Everyone told me my travelling days were over once I had kids. But for me, travel is such a huge part of my life and to “give it up” was never an option. I not only want to instil that huge sense of fun and adventure in my children, but I want to experience it with them.
Don’t get me wrong, traveling with youngsters definitely requires planning to ensure good flow with travel times and schedules, allowances for extra time for toilet breaks, snacks (and more snacks!), scheduling in “rest days” or “pool days” or to just stop and play in a park or sit on a bench and take it all in.
The experience is definitely different to my pre kids travels but that is something I comfortably accept, knowing that the alternative is to not travel at all.
Don’t wait “until the kids are old enough to remember” or “when they are older enough to appreciate it”. Personally, that’s a long time to wait and I just can’t put something I am so passionate about on hold for that long!
Travelling teaches you many life lessons and this is no exception, when it comes to children, no matter what their age. Resilience, patience, open mindedness and to embrace different cultures, not to mention being highly educational and emotionally bonding with the family.
So why wait… choose your family’s bucket list destinations and start planning ahead for the years to come!
Here are some of our family favourites for Bucket List Inspiration.
The number 1 bucket list holidays for most families would be to go to Disneyland!
It certainly was when I was a kid and I remember being so excited when I actually went there for the first time and I was about 22 years old!
Many many years on, and Disney as a destination is still as exciting for my kids and I hope to be able to take them there one day. The original park is in Anaheim, about 45mins out of LA and is still the most popular.
Families are now also heading to other Disneyland Parks located in Japan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Paris and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida – which has 4 theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
With the addition of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opening in August 2019, this will definitely be one to add to your bucket list!
If a white Christmas is on your bucket list, then there is no better place than “Santa Claus Village” in Lapland, Finland.
As though the fact that it’s the actual home of Mr and Mrs Claus themselves is not exciting enough, daily activities include reindeer led sleigh rides, ice fishing, snowmobile rides, snowman building, ice skating, husky rides and safaris and even a visit from the big man himself and some of his elves!
The long polar nights from Oct – March are also he best time to view the mystical Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights – so with all of this combined, this trip would be ticking off more than just one bucket list!
For every child who loves animals and has ever had their imagination ignited by animal characters in storybooks and movies such as The Lion King, an African Safari is an ultimate bucket list!
Many lodges and camps cater especially for families, and offer special childrens programs and activities such as “junior ranger clubs” where kids can get hands on and learn about animal and wildlife conservation. Seeing wildlife up close and personal, roaming free in their natural habitat, will no doubt instil a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature and its creatures.
Many lodges and camps also have swimming pools to combine mornings of activity with afternoons of relaxing around the pool. Nights can see everyone sitting around a campfire, with cultural dance shows and story telling from the local tribes, which is an absolutely amazing experience for the entire family.
Beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, turtle spotting, snorkelling, surf lessons, old war shipwrecks and submarines, volcanoes and waterfalls, Diamond Head Crater, quad biking, Jurassic Park location tours and amazing outlet shopping where you can stock up on clothes and shoes for the whole family. Hawaii is a little bit like a vamped up Gold Coast and is often referred to as a concrete jungle, but it is a fantastic destination and still offers lots to do and also give you and your kids a cultural overseas holiday experience.
I would highly recommend venturing out to one of the islands, there is so much more to Hawaii than just Waikiki itself, so if you are able to combine this with another island or two then you will really get a great feel for all that Hawaii has to offer!
Fiji or Vanuatu
Either of these 2 island getaways are a great “first overseas family holiday” being only about a 3-4 hour flight from Melbourne and are typically all about resort life, with a few activities that you can participate in outside of the resort if you wish.
Beautiful resorts offer large swimming pools, beaches and lots of grassed areas, plenty of activities and kids clubs to keep the little ones entertained and allow parents to also enjoy some alone time. The people of Fiji and Vanuatu are extremely friendly and will have you feeling relaxed and on “island time” before you know it!
Always a great option for a family holiday and very popular for school holidays so always best to try and book in advance!
The Gold Coast
Whilst the Gold Coast doesn’t really jump out at me as a “bucket list”, I can tell you that my kids are at me all the time to go there (usually after going back to school after the holidays and hearing other kids talking about their holiday to the Gold Coast!) and I reckon if you asked most kids, this would absolutely be on their bucket list!
Theme Parks, waterslides, wave pools, beaches, rock pools, wildlife sanctuaries, rainforest skywalk, snorkelling, paddle boarding, jetboating, surfing, mini golf – you name it, the Gold Coast probably has it! All the makings for a fun packed family holiday that the kids will absolutely love and lets face it, when choosing a family holiday it really is all about them and the experience that they will have, seeing the smiles on their faces will probably surprise you of how much fun a Gold Coast holiday can be!
Cruise ships have come a long way in the past few years and the facilities on board these days are just amazing for not just the adults, but for kids of all ages. The key is to find the “right ship” to suit your needs, and when I hear people say that “cruising is not for them” I just think they haven’t experienced the right ship!
I recently cruised with my family on Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas and it was just incredible!
Ice-skating, Dodgem cars, rock climbing, flow rider, ripcord by Ifly, Splashaway bay with waterslides and a whirl pool, the North Star observation capsule and a number of swimming pools – all activities that kept everyone entertained for those days at sea where we were not on shore exploring the islands.
Then there is the nightly shows, where you can either enjoy these with the whole family, or drop the kids at kids club and enjoy it on your own. Some of the shows are shown again during the day for the kids or anyone who missed them the night before to enjoy.
The food on cruise ships is also unbelievable! Buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners with a vast array of food to suit all tastes, along with a la cart dining options and then specialty restaurants at an extra fee if you choose.
With all of your meals, most activities & entertainment all included in your price, the value of cruise holidays is really hard to beat! Cruises have become increasingly popular for multi-generational holidays, with quality time being spent between grandparents and their grandchildren, adult children with their parents, siblings and cousins. A cruise is a great way to get all the family together on a stress free holiday and make lasting memories!