Families come in all shapes and sizes and with all ages. Finding a holiday to suit the whole family can be hard, and budget can be an issue. Here is a guide to some top destinations that the whole family can enjoy, and some tips on how to shop around for deals.
We have avoided the biggest, most well-known obvious tour operators to bring you some holidays you may otherwise not have discovered. You will find some exotic getaways as well as some all inclusive family holidays.
Cavorting in the Caribbean
Elite Island Holidays
Let’s start in the warm waters of the Caribbean sea. Elite Island Resorts offers all-inclusive packages in Barbados, Antigua, The Grenadines and St Lucia. St James’s Club & Villas in Antigua, for example, offers 242 rooms, suites and villas overlooking beautiful beaches with bright blue ocean.
For kids: “Our team of experienced counsellors have created a tailored vacation for kids of all ages which includes guided nature walks, swimming and snorkelling excursions, limbo dancing, lively beach games and even ping pong tournaments for the teens.”
For adults: “Relax, rejuvenate, and indulge with top of the line spa services at our resorts. We offer some of the best massage, body treatments, and skin services in the Caribbean from top-notch professionals.”
Check for special offers at Elite Island Holidays.
Hammerton Barbados offers a range of properties, some of which are family friendly. The company is run by Mark and Lisa Hammerton, who fell in love with Barbados after many visits and ended up buying a second home there.
They say, “We have selected a range of properties, which we believe offers choice whist maintaining the highest standards. We aim to visit all the properties in our programme and we are always honest when we describe them to you. Not all properties are ideal for children for example and a short walk to the beach can feel much longer if it’s up hill all the way! We’ll talk to you openly and will match the right property to your requirements.”
Guests can enjoy easy access to a variety of water sports, from jet skis to glass bottom boats, or even watching turtles hatching. There are restaurants within walking distance, and the nearest shopping centre is found in Holetown, a short five-minute drive away.
Slumming it on safari
Natural High safaris
Do you want a once-in-a-lifetime, out-of-this-world experience, where you see some of the biggest and best wildlife in the world? Natural High’s specialists know the locations they are selling, both in Africa and India. The Indian experiences are probably ideal for young adults who are fit enough to go trekking. The African safaris offer amazing big game experiences where the whole family can stay in tented camps or in luxury accommodation.
Take a look at the family safaris. For safe, fun abandon, check out Namibia. “The sand dunes make children out of all ages and there are so many different ways to experience the desert landscapes, from dune boarding to quad-biking that you should be all duned out by the end. Boat trips from Walvis Bay are also great fun – seals close enough to touch.”
For a more authentic big game holiday, try southern Tanzania. “We use a small tented camp deep inside the park and tucked well away from any other human activity. All game driving is in your own private vehicle with a highly experienced guide. This means you can plan the day entirely to suit yourselves without having to worry about other guests whose interests may not chime with yours and your kids. The emphasis here is very definitely about being in the bush – proper beds, an en-suite bucket shower & chemical loo – and plenty of wholesome, if not gourmet, food.”
The company says children can be catered for. “Under proper supervision, the African bush can be a thrilling playground for youngsters. Activities like brief game drives are geared to shorter attention spans. Whilst learning about little bugs and bigger beasts can capture children’s imagination in a fun, yet informative way. If that wasn’t enough, tracking animals and identifying their spoor can fire the imagination, whilst child-tailored survival skills will often feel more like a game.”
The Big 5 Safari Company
Another safari company catering to families is The Big 5 Safari Company.
“South Africa has long been a child friendly safari destination with a whole host of activities, in addition to the abundant wildlife. There are malaria free game reserves, kid’s bush programmes, special menus and not least safety conscious family accommodation; fenced to keep any dangers at bay.
“In more recent years, Botswana and Zambia have joined in, offering luxury family tented units with private plunge pool where the kids can frolic under your watchful eye. Activities to suit all ages are designed to educate and inspire.”
