For some families, there is not a more satisfying holiday than returning to the familiar destination they visited the previous year and doing the same sort of thing they have been doing since childhood. Other families are thrill-seekers and enjoy travelling to new places every year, each more exotic than the former.
Whatever your preference, you may fancy a change from your normal type of holiday – here are some of the best types of holidays for families to help guide your getaway plans.
You can rent a villa in countless destinations across the world, but the word villa is mostly associated with European countries like Greece and Italy. Don’t be fooled by etymology, though; you can have villa experiences in destinations with cultures as varied as those in Florida, Barbados, or Thailand! These holidays vary depending on the location you have chosen, but activities can include fishing, visiting museums and markets, absorbing the local culture, and going boating.
Holiday villas typically include private pools, and there are some that can accommodate multiple families if you want to go with family friends. These prove to be highly popular for families who want to balance quality family time with activities just for the kids, so the adults have some time and space to themselves.
Private Villa Pros: Personal space, holiday to your own schedule, more opportunity to explore the local history and culture, varied pricing
Private Villa Cons: Not too exciting or fast-paced, can be expensive without a travel package
Skiing or Snowboarding
Snow sports are a great novelty if you don’t see the snow too frequently, and can be a great way to keep kids occupied. If you’re a thrill lover, you’ll find racing down the mountain thoroughly enjoyable, but if you prefer more relaxed and peaceful holidays, this might not be the one for you. However, that is becoming less and less the case as ski resorts are starting to accommodate those who don’t like skiing.
Resorts like Alberg1800 in Austria are beginning to offer galleries, concert halls and shopping centres, as well as the standard spa to help you relax and unwind – turning what is usually a holiday associated with intense activity into one where you can relax in tranquillity. Many have a favourite ski resort, but for those that like to change things up, there are impressive ski resorts all across the globe.
Ski Holiday Pros: Exciting, entertaining, healthy
Ski Holiday Cons: Expensive, unvaried, typically lack culture-related activities
Cities tend to be cultural hubs of countries, and the opportunities are vast. You could immerse yourself in the exhilarating skyscrapers of Manhattan or Tokyo; dive into the rich histories of ancient European cities like Rome or Athens; or broaden your horizons and explore very different cultures in cities like Bangkok, Beijing or New Delhi. You’ll never be bored when visiting a big city, but this normally carries with it the burden of a lot of research. With so much opportunity, not keeping yourself occupied and entertained by jewels of the metropolis can cause you to feel like you’re missing out. However, that also means that you can revisit a city and have an entirely different experience.
Cities typically have several districts (for example, New York has Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, etc.), and if you and your family fall in love with a specific one, you will very likely be able to stay in another district the next time you go and enjoy a different perspective.
City Break Pros: Countless entertainment opportunities, rich culture and history to explore, more options about where to stay and eat, less constrained by language barriers
City Break Cons: Typically quite expensive (not always), not too relaxing, less space for yourself and your family
This is a type of holiday that isn’t quite as popular as the others, but that may be because it’s a more modern, experience-based holiday. The logic is simple: what will the whole family enjoy? Eating delicious food! What’s more, the additional benefits are many. Food is often tightly linked with culture and history, and by learning about the food of a certain region, you will learn about the eating traditions as well as food-related facts that can help you get to know a country and its people from a completely different angle.
For example, if you were taking a gourmet holiday in France, you’d be hard-pressed not to be informed about the vital role food played in the French Revolution. Until they stormed the Bastille and revolted, 70% of French people were peasants, eating mostly bread and grain. When their crops failed, only the aristocrats could afford bread, and the people were starving. When the people took control, many of the aristocrats’ servants opened restaurants that made fine food available to the average citizen, making fine French cuisine an important part of their culture.
A typical gourmet holiday would involve a tour around a nearby market to learn about fresh local produce; cooking classes where you can learn how to replicate the trademark dishes of the region; trips to experience local specialties, like San Sebastian’s famous Pinxos tours; and lots and lots of eating.
Gourmet Holiday Pros: Delicious food; great learning experiences, cultural and historical components, leave the holiday with replicable skills as well as memories, can be easily combined with a city break.
Gourmet Holiday Cons: Typically higher cost, may leave you feeling uncomfortably full and lethargic.
These four types of holidays are the most popular, but they’re not the only ones out there: you can also think about hiking holidays, cruises, adventure holidays, or even island resorts. However, if you have a family with children your options are a little more constrained. Villas, city breaks and skiing holidays are tried, tested and kid-approved, and as they are more popular, you typically have more varied options.
Be sure to take your time and research thoroughly; the more time you put into planning, the more rewarded you will feel when you have taken your family on a holiday they love.