Deciding where to go on your next family vacation can be a stressful, divisive process. You want to go to Alaska, while your children are longing to get their hair braided in the Bahamas. By figuring out where kids really want to go on vacation these days, (even if your own kids don’t realize they have a preference), you can choose a kid-friendly destination that you will also enjoy.
Recent movies like “Madagascar” have children longing for adventure travel to exotic locales. While Madagascar itself may not be the most family-friendly destination, other options, such as Costa Rica or Kenya, can be surprisingly inexpensive and true cultural learning experiences. In Costa Rica, children can learn Spanish while exploring lush rainforests or erupting volcanoes, and parents can listen to calypso tunes while sipping on some of the best coffee in the world. Or in Kenya, the whole family can learn a bit of Swahili while watching and listening to the mass migration of the wildebeests in Kenya. Listening to the sounds of the rainforest or sleeping under the stars on safari is sure to be more interesting for both parents and children than a third trip to Disneyland.
Many children and adults also find trips to Eastern cities, such as Beijing, Seoul or Bangkok, true adventures, and travelers young and old are seeking the East in increasing numbers. Seeing the Great Wall or the Terracotta Warriors of Xian in person is ten times more memorable than a trip to Epcot, and children can learn about different cultures in person—experiencing first-hand different foods, different money, and a different way of life. Trips to the East can be surprisingly inexpensive with the airplane flight usually being the most expensive part of the trip. Entry to the country, however, may require passports or a visa, so planning your trip well ahead of time is critically important.
European locales, such as Italy, are popular, if increasingly expensive, trips for children. Wealthy and industrialized Western European countries will certainly offer more family friendly discounts and amenities than more exotic destinations, such as Kenya or China, but children will still enjoy the opportunity to experience a different culture. Families can explore Italy’s history in the ruins of Pompeii, Italy’s culture on a Gondola ride in Venice, or Italy’s mouthwatering cuisine with a sweet Gelato in a park in Florence. Some families of Western European ancestry enjoy trips to countries like Italy because of the opportunity it offers both them to explore their ethnic roots.
Soaking up the sun, playing in the sand, and swimming in deep blue water, such activities hold immense appeal for many families. Reachable by either plane or ship, the Caribbean offers a number of island vacation options that will have sun, sand and water in blessed abundance. Jamaica, for example, possesses a natural beauty that can be breathtaking in its grandeur and magnitude. From white sandy beaches to black volcanic mountains to deep red sunsets that fill the sky, the island’s aesthetically pleasing nature and laid-back attitude appeal to a multitude of tourists, both young and old. Children can swim and hike to their hearts’ content, while parents can listen to reggae and play online casino. Jamaica’s national motto is “Out of Many, One People,” and tourists to the island revel in the unique personality of the Jamaican people and Jamaica’s environmental diversity.
American’s fiftieth state, Hawaii, also offers sun, sand and water in abundance, and tourists young and old flock to the islands every year to sample some of the natural abundance. Hawaii offers every imaginable summer sport or water activity from surfing and scuba diving to whale-watching and swimming with the dolphins. Hawaii’s unique volcanic geology offers both an educational experience for children and a breathtaking sight for the whole family; for example, families can hike on Kilauea Volcano and watch molten lava pour into the sea. Kids can even take some volcanic rock back home for a souvenir.
Wherever you decide to go on your next family vacation, don’t limit yourself to the tried and true. Find a destination that will be stimulating and fulfilling for both you and your children. Finally, remember that even the most fascinating locale can be stressful or boring without proper planning, so do your research.