One of the top reasons families travel internationally is the chance to immerse themselves in another culture. Those opportunities are particularly impactful for children, who may not yet have the firsthand experience necessary to understand the full spectrum of the world around them. Over and over again, parents find that travel is one of the best ways to build empathy, understanding and generosity in their kids. And unlike lecturing them, it’s fun for everyone!

Cultural immersion travel can occur through a variety of avenues; unique lodging options like monastery stays or an overnight in an animal sanctuary are one example. Special activities like dancing with a Maasai tribe in Tanzania, designing a tartan in Scotland or a day spent in a Central American school are memorable and impactful. Even the various modes of transportation that exist around the world can be a cultural lesson, such as a tuk-tuk ride in Thailand or a gondola rowing lesson in Venice. Dining presents a delicious opportunity for cultural immersion — picture your family breaking fast during Ramadan with a local family in Morocco or being served tea by a geisha in Japan.

All destinations can have unique cultural experiences incorporated into a visit, but some places truly shine for their immersiveness in a way of life so different from traditional Western culture. We love these destinations for families seeking that type of experience.

Japan

While Tokyo has a reputation for being a bit cartoonish and over the top (think Hello Kitty cafes), its modern and high-tech neighborhoods butt right up against ancient temples. Hop on a bullet train to Kyoto, where you can stay in traditional ryokans and wander the ancient streets. Families love Japanese cooking classes like sushi preparation or noodle making.

Cuba

Travel restrictions have limited tourism here, but more and more families are discovering that a trip to Cuba is incredibly meaningful for children. Salsa dancing lessons, rides in vintage cars and pickup soccer games with local children offset the more serious moments.

China

With a population well over 1 billion, Chinese culture is incredibly important around the world. Mandarin language lessons, hiking the Great Wall and wandering the night markets are all fun for families. Consider traveling to more remote regions in addition to the big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Peru

Families feel like true global explorers on a trip to Peru. Sipping mate de coca will not only help with altitude sickness, but also will immerse you in the cuisine. We encourage clients to do easy hikes through farm fields so as to experience the communal farming practices that are the foundation of the indigenous peoples.

Morocco

With its melting pot of African, European and Middle Eastern influences, a trip to Morocco is like checking off three regions in one. Culinary experiences are key here, with market food tasting tours and dining in local homes high on most families’ wish lists.

Vietnam

This southeast Asian country holds a lot of intrigue for Westerners, but it is important to get away from the typical tourist paths for true Vietnamese cultural immersion. Instead of visiting the water puppet shows that teem with foreigners, go to a traditional water puppet artist’s home and get a hands-on lesson. Lunch in Buddhist convents, day trips to rural villages and paddling the sleepy back canals of the Mekong Delta are also quite memorable.

Israel

As the birthplace of three major world religions, Israel ranks high for cultural and historical significance. Families can tour temples, mosques and cathedrals, as well as ancient Roman ruins and Arabian fortresses. Indulging in robust Israeli breakfasts and hummus tasting experiences keep everyone energized for full days of sightseeing.

Note that immersive vacations in exotic cultures can be very intimidating to plan. For example, parents need to assess safety, determine whether an experience or hotel is truly kid-friendly and figure out how to accommodate picky eaters.

This is when Ciao Bambino’s well-traveled advisors prove invaluable. Planning culturally enriching trips for families is our specialty. We take all the headaches out of the planning process by offering our firsthand knowledge and pro travel tips. We handle basics, like suggesting what to pack, and take care of considerations like finding the private guides who’ll be most engaging with children.

Cultural immersion does not have to mean roughing it, either; families appreciate touches of luxury perhaps more than usual when traveling to remote parts of the world. Our Virtuoso accreditation means we have access to experiences not available to the general public. This high level of care makes everyone feel more relaxed and confident, especially when traveling far out of your comfort zone, and leaves you to fully appreciate the culture you came all this way to witness and enjoy.

Travel Planning

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Family-Friendly Packages
Europe
Greece Family Vacation Package

7 Days / 6 Nights

From $3,776 Per Person

Africa
Morocco Family Vacation Package

7 Days / 6 Nights

From $4,169 Per Person

Europe
Classic Italy Family Vacation Package

7 Days / 6 Nights

From $4,524 Per Person

Our Happy Travelers
"Our Asian adventure has been wonderful so far. Loved Shanghai and loving Japan so far. The food has been amazing! We can't wait to come back here."

–Tullo Family Japan and China Trip

"We had an amazing time, and really appreciate all the work that you did for us."

–Clar Family Trip

"We have only good things to say about our entire trip and the planning process. You are a dream to work with! I especially appreciated how you narrowed down my options for each decision, so I wouldn't be overwhelmed. I haven't worked with a travel agent before, but you really surpassed my expectations. We will call you first the next time we travel!"

–Caldeira Family Trip

"The hotel you found and booked for us could be the nicest hotel we have ever stayed... and we have stayed at some really, really nice 5 star hotels."

–Wadsworth Family Trip

"We loved everything about the trip! It was so wonderful and everything ran very smoothly. Thank you again for all your help!"

–Jones Family Trip

Hotels

Family-Friendly Hotels

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Ballyfin »

County Laois

Premier Suites »

Earlsfort Centre, 14-17 Lower Leeson St, Saint Stephen's Green

Renvyle House Hotel »

Renvyle, Galway

Liss Ard Estate »

Castletownsend Road, Skibbereen

Ballyvolane House »

Castlelyons, Fermoy

Ashford Castle »

Ashford Castle Estate

Anantara Hua Hin Resort and Spa »

43/1 Phetkasem Beach Road, Hua Hin

Boutique Hotel El Pez »

Carretera Tulum–Boca Paila Km 5.5, 77780 Tulum

Hacienda Encantada Resort and Spa »

Carretera Transpeninsular KM 7.3, Corredor Turistico

Fairmont Mayakoba »

Riviera Maya Carretera Federal Cancun KM 298, Playa Del Carmen

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita »

Ramal Carretera Federal 200 Km 19

Playa Grande Resort »

Av. Solmar #1, Col Centro

Rosewood Mayakoba »

Carretera Federal Cancun KM 298, Playa Del Carmen

The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort »

Carretera Federal 200 K.M19.5, Lote H-4, Punta Mita, Nayarit

Club Med Cancun Yucatan »

Punta Nizuc Cancun

Cuixmala »

Costalegre, Jalisco  

Hotel Esencia »

Tulum km 265 Xpu-Ha, Quintana Roo 77750 Mexico

Ballyfin, Ireland
Great for ages: 6-18
Adare Village, Ireland
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Dublin, Ireland
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Galway, Ireland
Great for ages: 0-12
Arthurstown, Ireland
Great for ages: 0-12
Skibbereen, Ireland
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Castlelyons, Ireland
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Cong, Ireland
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Hua Hin, Thailand
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Chiang Rai, Thailand
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Tulum, Mexico
Great for ages: 0-2, 6-18
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Punta Mita, Mexico
Great for ages: 0-12
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Great for ages: 0-5, 13-18
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Punta Mita, Mexico
Great for ages: 0-12
Cancun, Mexico
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
Ixtapa, Mexico
Great for ages: Multi-Generational
La Huerta, Mexico
Great for ages: 0-2, 6-18
Xpu-Ha, Mexico
Great for ages: 0-5
Destinations

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Cuba Family Vacations
Vietnam Family Vacations
Israel Family Vacations
Morocco Family Vacations
India Family Vacations
Experiences

Active Fun for the Whole Family

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Service Trips & Volunteerism for Families
Family Adventure Travel
City Breaks for Families
Food & Wine Trips for Families
Summer Travel
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