Youthful in Europe
Rocha Brava, Algarve, Portugal
One of the most popular destinations in the Algarve, in southern Portugal, is Carvoeiro, a small fishing village that is swamped by tourists each summer. Just up the road from Carvoeiro is Rocha Brava Village Resort.
“The sun drenched Algarvian paradise of Rocha Brava has 23 hectares of holiday tranquility waiting for you. Our resort is not only positioned near some of the most fantastic beaches in Portugal and a stone’s throw away from some Championship standard Golf courses but contains a stunning plethora of facilities and activities.
“Suitable for the whole family and with enough to keep you going for weeks, there’s plenty to see, enjoy and do during your stay.”
Ionian Villas, Greek islands
Run by David and Vivienne Watrous, Ionian Villas acts as an agent for property owners across multiple Greek islands. Accommodation ranges from £300 to £20,000 per week. The company does not arrange flights.
A farm stay in the Alps, Austria
Why not take a holiday inland, above sea level in the Austrian Alps? A farm holiday in Tirol offers a wealth of activities throughout the four seasons, with plenty of small towns and villages to visit by foot, bike or car.
“The cry of the cockerel at sunrise, the sound of cowbells jangling on the mountain pastures, the aroma of freshly baked bread emerging from the oven – holidays in the countryside are the best way to escape the hectic schedule of daily life and get back to nature. That is why we have put together a selection of farms in Tirol which offer visitors a chance enjoy peace and quiet in stunning natural surroundings far from civilisation.”
Have a look at the many things to do in the area. There are plenty of chalets and farm houses to choose from.
Normandy, northern France
You can’t fail to please the whole family of all ages in Normandy. Acorn Adventure Family Holidays offers an exciting adventure programme with popular visits to the Bayeaux Tapestry, WW2 beaches, Mont St Michel, St Malo Aquarium, a goat cheese farm and french market.
One day you’ll be enjoying kayaking and rock climbing and the next you’ll be wandering round the beautiful town of Bayeaux, with its charming shops and historic buildings. It is all organised for you and included in the price.
What about waterways?
As well as land-based holidays, you can get your family fun floating on rivers, canals or oceans.
Take a P&O Cruise
P&O Cruises is inviting more families to cruise on its five family-friendly ships (Aurora – until April 2019, Azura, Britannia, Oceana and Ventura) this year with the addition of 3,500 child places. This is the ultimate all-inclusive family holiday, where everything you need is on board.
That’s thousands of additional children who’ll be able to play to their hearts content in The Reef, P&O Cruises exciting complimentary on-board programme; splash around in the family pools; let off steam in the sports arena, tuck into pizza and jelly at the dedicated children’s tea; and join family-friendly shore excursions featuring treasure hunts, water parks, beaches and adventure trips.
Or cruise down a canal
Waterways Holidays specialises in canal boat holidays. Select a classic narrowboat or widebeam barge in one of many locations around the UK.
Or have some revelry on the river
A cruise on a river can be almost as luxurious and exciting as a cruise on the ocean. The difference is that you stay close to landscapes. There are several well known companies to choose from, such as Viking, Douro Azul and Riviera.
You might want to start with a site like Cruise Critic to get an idea of what to look out for.
Digging for deals
Wherever you look for a holiday, always keep an eye out for deals. Here is a list of places where you can look for deals on family holidays.
- Jet2Holidays deals
- On The Beach
- Travel Supermarket
- Teletext Holidays
- easyJet family holiday deals
- Travel Republic
- Co-operative Travel
Don’t forget the extras
If you are travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, try specialist medical insurer Free Spirit. If you are taking a trip that includes winter sports, backpacking or other adventurous pursuits, check out Alpha Travel Insurance. The Post Office also offers travel insurance at a good rate.
Also speak to your bank, which may offer travel cover for your family. The Money Advice Service has a good article that explains what a good travel insurance policy should look like.
Don’t forget the all-important sun protection. You will be surprised how much you need to put on. If you are travelling with a baby, you will find this website useful as a guide to the things you will need to take.
For general travel accessories, have a look at Nomad Travel or check out these articles for inspiration.