Find Your Way to the Perfect Family Vacation
Planning the perfect multi-generational vacation can be stressful, and yet the holidays are incomplete without gathering the tribe to celebrate with loved ones, food, and warmth. In our experience, o...
nce you get the family together in one place – be it Grandma’s house or a far-flung destination – all the stress of travel planning magically disappears, only to be replaced by the ultimate question: “Where should we go next time?” Thanksgiving is here now, but Christmas vacation is right around the corner, and Spring Break is just a few months away.
If The Shoe Fits…
Every family is different, so we started with something all travelers have in common: the shoes on our feet. Pick the essential footwear for your family trip and let us guide you to a great destination.
OK, let’s be real – you’re going to change your shoes a few times in the course of a day. Your sophisticated, hip family might start the day on the tennis court or in the gym, but by the time you hit the café for breakfast, you’ve packed the running shoes away because you’ve got to look good to go out. You’d feel at home just about anywhere with Internet access, but for this family trip you want a real experience. For those families who feel the “old world” still has some new tricks up its sleeve, we recommend checking out Paris or Rome. These perennial favorites provide a great mix of cultural and historical activities. Take the kids to the museums by day, and at night change into those dress shoes for a Michelin-star dinner and dancing. Expert traveler Paige, of All Over the Map, learned that small children prefer small museums:
We realized that the smaller museums of Paris were better suited to kids, and we decided to save the Louvre for a trip when they’re older.
Families looking for a stylish place to relax and take advantage of culture and beaches should check out Cartagena, Colombia, a resort destination for all generations.
Why vacation with the family if you’re going to be running around all the time sightseeing and coordinating transportation for the whole gang? If you’re asking this question, then a laid back beach vacation may be in the cards. In the winter months, you can’t beat a family trip to the Caribbean – Just ask America’s favorite TV family, the Kardashians. The camera-loving clan has recently spent time in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, and this is a situation where we totally understand what they’re thinking. Amazing beaches and a leisurely island vibe make these islands the perfect destinations to bring family together. For those who want to kick it old school like the Kennedys, wait for warmer weather, then bring the extended family to Cape Cod, where New England charm meets the beach. The water may be colder than in Central America, but the kids will love playing “who can stay in the longest.”
The flip-flop family may be your crew’s polar opposite. To you, vacation doesn’t mean you have to sleep in. After all, with whole days away from work and school there’s so much more time for fun activities. For families looking to enjoy the sun and indulge active imaginations, nothing beats a trip to Disney World in Orlando. Just remember where you left the car! Michael, from Explore the Magic recommends snapping a photo to keep track of your vehicle:
When you get to the end of the row, snap a picture of the row that includes the character name which tells you if you are in the hero lot or villain lot, what section you are in and the exact row number.
More adventurous travelers may choose to roam off the beaten path in the Swiss Alps or Australia – it all depends on whether you prefer the heat of the sun in Sydney’s summer, or the warmth of a fondue pot in an alpine winter wonderland. Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan, founder of Momaboard.com, recommends spending an afternoon at Circular Quay and enjoying the live music at Opera Bar in Sydney. Remember, the days are longer in the southern hemisphere when it’s winter up north.
When all is said and done, there are few things more satisfying than getting good and dirty on vacation, right? Vacation time is adventure time, so you want to take your family to explore the great outdoors. Whether your boots are plastic ski boots or leather cowboy boots, the American West can’t be beat. Let your herd’s inner “dudes” out in Flagstaff, Aspen or Jackson Hole. The best part of these destinations is that you can put your kids in ski school or riding classes and get in some quality adult time. For those who want to head East, Stowe, Vermont offers winter activities for the whole family, from skiing and skating to sleigh rides and shopping. The Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory is just down the road in Waterbury in case your family has a sweet tooth!
Spending time with family means spending time just being yourself. When you vacation with your relatives, you can let your hair down and kick your shoes off. There’s plenty of time to explore your surroundings, but you can also just relax with the ones you love. Anything goes. For a no-pressure vacation where you can log some quality time connecting with your family, you can’t beat the Pacific coast. Want dramatic views and flowers in your hair? Big Sur is a sure bet: Get your feet wet playing in the waves, or get back to nature in the woods. Or, head north to Vancouver Island, where you can kayak with killer whales and find a new perspective while your family communes with nature. You’re ready to let your freedom flag fly.
Where will your family wander this year? Try a few of these vacation ideas on for size. If the shoe fits… run with it!