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How to Choose a Vacation Destination that is Family Friendly

Updated on February 21, 2013
Going on a family-friendly vacation is enjoyable for parents and kids alike.
Going on a family-friendly vacation is enjoyable for parents and kids alike. | Source

Taking Kid-Friendly Vacations

Vacation time is precious--those few golden weeks you receive a year to step back from work, rejuvenate, and make some memories. Before a couple has children, vacations can mean kicking back in the house, sleeping in and being lazy. It can mean a trip to a beach resort or trekking around Europe.

But having children changes things--children tire easily, have short attention spans, and thrive on routine and stability, not jetsetting. Does that mean a couple or single parent can't take a vacation they enjoy? It absolutely doesn't!

Taking a kid-friendly vacation can be enjoyable for parents as well as children. Read on for tips on how to choose a vacation destination that is family-friendly.

Screaming babies are stressful...choose a family-friendly location for vacation to make your trip more fun for the whole family.
Screaming babies are stressful...choose a family-friendly location for vacation to make your trip more fun for the whole family. | Source

Family-Friendly Locations for Vacation

When you think "family-friendly vacation," your thoughts probably automatically jump to Disneyworld or Disneyland--the ultimate mecca in kid-focused vacations. While Walt's magical creations are tried-and-true destinations, they're not the only appealing options on the menu. There are plenty of great family-friendly vacation spots; just be sure to research and consider how to best pick a location for your purposes.

How to pick a family-friendly location:

  • Consider the climate; is it freezing cold or swelteringly hot? A sunburned or shivering child is no fun.
  • How spread out are the tourist attractions you want to visit? Children tire easily, and you may not want to lug a stroller across a city or countryside.
  • Does the location offer kid-focused activities, such as children's museums, zoos, parks, etc.?
  • Is there ready access to emergency healthcare if you need it? A visit to a less developed country or sparsely populated area can turn into a disaster if your child becomes ill.

All sorts of locations can be family-friendly if they meet a certain set of criteria; just think outside of the box and do your research!

When considering family-friendly vacation activities, think about your child's age, temperament, and interests.
When considering family-friendly vacation activities, think about your child's age, temperament, and interests. | Source

Kid-Friendly Vacation Activities

While the location is a key component of putting together a family vacation, making sure to tailor your activities around kid-appropriate themes is just as important. Does your destination cater primarily to adults, or does it have a good mix of activities? Will you spend most of your time entertaining your child, or will they naturally be interested in what's going on around them?

Here's how to choose kid-friendly vacation activities:

  • Gauge your child's energy levels. Will they be happy exploring and playing quietly, or do they have a lot of excess energy to burn? That may make the difference between whether an outdoors vacation or an indoors vacation is best for your family.
  • Are the activities offered interactive? Children prefer to engage, rather than just watch (with the exclusion of cartoons and television).
  • Are the activities ones where you can play with your child, rather than just sitting back and watching? Joint activities will be more rewarding for both parent and child.

Of course, when looking for kid-focused vacation activities, be sure to take into account your child's age, interests, and temperament--these things will be factors in deciding which activities are a good fit for your family.

Enjoying Your Family Vacation

Maybe you've traded a moonlight cruise on the Seine for a tiny tugboat through "It's a Small World," but it's a worthwhile trade-off. Remember, part of the fun of going on a family vacation is seeing things through your child's eyes---their excitement and enjoyment is an experience to cherish for both of you!


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