By now, most of us have settled back into Fall routines, with school (or homeschool), sports, clubs, dance classes and the like, and once we find our daily rhythms, our attention turns to: “Where are we going this year?”
And if you aren’t thinking about where you’re going this (school) year, I’m here to remind you that you absolutely should be, and sooner rather than later.
Why Decide Now?
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At this time of year, many of us are mapping out what the next ten months will look like, between sports schedules, recitals and concert dates that stretch all the way into June. Factoring travel and vacations into the equation makes sense for a number of reasons:
If you’re thinking of traveling outside of the country, you MUST have Passports, and make sure they are still current NOW. Passport wait times are still averaging at least six months or more, so if you are even considering going abroad, you need to apply for your passports ASAP in order to have them in time to leave the country for winter or spring break (winter break is even cutting it close at this point).
If you already have Passports, be sure to check the expiration date, which needs to be valid for six months AFTER the day you plan to return (for example, if you want to visit Europe over April break, your passport needs to be valid through October of next year).
Seriously, stop putting off getting or renewing your Passport, and do it now before not having it limits your travel options.
Recent travel trends have shown that the earlier you plan, the better the prices, from resorts and hotels to airfare and car rentals. The demand for travel is extraordinarily high right now, which means that the Travel Industry as a whole is operating with dynamic pricing, meaning the more full a cruise or tour or hotel is, the higher the prices go (not the other way around).
Does this mean that there are absolutely NO last minute deals out there? No, of course not, there’s still a chance something may come up. But will that last minute deal probably be the room or cabin or flight that no one else wants? Yes, for sure, that’s likely why there’s a deal on it. Generally, the likelihood of a deal popping up where you want to go, when you want to go there, and that covers your whole family is not so likely.
Hand-in-hand with pricing is also availability; again, the earlier you plan, the better off you are. This is especially important if your family only plans to travel during school breaks; popular and highly sought after destinations book up quickly due to the volume of people vacationing during school break weeks. However, with more and more people taking their kids out of school for vacations, and with homeschooling on the rise, availability can be spotty at any time.
Planning early ensures more availability, which means you get more choice in when and where you want to travel with your family. AND as just mentioned, planning early offers the best price, too. It’s a win-win.
Now that you know WHY you should plan this year’s family vacations sooner rather than later, let’s get to the fun part: deciding where to go!
Where To Travel with Kids Right Now
With travel on the rise to destinations across (almost) the whole world, deciding where to go can be overwhelming, but don’t worry, that’s what we at Love of the Magic Vacations are here for! The following list encompasses the best options for family travel right now, from pure escapism to educational opportunities.
1. Take a Cruise
Cruises are incredibly popular right now, with many of the big name Cruise Lines expanding their fleets with new and improved ships to meet the ever-growing demand. Disney Cruise Line just unveiled details on its latest addition, the Disney Treasure; Royal Caribbean’s much anticipated Icon of the Seas will set sail this season, as will Celebrity’s newest ship, the Celebrity Ascent (sister ship to the highly regarded Celebrity Beyond), just to name a few.
Cruises are perfect for families because of all the options available to suit practically every preference imaginable. Ships range in design from refined to what are essentially theme parks at sea, with itineraries that span the entire globe. Certain Cruise Lines are also known for their fantastic kids’ clubs, which many kids love so much that they often never want to leave (hello Parental Relaxation Time!). In addition, many Cruise Lines are very accommodating when it comes to accessibility needs, too, with flexible onboard options for those who need them.
If you’ve never taken a Cruise as a family, this is the perfect time to try one! Booking early is especially important for cruising (some Cruise Lines have already opened sailings into 2025, or will soon), so if a Cruise is on your radar, reach out to your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor today!
2. Stay at an All-Inclusive Resort
If you are looking to have a vacation with everything (relaxation, fun, adventure, perfect views) all in one place, then, as the name suggests, an All-Inclusive Resort is the perfect option for you. While there are All-Inclusives that are Adults-Only, the many that allow families TRULY cater to families with everything they offer.
Many All-Inclusives have kids’ clubs (just like cruises) that children of every age absolutely love and look forward to. If your kiddos are adventure-seekers, but you as the parent need some relaxation time, and All-Inclusive is a great place for everyone to get what they need out of the vacation. Plus, if you prefer to spend time all together as a family, All-Inclusives have activities that all members of the family can participate in with each other, too.
