When you think of family vacations, you might only think of traveling within the 50 states of America to keep things simple and affordable. But, it’s easier and less expensive than you might think to take the entire family abroad for an escape everyone will remember for a lifetime. You can help bring classroom history lessons to life and make learning fun by exposing your kids to new languages, clothing, foods, religions, art, customs and people, while also setting the stage for a lifetime of exploration. Experiences on journeys overseas can change perspectives, while opening children’s eyes and minds to the wonders of the world.
From fun, relaxing vacations in tropical destinations to sailing the seas to Europe’s great cities, these ideas will surely provide the right settings for your family’s discoveries.
NATURAL ADVENTURES IN COSTA RICA
Explore the vast wonders of the outdoors in the diverse and eco-friendly island country of Costa Rica. Choose up-close encounters with sea turtles, exotic, colorful birds and slow-moving sloths in Manuel Antonia National Park. Or, if your kids aren’t keen on hanging out with you, there’s nothing that tempts them like the opportunity for adventure, from hiking in a rainforest to more adrenaline-inducing experiences like white-water rafting, canopy tours and suspension bridge walks.
All ages will be amazed at the chance to see the fiery red lava flow of an active volcano at Arenal Volcano National Park. Take a day tour by boat to Corcovado National Park for the chance to see scarlet macaws and jaguars. After your active adventures, the entire family is sure to appreciate time to relax and unwind in soothing hot springs.
For water lovers, there are miles of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coastline that feature beautiful beaches for swimming, snorkeling and diving. On the Pacific coast side, visit the resort town of Jaco—one of the world’s most popular surfing destinations—where you can also go horseback riding on the beach. This Central American nation offers the perfect nature-lovers family getaway.
ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS IN MEXICO & THE CARIBBEAN
Sand beneath your toes, calypso music, delicious cuisine, playing in sparkling pools. There’s something for every member of your family on an all-inclusive beach getaway, where you can still experience the allure of international destinations with very little planning and almost everything included in one upfront price. That means there are no surprise costs and always plenty to make everyone happy. Even watersports are often included, so your hard-to-please teenagers can enjoy limitless paddleboard or windsurf excursions, without you having to play the bad parent who has to say no or worry about running up your vacation bill.
Adults can enjoy cocktails and exciting entertainment and activities, while the children have a blast at kids’ clubs and tween lounges at the resorts. Nearby tours could include exploring mystical ruins in Mexico or diving into the aqua clear waters of the Caribbean to witness technicolor fish. There are buffets and gourmet international cuisine to please everyone’s taste buds. Whether it’s a supervised waterpark, a round of golf, unwinding at the spa or building sandcastles together, an all-inclusive beach vacation is a classic family vacation choice.
SHARE THE MAGIC OF THE CITY OF LIGHT WITH YOUR KIDS
The ingredients to making a successful trip are to mix in attractions and activities to keep the kids happy, seek out the local culture, culinary experiences to share together, and also find some alone time to reconnect with your loved one. Here are some ideas for the perfect Parisian experience with your family.
Arrange a kid-friendly tour of one of the world’s most famous museums, the Louvre. Several tour companies offer private, small group or family tours that cater to young visitors’ attention spans and allow you to skip the long admission lines, saving precious time. Witnessing some of the world’s most famous art is a cultural experience your kids are sure to remember forever.
A visit to the Eiffel Tower is essential. Have the children count as they climb the stairs. By not taking the elevator, they can burn off some energy, you can get in a workout, and you will save money on all of your entry tickets.
Take a cruise on the Seine River to see the scenic city vistas from the perspective of the water and provide perfect family photo ops. In the Garden of Tuileries, the kids can bounce on eight trampolines, and the Carousel that plays French nursery rhymes is charming for all ages. There’s also an outdoor café here, perfect for refueling and for adult beverages for parents who want to take a few minutes to relax.
MADRID – A CAPITAL CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
A family vacation abroad to Spain’s capital city of Madrid has a lot to offer parents traveling with kids, including historical sites, the chance to see how royalty lived and to taste some of the world’s most flavorful cuisine.
A visit to the Royal Palace is a step back in time for a fascinating look into the history of Spain’s royal families, as well as a glimpse into the current royal lifestyle. This impressive, ornate palace has 3,418 rooms and has been compared to France’s Palace of Versailles. Marvel at the marble and gold leaf and priceless works of art throughout, including paintings by Italian painter Caravaggio. Admire the Stradivarius string quartet—the only one in the world, worth millions of dollars.
See more than 200 years of paintings at the world-renowned Prado Museum. Located in the heart of Madrid, the museum features original works from famous artists, most of it commissioned by Spain’s Royalty since the 16th century. We can also arrange a family tour to make sure you get to see the pieces you really want to see. From massive tapestries to Picasso’s and Salvador Dali, the Prado is one of the best showcases for masterpieces in the world.
Don’t miss Park Retiro. This beautiful park is Europe’s more grandiose version of New York’s Central Park. Stroll through the paths past magnificent fountains. Rent a boat to paddle around the man-made pond with the elaborate Monument to Alfonso XII as its impressive backdrop. The park also has a large playground where your kids can play with some of the local kids or visitors from around the world to expose them to different languages.