Family travel is supposed to be about connecting with your kids and doing the things they enjoy while still getting time to pursue your own interests. This might mean a touching, smelling, seeing and meeting kind of vacation engaging with animals, cultures and activities.

You can ride a gondola, dance with the Massai, snorkel on a Barrier Reef, swim with dolphins in Hawaii and eat chocolate crepes on the Champs Elysees while still getting in a well deserved nap in somewhere. With a bit of know how, you can have the ideal vacation that takes things right out of the text books so they become real to the kids, plus give your family a lifetime of memories.

The basics

Family vacations tend to be at more of a leisurely pace but they can still go to the world’s most exciting and magical places. Choosing the right experience does require a bit of planning and research. Plus you need to consider individual family dynamics such as age, fitness level and interests. To make it fun, rewarding and affordable you should consider a place that offers a little bit for everyone and do some research and planning for the best deals.

For your family, a successful vacation might mean going to Disney World, an all-inclusive resort in Hawaii, a family ski vacation in Switzerland or a walking vacation in a national park in Australia. Or it might be more exotic like dog sledding in Alaska, taking on parts of the Camino trail in Spain, backpacking through India or a wildlife safari in Africa. Whatever you choose, the idea is to give every member of the family something to enjoy doing or seeing.

Options for beginners

If you’ve never really taken the family away on vacation before, consider going to a travel agent to help you sort out a package. Organized tours with other families can be a great opportunity for both parents and children to make new friends. They also take you to environments where there is history, culture and cuisine to soak up. The kids might love learning new words in another language and they should also love the new places and experiences. How much they love the food might be another matter on the other hand! With the security of an experienced team leader on hand, you can simply relax and enjoy the time together.

If you have never been away as a family before perhaps you should experiment with some overnight journeys first so you can work out the exact things you need, test out the camping gear, what activities work well, plus get your kids wired up for the real deal. Consider camping in a national park nearby before you take that road trip around the country or rent a beach house for a week on the nearest coast before you set off for Fiji.

Options for advanced

Tour operators also offer packages a long way from the typical child friendly vacation. They may be cruises, resorts and island visits or they could be adventure activities that include white water rafting or hiking.

Cruising vacations offer both a bit of fun and variety, plus they take you to interesting and often exotic places while the prepayment of meals and activities makes it very relaxing. There are usually plenty of activities on board plus the opportunity to visit multiple locations. Family ski vacations that include skiing, snow boarding and playing in the snow are perfect for those with an active outlet. While the non-skiers can enjoy day spas and shopping.

If that’s still too tame there are also operators that can organize home stays for you in Borneo, a trek with nomads through the Sahara, a trip down the Nile and so on. Or you could easily organize a do-it-yourself.

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