Where are families actually heading to on vacation in 2019?
You’ve probably seen a real flurry of articles lately claiming to have the “must-see list” of destinations for 2019 – but let’s be honest, family travel is just different! Our travel goals somewhat change with kids and there are different interests and priorities that need to be addressed during the years of family travel.
If you’d like to see the latest updated list of family destinations for the current year – click here!!
So let’s hear it from the real parents then!
(Psst, if you’re struggling to narrow down your choices, check out our guide to narrowing down your overseas travel wishlist)
This has been topping the must-see lists for a few years now, and it’s great to see so many families now enjoying the Icelandic experience too. Its a country with distinct seasons and dramatic beauty.
Whilst the capital Reykjavik is actually quite a small city, it provides ample opportunity for day tripping with kids. The Golden Circle is popular, but it can also be crowded during peak holiday times. With younger children why not start with the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Driving distances are short and there are far fewer crowds, you will find black sand beaches, volcanoes, lava fields and waterfalls
Learn more about Iceland with kids
- Things to do in Reykjavik with kids – Little City Trips
- 5 Day Iceland Itinerary – Travelynn Family
- Exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula – Family Can Travel
- Airline Review: Long haul with WOW Air
Another hugely popular choice in our travel community over the past couple of years and again coming at the top of family bucket lists this year is Japan. From the bustling capital of Tokyo through to the much-Instagrammed and beautiful Kyoto, there is a lot of fun family exploring to be had.
Learn more about Japan with kids
- Tokyo with young kids for beginners
- 10 reasons to visit Japan with Kids – Parenthood and Passports
- Best places to stay in Tokyo – Little City Trips
- Top things to do in Kyoto with Kids – Epic Education
- Flying review with ANA
3. New York City
New York, New York! The city that never sleeps really is a family treasure trove of ideas and activities. From its famous sites and dramatic landmarks to its numerous museums, parks, flagship stores and unique foodie experiences. It can be a little daunting for some families due to its size, but also means you can return on numerous occasions and experience something new each time!
Learn more about New York City with kids
- Family Guide to New York City – Little City Trips
- Manhattan top 10 ideas with kids
- Outdoor Fun in Brooklyn
- Non-touristy things to do in New York – The Wandering Daughter
As iconic as it is fun to explore, another great city stop that you shouldn’t let the size of the city intimidate you. There really is something for all ages in London. Leisurely parks and playgrounds to explore, day trips to Harry Potters Wizarding World, ride the London Eye, cruise the Thames or visit the Queen!
Learn more about London with kids
- 45 Things to do in London with Kids – Globetotting
- How to explore London with young kids
- London Hidden Gems – Full Suitcase
- How to get around London with Kids – Little City Trips
5. Rome, Italy
What is not to love about Rome? From art to history to food, there is so much going on that family members of all ages will love. Most kids will no doubt learn about the Roman Empire at school, and what better place to come for some real-life lessons.
It can get incredibly busy in peak seasons though, so it’s one of those places that we recommend you try exploring out of season if you possibly can.
Learn more about Rome with kids
- A practical guide to exploring Rome with a Baby
- 50 Awesome things to do in Rome with kids of all ages – Learning Escapes
- Family-friendly Restaurants in Rome City Centre – Mama Loves Rome
- Rome with Teens – Map & Family
- 3 Day Rome Itinerary – Little City Trips (Podcast)
6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The epicentre of Middle East tourism, Dubai continues to grow not just as an extended stopover city but as a destination in itself. If you’ve visited before, there’s no reason not to make a stop again as there are always so many things being added to the tourist agenda.
In the past year alone you will see the addition of the Dubai Frame, La Mer and Laguna Waterpark, Al Seef on Dubai Creek with it’s Museum of Illusions and the new Bluewaters Dubai which includes the world’s largest (of course!) observation wheel and a huge variety of dining and family entertainment options.
