Where should we travel as a family next?
September 9, 2011 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Where should we go as a family next? We have just returned home (Canada) from a great European visit (Germany, Belgium, Holland and England) and are already looking towards planning and saving for our next trip.

We are an intrepid family who enjoy travel. We have a 8 year old and a 12 year old who have been traveling since they were babes and hold up pretty well in most environments. We are usually able to get 3-4 weeks for travel which allows us to visit pretty much anywhere in the world. We are looking for an experience that will suit the whole family and allows us to move around from centre to centre a bit. We can travel on a moderate budget but we do like to find great value when we travel. We especially love finding great places to eat at good prices. Given our relatively short time away we don't have time to get ill so have tended to avoid places like India where you really do need to build in extra time for the inevitable tummy bugs that will be encountered. We don't mind sorting out visas but it is easier not to worry about visas and vaccinations if possible. We have traveled extensively through Canada (cost to coast and north to south) so we are looking at something further afield. Any tips for great bargains would also be appreciated. Though we've traveled extensively, I have noticed some gaps on our travel map including Asia and South America so anyone who has traveled to these areas with children and has suggestions, I'd like to hear them.
posted by YukonQuirm to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not a suggestion on where to visit but groupon getaways do feature some pretty good deals if you're able to be flexible around some terms.
posted by no bueno at 2:01 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, based on my posting you can probably guess what I'm going to suggest, but... what about Japan?

You'll qualify for a JR rail pass, which makes it cheap to travel by train and see the entire country, from Hokkaido to Kyushu.

Thanks to deflation, Japan is actually pretty cheap, with prices for food probably comparable to the United States, and about 20% cheaper than Canada. Accommodation can be a little pricey, but it is very possible to find good deals. Japan is very family friendly, and child visitors are especially well-treated.

There's also an incredibly diverse variety of activities to choose from, from navigating cities and viewing cultural properties to hiking in the wilderness. Food culture is great. The scenery is fantastic.

The only challenge is perhaps avoiding traveling there in the summer months (July and August) as it can be quite hot.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:10 PM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Hawaii is reasonably affordable and offers a wide variety of things for a family to do, especially if you're into outdoorsy stuff.

If you're not a fan of tourist-traps, just stay away from Oahu. The other islands are awesome!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:14 PM on September 9, 2011

As a preteen and teen I traveled extensively in South America (primarily in the Andean regions but also a bit in the Amazon) and it was awesome and exciting even though my mom would not let me try any weird native hallucinogenic plants despite my extremely persuasive "it is my racial heritage you gringo oppressor" arguments. Explore the Inca Trail and try not to dwell on the fact that you are eating fat little guinea pigs for dinner! Eat 3,000 varieties of potatoes! Pet baby llamas! There's also lots of Spanish Colonial stuff that is okay but maybe not as interesting to kids who have just been to Europe.

bonus - traveling there in the winter gives you an extra summer month, if you like that sort of thing.
posted by elizardbits at 2:37 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you or the kids like museums and galleries, I'd suggest Washington, DC.
posted by backwards guitar at 2:43 PM on September 9, 2011

Peru. It changes people's lives.
posted by txmon at 3:36 PM on September 9, 2011

Close to home: Cuba
Farther but amazing: Laos
posted by cyndigo at 4:11 PM on September 9, 2011

Ecuador has both Andes and Amazon, and can be cheap. It also has the Galapagos (not so cheap). And with the length of trip, you could combine it with a major South American city, like one in Argentina or Brazil.
posted by troywestfield at 7:10 PM on September 9, 2011

Best answer: Buenos Aires, Argentina, is an amazing city, with cheap (comfortable) intercity buses to Iguazu Falls, a not-terribly expensive ferry to Montevideo, and I'm assuming other good connections to the Andes, Cordoba, etc. And oh god the beef the beef it still calls to me

Cuba's actually not a bad suggestion; you can mix and match beach bumming with a fascinating culture.

Dealwise, one resource for you may be one of Chris Myden's websites, like http://www.yxedeals.com/ (there's links to all of his sites at the top, one for every significant airport in Canada, and many insignificant ones as well). There's Facebook groups, etc., but he comes up with one or two good deals somewhere every month. Some flexibility may be helpful.

If you're actually Yukon in more than spirit, I've found Air Miles flights to the North from Calgary to be remarkably "cheap" relative to other rewards; it looks to be more expensive the other way, but you may be able to take an Air Miles flight to YYC/YVR to connect to cheaper flights. (Just leave plenty of time for any issues around the connection.)
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:36 AM on September 10, 2011

My kids loved Japan, Italy and France. Cuba was interesting, but not that much to do, even though we had family there. If you go next year with a 13 yr old, try to work in some pop culture stuff. If you can get a good deal on a flight, Argentina is very fun. We usually rent an apt or a house, and use that as home base.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:02 AM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

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