With more families living further apart than ever before, the family vacation is precious. Add the fact that many of us use time off to travel the country to visit relatives and it’s no wonder that a dream vacation abroad may feel out of reach. The answer? Travel together. As one happy group, from tots to grandparents, even extended family and friends. Choose to celebrate a graduation with an epic adventure, enjoy a multi-gen trip to a far-flung destination or bring everyone together for a reunion somewhere exotic. Not only will you form lifelong memories by sharing experiences, we truly believe the notion of “Travel Far, Become Closer.”
Ages 8 to 80 can come together to explore incredible places, stay in unique family-friendly properties and embark on a journey of discovery that will strengthen bonds and be something you can all reminiscence over for years to come. Here are our five favorite family vacations around the globe.
Who: This adventurous vacation is perfect for grandparents to take their grandkids on. The activities create a fun, unbelievable bonding opportunity for family members of all ages.
What: Great for adventure, nature, wildlife and active families.
When: Ecuador/Galapagos is a year-round destination, perfect for when children are out of school for winter or summer vacation.
Where: Quito, Amazon, the Galapagos
Why: The Galapagos is an enchanting island that’s an ideal destination for grandparents and grandchildren because of the cool wildlife and cultural experiences for every age range. This is the ultimate vacation for bonding and creating memorable moments to fill your scrapbook. We know that it can be difficult to find time to connect with your grandchildren, but on this vacation your family will have no problem spending quality time together. You can mountain bike, snorkel, kayak, surf, go on canoe safaris and have fascinating animal encounters with sea lions, giant tortoises, iguanas and blue footed boobies. This mix of land and sea excursions is an exciting way to get a new perspective on the region. After a day spent exploring this wild and unspoiled region, reconvene on your ship’s large sundeck to share stories about all of the amazing animals you spotted.
Carefully selected family-friendly accommodations from suites to connecting cabins, and short travel times/distances (two hours tops between destinations) makes for an easily navigable trip, even for little ones. Unique and unforgettable experiences await — it’s an exhilarating adventure for families.
Wow Factor: Chocolate tastings, horseback riding like the local chagras (cowboys) with volcanoes as your backdrop, exploring the culture of Quito with a stop at the “middle of the world” and kayaking in Finch Bay.
Who: Good for children 6 and up and generations of families traveling together.
What: Excellent for culture, history, natural beauty, golfing and family bonding experiences.
When: The weather in the U.K. can be a bit unpredictable, but summer (May-Sept.) is generally the most pleasant time to visit, so take advantage of children’s summer vacations.
Where: Gleneagles, Isle of Eriska, Edinburgh
Why: Scotland's natural beauty is very hard to sum up, and the best way to understand it is to get out and about and soak it all up. From its scenic glens, lochs and mountains you will see picture perfect landscapes time and time again. Scotland is a playground for children and adults alike, with castles, ghost tours and searching for seals, dolphins, sharks, orcas and sea eagles.
At Gleneagles — established in 1924 as a “Palace in the Glens” — get out and about as an entire family with cycling, riding, falconry, walking, off-road safaris and of course its fantastic golf offering. With established family programs in place appealing to ages from toddlers to GoPro loving teenagers, Gleneagles is the perfect retreat for all the family. Private drivers and short commute times make traveling with the entire family convenient.
Wow Factor: Searching for the fabled Loch Ness Monster on an exhilarating boat ride, soaking up ancient culture at the highland games, a private Highland safari and a ride on the Hogwarts Express.
Who: Perfect family adventure for all that combines culture, wildlife and idyllic beach time.
What: Ideal vacation for culture, food, elephants, relaxation, shopping and golf.
When: Thailand is tropical and humid most of the year, but the best time to visit is between November to February when temperatures are more manageable and rain is less common.
Where: Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Koh Samui
Why: This is a fantastic way to combine cultural discovery of Northern Thailand with bustling Bangkok and all important beach time.
Younger children will love the kid’s clubs with activities like rice planting, muay thai boxing or umbrella painting. While teens and adults will be impressed by the numerous temples like Wat Rong Khun, the many hill tribe villages, elephant experiences, cooking classes and fantastic restaurants. Balance out your busy days by lounging around your resort’s stunning pool and going over the highlights of everyone’s trip. Challenge each other to come up with something new every day.
We make sure to find the best villas that can be taken exclusively to ensure bonding time for the entire family.
Wow Factor: Cycling through beautiful paddy fields and tiny villages, watching friendly locals go about their days, floating markets, playing with elephants.
Who: This is a vacation for every generation, especially families with an interest in wildlife and African culture.
What: Great for adventure, wildlife, active families and spectacular views.
When: The only time to avoid Kenya is during the rainy season in April and May. We recommend visiting during the great wildebeest migration between mid-July and late October.
Where: Nairobi, Laikipia, Maasia Mara
Why: This is the ultimate family adventure combining Africa’s prime wildlife areas with family-friendly lodges. Enjoy a breakfast with a giraffe or explore the open plains on horseback, there are experiences for everyone here.
Families will be treated to incredible game viewing opportunities and breathtaking views of Mount Kenya. And you can partake in fascinating cultural experiences like meeting Samburu tribes and going to school with local children. The close proximity of experiences on this safari make for stress-free traveling for the entire family.
Using expert private guides on a family safari ensures a safe, fun, bonding experience that allows families to choose their own pace and activities.
Wow Factor: Witnessing one of nature’s most impressive spectacles: the great wildebeest migration, a hot-air balloon ride over the vast plains of the Maasai Mara, a stay at Giraffe Manor.
Who: Italy is for everyone, but this trip works especially well as a graduation present, and is perfect for a mother/daughter getaway.
What: Perfect for culture, relaxation, golf, history, food and wine.
When: Rome and Sicily are beautiful any time of the year. These areas don’t have extremes in weather and temperatures, but October to November and March to June are reliably warm, making it the ideal time to visit.
Where: Rome, Sicily
Why: Graduating from high school or college is a huge deal, and the perfect reward is an unforgettable vacation. Going on a trip allows your family to get in some much-needed quality time before your child heads off into the big wide world on their own, and Italy is the perfect destination to share a final hurrah together.
The extraordinary history of Rome has given it a remarkable mix of architecture, and with its position amongst seven famous hills, it's truly somewhere that everyone should visit at least once in their lives. It’s important to use experienced, knowledgeable guides who are also amazing with children to give you a private tour, taking you to places that you might not find in a guidebook and allowing you to appreciate the true magnificence of this city. After your fill of culture, fly to the warm shores of the Mediterranean and see a little slice of Sicily at one of Italy's premier golf and spa resorts. Spending a day at a spa is an excellent way for mothers and daughters to have some quiet time, while indulging in pampering treatments.
This vacation gives families a real flavor of Italy with a schedule tailored to suit the timing and needs of every family. This trip will surely be a bonding and reconnecting experience for everyone. It’s just another fabulous way to show your kids how proud you are of their accomplishments.
Wow Factor: Explore famous sites in the Eternal City like ruins, fountains and the Vatican. Go on private tours of olive farms, wineries and renaissance palaces. And unwind with trips to award-winning spas and 18-hole golf courses.
For more on adventure trips for multigenerational families, see Scott Dunn Family Adventures.