Besides the activities and kids’ clubs that make All-Inclusives great for families, All-Inclusive Resorts are usually found in idyllic destinations such as the Caribbean, that offer picturesque beaches and views for days! And the Family Friendly All-Inclusives really do live up to their name!
3. Explore Europe
I know, Europe is an entire continent, not just “a place to go with kids;” even within this list there are specific countries within Europe that are suggested. The point is that Europe presents SO MANY possibilities when it comes to traveling with your kids that you can pretty much take whatever your children are interested in, and find a place in Europe that will bring it to life for them.
For example, if you have a child who’s really into art history, and one who really loves the movie Luca, then Italy is a great choice for your family! Or if you have a child who loves fashion, and another who takes French, then Paris is the place to go! Maybe you have a budding chef who would soak up the foodie-culture of Portugal. No matter where you go, just experiencing the traditions and everyday life of another culture is enough in itself, and whatever country you choose to visit will expand your children’s world view and enrich their lives.
Whether you want to focus on visiting one country abroad, or several at once, there are tours and cruises to fit every time frame and budget, and as always, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor is ready to help you figure out what European destination is best for your family.
4. Adventure in Alaska
A trip to Alaska is nothing short of magical at any age, but it’s especially so for kids. Alaska is a place where the wondrous things they hear about in books and movies, like seeing whales jump out of the water, walking on glaciers, and seeing a dog sled team are suddenly right in front of them in real life. Alaska is sailing next to ice and train rides through the wilderness; it’s panning for gold and stepping off the trail into uncharted territory; and sometimes it’s getting to experience all this with some of their favorite and familiar characters, too (if you happen to choose a certain cruise line for your vacation).
Speaking of which cruise line to pick, if you have children on the younger side, and who love Disney, then of course Disney Cruise Line is a great fit. But if your kids are a little older and can handle (or would appreciate) a more sophisticated-style ship, there are a number of other options to choose from. Plus, there’s always the land option as well, which you can pair with a cruise, too. Alaska is known as America’s Last Frontier for a reason, and there are plenty of options for how to explore it, such as this Inspiring Itinerary featuring Alaska by Cruise, and also this Inspiring Itinerary featuring Alaska by Land!
5. Inspire Wonder in a Theme Park
If you’re looking to really delve into that Magical element, you know you can never go wrong with a Theme Park Vacation to Disney or Universal, or a combination of both! If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know that we at Love of the Magic Vacations are some of the greatest Disney Enthusiasts around, and that all of us know exactly how to craft the perfect Disney (and Universal) vacation for your family.
No matter how old your kids are, Disney and Universal vacations are always Magical, and part of why is because these Theme Parks bring out the kid in all of us, inspiring wonder and awe in the form of rides that Soar and characters who come to life before you. And as always, Disney does an incredible job with accessibility and supporting a variety of needs so that everyone can have a Magical experience. Literally, a Disney vacation is ALWAYS a top family option.
6. Cultural Discovery in Mexico
Mexico is a great vacation destination with kids for so many reasons. First, as our neighbor to the south, it’s not too far in terms of travel time. Second, it offers something for everyone, from adventurous activities to oceanside relaxation to fascinating history and cultural immersion. Third, Mexico usually has an option across a range of price points, from budget-conscious to concierge-level travelers.
Mexico is rich with historical sites, such as temples and archaeological ruins, that are open to visitors for exploration, and some of the most famous temples have those iconic staircases up the side, which makes them perfect for kids (because have you ever met who can resist running up a super tall staircase in front of them? I sure haven’t). If the beach is more your family’s vibe than historical sites, there are also fabulous Family Friendly All-Inclusive Resorts throughout Mexico, with plenty of kid-centric activities to choose from. In addition, there are so many day trip and excursion options throughout Mexico, from zip lining across the jungle to local food tastings and tours. Of course, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor can help you narrow down the options and choose the best Mexican vacation for your family.
7. National Park Expedition
It’s widely believed that our National Parks System is one of our country’s most impressive achievements, and also one of our greatest contributions to the world, since many countries followed suit in creating their own national parks after the creation of ours in the United States. Taking our kids to National Parks combines history, nature and breathtaking beauty all in one trip.
There’s no doubt that a visit to a National Park is one of the most adventurous and educational trips you can take with your kids. However, there is a caveat to this one; in this blog we are talking about Where to Travel with Kids THIS Year, which means that certain parks might already be off the list. Some of the most popular parks, like Grand Canyon especially, require at least a year of planning in advance to secure your Park Passes AND adequate accommodations. Places to stay around certain National Parks usually book out a year or more in advance.
