There is no doubt that the family holiday can be a stressful time, least of all because you are trying to find a destination which is fun and interesting for you, but also for your kids as well. at the same time annual holidays are a luxury for many families, but rather than cutting out the family holiday as just another luxury you can’t afford right now, consider these five holiday destinations which will be fun or the whole family, and kind to your bank balance too.
1 – Norfolk Island, South Pacific
Norfolk Island is a two and a half hour plane trip from Brisbane or Sydney Australia and is somewhere you really can go back in time on your family holiday. There are no McDonald’s, no mobile phone reception and just a whole lot of simple (i.e. free) family activities to enjoy.
Norfolk is said to have the freshest air on earth, after Antarctica so you will also spend your holiday feeling refreshed and rejuvenated while your kids marvel at the ducks and cows being given right of way on the road. There are also plenty of opportunities for go snorkelling, swimming or horse riding, and there are also a number of historic tours to take.
Norfolk Island has typically been the domain of senior holiday makers but the tide is changing slowly, without the island becoming expensively commercial. You must have your accommodation booked, or be staying with family or friends to be allowed through immigration, and you’ll have the choice of self contained apartments, hotels, motels or bed and breakfast guest houses. You can enjoy a progressive dinner in the home of the locals, or book in for a themed dinner which will include history of the island, as well as traditional meals.
There is no public transport on the island, but you can get a taxi, or hire a car as Norfolk Island is one of the cheapest places in the world for car rentals, at around $20 per day.
2 – Camping in France
France is not a holiday destination you associate with ‘roughing it’ on a camping trip, but taking advantage of the campsites around France is a great way to experience the culture of the country, spend quality time with your family and enjoy affordable accommodation.
The campsites around France are located across the countryside, along the beaches and scattered through the mountains. This puts you on site for some of the most glamorous locations in the South of France, not to mention the many theme parks.
French campsites are also very family friendly and very well equipped with swimming pools, water slides, entertainment programs for the kids, and sporting activities. Your children will also be able to enjoy the freedom of roaming the campsites and interacting with the other tourists, and the locals on holiday.
Summer is the best time to enjoy a camping trip in France, and the further south you go, the better the weather will be for your trip. Popular and affordable campsites around France include:
- Chateau des Ormes, Dol De Bretagne, Brittany. Here your family will stay in a mobile home, or a newly developed tree house so that you can truly enjoy the woodland setting. The camp has a covered pool and an 18 hole golf course.
- La Baume, Frejus, French Riviera. With the French Riviera on your doorstep, you will be torn between the beauty of your surroundings, and the four lane water slide, indoor pool, tennis court and kids club of the camp site.
3 – Euro Disney
To enjoy a classic experience of a children’s wonderland, consider a trip to Disneyland in France. Disneyland is an exciting holiday destination for children and adults, and visiting your favourite characters and fairy tale destinations in the stylishly cultural heart of Europe only adds to that excitement.
Disneyland in Paris also works hard to attract you away from its Western sisters by offering a range of specials and package deals for family holidays. You can often find deals which admit your children to the park free, and the ability to stay and extra night free during certain times of the year. You can also stay outside of the park in the city and lock in an affordable hotel deal.
At Disneyland in Paris your family can meet Stitch and his friends or see the newest moves from High School Musical. You can also visit the four production zones or enjoy the thrilling rides.
4 – Manchester City
The fun and affordability of a holiday in Manchester could also inspire you to take a holiday in your own home city, anywhere in the world. You can be a tourist in your own home and do all of the things you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time, plus you cut down on costs with minimal travel expenses, and no hassles about changing currencies or getting passports.
In the case of Manchester, a holiday in Manchester city can really feel like a world away because even if you live just 10 km out of town, it can take up to an hour to get in or out of traffic during peak times. There is also stiff competition between the hotels in Manchester so you can stay in the city for several nights at a very affordable rate. You may also be able to take advantage of deals such as a free room, a table at the hotel restaurant, or a super low rate on a Sunday night when occupancy is low.
You can also find a number of kid friendly hotels in Manchester, for example the Lowry Hotel will email you several days in advance of your stay and ask you which amenities you and your children will need, including the practical items, and those which will keep the kids entertained. The result could be a voucher for mocktails at the hotel bar, or a scavenger hunt trail of clues through the hotel to find a prize. The hotel rooms will also be equipped with DVDs, toys and games, plus mini bathrobes and slippers (kid-sized), and childrens’ toiletries.
Manchester is also equipped with a range of museums which will charge an affordable entry fee – if any at all – and take you through the history of imperial war, or science and industry.
5 – Washington DC
When the New York Times declares Washington DC the new ‘it’ family holiday destination you will want to take notice, and it’s not just because of the new family in the White House. There are a myriad of museums and monuments to visit in DC, not to mention the zoo, and all of these are free activities for you and your family.
Washington DC is also a stunning and inviting city to explore on foot having been designed by Major L’Enfant, a Frenchman who brought influences of Paris to the heart of the US. As you wander the city make sure to stick around after dark, and see the monuments lit up.
Not only will you be able to visit all of the places your children have seen on TV such as the Air and Space Museum and the White House, you can also eat where the Presidents eat. For example, Tony Cheng’s in Chinatown was a favourite of Jimmy Carter, so much so that Tony was asked to come to the White House to cook for the President. The food is also very affordable, and not too hot for little tummies.