Traveling with your family is a great opportunity to strengthen your relationship, and you will make many shared memories. Traveling with kids (especially internationally) can give them an open minded sense of wonder and adventure that will last their lifetime.
Choosing a family-friendly destination is where it can get a little complicated, but you don’t have to go to travel agent school to find somewhere enjoyable. Here are a few questions you can use, to figure out which international destination is good for your family.
How old are your children?
The age and abilities of each family member are important, because you want it to be an enjoyable trip for everyone. Young kids might like puppet shows, while older children want bigger thrills. Your kids might enjoy a hiking trip in the Alps, but remember that a five year old can’t cover miles through the mountains like a teenager.
Consider the age range of your family, and try to find something in the trip for everybody. Younger children often enjoy interactive museums, theme parks and children’s shows. Older kids might enjoy archaeological sites, art museums, or outdoor activities. Teenagers often go for more thrilling activities or shopping.
What activities are available?
There are plenty of great places to see, so you need to consider the activities available. Paris and London have tons of museums – is that the type of thing your kids would enjoy, or do they get bored or restless in museums?
Beach resorts in the Caribbean will have snorkeling, sailing, or scuba diving available. Are your kids the adventurous type who would love this, or are they (or you) not water enthusiasts?
If you are staying in a resort, make sure they have plenty of family-friendly activities that everyone can participate in. If it’s all about the happy hours and nightlife, that’s not going to work well for a family. You don’t want anyone to feel left out.
What are the their interests?
To make your international vacation more fun, think about the special interests of each person. If your daughter loves dinosaurs, then Kaiserslautern, Germany has a open-air dinosaur park she’d love. If your son is fascinated by pyramids, then the Mayan ruins in Belize would be a hit.
It may be hard to find a destination that fits every person’s favorite things, but you can always make a vacation special by tailoring some key activities to their interests.
What do the reviews say?
Once you have some ideas for an international destination, then start reading reviews. People who write reviews are always sure to mention whether a place is good for families or not. Reviews can tell you which hotels are best for kids, and also tell you which restaurants are suitable for families.
Also, consider the timing, and make sure to notice when reviewers stayed there. This can make quite a difference. You probably wouldn’t want to take your children to Cancun during spring break, but it might be a good spot during the winter months.
What fits your budget?
Some popular travel locations may be family-friendly spots, but the costs are just too high. You need to figure out your travel budget in advance, and factor this into your destination selection. You want to be able to do all the fun things you’ve read about with your family, and that may not be possible if everything is outrageously priced.
Of course, you can adjust the cost to some extent by selecting different accommodations. If you’re going to Rome, you don’t need to stay at a luxury hotel when a smaller 2-star pensione could meet your needs. But if the family airfare to Rome is going to blow your budget to start with, then you won’t have as much left to enjoy the city once you get there.
Sit down and have a family discussion with your children. Ask them what they would like to do. Get a list of ideas and start researching. Keep discussing ideas with the family as you go through the process. This will help you choose something everyone will love, and get the kids excited about planning the trip. Then the best part – a fun family vacation abroad that you’ll all remember.