. If you are more inclined to enjoy the special mysteries of the Galapagos Islands, you'll enjoy a $300-per-person discount for bookings made before the end of 2009.
Contact: 1-800-451-6034; www.RowAdventures.com.
3. Visit Ted Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch in northern New Mexico. Through a joint venture with Turner Enterprises Inc., Off the Beaten Path offers an exclusive opportunity to visit the largest contiguous private ranch in the United States. Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch covers almost 590,000 acres, providing a sprawling sanctuary from which to view native wildlife in a nearly untouched setting. During your five-day exploration, the entire property will be reserved for your family and a small number of fellow guests. Wildlife, nature, culture and history resources are tapped to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience. Book before March 1 and receive a $200-per-person discount. Some restrictions apply.
Contact: 1-800-445-2995; www.offthebeatenpath.com.
4. Explore Ecuador. The colonial cities of Quito and Cuenca, the Andes Mountains and the Amazon rain forest serve as backdrop for an exploration of this charming South American country. Your kids will love the challenge of balancing an egg on a nail while straddling the equator. Learn about Incan ruins and visit sacred waterfalls. Observe nearly 2,000 species of birds. Catch a zip line through the jungle and test your skills at weaving on a hand-loom. Ask about the company's impressive Rural Education and Development program. Myths and Mountains is offering a 5 percent discount off the land price for the first two people to sign up for any 2010 group departure date.
Contact: 775-832-5454; www.mythsandmountains.com.
5. Bike the world. Award-winning outfitter Austin-Lehman Adventures' 2010 offerings include 17 biking vacations throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada. You and your family can enjoy cycling through the Great Plains of South Dakota, beneath the Grand Tetons or through the Canadian Rockies. The company has also added hiking trips in France and the Canadian Rockies. Ask about early booking discounts.
Contact: 1-800-575-1540; www.austinlehman.com.