Family Traveller editor, Jane Anderson, looks at what's on the horizon for family travel in 2020
Intrepid Travel has launched a new Family Cycling tour range created specifically for those with teenagers. From March, the trips will visit three of the company’s most popular destinations: Morocco, Thailand and Vietnam. The group size is usually around 10 people, made up of like-minded families.
The company was inspired by the recent youth-led climate strikes that took place globally last September. Product manager Dyan Mckie says, ‘We are seeing how the younger generation is more environmentally and socially conscious than any other. They want to make informed and responsible choices, including the way they travel. Cycling has a low carbon footprint and these tours allow families to see a destination through a different lens during active adventures powered by themselves.’
Morocco family cycling trips cover Casablanca, Tangier, the blue city of Chefchaouen, Fes and Marrakesh, and cost from £920 per person.
New York is always jam-packed with top family attractions, but 2020 is extra special, as Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s new KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature exhibition opens on 9 May at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, with sculptures created especially for the site. Tickets go on sale 29 January.
Other family highlights include Brooklyn Bridge Park, which has incredible views of Manhattan, a vintage merry-go-round, a pop-up pool, roller skating and kayaking; and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the very first children’s museum that dates back to 1899.
Stay at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, with its fantastic views of Manhattan. It operates entirely on wind power and uses a rainwater reclamation system. Kids will love its screening room. Family suites cost from £267.
Don’t forget to pack your TimeOut New York guide with plenty of pages about other Brooklyn highlights.
LUX* Resorts & Hotels has launched a new Little LUX* Life programme for guests aged 6-14 and their parents across its Indian Ocean properties in Mauritius and the Maldives. You can choose your resort according to your child’s personality, be they creative spirit, daredevil, the natural inquisitor or rising sports star.
For example, families with creative kids should head to LUX* Belle Mare in Mauritius for the hotel’s A Little Curious experiences. These introduce families to the local way of life, including private Creole language lessons, a Sega dance class, local cooking and Creole fashion show. There’s also a supervised kids’ club, so parents can take a little time for a treatment at the LUX* Me Spa.
A five-night holiday costs from £3,950 for a family of four on full-board (excludes flights).
Hatta is the hot, fresh place to head to in Dubai. Set high in the Al Hajar Mountains, families can explore the new adventure and activity centre Hatta Wadi Hub and enjoy mountain-bike coaching, downhill carting, becoming a human sling shot, axe throwing, archery, free-fall jumps, rope courses, a rope bridge, wall climbing, trampolines and zip lines.
There’s also the Hatta Drop, a water jump park, and Hatta zorbing – rolling downhill in a giant transparent orb. Well, why not? Families can also book a kayaking or hiking experience at Hatta Wadi Hub. Plus, the glamorous camping revolution has reached Hatta. Sedr Trailers Resort offers Airstream trailers with their own terrace, a common area with fire pit and barbecue, and views of the banks of Hatta Dam.
Trailers costs from £125 per night for two adults and two children.
Puro Sound Labs’ new JuniorJams Bluetooth Headphones are the business when it comes to music on the go. Designed for children, they’re volume limited to 85db to protect their hearing without compromising on sound quality. Plus, the daisy-chain feature allows two pairs of headphones to play from the same source simultaneously. £49.99
Singapore Airlines knows that keeping kids happy on long-haul flights can be tricky. Along with its Yummy inflight pre-order meal service for fussy eaters, and crew assistance with bottle warming, toys and games, the airline has teamed up with cool origami influencer, Red Ted Art, and now offers families a sustainably produced origami how-to kit and helpful YouTube video.
Head to the pretty village resort of Vaujany in France on a Peak Retreat family ski holiday and check out a new experience: fondue in a gondola. Porsche, no less, designed the cabins for the Enversin d’Oz gondolas, part of the vast Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine ski area. On selected evenings this season, enjoy fondue and panoramic views while ascending and descending the mountain. Families will also love the brand-new luxury Le Saphir apartments here.
Beaverbrook, the former home of press baron and wartime MP Lord Beaverbrook, is now a glamorous country-house hotel in Surrey and has its eye firmly on families as it launches its Wild Woods programme for children aged 6-12. Led by kids’ club party supremos Sharky & George, there will be immersive woodland pursuits across the estate, including fun in the giant treehouse, secrets of honey production at the beehives, the ultimate den challenge and Ninja training.
There’s also a woodland theatre and mini-master chefs’ cookery school. Add to that child- and pet-friendly suites attached to the Coach House, which come with games, crafts, teddy bears, storybooks and mini-robes, and you have a recipe for a pretty wonderful stay. The Wild Woods programme starts from £1,000 for a family of four, for two nights in a Coach House suite, breakfast and a Sharky & George experience.
Kids may roll their eyes, but resorts that help with exam prep while on holiday is an emerging trend.
Cape Weligama, Sri Lanka
This May half-term will no longer be getaway-free for teenagers, as Oppidan Education has partnered with Cape Weligama to provide a mix of holiday fun and exam revision. With a range of activities, Oppidan mentors will be on hand to offer study skills, confidence work, and school and university advice for UK guests.
Open to all ages, workshops will include Poetry Slam and Debate Your Mate. In the afternoon, one-on-one tuition is available for that extra bit of help. Then maybe teens can head to the pool...
Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
Next summer, eco-resort Gili Lankanfushi launches its five-night educational escape package aimed at families with teenagers. Older children can dive into three days’ work experience on the Coral Lines Project, where they will assist on coral-reef recovery and report their findings on the Marine Biology blog.
Families can take a healthy cooking lesson with the chef and get in on the local language lessons. The hotel also provides a Revise & Snack zone for teens with exams to focus on their studies.
It’s 20 years since easyJet’s first flight took off from Luton to Glasgow, kicking off an era when a flight cost as much as a pair of jeans. Now, easyJet holidays has launched, aiming to bring that same spirit to getaways with greater flexibility, including more room options for blended families, free child places and taking the sting out of peak-time family travel.
Affordable options from its new Family Collection include the five-star Labranda Mares Marmaris, Turkey, which costs from £480.92 per person for a seven-night stay during the Easter holidays, including flights, hotel transfers and 23kg of hold luggage per person.