People always ask me what my favorite family vacation destinations are. Narrowing it down to just five is so hard — the more you travel, the more favorites you have. But if I had to pick, they would be Italy, Iceland, dude ranches, Mexico and the Caribbean, and just about anywhere with a beach. Here’s why, and a few of my top tips for visiting each destination.
Note, these are all incredibly popular … some fill up as much as a year in advance. Book sooner rather than later!
There are countless reasons that families love Italy: climate, people, food, history, architecture, landscape and art, just to name a few. Luckily, there is so much to do that you can keep going back again and again. One trip might be Rome, Florence and Venice; on the next, you could explore the Tuscan countryside. Or combine Rome and the Amalfi Coast, or Venice and the Lakes District. If you really want to get off the beaten path, make your way down to Puglia or Sardinia. Before you start planning, there are a few things to keep in mind:
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A visit to Iceland feels like an out-of-this-world experience. While it may be easy to stop in Reykjavik for a short layover on the way to Europe, I would really encourage a longer stay to get into the beautiful countryside. But there are some big caveats to be aware of from the start when planning an Iceland trip:
We can’t say enough about the benefits of a dude ranch for connecting as a family (and disconnecting from the rest of the world). Follow these tips for finding the right match:
For families looking for a deal, there are plenty to be had in Mexico and the Caribbean during the summer — both accommodations and airfare are usually affordable. In late summer, you may want to avoid the Yucatan Peninsula and other areas in the hurricane belt, but be sure to ask your travel advisor if there are any promotions going on that you can take advantage of, especially for a last-minute getaway. Caribbean islands that are usually drier include Aruba and Curacao.
All-inclusive resorts are prolific in both Mexico and the Caribbean and can be quite cost-effective (especially with hungry teens). If you go this route, make a list of your top priorities, such as high-quality food, a wide range of activities, beach access or spa treatments, then choose a property that checks the right boxes.
The classic U.S. beach vacation is a family favorite. It is hard to pick just a few great beach destinations, but some nearly foolproof ideas include:
For destinations with short summer seasons, like New England or even some of the Carolina coast, be sure to book early. Year-round destinations like Florida may offer more bargains in the summer.
I’ll also throw in one more bonus summer destination, and that is British Columbia in Canada. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, British Columbia offers everything from whale watching and bear viewing to ziplining, off-roading, rafting, rock climbing, hiking and more. Plus, with a strong U.S. dollar right now, your vacation budget can go a lot farther!
I recently covered these tips and more in a Facebook Live session. Be sure to check it out below, and follow Ciao Bambino on Facebook to keep up with the latest in family travel tips and ideas!
Editor’s Note: Photos by Tamara Gruber.
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This is a challenging time for our clients given the uncertainty around the spread of coronavirus, particularly for those with near-term travel plans in impacted areas. We’re working with our suppliers on being flexible with their booking conditions, and enabling families to postpone travel to a later date without a penalty, when possible. Likewise, given the unpredictability around destinations that may be impacted in the future, we’re helping clients planning new trips and understand ways that they can protect themselves until the situation improves. We are ready to help our clients work through questions and concerns.