BUT, not to worry, there’s a whole blog detailing a dozen National Parks you can visit (that don’t all require such advance planning), which you can find here. And if you’re really set on Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor can help you plan for next year!
8. Sports-Centered Experience
It’s no secret that, to a lot of kids, sports are a big deal. Maybe they play a certain sport and much of their time is dedicated to their practices and games or tournaments, or maybe they’re enthusiastic fans of their favorite teams, and never miss watching a game whenever it’s aired on TV. But what if you could take their love of the game out of your living room and into the real life experience of being in a stadium? No matter how many games someone has been to, there’s a magic to walking from the dark corridors of a stadium out into the bright light of the field that never fades.
There are so many options when it comes to creating a Sports-Centered Experience for your kids. Of course, the obvious one is taking them to see their favorite team, but how can you get creative with it? How about having a goal of seeing your favorite baseball team play in as many ballparks across the country as you can? Suddenly you have vacation options for a lifetime! If your family really loves college football, there’s nothing quite like the way a college town comes alive on game day. Or maybe Ted Lasso was your family’s favorite show to watch together and without another season, the only solution is to head to England to experience a match in person, even without Roy on the sidelines and Jamie Tartt on the field.
If your kiddo loves sports, there are SO many opportunities to celebrate that interest out of your living room, or your hometown or home state. As always, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor can help you put together the perfect Sports-Centered Experience for your family.
9. Puerto Rican Getaway
Puerto Rico offers that Island Vibe with beautiful beaches and tons of water activities, plus a culturally immersive experience with its rich history and local traditions, and you get to experience it all withOUT a passport! Puerto Rico has plenty of family friendly resorts to choose from, and depending how close to San Juan you decide to stay, you can choose to rent a car and explore on your own, or choose excursions with transportation included, of which there are many.
Some of the great options for kids in Puerto Rico include kayaking at night in Bioluminescent Bay (where the water literally glows with underwater organisms that seem to be right from Pandora), taking a tour of El Yunque Rainforest (this requires reservations in advance so the forest doesn’t become overcrowded, but your favorite LOTMV Travel Advisor will have all the details you need to know, and can set up a tour for you as well), and walking under the umbrellas suspended above the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, just to name a few! 10. “Holiday” in the UK
Going on vacation is often referred to as “Going on Holiday” in the UK, which sounds so much prettier, doesn’t it? Plus, the actual Holiday Season is truly magical in the UK if you choose to go any time during December, but the UK is a fantastic choice for family vacations no matter what time of year you go. And if you’re looking to go abroad, but don’t want to be in a place where another language is primarily spoken, the UK is the perfect place to journey outside of the US.
From Harry Potter- and Game of Thrones-themed tours, to elite soccer matches, to rides on the London Eye, to walking the halls of castles that are thousands of years old, to grizzly history lessons from the Beefeaters at the Tower of London, to Shakespeare brought to life at The Globe Theatre, there is something for every kid of every age, and every adult, too, when you “Holiday” in the UK!
Bonus: Epic Road Trip
An open road, the wind in your hair, “Life is a Highway” blasting on the radio, that feeling of freedom and opportunity; Road Trips can be truly Epic. And Road Trips can be taken anywhere; don’t make the mistake of assuming that a Road Trip must start and end at your own driveway. You can fly across the country, or even across the world for some of the most Epic Road Trips imaginable (Um, hello Pacific Coast Highway! Buon Giorno Wine Tasting in Tuscany!)!
Plus, one of the best things about Road Trips is that they can be combined with almost everything else on this list, too! A Road trip through the UK while stopping in Manchester to catch a soccer match? You can do that (as long as someone is willing to drive on the opposite side of the road!)! A Road Trip to some of the most iconic National Parks of the West, like Arches, Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde? Absolutely life-changing! A Road Trip following your favorite team to different stadiums for one leg of their away games? Think of the stories you’ll have for your grandkids, and that your kids will have for theirs!
And if a Road Trip seems overwhelming to put together? We’ve got you covered! Your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Agent can put the whole thing together for you!
Ready to Plan?
Now that you’ve got a Top Ten List for Where to Travel with your Kids this (School) Year, are you ready to map out some vacations for those upcoming school breaks (or for anytime, really, if you don’t mind pulling your kids out of school for the educational value in travel, or if you homeschool)? Wherever and whenever you’d like to travel, I would love to help you choose and plan the perfect adventure with (or without) your kids! Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started planning, or click here for a free quote from me or your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor!