It’s that time of year. Kids are heading back to school and parents are filling their calendars with all the events for the new school year. But if you’re a parent, have you added a vacation to the school year plans?
We know it’s always a bit tricky to plan a vacation with family. Luckily, there are plenty of great options for family vacations throughout the school year. Plan a trip over the winter holidays or for spring break, and take advantage of seasonal experiences and great connections near and far. We’re here to help you plan, from this list of inspirational family vacation ideas to the actual process of planning your trip once you know where you want to go.
So whether you’re simply dreaming about an ultimate family vacation, starting to think of options for this fall and beyond, or hoping to plan today, keep reading, as we’ve got the ideas and insight to help your dream family vacation come true. When you’re ready to plan, get in touch with a Goway Destination Specialist.
11 Family Vacations for the School Year
A Safari in South Africa
There are few better travel experiences than an African safari and there are few better places to go on safari than South Africa. South Africa is a haven for family travel, with a great travel infrastructure, malaria-free safari zones, and game lodges that accommodate children with kid-oriented wildlife encounters and childcare options. Think about the majestic experience of spotting a pride of lions in the wild as a family or sharing a quiet moment with your kids as elephants bathe in a nearby watering hole. There are great family safari options across South Africa, from Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the southwest to famous Kruger National Park in the northeast.
A Cultural Journey in Ireland
Ireland is an easy country to visit with family as it accommodates self-drive vacations and has lots of history and culture that’ll delight kids of all ages. Your kids can pretend to be Vikings on the Viking tour in the capital, Dublin, which traces the history of Viking incursions into Ireland. They can gaze upon the mighty stone pillars of the Giant’s Causeway and look over the daunting Cliffs of Moher. Your kids can kiss the Blarney Stone at the famous castle and be blessed with the Gift of the Gab (be warned that they may gab for the rest of the trip after this one). And all throughout the country, they’ll enjoy the famous Irish charms and hospitality—with a few stories about leprechauns thrown in for good measure. You can also add on a trip to Belfast in Northern Ireland to amaze your kids with the history of the Titanic at the Titanic Experience.
A Fiji Beach Escape
A beach escape is a great travel option for a family vacation. And Fiji is one of the best places to go on a beach escape. These South Pacific islands are home to sandy beaches, blue waters, and some of the best snorkelling and diving sites in the Pacific. Fijians are friendly and accommodating and most resorts accommodate kids, with clubs and activity programs. Perhaps best of all, Fiji is also great value compared to other spots in the South Pacific. You can also take advantage of new direct flights from Vancouver to Nadi, Fiji with Fiji Airways starting November 25, 2022.
An Adventure in Thailand
Thailand is a country that has it all, from delightful cities to sandy beaches to verdant jungles. It’s also a very easy place to travel to with kids in tow. Hotels offer family rooms and amenities, there are lots of national parks with plenty of outdoor space to explore, and the people there simply love children, as it’s very typical for families to travel together across Southeast Asia. The food is great in Thailand, but if you don’t have adventurous eaters for children, you can easily get chicken kabobs, rice, and plain vegetables at most restaurants, and convenience stores are everywhere, offering easy access to snacks and refreshments. Best of all, there are a lot of opportunities for unforgettable travel experiences with your kids. The look on their face when they see an elephant a few metres away or the squeals of joy as they cannonball into the Andaman Sea will be priceless memories you cherish for a lifetime. There’s a new direct flight from Vancouver to Bangkok with Air Canada starting in December 2022, so getting to Thailand from North America has never been easier.
A Wildlife Encounter in Costa Rica
In Costa Rica, your kids can enjoy a wonderland made for nature and wildlife lovers. It’s a safe, affordable, and easy-to-get-to destination that offers jungles to hike through, rivers to whitewater raft on, and animals to see everywhere. Your kids can come face-to-face with sloths, gaze upon butterflies in gardens, and cap off days of adventure in thermal hot springs. There are beaches to lounge on, jungle canopies to explore on suspension bridges and zip lines, and plenty of resorts that accommodate kids across the country. The people are friendly and welcoming to families. If your kids love animals, there are few places better and closer to home.
