Tips for booking the best family holiday you’ve ever had
Angus Kidman, Travel Expert at Finder says Aussies aren’t limited when it comes to family travel destinations. “If you’re considering booking a family vacation but don’t want to face a flock of fellow Aussie tourists, head off the beaten track instead.”
“Before you book, make sure you’re comparing deals online so you know you’re getting the best price available. Some travel agencies will even price match so it pays to do your research before you sign on the dotted line,” says Angus.
“Many budget airlines hold regular sales so make sure you sign up to their newsletter if you want to be kept in the loop.”
10 of the best family holiday destinations overseas
There’s literally something for everyone in Dubai and the attractions are all within fairly easy reach. “You can take kids and teens to indoor snow skiing, the water parks in Dubai offer kid-friendly options for under 5’s, or to somewhere like Legoland Dubai which is great for kids of all ages,” says Flight Centre travel expert Haydn Long. “The malls are also popular locations for older kids, teens or adults looking to fill their suitcases.”
Pro tip: Dubai is a Muslim country so be sure to respect any religious holidays, dress modestly and avoid public displays of affection, as these are frowned upon.
Japan has become a bit of a favourite for Australian travelers in recent times, and Flight Centre have seen many families return to Japan for multiple holidays.
“It’s a well-known winter playground for skiers and - like Fiji - is within fairly easy reach of Australia,” says Flight Centre travel expert Haydn Long. “Japan is an easy country to navigate because of the high standard of trains and other transport.”
Pro tip: Try the big city heavy hitters such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto and don’t forget to ride the bullet train.
The thought of a trip to America is probably enough to excite most children and Hawaii’s arguably the best and easiest entry point. “It’s well served by airlines from the Australian East Coast and has a wide range of attractions, including beaches and boutiques,” says Haydn. “You can also escape the hustle and bustle by taking off to one of the lesser known and less inhabited islands.”
Pro tip: Hawaii, Maui and Oahu are some of the most popular island, Hawaii being the busiest. Oahu is where you will find Waikiki beach.
Decreases in airfare prices over the past two years have helped put Europe on the map for families and budget travelers. “If you’re chasing some sun during the Australian winter, consider Greece or Croatia. “You’ll find plenty of options for kids in most of the larger cities, like London, Paris or Rome, although the pace of the holiday and the stress levels may increase.”
6. London, England
London is so similar, yet so different, to Australia. The subway trains are easy to navigate and there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Learn a little history by visiting Big Ben, Westminster Abbey or the Buckingham Palace. Kids will love the Harry Potter Warner Brother’s Studio Tour (plus the shop at King’s Cross station!), SeaLife Aquarium London, the London Zoo and Madame Taussaud’s. Don’t forget to visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre or see a musical in the West End.
Pro tip: Book your holiday so you arrive in London during spring/summer, it’s much more family-friendly than their snowy, rainy winters.
6. Washington D.C, United States
Though it may not spring immediately to mind when thinking of an overseas family holiday, Washington D.C is actually a great option for parents who want to offer children an educational vacation, says Emily Cairns, Travel Expert at Skyscanner Australia.
“With the U.S. capital brimming with historical monuments and museums, there are also countless free attractions around the city, including the Smithsonian Museums, US Capitol Building and Library of Congress. Tweens and teens will particularly love the National Air and Space Museum and the National Zoo (both of which are free)!”
Pro tip: make sure you remember to tip in America, around 15-20 per cent of the pre-tax bill. Read our guide Mistakes to avoid making in America.
5. Hoi An, Vietnam
“This is one of the best holiday destinations for families with older children looking to immerse themselves in culture, Hoi An offers diverse landscapes, delicious and cheap cuisines, beautiful beaches and bustling markets. Vietnam is the perfect budget destination in South East Asia that remains good value for families,” says Emily.
Pro tip: Hoi An has no airport and no train station. The only way to get there is by road and you can hire a taxi from the neighbouring city of Da Nang, which does have an airport with daily flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other large Vietnamese cities.
4. Queenstown, New Zealand
Just a three-hour flight from Australia, New Zealand is an obvious choice for families travelling with babies, toddlers or young children especially. However, New Zealand also offers exciting activities for the teens.
“There is so much to do in New Zealand, whether it’s hitting the slopes at the many Queenstown ski resorts, visiting the glow worm caves in Te Anau or embarking on family-friendly thrill-seeking activities like jetboating and even bungy jumping (for children aged 10 years and over).”
Pro tip: hire a car to see more of the beautiful landscapes around Queenstown.
3. Rovaniemi, Finland
Christmas may be more than 11 months away, but it’s never too soon to begin planning a festive break, and there is no better place for a White Christmas with the family than Finland, says Emily Cairns, Travel Expert at Skyscanner Australia. “Santa Claus Village in Lapland is where the magic happens, with Santa and his elves making daily appearances, and activities such as snowmobile rides, snow safari events and sleigh joyrides. This is the perfect winter destination to inject Christmas spirit in your toddlers and kids.”
Pro tip: The right of public access, also known as Everyman’s Right in Finland, allows everyone in Finland to roam freely in the countryside without permits and free of charge, regardless of who owns the land, as long as you are respectful and do not damage land or property.
2. Nadi, Fiji
“Fiji is one of the best affordable destinations in the Pacific Islands for families, particularly known for their all-inclusive resort packages,” says Emily Cairns, Travel Expert at Skyscanner Australia. “With stunning sunrises and sunsets, beautiful beaches, world-class snorkelling and diving and every water sport imaginable, it’s a fantastic family friendly tropical destination, for babies right through to teenagers.”
Pro tip: “Most hotels in Fiji have Kids’ Clubs that offer supervised activities for children and affordable babysitting options for those who have babies, toddlers or children that are a little younger,” says Fligth Centre travel expert, Haydn Long. “If you have younger children (pre-school), consider travelling outside of the school holidays towards the middle of the year.”
“Not only is city-state Singapore known for its delicious food and shopping, it’s the perfect destination for families as the kids (babies, toddlers, kids and teens!) will love Sentosa Island, which is home to family friendly thrills and adventure. With beaches, great restaurants and attractions including Universal Studios, KidZania and Mega Adventure Park, there is plenty to keep all family members from kids to kidult’s entertained,” says Emily.
Pro tip: Singapore Zoo offers a Jungle Breakfast where the family can have their morning meal surrounded by exotic animals!