I've always thought that if you're going to do something, it might as be done well. And travel is no different. These are some of my favourite destinations and hopefully they'll become yours too.
We’ve been travelling around the world as a family for six years now, and we’ve seen some truly incredible places. We’ve visited beautiful countries in Europe, the US, Asia and the Middle East, and we’ve learnt how to nail a plane journey and negotiate public transport in a foreign language. But has long haul been worth it?
Yes, without a doubt!
It’s always been our dream to see the world, meet people, spread generosity and form bonds with our family that would be unbreakable, and venturing out into the world has certainly given us that. Our children have been lucky enough to experience cultures that are wildly different to anything they would have experienced in Australia alone, and that’s only happened because we’ve ventured out well beyond our little corner of the globe.
If you want the same for you and your family, we’ve taken a look at some of our favorite far-flung destinations in order to put together this list of suggested places for you. Whether you’re based in the US, Canada, Australia or somewhere else, here are some places we recommend checking out with your family…
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Many travelers stop over in Dubai to switch flights, but it’s so much more than just a transit destination. We recommend getting out of the airport and spending a few days in Dubai because it’s such an incredible city! It’s huge, bustling and crammed with entertainment (in fact, we spent 3 days in the shopping mall alone!), and there’s so much for kids to do.
There are plenty of family-friendly hotels in Dubai that are located near to all the major attractions, and lots to choose from depending on your budget. Check out KidsZania (it will keep the kids happily occupied for hours and hours while they take the opportunity to become race car drivers, chefs, painters and more), and free entertainment like the Dubai Fountains is beautiful and mesmerizing for little ones. We’ve written 10 things to do in Dubai with kids if this is a long-haul destination you’re considering.
Finland is the home to Santa Claus, reindeer and friendly huskies, so what better place to go with the kids!? It’s a dreamy destination for families who want to meet the real Santa and check out his home (we did!), and as well as getting into the Christmas spirit, it’s a country that’s got plenty more going on in places like Helsinki, the capital. Because Finland is so far north (it’s in the Arctic circle), the sun is visible around the clock for 73 days of the year. If you want to show the kids a place where the sun literally never sets, visit in June when you can expect 21 to 24 days of sunlight a day. Just invest in some good snow-gear for the kids and wrap up warm.
Thailand, South East Asia
Thailand is the perfect destination if you want to go somewhere that’s warm with beautiful beaches, but also has vibrant cities and exciting jungles to explore. Thailand is perfect for families because the locals are so friendly and welcoming (and are particularly accommodating of kids), and we recommend heading to Chiang Mai. We found that the shallow seas are perfect for young kids, and there’s plenty of jungle to explore nearby (you can book tours) if your family want to see some exotic animals up close!
We recommend Thailand if you want a budget holiday with plenty of culture, so here are some practical tips (about accommodation, transport and food) if you’re thinking of exploring it.
From Australia, Bali is only a few hours away on the plane. But if you’re travelling from the US, it’s one of the longest flights you could take! But, it’s well worth it, whichever camp you fall into: Bali is in incredible destination, and we love it so much we’ve been ten times! Not only is the country totally beautiful, there’s so much to do with the kids.
Our favorite hotels include the Grand Mirage Resort, Nusa Dua and Sheraton, and there’s so much we enjoy doing with the kids while we’re there too. Waterboom Park is a must-see (it’s rated as the best water park in Asia by TripAdvisor), and there are tons of wildlife parks too (such as elephant parks, monkey forests and zoos). If Bali is on your maybe list, we’ve put together a list of 51 things you can do with the kids, just in case it makes your decision easier!
Finally, if you’d like to take your family on an adventure, how about heading to Switzerland? It’s an incredibly beautiful place with stunning scenery, pleasant weather and tons to do - particularly outdoors. Pack your hiking gear and explore the Swiss Alps, the alpine forests and crystal clear lakes. You can hire Lenzi Bikes (which are basically monster scooters) -something as we did in Rothorn - hop in a cable car or hire a mountain bike if the kids don’t fancy hiking too much. And, there are great skiing opportunities here too if your family would like to hit the slopes before cozying up in a lodge with hot chocolates. Sounds good right?
Those are just five of our favorite long haul destinations for families. Where else would you recommend, or is there anywhere else you’re thinking of heading?