Do you have a love of international travel but feel like this is something that needs to wait until the kids grow up? Many parents are hesitant to take a big overseas trip when their children are still small, and often put exotic adventures off to much later.
However, international travel is a fantastic experience for everyone, especially little ones. There are many global destinations which make great family vacations, and will provide a wealth of learning experiences for your kids, exposing them to history, culture, food and much more in ways that are far more valuable than reading about these subjects in a book or watching a documentary.
Of course, some places are more suitable for families than others. Here are the best cities in the world to visit with young children which are almost guaranteed to deliver an unforgettable family vacation.
Paris may be famous as a sophisticated city and a destination for lovers, but it is also a great place to visit for families. All ages can enjoy the fresh croissants and baguettes, beautiful streets and large array of museums and historical monuments. The city’s many parks, like Jardin Luxembourg, make great places for families to hang out, and parents can relax while the kids run around and play. Many of the cities museums are kid-friendly, such as the Musee de Cluny which features Medieval exhibits.
Just outside Paris is the Palais of Versailles, the stunning palace built by Louis XIV, which can easily be reached in a daytrip from the city. Kids will love visiting this fairytale palace with its ornate rooms and extensive gardens.
This Middle Eastern trade and tourism hub is an eclectic mix of cultures, where East meets West. Here you can sample food from all over the world, try authentic Arabian perfumes, ride a camel through the desert, or visit the world’s tallest building and arguably most decadent malls. Dubai also has a number of great attractions which the kids will love. There is the Underwater World of Dubai Aquarium, which is the world’s largest suspended aquarium and a great place to see a dizzying array of marine life.
Dubai is also home to an array of mega theme parks, including Motiongate, Bollywood Parks and Legoland, which will keep your children entertained for days. The little ones will also delight in visiting Kite Beach, where they can enjoy not only all the normal beach activities, but also a skate park, outdoor trampolines, a play area and adventure gym.
While travelling all over the world, don’t forget there are also some great destinations in the USA. When it comes to a family vacation, Washington, D.C., is hard to beat thanks to its wealth of attractions offering important educational experiences. What’s more, many of these are free, which is great when budgeting for the whole family.
The Smithsonian Institute has 19 museums in D.C. which are free to visit, including the Museum of Natural History, the Air & Space Museum and the National Zoo. These attractions will encourage your kids to learn while having fun at the same time. You can also visit important national monuments such as the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and even organize a guided tour of the White House.
The Italian capital really is a living museum, and there is no better place for kids (and adults) to learn about ancient Roman history. There is also plenty of exceptional pizza and pasta to be had, so what’s not to love? You can take the family to visit the Colosseum and picture the gladiators and chariot races which happened here. Further discover history at Rome’s Forum, an extensive complex of ruins which was once the seat of the Roman Empire.
Whether religious or not, a trip the Vatican is also not to be missed. Here you can see the legendary Sistine Chapel, with its glorious ceilings painted by Michelangelo. After a long day of sightseeing, the whole family will enjoy relaxing in one of the city’s piazzas with a gelati.
With sun, surf and exotic animals, you can’t fault Australia as a family-friendly destination. Its largest city, Sydney, is packed with activities and attractions that the kids will love. The Royal Botanic Gardens are large, sprawling park on the waterfront, a great place to relax with a family picnic and take in views of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.
Head to one of the city’s great beaches like Manly or the famous Bondi Beach, or take the kids to Wild Life Sydney Zoo to see native Australian animals such as koalas, kangaroos and reptiles. If your kids want more opportunities to see and even hold a koala, head to the Koala Park Sanctuary.
Whether you decide to take your family for a trip to see the ancient monuments of Rome, visit the heart of government in Washington D.C. and cuddle koalas in Sydney, it is sure to be an experience none of you will forget!