The GO Guide to Traveling with Kids
The GO Guide to Traveling with Kids
Adventuring with the entire family is something we've got figured out
Many years ago on our way to Africa, we flew via Amsterdam. My youngest, who was five years old at the time, was terribly excited–but we couldn't figure out why. When we touched down at the airport, her enthusiasm grew. She was peering around every corner and looking in store windows, until finally, she stopped. With tears welling in her eyes she asked, "where are the hamsters? You said this was Hamsterland." And while we didn't find any hamsters to make her trip to Amsterdam meet the imaginings of a five-year-old mind, this is one of the reasons that traveling with kids is an absolute must. They remind us of the things we forget to appreciate, offer a sense of wonder we sometimes take for granted, and do hilarious things that will make for excellent stories when they're teenagers. Without further ado, introducing my top trips for traveling with kids of any ages.
By: SANDY CUNNINGHAM
TAKE THE TOTS ALONG
Some say that taking kids younger than six years old abroad is ridiculous, but I disagree. I took my girls to Africa when they were five and six. They gave the monkeys a run for their money, they learned to be warriors with their Masai guide, they chased dung beetles, and they rode camels. They even very sweetly asked the cook to coat some impala droppings with chocolate to give to me as a “special dessert" (luckily, the cook knew better). It's experiences like these that dotted our safari with fun and gave us the most incredible shared memories.
NICARAGUA: Pacific Coast, Playa Rancho Santana
$2,000 | 8 DAYS
Nicaragua is more than just a world-class surf destination. Several years ago, we headed down to Nicaragua with our two daughters (then ages nine and 11) to explore the legendary breaks. They learned to surf, practiced their Spanish, spent hours peering for monkeys, and rode horses on the beach. Between the huge variety of activities and epic surfing, we are completely hooked. Now it's no secret that Rancho Santana is one of our favorite destinations in Central America.
ULTIMATE FAMILY SAFARI
SOUTH AFRICA: Kruger National Park, Cape Town, and Beyond
$6,765 | 11 DAYS
When traveling abroad with kids, you want to focus on less travel between properties and more time spent enjoying everything a few places have to offer. This itinerary fits the bill, and includes unbeatable safari experiences with sensational and exclusive outposts. Over the course of 11 days, we take you through the best of the best, from searching for the Big 5 in Kruger National Park to sleeping in a treehouse on stilts, and finally to the heart of Cape Town. We have a feeling the treehouse might be the kids' favorite part.
EMERALD ISLE ADVENTURE
IRELAND: Dublin, Cork, and Killarney National Park
$2,995 | 8 days
This 8-day itinerary takes the best of what we love about Ireland and adds an exciting spin to create the most jam-packed week you could imagine. You'll journey between the bustling cities of Dublin and Cork, finally arriving in the mountains at Killarney National Park. Wear the kids out biking along quiet roadways, riding horses on empty beaches, paddling across untouched glacial lakes, and summiting one of the country's tallest mountains. We'll make sure to customize your trip to fit the wishes of your entire family, and that you all remember Ireland as one of your favorite destinations of all time.
TACKLING THE TEENS
People often ask if their children, especially those in their tween and teenage years, will truly appreciate world travel. Again we answer with a resounding "YES," but only if they unplug. Let them geek out on their devices during the long plane ride, but then fully confiscate everything for their time on the ground in a new setting. While they might complain, they'll one day be thrilled they spent time soaking it all in instead of plugged in. They might even thank you—and for any teenager, that's something we can all say yes to. These are our three favorite trips for kids in this age range.
NEW ZEALAND: Queenstown, Auckland, and Everywhere In Between
$4,995 | 13 days
New Zealand is an immensely popular destination for all types of families, big and small. This 13-day journey can be customized to fit yours, with adventures on both the North and South Islands exploring everything from city life in Auckland to the wine-tasting epicenter of the country and beyond to the shores of some of the most peaceful bays. You will swim with dolphins, leap off the edge of a waterfall, cycle through vineyards, and explore by helicopter. If new experiences and phenomenal memories are something your family values, this is the trip for you.