Learn more about Dubai with kids
- How to do a Dubai Stopover
- Dubai’s best theme parks for families
- Dubai’s 60+ coolest indoor activities
- Top 17 Attractions first-timers should not miss
- Best Dubai Accommodation for families
Year-round warmth is a massive drawcard for this tropical South Pacific nation. Probably best known for its resorts and palm-tree lined beaches, this is a fabulous relaxation destination for families with many resorts boasting spectacular kids clubs allowing all members of the family to unwind.
There are also many great cultural experiences that can be had with kids – from wondering the local markets, learning crafts and even attending local schools.
- Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort Review – Mum on the Move
- 11 Things to do in Fiji with Kids – A World of Travels with Kids
- Activities for Kids in Fiji – Suitcases & Strollers
8. Hawaii, USA
Hawaii is one of those family destinations that has something for everyone. It can take a bit of research to work out exactly what sort of Hawaii vacation will work best for your family; if you simply want a relaxing resort with kids club and entertainment it’s absolutely yours, but there’s something there for the adventurers too from hiking to kayaking, parasailing to snorkelling. Expect an active, sun-filled vacation.
Learn more about Hawaii with kids
- Best Hotel Pools in Hawaii – Travel Mamas
- Things to do in Maui with Kids – Trips with Tykes
- How to choose the best Hawaiian vacation – Traveling Mom
- Flying budget airline Jetstar Melbourne to Hawaii
- Hawaiian Airlines with kids – Airline Review
- Best Family Beaches in O’ahu
9. Bali, Indonesia
Bali continues to be a favourite family destination year after year, particularly with Australians due to its geographic location and cheap prices.
Despite its hustle and bustle in many parts, tourists are slowly realising that you can head beyond the big resorts around Kuta and Seminyak and get further out to explore the true Bali. Why not try Amed or Munduk for a change?
Learn more about Bali with kids
- Where to still find Bali’s hidden gems
- Villa or a resort when staying in Bali?
- Family things to do in Sanur
- Ultimate Guide to Bali with Kids – Rolling Along with Kids
10. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is a beautiful combination of sunshine and beaches to culture and food. Facing the Atlantic Ocean it has the advantage of remaining much warmer than most of Europe year round – and although not actually on the Mediterranean it has a distinctly Mediterranean vibe.
Nearby to Lisbon you will find many smaller cities to explore from the castles of Sintra to the Roman Ruins of Evora, it makes the perfect exploration city and an ideal off-season destination.
Learn more about Lisbon with kids
- Best Things to do in Lisbon with Kids – Zena’s Suitcase
- Top 5 toddler-friendly activities in Lisbon – One Tiny Leap
- 3 Amazing Day Trips from Lisbon – Wyld Family Travel
- Best Lisbon Accommodation for families
With over 7000 islands to choose from, the idea of a Philipines vacation with kids can be a little daunting at first! Once you have narrowed down your location though (this can be restricted by flight and transportation times) it is one of the best value for money locations on this year’s list. Stunning beaches, friendly service and outdoor adventures aplenty.
Boracay has long been a popular family destination, but our community also highly recommend El Nido, Cebu and Bohol.
Learn more about the Philipines with kids
- Things to do in El Nido – Mum on the Move
- Most incredible Destinations in Palawan for Families – Wandering Wagars
- 12 incredible experiences in Cebu – Hey Miss Adventure
This one has been hitting the radar of many of the big travel publications for a couple of years now, but is it a family-friendly country? You may be surprised to learn it’s one of the best!
Muscat has a fascinating feel of a heritage city lost in time and is well worth exploring, but so much of the country’s beauty lies just beyond the dramatic mountains that hug the city. Head to the utterly stunning desert dunes of Wahiba Sands, the ancient city of Nizwa and explore one of the country’s many hundred forts.
Learn more about Oman with Kids
- How to Road Trip Oman
- Discover the beautiful Musandam Peninsular
- Best of Muscat with Kids – Family Travel in the Middle East
- Where to stay in Muscat
Thailand remains an ever-popular family destination, well renowned for its stunning sandy beaches. But there are some newer kids on the block vying for your attention including idyllic beachfront favourite Krabi, closer to Bangkok Koh Chang.
