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Tell me about your best family adventure overseas - where should we go??

(16 Posts)
MarvellousCake Wed 20-May-15 11:28:50

We've had lots of fun holidays since the kids were born (now 5 and 8), but nothing very exotic/adventurous since DD1 was a baby. Mostly UK countryside, or European holiday park type holidays.

It's time for a bigger adventure, but the world is huge! I've posted this in longhaul, but actually would equally consider shorthaul too for something unusual or spectacular.

We like (amongst other things): The outdoors, mountains, swimming, islands, ruins/castles etc, skiing (me and dh - kids might be reluctant), independent travel, interesting cities/museums etc, the kids like camping/caravans etc. A holiday doesn't have to include any/all of these things, but it's just to give you an idea.

Things we have considered (but not in any great detail) are:
- skiing somewhere like Finland where other activities are available
- US National Parks plus a city or two - probably West Coast
- New Zealand, but the journey time (and flight prices) are off-putting.
- Japan

We would rather organise most/all of the trip ourselves rather than buy a package. Our budget is not limitless, but I'm more interested in ideas at the moment than prices. We're probably looking at next Summer, but could do Easter or Christmas if necessary to go to an interesting place at the right time of year.

I'm interested to know about successful family adventures that you might have had. Where have you been that was amazing?

MinimumPayment Wed 20-May-15 11:40:00

We had several years of great but not adventurous holidays when Dc were small. Last year we went away with Explore and had such a great time we're going again this year.

I know there will be those who say you can arrange the same holiday yourself at lower cost but we felt we got such a lot more out of it from having the benefit of the group leader. i.e. we went to one town where there was a huge zip wire. Alone we'd have had fun on the wire and had a coffee admiring the pretty square but by having the guide we went to back street restaurants and learned loads about the history and culture of the place. Things you just wouldn't have known were there unless you did loads of research beforehand. And the Dc enjoyed learning stuff too. Was a great mix of adventure and culture.

SheThinksShesPeople Wed 20-May-15 11:43:56

Ooh, I'd definitely go for Costa Rica. I went in 2010 pre kids but it was full of families - jungles, zip lining through forests, amazing beaches and surfing, white water rafting (gentle rafting too). It's pretty cheap once you're over there too - we stayed in some amazing jungle lodges.

MarvellousCake Wed 20-May-15 13:11:02

Explore looks good actually, and not as expensive as I would have imagined. Maybe I should not rule out a package tour after all.

SheThinksShesPeople I wouldn't have thought of Costa Rica, but you do make it sound pretty good. Maybe I should find a guide book in the library and have a little think about that.

Stevie77 Wed 20-May-15 20:56:23

U.S. West coast in an RV. It'll be expensive but an amazing adventure!

I too have heard good things about Costa Rica but check the 5yo could take part in activities. Similarly, look at Argentina but your kids may be a bit too young. Also completely out there - Israel. Explore (mentioned above) offer a tour that seems good and covers most of what you'd want to see. I thought it was great and it's brilliant for kids!

breward Thu 21-May-15 22:03:51

We have travelled with Explore and Exodus. Both do great family adventure holidays. They really look after you and give you so much more than a DIY holiday. Local knowledge and having a guide who organises every thing is worth its weight in gold especially with young children.

We have done Thailand (jungle and beaches) and Egypt (pyramids and feluccas).

6monthsin Thu 21-May-15 22:15:39

India - fab (very long though) train journeys. Taj Mahal, palaces, beaches.

Laos - tubing, hiking, waterfalls.

Brazil - camping in the Pantanal.

Peru - macchu picchu

Croatia/Slovenia - activity holidays

Spain - cycling holidays

Borneo - orangutans!

MarvellousCake Thu 21-May-15 22:19:58

Thanks for the extra suggestions - lots of food for thought.

mummymeister Fri 22-May-15 07:30:35

West coast of Canada and the Rockies but for real adventure Belize. not many people go there, they speak English and there is no need for malarials. Howler monkey treks, rainforest walks, cave tubing, zip lining, snorkelling with sharks and rays, canoe trip with crocodiles, sailing, early morning bird walks could go on and on and on.

