The Best Places to Travel with Children of All Ages
Just because you've become a parent doesn't mean you have to give up on your travel dreams and plans. Of course, once there are kids in the mix, deciding on where to go – and when – looks a lot different. If you're wondering where the best places to travel with children of all ages (from infancy up until early adulthood), we've got you covered.
One of the joys of traveling with your children is living experiences through their eyes; whether you're at a tried and true favorite destination or exploring an entirely new frontier, the sense of awe and adventure will always be at the forefront. However, you'll also have to take things like jet lag, uneven terrain, extreme weather, and the potential for elevated costs into account.
Read on for some expert tips on where to travel with children, no matter the age.
The Best Places to Travel with Children
Infants & Newborns: Resort in Mexico
If you're going to be sleep-deprived and out of it, you might as well be at a warm-weather resort in Mexico. Plus, when your children are young – like, too young to walk – getting around is a lot easier. For your family's first trip together, look for a destination that can be reached by a direct flight. If you're based in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean are probably your best bet.
Since the baby will still be super young, rather than focus on kid-centric amenities, look for a place with a big beach where you can all chill out. Don't forget to make sure there's quality medical care nearby in the case of an unexpected fever or bump on the head.
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Toddlers: Hawaii 🇺🇸
If there's a toddler in your life, you know that it's non-stop, all day, every day. Once they're up and walking, the world is their oyster and everything is ripe for exploring. Lean into that sensory overload with the lush jungles, myriad beaches, wildlife, and mountain adventures that await you.
Hawaii is an extremely family-friendly destination: no passports are required if you're coming from the U.S., and there are dozens of options for hotels and accommodations that cater to visitors with young children. Once you need a break from all of the things you'll want to put on your agenda – whale watching, snorkeling, and more – chilling out by the pool or on the beach will provide the perfect respite for everyone.
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Elementary Age: Rome, Italy 🇮🇹
If there were to be the ultimate target demographic for pizza and ice cream, young elementary-age children would take the cake. At school they're probably starting to learn about world history and the rise of Western Civilization, so why not take them right to the source? Taking in the sights around the Colosseum, taste-testing every flavor of gelato under the sun, and seeing a part of the world beyond their own backyard will be as exciting for them as it is you.
Try to choose a hotel or guide that understands the importance of planning kid-friendly activities that will keep them engaged and excited. There are dozens of ways to adapt the multifaceted elements of Roman history that will appeal to young minds, including art workshops or even gladiator school.
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Tweens: Montana Dude Ranch 🇺🇸
Once your children start to enter pre-adolescence, they'll want to explore things on their own, testing boundaries within a safe space. A perfect background for this is a working ranch, with plenty of wide open spaces for them to discover, offering them chances to take their nascent autonomy for a test drive. By foregoing a more "typical" family holiday – the beach, Disney, visiting relatives – a unique destination connected to nature will get everyone out of their comfort zones.
An added bonus of a place like Montana is that no matter the season, it's a beautiful place to visit and there are plenty of things to do year-round.
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Teenagers: African Safari in Kenya 🇰🇪
There's a few reasons it's smart to wait until your kids are older before taking them on their first safari. First, they'll be able to truly appreciate – and remember – the experience, something that is unlikely in the earlier years. What's more, the "roughing it" aspect of the holiday, including longer car trips and sleeping in tents, is bound to be less of an obstacle.
Engaging your children in different geographical and cultural experiences will broaden their worldview and encourage them to expand their horizons. Learning about wildlife conservation and the richness of different African cultures will be something your children carry with them well beyond adult.
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College Age: New Zealand 🇳🇿
If your children have left the nest and gone away to study at college, convincing them to join you on a family holiday is going to require some ingenuity. Pull out all the stops and make plans to visit a place like New Zealand, with loads of adventure-fueled options, friendly locals, and a guaranteed excellent time.
Choose from helicopter rides over glaciers, myriad hiking (there it's called tramping) trails and experiences, and revel in the fact that you'll have incredible stories to share with one another for years to come.
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College Grads: Japan 🇯🇵
Japan is a place that could – in our minds, should – be visited more than once throughout a person's life. There are many layers and nuances to Japanese culture, and while younger visitors can certainly appreciate and respect them, for a first-timer, saving it until your child is old enough to understand the special nature is definitely worth it.
From Tokyo's bustling metropolitan magic, to Kyoto's transformative zen beauty, to Osaka's chaotic and delicious street food culture, there is so much to see, learn, and eat. It's easy to get around thanks to the country's well-connected railway system and accesible public transit.
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