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Travel dreams come true for 10,000 'wish kids'

Hawaii was among the kids' top travel choices. Photo by Bob Schulman.

If kids could get a free trip to anywhere they wanted to go, where would they go? The answer comes from the folks at Make-A-Wish, an organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Make-A-Wish took a look at the 10,000 trips made by the foundation’s “wish kids” and their families last year and came up with this report on the places they most often opted to go.

Six of the 10 destinations topping the kids’ travel choices were in the U.S., starting with the home of Walt Disney World at Orlando in the No. 1 slot. Next was Hawaii, followed by the Los Angeles/Orange County area. Islands in the Caribbean ranked No. 4 above (in diminishing order) New York City, San Diego and France.

No. 8 was Italy, followed by Australia and Alaska.

“Each child’s wish is an experience that can give them the drive to beat their illness... A wish-come-true can help them feel better and, in some cases, get better,” said David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “Whether it is traveling to Los Angeles to meet their favorite celebrity or a trip to Maine to see snow for the first time, it can be a life-changing experience for everyone involved.”

Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the U.S. and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 38 minutes. It has granted more than 240,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 14,000 in 2013 alone.

Frequent flyers willing to donate airline miles to help make the kids’ travel wishes come true can get more info on Make-A-Wish’s "Wishes in Flight" page on the foundation’s website.

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