Where are families actually heading to on vacation in 2020?
Ok so you keep getting told what’s hot or not in travel this year – but want to hear it directly from travelling parents what they have planned for 2020?
We’ve run our annual survey of travelling parents in the Family Travel Inspiration Facebook Group, and here are this year’s most popular destination choices.
Please note! This list was compiled in late 2019, well before Covid-19 severely impacted on the travel world. We have kept the list in its original order based on the travel plans & dreams our community had at the time. You will, of course, need to make your own informed judgement whether it remains safe – and possible – to travel this year to any of the listed destinations.
If you’re struggling to narrow down your choices, check out our guide to narrowing down your overseas travel wishlist
1. London, UK
Our stand out family travel champion for 2020 is the UK capital of London! BREXIT or not, it seems the historic city is still a major drawcard for family explorers – and it’s easy to see why. Whilst it is a big bustling city there are plenty of parks, fabulous fun transport options and it’s hard to deny the role Harry Potter plays in enticing younger guests.
Learn more about London with kids
- How to see London with young kids – guest post by Mummy Travels
- How to explore London in 3 Days – Little City Trips Podcast
- The Harry Potter Guide to London – Suitcases and Sandcastles
2. Hawaii, USA
Hawaii has taken over top billing from our group as the most popular North American destination. If you’re in Maui, Luana Garden Villas is one of the newer resorts that has multiple pools and separate residences which are perfect for family vacations. There are plenty of different types of vacations you can enjoy in Hawaii; if you simply want a relaxing resort with a kids club and entertainment it’s absolutely yours, however, there’s plenty in store for the adventurous too from hiking to kayaking, parasailing to snorkelling.
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
- Flying Hawaiian Airlines direct Boston to Honolulu
Thailand remains an ever-popular family destination, well renowned for its stunning sandy beaches. Phuket has long been our favourite, 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?
- Best Beaches in Thailand with kids – Travelynn Family
- Things to do in Krabi at Night – The Mama Pirate
- Chiang Mai with kids – Family Can Travel
- The Best Family Resorts in Phuket – Mum on the Move
- Where to stay in Bangkok – Bel Around the World
4. 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.
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
- 3 Day Rome Itinerary – Little City Trips (Podcast)
A new but very worthy entrant to the most popular places in 2020, Vietnam! From it’s beautiful beaches and historic towns to bustling cities, Vietnam has graduated from its backpacker days to be a sought-after adventure holiday destination for families from food to fabulous cultural immersion experiences.
Learn more about Vietnam with kids
- Organised Chaos! Why Vietnam is perfect with kids
- Best places to explore around Hanoi
- 21-day Vietnam with Kids Itinerary – World of a Girl
- Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City With Kids – An Epic Education
6. Paris, France
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. Kids will love cruising the Seine or older kids might be enthralled by the catacombs beneath the city.
Learn more about Paris with kids
China has jumped into our rankings in 2020. The Great Wall of China is a hugely popular drawcard, as are the giant pandas of Chengdu, Shanghai Disney is gaining in popularity too. The complex Visa systems doesn’t seem to be putting families off as it firmly plants itself as a popular destination for intrepid explorers.
Learn more about China with Kids
- 24 hours in Shanghai with kids
- Visit the Chengdu Pandas with Kids – A China Family Adventure
- 7 Cities in China to explore with kids – Gone with the Family
- Everything you need to know planning a trip to China – Wyld Family Travel
It seems families can’t get enough of the Emerald Isle! From those tracing their family heritage to the stunning natural wonders – and more green than you could ever imagine. Ireland is an easy country to navigate by road and continues to attract a steady flow of family interest in 2020.
Learn more about Ireland with kids
- 40+ Things to do in Ireland with Kids of all ages – Learning Escapes
- 5 Breathtaking Ireland Road Trips – The Journal
- Visiting Ireland with Kids – Mama Loves Ireland
- Day Trips From Dublin with Kids – Kids are a Trip
Is it the mythology and legends behind Greece or its dramatic landscape that keep it prominent on every families bucket list? We’re sure it’s a little bit of both – plus the food! And the mild weather… The list goes on! Whether you’re just stopping through Athens or exploring the Greek Islands you’re bound to find your favourite little spot.
Learn more about Greece with kids
- Explore Athens with young children!
- 10 Day Greece Itinerary with Kids – Zest in a Tote
- Best Greek Islands for Family Holidays – Kids Love Greece
10. Florida, USA
From theme parks to wide sandy beaches it’s pretty clear to see why Orlando remains a staunch crowd favourite, for US and international family visitors alike. So much more than just Disney World there’s no surprise we’ve been here 3 times now with the Globetrotters!
