Taking your children travelling to other countries is one of the most valuable things you can do for them. Life-affirming, educational not to mention fun. Taken out of their comfort zones, young people learn so much about the big wide world, its many flavours, foibles and faces. Ideally too, parents will be able to put their responsibilities aside for a spell and focus on the moment, rather than work pressures or dreary domestic matters. Plus, looking back, it’s the holidays people remember most clearly as they get older, while whole years of school and work can seem to whiz by in a great big blur.
So, bearing in mind your children’s interests and tastes, as well as your own preferences, what sort of adventures can you go on with your kids that offer more than just a resort with a baby-sitting service? Not to say that kind of holiday doesn’t have a place but, how exciting would it be to get your family off their devices and off the beaten track?
You never know what you and your family will discover.
Group holidays designed for families
There are numerous holiday companies operating around the world, taking guests on small group adventure holidays on every continent. But these tour parties are not just for adults, and many companies offer a variety of holidays for families too. Perhaps Asia is where you’d like to go, in which case you could try Cambodia where some itineraries include cycling, street markets, circus acrobats and temples. Or how about visiting Japan where you’ll ride in bullet trains and attend cooking classes? If Thailand is more up your alley, the jungles and elephants of Chiang Mai are sure to impress the most jaded junior. Merely the tip of the groovy package holiday iceberg, these sorts of adventures can give your children a taste of backpacking without any of the risks that you might have taken when you were footloose and fancy-free. And there’s every chance your group will include like-minded people who, over the course of the journey may become friends for life.
Charter a boat
Sailing between Vanuatu’s divine islands is the best way to get the family around and it’s so easy to charter a boat there, with or without a skipper and, if you’re feeling indulgent, it’s ever so simple to include a master chef as part of the crew. There is a broad range of vessels available for hire, whereupon the next decision you’ll have to make will be choosing a route. Vanuatu is an archipelago of such great beauty, countless pretty spots will vie for your attention. Many of the places you can moor are so pristine and uncrowded, you’ll feel as if you could be the first humans to see some of these coves. Whether you choose to visit the impressive volcano on Tanna Island or the sunken military wrecks that litter the seabed around Espiritu Santo, you will want to have your camera handy at all times. Swimming, snorkelling, fishing and cruising, this sort of vacation would be hard to beat so muster a few families together and embark on a maritime adventure, the memories of which you’ll treasure forever.
Lego is loved the world over with as many adults as children entranced by the small plastic bricks. Danish for ‘play well’, your love of Lego can be celebrated at various Legolands around the world which means, if you have a Lego fan in your household, this holiday is sure to knock their socks off. There are currently six Legolands to choose from; the original is in Denmark with others in Windsor (UK), Florida and California (USA), Malaysia and Germany. Several more Legolands are in the pipeline, including a resort that’s due to open in Dubai at the end of October. Famous for taking Lego to the next intoxicating level, these theme parks (complete with gentle roller coasters) are best suited to the under 11s, although older family members will also be sure to have plenty of fun.
Lend a Hand
If you’d rather your family getaway was more about giving than receiving, Google “Family Volunteer Holidays” and you will be spoilt for options. From Borneo to South Africa, Nepal to Peru, volunteer holidays are an extraordinary way to show your children more of the real world. Imagine telling the kids they’re going to be working with monkeys in South Africa, assisting with turtle conservation in Costa Rica or saving elephants in Thailand – there are numerous wonderful ways to make the world a better place while simultaneously having a fun learning holiday. Or to really open their eyes, you could also help to build schools, hospitals or orphanages. These are the sorts of experiences that will change a child’s worldview for good. But do make sure your travel insurance policy will provide cover for your specific situation and destination.
Don’t forget to play it safe because as much as you’ll take every possible precaution to keep you and your family safe while abroad, it’s also wise to think about travel insurance in the face of unexpected loss or illness. So be sure to investigate Worldcare’s low-cost, high quality travel insurance options for your next long distance trip.
Travel Writer and Worldcare Blogger
Elisabeth has what is known in the trade as a ‘portfolio career’. Upon discovering that law school wasn’t really her bag, she completed a degree in theatre and film at Victoria University, followed by a diploma in acting from The NZ Drama School: Toi Whaakari. After a couple of years playing Shortland Street’s notorious villain, the evil Nurse Carla, she became a breakfast radio host which required a lot less make up and marginally less bloodshed. From the late 90s wanderlust took over and she spent the subsequent decade travelling the world, taking on all manner of odd jobs during which time she discovered that her vocation was writing. Today Elisabeth writes about travel and leisure, arts and culture; she is also a regular contributor to Radio NZ National and an award-winning playwright.