SunnySomer Fri 22-May-15 07:47:10

The Engadin in Switzerland has a very remote national park, white water rafting, mountains, amazing railways, castles, fabulous walking. And hardly anyone goes there, so it feels really spacious. We drove there through Germany and took in some german cities en route. (Stuttgart for lots of car factories which are really interesting to visit, Ulm for its beautiful Altstadt).
Yellowstone and Grand Teton pretty good, (though Yellowstone is so huge you need to drive everywhere, plus there's loads of rules about not walking - I felt a bit constrained); we combined these two with a visit to friends in Michigan. Flew to Traverse City from where you can explore beautiful wine and cherry country, massive sand dunes on Lake Michigan, quite wide, flat roads that I think would be great for a cycling holiday.
I dream of a trip to Costa Rica!
For a lot of organised adventure stuff anywhere in the world you need to check minimum ages - we did horseback riding outside Yellowstone (can really recommend that accommodation if anyone wants to know!) where they would accept a (tall) 6 year old, but within the NP they insisted children were 8. Same for whitewater rafting in USA and Switzerland.
Ooh, I'm envious, I love holiday planning!

nannyafrica Fri 22-May-15 20:30:17

Sri Lanka has everything, beaches, ruins, safaris, We spend 3 weeks there and was around £1200 each including our flights. Private car and driver who was amazing. We did cookery lessons with a local family in their kitchen. bathed elephants and went whale watching! and ate amazing food.

HRHQueenMe Mon 22-Jun-15 05:25:11

Did Tokyo with 3 DC's 2/4/6 at xmas, fantastic time, loads to do and very safe. Booked accomodation through airBnB. Highly recommended!

3nationsfamily Mon 22-Jun-15 13:10:17

We had an amazing trip to South Africa- Cape Town , drove and stopped places along the Garden route to Port Elizabeth, safari at Kariega (family friendly) and flew back to CT and home.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Tue 30-Jun-15 23:05:36

Staying in a cabin in the middle of Texas hill country, trekking through the national park on horses for a few days. Totally off grid, no tv, Internet or phone reception, just us in a cabin with a fire pit outside, cold beers, a porch with easy chairs and lots of board games. Kids (6 and 10) collected flowers, swam in creeks and watched clouds between riding excursions. Amazing holiday.

ishouldcocoa Tue 30-Jun-15 23:09:30

We went on safari last summer to Zambia. Stayed in 3 different lodges and did jeep safaris, canoe safaris and fished for tiger fish in the Lower Zambezi.
I thoroughly recommend it.
Not so sure about arranging it without a tour operator/ guide.

BobbyGentry Tue 30-Jun-15 23:27:09

Some of our best family adventures overseas (& one local):

Tokyo is excellent - Edo Museum, Disneyland, Mount Fuji close by, food yum and excellent public transport (airbnb accommodation though to avoid $$$.) (Osaka has Universal Studios and a massive Harry Potter theme park and close to Kyoto.)

Siem Reap Cambodia - great food, transport (tuk tuk,) temples and hotels are affordable.

Hong Kong - Great food, public transport excellent, Disneyland, Waterpark, shops, parks and boats around to little islands.

Singapore - Commercial, clean, friendly, convenient, Universal Studios, parks, interesting districts, yummy foods & close to Malaysia/Indonesia for quick get aways (Tioman is stunning.)

Kota Kinabalu - great hotels, food, trips, scenery and only a hop and a skip from Kuala Lumpa.

China - Shanghai - international bubble, Beijing - forbidden city & great wall, Xi'an - warriors and lots more to see (5000 yrs of history), public transport excellent (high speed railways) and food delicious.

Netherlands - Amsterdam - fun, Efteling - theme park and good food.

Paris - great museums (D'orsay, l'Orangerie, Picasso - figure out how to queue jump with advanced purchase tickets,) disneyland/disney studios, food fantastic and nice getting a water boat.

London - British Museum, V&A (courtyard paddling pool with little ones splashing about & adults sipping chilled white wine might be one of the best things to do on a summer's day) , Natural History Museum, Harry Potter experience only 40 minutes away, food good & diverse.

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