CAMPS TO CASTLES
SCOTLAND: Edinburgh, Glencoe, and the Highlands
$5,450 | 10 DAYS
Another one of our active family adventures, this 10-day journey through Scotland uncovers the adventurous side of Europe. Hike up the side of a volcano, manuever around whirlpools on the coast, and mountain bike for miles along empty trails. You and your family will sea kayak the dramatic west coast looking for marine life, and spin out your legs cycling Bond-esque country roads. At the end of each day's adventure, celebrate a successful family vacation with a glass of hot chocolate next to a roaring fire.
CROSSING THE EQUATOR
ECUADOR: The Galapagos Islands and Andes
$5,710 | 9 days
The Galapagos are a place for unlimited exploration, and can be just the answer for teens stubbornly asking to get their cell phones back. This nine-day trip begins at Galapagos Safari Camp, where you'll spend your time taking yacht trips to uninhabited islands, learning from the local fishermen, and surfing Tortuga Bay. After enjoying a week here, head to Hacienda Zuleta, a 17th century colonial hacienda on 4,000 acres in the Andean foothills of Ecuador. Chosen as one of the world’s “Top Ten Finds” by Outside Magazine, this little gem offers up plenty of unplugged adventure for everyone.
MAKE IT A REUNION
Moving the family union from the state park to a foreign country can be a daunting task. However, if you haven't already caught on to the theme, this is a task we welcome with excitement and enthusiasm. There's nothing that brings family together more than a shared experience in a new place. That's why we've gathered three top trips to make your next reunion not only one to remember, but for the fun that was had, and not the stress.
GREAT CANADIAN SAFARI
BRITISH COLUMBIA: Tweedsmuir Park, Great Bear Rainforest
$9,595 | 9 DAYS
Tried and tested, this is the perfect itinerary for families of all ages and sizes. You'll begin the adventure at a plush base camp in Vancouver, then fly over tremendous mountain peaks to Tweedsmuir Park Lodge to encounter bears and the laid-back lifestyle of a place unspoiled by tourists. Then you'll sweep across inlets to Nimmo Bay, landing belly-first in the water in a seaplane with as much character as the outpost itself. Between the wildlife and the food, this is an experience your family will remember forever.
CHILE: Torres del Paine National Park, Perito Moreno Glacier
$2,060 | 9 DAYS
Chile is a legendary destination, and for the adventurous family, it's the perfect spot for a get together. This eight-day exploration of this wilderness places you right in the middle of it in Torres del Paine National Park, where you'll stay in other-wordly ecodomes at EcoCamp Patagonia. From enjoying yoga classes to hiking nearby mountain ranges, tracking puma with a trained guide, exploring the Atacama desert, and mountain biking along the shores of icy blue lakes, you'll end each day both exhausted and refreshed in your personal dome, imagining that this is what it must've been like to live here thousands of years ago, falling asleep beneath a bed of stars after sharing stories together new and old.
HOME SWEET BUSH HOME
KENYA: Masai Mara, Nairobi National Park, and Beyond
$7,450 | 10 DAYS
In 1993, our team at Outside GO founded the Bush Homes of East Africa; an association of private ranches, intimate lodges, luxury tented camps, coastal retreats, bush camps, and small upcountry estates in Kenya. Our favorites are located in conservation areas where kids can ride horses, take camels to breakfast, track wild animals with Masai warriors, and swing from the safari Jeeps like jungle gyms. Today, a few of the descendents of these properties still live here—and they’ve opened their doors to your family.
Outside GO is an adventure travel company with decades of experience. We'd love to help you plan your next trip. Rest assured it will be authentic, stylish, and built around your wildest dreams.
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GO Guide to Traveling with Kids
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