From skiing in Japan to snorkelling in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, here are seven fun, child-friendly adventures for your next trip
Having kids may mean putting our own travel bucket list on hold, but that shouldn’t stop us parents from having exciting family holidays with children in tow. OK, Ibiza probably isn’t on the cards and we may have missed the boat on scaling Machu Picchu (at least while the little ones are prone to getting tired legs), but there are plenty of destinations to suit kids and adults alike besides resorts’ kids clubs.
To help you find your next amazing vacation spot, we’ve teamed up with the crew at Lightfoot Travel to compile a list of seven must-do activities for all those mini adventurers that are lucky enough to indulge their wanderlust… and made sure they’re fun enough for you to enjoy too!
Get your ski-bunny on
Don’t be fooled by the tropical climate – as a northern hemisphere nation (one degree north of the equator counts!), winter is here. Whether your little people are the sophisticated skiing type or leaning more towards snowboard cool, learning to hold their own on the slopes is a skill that will stay with them for a lifetime.
Where: Niseko, Japan is great for a hit of powder when you’re running short on annual leave; for a taste of alpine Europe it’s hard to go past Courchevel, France; or for a truly magical experience head to Whistler, Canada, using Lightfoot’s Family Winter Fun in Whistler itinerary for inspiration.
Ride the waves
Save on that next trip to the hairdresser and lock in your Kombi van rental – surf’s up! It’s never too young to introduce little water babies to the surf, and after no more than a couple of saltwater swallows your pre-10s are likely to be riding the waves like Kelly Slater. And if memorable experiences are what you’re after, here’s one with the potential to become a lifelong addiction.
Where: For tried and tested, it’s hard to go past Bali, Indonesia. If you like to stay one step ahead of the crowds, head to Siargao Island, Philippines, before the masses do, (Lightfoot recommends a stay at Dedon House); or dive into the wilder waves of the Pacific Ocean along Costa Rica’s north coast, staying at Harmony Hotel on the Nicoya Peninsula.
Snorkel like a fish
Slather sun cream onto the backs of those little legs and send your kids out to discover the magical world that awaits under the water. Indulge their imaginations in world-class marine environments where long days in the sun mean short nights before bedtime calls – for the children, anyway…
Where: For some of the best snorkelling around, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef delivers, while the sheer variety of accommodation options in the Whitsunday Islands – from rustic backpacker to romantic honeymoon, with the ultimate family-friendly retreat somewhere in between – provides a base to explore it from. (Lightfoot recommends One&Only Hayman Islands).
Or, for a luxury retreat that will tick something off your own bucket list as well as your kids’, go ahead and indulge with a trip to the Maldives, staying at Anantara Dighu or the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru.
Get up close and personal with all creatures great and greater on a family-friendly safari. Head to South Africa or Kenya where Lightfoot’s carefully crafted itineraries – Ultimate South Africa for Families, The Great Migration – will guide you and your kids through an experience that will get locked in the family memory bank forever.
Speaking of Africa, if your idea of a vacation experience for your kids is less about the pictures and more about the people, why not have them check in with a tribe in their native environment? Introduce your kids to the many amazing cultures still living their own respective dreams: there’s the Maasai in Kenya, the Aborigines in remote northern Australia (check out Uluru at the same time), the Maoris in New Zealand (Lightfoot’s Five Star Overview of New Zealand will help you plan the trip quite nicely), or the warriors on Sumba Island, Indonesia, just for starters.
And if you want help with accommodation that balances comfort with context, Lightfoot suggest Cottars 1920 or Giraffe Manor in Kenya, Wildman Wilderness Lodge in northern Australia, Eagles Nest (New Zealand), and Nihiwatu in Indonesia.
If you’re planning the trip of a lifetime but not too sure if the little tykes will remember it in years to come, fear not: we are living in the picture age, after all. Simply select a photogenic destination, preferably complete with an iconic landmark, and snap away. Not only will the kids remember the trip, you’ll have some amazing photos that can double as canvas wall candy once you’re home.
Where: The classic haunts because they’re, well, classic: the Eiffel Tower (stay at Le Bristol for five-star-plus indulgence); Taj Mahal, (check into The Imperial to experience one of Asia’s finest hotels); Great Wall of China, (Lightfoot recommends Four Seasons Hotel Beijing as a base); Angkor Wat, (Lightfoot’s Siem Reap with Kids itinerary will help you find your way around as a family or the colonial-style Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa has a kids’ club… just sayin’!); the Colosseum, or the Statue of Liberty.
Riding with the reindeer
For tropical climate kids, anywhere with snow is a novelty. Add reindeer into the equation and you have the recipe for a magical Christmas treat. Imagine the look on your little ones’ faces as they fly along (figuratively, at least!) behind the seemingly-mythical Christmas beast, or, if they’d prefer, behind majestic Huskies. You may have to travel to Finland or Sweden to experience it, but goodness knows it will make for a great story at school. Check into the Ice Hotel to complete the experience!
This article was brought to you by Lightfoot Travel, a Singapore-based luxury tour operator offering expert travel advice & inspiration, tailor-made itineraries & full booking services.
All Images: Lightfoot Travel