An Adventure into the Past in Italy
Italy is such an appealing destination for family travellers. It’s easy to get around the country, with great train infrastructure and lots of private touring options, which make it comfortable to travel with kids in tow. There are tons of historic landmarks that’ll fascinate children, including the Colosseum in Rome, where your kids can see where the gladiators fought and prepared for battle, the canals of Venice, the art museums and palaces of Florence, and the ruins of Pompeii. Perhaps best of all, the food is great and easy for kids, as they’re already familiar with pizza and pasta, so they won’t be eating anything they don’t already like. Italy is popular throughout the year and accommodates families of all sizes, so you have a lot of options when travelling through the country.
A Cultural Trip to Japan
Japan is clean, modern, and incredibly safe. Like other Asian countries, it’s very welcoming of children. It also has a ton of landmarks and attractions to delight kids with varying interests. Kids who like books can head to themed restaurants such as Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant in Tokyo, anime lovers can go behind the scenes of Totoro at the Studio Ghibli Museum, and gamers of all ages can go wild in the arcades and shops of Akihabara Electric Town in Tokyo. Tokyo Disneyland is also a great attraction for families and Tokyo DisneySea is unique to the country; it’s the only place in the world to experience its sea-themed attractions. There are also fashion and pop culture attractions such as Takeshita Street in Harajuku that’ll appeal to teenagers, in case your kids are older. And the entire family will also love the shrines, castles, and, of course, the food. Sushi and ramen are treats for the whole family.
A Natural Journey through New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the most naturally beautiful countries on the planet and with its reopening earlier this year, it’s once again welcoming travellers who want to experience its collection of majestic bays, fjords, and mountains for themselves. If you’re a family of nature lovers, plan a trip to New Zealand and journey from Auckland on the North Island to Christchurch on the South Island, with stops at the Hobbiton Movie Set, the adventure haven Queenstown, and the iconic fjord Milford Sound along the way. Your kids will love the natural environment and teens will get a rush bungee jumping or zip-lining in Queenstown in particular. It’s easy to get around in campervans, which are especially appealing for families as you can sleep on the go. As well, you’ll enjoy all the conveniences of back home, including English as the main language and all the kinds of modern amenities you and your family have grown accustomed to.
A Skiing Adventure in Switzerland
Switzerland is a winter wonderland throughout the school year. If you’re visiting during the holiday season, you can visit Christmas markets and enjoy sweet treats that make the holidays so special. But the main appeal throughout the school year has to be skiing. Switzerland has arguably the best skiing in the world, so you can spend your days on the slopes and your evenings cozying up in the chalet. If you head outside of the peak seasons around Christmas and spring break, you can also enjoy the country with fewer visitors. If you visit later in the spring, you’ll also enjoy the mountains starting to bloom with flowers, a perfect setting for days of hiking and countryside exploration.
A Trek through History in Peru
If you have some budding historians in the family, Peru is a great place to visit. It’s home to one of the wonders of the world, the mountaintop citadel of Machu Picchu. Your kids can learn about the Incas and other pre-Columbian cultures across the Sacred Valley, explore breathtaking mountainous terrains, and enjoy some of the best food in the world. (If your kids love corn or potatoes, they’re going to be in heaven.) There’s also some great nature and wildlife to experience in Peru, as you can head on a river cruise adventure into the Amazon Rainforest to spot monkeys and colourful parrots, or cruises along the banks of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.
A Winter Escape in Iceland
Iceland is an amazing place to explore at any time of year. It’s easy to get to as it’s only around a six-hour direct flight from the East Coast. It accommodates self-drive vacations, which are ideal for families, as you can drive at your own pace and don’t have to worry about sharing space or transit with others. Thus, you can stop whenever your kids need to, pull over for snacks, and follow your fancy to waterfalls and glaciers. You can learn about Viking history, spot volcanoes and geysers, and enjoy the beautiful, haunting landscape.
30 Aug 2022, 4:11 p.m.