From far-flung trips to festivals and multi-generational getaways, Amanda Statham reveals 2020's hottest travel trends and shares her definitive list of what to do and where to go with your brood this year
Parents are increasingly looking for the road less travelled; off-the-beaten-track adventures previously promoted as adult-only.
Step forward Sulawesi, a remote Indonesian island that’s going to get you the thumbs up on Facebook when you post pictures of white-water rafting in Tana Toraja, jungle-trekking and spotting black-crested macaques in Tangkoko National Park.
You may have heard of Levi in Lapland, but Muotka? Probably not. New this winter from Activities Abroad is a four-night family break that includes meeting reindeer, sleigh rides, a husky safari and a Northern Lights excursion, all just 30 minutes from Ivalo Airport in Finland.
For something truly different how about a family boating trip on the rivers and lakes of Hungary with Nicols? You don’t need previous experience to operate a boat as they’re easy to self-drive.
The environment is top of many people’s agenda right now, young and old, and that’s reflected in the surge of interest in family escapes with a conscience. OK, flying isn’t exactly green, but carbon off-setting with charities such as Forests without Frontiers can make a difference, as can booking a sustainable holiday.
Fleewinter offers a fantastic eight-day trip to Kerala in October combining stays on an organic farm, where kids can learn to cook local dishes and cycle to nearby villages, plus an overnight stay on a traditional houseboat, before ending with a few relaxing beach days in Mararikulam.
Or how about taking part in a conservation programme in the Seychelles with Mahlatini? This year, it’s offering a family escape that explores remote Alphonse Island and Astove and Cosmoledo atolls, where you’ll get to track turtles and see giant tortoises.
We all know kids are like sponges, soaking up everything around them, so make sure this year’s holiday packs in some new skills, too.
Pine Cliffs Resort in the Algarve has launched CREW, an impressive new activity programme to be rolled out during school holidays, which includes a six-day flexible schedule of watersports – where kids can learn to kayak, SUP and surf – along with land-based options such as cooking classes, tennis academies, climbing and golf lessons.
Children can learn circus skills, such as the flying trapeze, as well as archery, SUP and climbing at just-opened Michès Playa Esmeralda in the Dominican Republic. Other fun activities on offer in the kids’ club are the chance to rehearse and put on their own show and improve their tennis swing.
A family safari in Kenya with Abercrombie and Kent is the ultimate outdoor classroom; think walking with the Masai, learning about the culture and essential bush skills – who knew you could use part of a tree as a toothbrush?
Horse-riding, rock climbing and learning all about the wild animals (black bears, pumas, deer) in Yosemite National Park are just some of the fun things on offer at Tenaya Lodge in the US, which this year has new two-bedroom, wood-built Explorer Cabins, ideal for families. Set in 27 acres of forest, these tranquil hideaways come with daily guided nature walks, games room and nightly dive-in movies at the swimming pool. Book with Turquoise Holidays.
If you’ve been to Camp Bestival you’ll know just how much fun a festival can be for all the family: fun, freedom, new friends and an endless choice of things to do. What’s not to love? Now families are also looking further afield for their kicks, combining holiday and festival to create one great break.
Check out annual Au Bonheur Des Mômes, one of the world’s largest cultural festivals for kids, which takes place every August at Le Grand-Bornand in the French Alps. Expect music, art, magic, theatre and puppetry as well as plenty of outdoorsy fun to be had, such as e-biking, hiking in the mountains or swimming in the outdoor/indoor pool at self-catering apartments Le Village de Lessy. Book with Peak Retreats.
Festivals don’t have to mean music – tick off two trends (festivals and off-radar adventures) with Scott Dunn’s new Highlights of Mongolia trip for families (scottdunn.com). Ideal for older kids, the itinerary includes three nights at the incredible Naadam Festival, a centuries-old event where the three skills considered essential for a Mongol warrior – archery, wrestling and horse-racing – are showcased. There’s also the chance to see the Gobi Desert and spend time with nomads in the wild Mongolian countryside.
Three generations travelling together has never been more popular, with grandparents and even great grandparents coming along for the ride (and to help with childcare). Naturally this means a surge in villa rentals and cottages – private places the whole family can relax in.
Escapes such as Villa Bleu Nature on the chic French island of Corsica are ideal, sleeping six and with a stunning outside space for al fresco living, including a huge deck, pool, barbecue and dining table for all those long, lazy lunches. With a modern design and earthy tones, it’s a magical escape that’s close to vineyards, beaches and the town of St Florent – something for all ages.
Sail Dalmatia is another fabulous option for larger families, with Gulet Angelica sleeping up to 10 guests in five cabins, with plenty of space for grandparents to chill on-board while kids enjoy swimming (or maybe vice versa if you have teens…). A crew of four ensures everything runs smoothly, from discovering Croatia’s stunning private coves to delicious al fresco lunches on deck.