Learn more about Florida with kids
- 5 Unexpected fabulous Florida highlights with kids
- A weekend family trip to Sarasota
- Ultimate Florida Family Road Trip – Crazy Family Adventure
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
- Best of Tokyo with kids – City Travel with Kids Podcast
- Flying review with ANA
12. South Africa
From the stunning city vistas of Cape Town to the charming wine-growing regions of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, through to wildlife safari’s, its quite easy to see how South Africa is an attractive choice for family adventurers. Allow yourself at least a couple of weeks for the long flight and different areas to explore.
Learn more about South Africa with Kids
- Family-friendly wine farms in stunning Stellenbosch
- Top 5 Things to do in Cape Town with Kids
- Cape Town kid-friendly hotels – Little City Trips
- Africa Safari with Kids – All your questions answered by Jurga at Full Suitcase
13. 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
- Best family hotels in New York City – Little City Trips
- Manhattan top 10 ideas with kids
- Outdoor Fun in Brooklyn
From the urban centres to the isolated beaches and the great outback, it’s not hard to see why Australia is a popular choice. It’s deciding which parts to see which is hard! It would take several months to remotely cover Australia’s highlight, so most family visitors choose to concentrate on one coast or state.
Learn more about Australia with kids
- Beginners guide to planning a trip to Australia
- Unique ways to explore Sydney with kids
- How to road trip Western Australia
- 5 essential stops on a Queensland Road Trip
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.
Learn more about Switzerland with kids
- Exploring in and around Zurich with Kids
- How to spend a summer’s day in Geneva
- Best Places to visit in Switzerland
- 10 Places Swiss Families Love – Pack Your Bags
A fabulous new addition and increasing in popularity is Peru. Not without its challenges as a high altitude country but exceptionally rewarding, including the Modern Wonder of Machu Pichu.
Learn more about Peru with Kids
- Guide to Travelling Peru with Kids – World of Travels with Kids
- Best activities with kids in Cusco, Peru
- 2 weeks in Peru with kids – Wandering Wagars
- Plan a trip to Machu Pichu with Kids – Globetotting
Another South American new entry for 2020 we were intrigued to know what was attracting the crowds, and now it’s jumped straight to the top of our own bucket list! A strong culture of family and outdoor adventure seems to be the main drawcard. From Buenos Aires to the Iguaza Falls in the north for a jungle adventure, or head west for Mendoza and wine country, it’s one of that something for everyone destinations!
Learn more about Argentina with kids
- The Best places to visit in Argentina with Kids – Our Whole Village
- Find the best family-friendly wineries in Mendoza
- Iguaza Falls with Kids – Wandering Wagars
In a bit of a surprise, Iceland lost it’s top spot from 2019 and has fallen down our ranks in 2019 – no doubt as many of our families managed to capture Iceland in the last year! It remains a country of distinct, dramatic and raw beauty, and visitors are expanding their travels well beyond the Golden Circle and easy day trips to Reykjavik.
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
- Exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula – Family Can Travel
- A 2 week Iceland Road Trip – Kids & Compass
19. 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 Candidasa 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?
- Where to stay in Bali with Kids – Mum on the Move
- Family things to do in Sanur
20. New Zealand
Lucky last one of last year’s top contenders is still a popular choice in 2020 making the cut as a family favourite destination. 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
- Family Fun in Christchurch
- New Zealand’s most loved beach Ohope
- Things to do in Queenstown with Kids
- 12-day South Island Road Trip – Kidspot NZ
- 10 Fun things to do with Kids on North Island NZ – Earth Trekkers
- Flying with Air New Zealand and the Skycouch
Author’s Footnote on the best of 2020
Some of our top entrants come as no surprise! The big cities of Europe continue to draw the family crowds and Hawaii, NYC and Florida come as no surprise holding out popularity in the US.
It was fabulous to see more interest in the Southern hemisphere, both Peru and Argentina are new this year, and South Africa has moved ahead of even Australia & New Zealand.
Natural beauty Iceland seems to have lost steam though after taking number 1 spot in 2019! And we continued to see interest in Singapore, the Phillipines and Fiji but they fell out of the top 20 by popular vote.
We are really surprised that we didn’t manage a top 20 mention for the Middle East! As this is our “home” base, we will be certainly be spending more time locally in 2020, and plans from Sri Lanka to Vancouver!! But we obviously need to do more shouting why we think the Middle East is great for family exploration!
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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Disclosures: This page contains affiliate links that if you make a purchase through may earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. The destinations chosen are by community vote in November 2019 and don’t necessarily reflect the author’s point of view! You can read our full disclosure policy here.