Are you looking for a family holiday with a difference? Want a little adventure mixed with beach time? Check out my top long haul destinations for families and start planning your next big trip.
Family holidays, like most travel trends, have changed dramatically in recent years. The two-week package deal to Spain is no longer the typical family holiday. Many families are taking a ‘big trip’ every few years and milestone birthdays usually involve a trip to a bucket-list destination with your family. Everyone is looking for more authentic experiences and parents want to educate their children to different cultures too. We think nothing of flying ten hours to Orlando for a family holiday in Florida, so why not fly the same distance to Thailand or Mexico? My children (ages 8 & 11) would tell you that one of their favourite holidays was when we spent two weeks travelling around South Africa last year. So why not push the boundaries and go long haul for your next family holiday…..
I have teamed up with Tropical Sky, who offer family holidays to many long haul destinations. They can advise you on the best hotel options to suit your requirements. If you are looking for hotels with family rooms and kids clubs, they will source them for you. If on the other hand you are looking to stay in an elephant camp in Thailand, they can arrange that too. Here are their top long haul destinations for families.
Thailand is a wonderful introduction to Asia for children. Most will be familiar with Thai curries or noodle dishes so there is no need to worry about local food. If you want to spend a few days in Bangkok, combine local culture with a family day out. Explore Asiatique, the family-friendly open air-mall with its ferris wheel and other fun things to do, and take ride on a tuk-tuk, Asia’s rickshaw.
Stay at one of the many beach resorts, there will be plenty of activities to keep the children happy. Most family hotels will have entertainment laid on and the kids will enjoy snorkelling in the clear waters. Cha Am and Hua Hin are good choices if you don’t want to travel too far from Bangkok. However with Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific all flying from Dublin airport now, the islands of Phuket and Krabi and the Nothern city of Chang Mai are more easily accesible. If you really want to show the kids something unique, try an overnight stay in Elephant Hills Jungle Camp, suitable for children from 4 years.
See top 10 family hotels here See Thailand holiday offers here
Mexico is a great destination for families, with Cancun and its surrounding resorts being the most popular choices. Hotels are packed with kids clubs, entertainment and many have water slides at the pool. You can swim, snorkel, take boat trips and enjoy sunny days on Mexico’s white sandy beaches. Most resorts are all-inclusive with unlimited soft drinks and ice creams included for children. Tropical Sky have some super offers where you can save up to €600 per person on selected all-inclusive resorts, such as the Dreams Sands Cancun & Spa. However, you fancy dining out, you are bound to find a Hard Rock Café or Planet Hollywood nearby. For family fun days out take the kids to Xenses or XCaret theme parks or one of the many waterparks.
The Dominican Republic is very popular with families, thanks to the wide selection of family-friendly, all-inclusive resorts and it’s year round sunshine. There are tons of watersports available including snorkelling, kiteboarding and sailing. Although surrounded by white sandy beaches, it’s interior is pretty special too. Take the kids on a jungle trek and see waterfalls, natural swimming pools and even some monkeys swinging from the trees.
Tropical Sky have super deals to family hotels in the Dominican Republic. The five-star Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana is priced from €1149 on an all-inclusive basis, including flights and transfers. This includes a saving of €150 per person if booked by the 30th of April. There are kids clubs from ages 3-12 and a teens club from ages 13-17, with campout adventures, big screen movies at the beach and a host of watersports available.
See hotel offer here
Like the Caribbean? Check out my top 5 All Inclusive Caribbean resorts for families:
Dubai is one of the best long haul destinations for families. With daily direct flights from Dublin, Dubai can be a great option to introduce your children to long haul travel. Dubai is a kids paradise, there is so much to do here. The world’s largest indoor theme park is in Dubai as well as Legoland. Sega Republic and some amazing waterparks. Make sure to visit Wild Wadi Waterpark, with 30 rides and attractions for all ages, it’s a great place to spend the afternoon. If you stay at Jumeirah Beach hotel you get free entry! You can also ski indoors, take a desert safari and go to the top of the world’s tallest building. Another must-see is the Dubai Fountain, kids will be mesmerised by the incredible display as it lights up the night sky.
Why not combine Dubai with another destination like the Maldives. I have chosen to do that for our family holiday this year. After an action packed few days in Dubai, I can think of nothing better than flaking out on a beach in the Maldives. The Centara Grand Island Resort caters extremely well for children, with kids clubs, boat trips and even Playstations in some of the rooms.
See top family attractions here See Dubai holiday offers here
Orlando needs no introduction and is widely accepted as the top family destination in the world. Thankfully direct flights with Aer Lingus to Orlando and Miami have made it much more accesible. With twelve theme parks, four waterparks and a host of other activities on International Drive, you will be spoilt for choice for things to do in Orlando. Take the kids to the Magic Kingdom, enjoy the parades, the fireworks and let them meet their favourite characters. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, or the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge that is opening later this year.
Tropical Sky are offering up to four nights FREE at selected Disney hotels if you book by the 1st of April and a FREE I-Ride Trolley pass for 5-days, if you stay seven nights or more on International Drive.See Disney hotel offers here See all Florida holiday offers here
South Africa was one of our favourite family holidays. There is very little time difference so you will be surprised at how easy the flight is. Cape Town is such a vibrant city with so much to see and do. We loved taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain and driving the Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope. Stopping at Boulders Beach was one of the highlights, where we were able to swim with penguins in the sea! We then took a car and drove along the Garden Route, stopping in some great beach resorts, before finishing off our trip at a Game Reserve. Seeing lions walk towards you and sleeping out in the African bush are memories that will last a lifetime. I would highly recommend a family holiday to South Africa and Tropical Sky will tailor make the right itinerary to suit your requirements.
So now that you have seen my top long haul destinations for families, the only decision is where will you choose? Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Tropical Sky but all views, as always, are my own.