Learn more about Thailand with kids
- Phi Phi Islands -the ultimate romantic retreat?
- Bangkok with young kids
- One day in Chiang Rai with kids
- Best Family Resorts in Phuket – Wanderlust Storytellers
- Best Beaches in Thailand with kids – Travelynn Family
14. Paris, France
Paris never goes out of style, right? It’s hard to beat what Paris can offer for kids from the iconic Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe to the incredible museums, parks and food.
At the time of writing, it’s fair to say Paris has hit a bit of a rough patch though from an internal politics perspective which has unfortunately encroached into tourism. It’s hoped this will not have a prolonged impact and still remains a firm favourite with our family travel community.
Learn more about Paris with kids
- How to explore Paris in One Day with Kids
- Best Paris accommodation for families – Little City Trips
- Paris with Small Kids – Kids & Compass
Not just a stopover city but a worthy destination in its own right. Long gone are the days where you’d simply book through Singapore so you could have a comfortable stop through Changi Airport, the city is busting at the seems for family-friendly activities.
Sentosa is packed full of theme parks, Kidzania and luxury resorts, while Gardens by the Bay continues to wow the crowds day and night with its Supertrees and sensational biodomes, as well as one of the biggest urban water playgrounds you will find in the Far East Organization Children’s Playground.
Learn more about Singapore with kids
- 7 best family-friendly activities in Singapore
- What to Expect at KidZania Singapore
- W Singapore at Sentosa Cove – Family Luxury at its best
- Family airline review flying with Singapore Airlines
Still quite a developing country in the tourism scheme of things, but nonetheless a fascinating destination with a long and rich history, aswell as being budget-friendly.
It’s one of the places on our list that we would definitely recommend you get in and see before it changes too much. Development is starting to overtake particularly the coastal areas. A hugely eye-opening and educational experience for children of all ages.
Learn more about Cambodia with kids
- Exploring the Angkor Temples and Siem Reap with Kids
- Phnom Penh with kids
- Best family accommodation at Otres Beach
17. New Zealand
Not just Lord of the Rings! Yes, New Zealand has some utterly dramatic landscapes, it also has fabulous wildlife parks, snowy mountains through to white sandy beaches. It’s the best place to grab yourself a camper and spend several weeks getting to know both the north and south islands. Adrenaline junkies will want this near the top of their list!
Learn more about New Zealand with kids
- New Zealand’s most loved beach
- Family Fun in Christchurch
- Flying with Air New Zealand
- North Island with Kids – Earth Trekkers
Another fabulous choice for outdoor adventures to be had in all seasons. With its amazing transportation systems to its highest peaks and fresh air- and well let’s be honest Swiss Chocolate, what is not to love! It continues to be a hugely popular destination with European winter travellers and overseas visitors alike.
- Things to do in Switzerland with kids – Carpe Diem Our Way
- One Day in Geneva – Learning Escapes
- Exploring in and around Zurich with Kids
- Family Guide to Skiing in Switzerland – Moms.Tots.Zurich
19. Petra, Jordan
Last but not least making the final cut for 2019 is our wildcard pick of Petra, Jordan.
This modern wonder of the world is capturing the attention of the family explorer market. It is easier tackled with slightly older children who are independent walkers, but equally younger kids will still be fascinated by the ancient city.
It is one of the more challenging destinations on our list for 2019, but equally and utterly rewarding experience like no other. Not too far away you fill find Aqaba and the Red Sea resort town of Tala Bay to the south or head east to the Wadi Rum desert and a nighttime glamping experience of a lifetime.
Learn more about Petra & Jordan with Kids
- The ultimate guide to Petra with Kids
- Wadi Rum desert adventure and camping with kids
- How to road trip around Jordan
So where will YOU be heading this year? Tell us in the comments or jump on over to Family Travel Inspiration and share your ideas, ask questions and get involved in our family community group.
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