An International family vacation is the dream of many parents. If you're trolling the internet searching for the "Best" international vacation spots for kids or the "Top" international destinations for families let me help you out. There is no one BEST international family vacation spot. There is no "one size fits all" family vacation overseas. What you're really searching for is the best vacation for YOUR family. You're looking for an international vacation experience that meets your family's specific wish lists and needs.
For this type of family adventure, an experienced travel agent should be your new BFF. Once you understand how travel agents works, you'll see the many benefits they offer. You'll want a travel agent that is experienced working with the needs of families and preferably one who has traveled to your destination of choice.
Think your travel agent as a tour guide that can lead you to that perfect vacation. Travel agents have a laundry list of ideas that you probably haven't even thought about. It's their job to learn about all the latest and greatest travel offers out there. An experienced travel agent will know off the top of their head which vacation options are realistic and feasible. In addition, international itineraries are complicated with many moving parts. A good travel agent will certainly help you to focus and find the very best vacation options.
Safety - The number one priority for every parent when it comes to our children. Obviously planning a trip overseas comes with additional safety concerns. Keep a clear and informed perspective. Protect yourself and stay positive. Be prepared but do not allow worry and fear to keep you from sharing amazing moments with your kids. Your travel agent can help you make the best decisions based on updated government alerts as well as using their network of industry colleagues and contacts.
Affordability - This is often top of the priority list for many vacation planning parents. We work with parents to help them plan and stay on an affordable budget. If this is your first big family vacation or it's been awhile since you've planned an overseas adventure, you may even know where to begin with your budget. Basically any travel budget will consist of 4 parts...
- Transportation - Flights and transportation costs
- Food and Beverages
- Sightseeing and Entertainment
Of course there are many other factors and moving parts when it comes to planning your vacation that will all influence the price of your vacation. Your travel agent can coach you through this decision making process and can offer suggestions to help you make wise choices.
Destination Choices - Your family may have their heart set on visiting Italy. Maybe your extended family wants to search for their Irish heritage. Perhaps your children are studying Machu Picchu and you want them to experience Peru for real. Where ever you choose to roam, you'll want to be certain that it's age appropriate so that your kids will get the most out of your vacation experience. It's about choosing the best destinations and international vacation options that are truly best for YOUR family for this specific vacation.
Exchange Rates - Speaking of budgets and choosing the right vacation spot, consider foreign currency exchange rates. Consider traveling to destinations where the U.S. dollar is strong compared to local currency. Exchange rates won't affect what you pay for flights or a tour package but they can save you from 15-65% with day to day spending on meals, entertainment and especially souvenirs.
Types of Vacation Experience - Is your family looking to experience exotic destinations, visit historical sights, learn a new skill or simply relax on a tropical beach. Maybe you want all of the above? It's possible! If you're looking for a hassle-free vacation than a family guided tour or all inclusive resort might be the best fit depending on your destination. If you're all experienced travelers searching for adventure and freedom, you may not need much hand holding, just a little help with logistics. If you're looking for the best of both worlds, perhaps a cruise or even a river cruise might be a good fit.
Just like travelers, every tour company, hotel and cruise line has it's own personality. Think of your travel agent like a match maker. They know how to match the right time of vacation products to exceed the expectations of every travelers.
Balance - Your idea of a trip to Asia might be the chance to explore Angkor Wat. Your child may be more excited by the idea of riding an elephant. The perfect international vacation happens when the entire family is happy together.
Timing - The idea of traveling overseas is exciting. This excitement can quickly lead to over scheduling and exhaustion. Obviously if you're spending the time and money to cross the ocean you'll want to see as much as possible. When we speak of balancing your vacation, it is also a balance of quantity vs. quantity. If you're trying to visit 3 or 4 countries in Europe on a 7 day trip, you may find yourself spending more time traveling instead of actually experiencing and enjoying your vacation.
The Right Age - How old should your child be for an international family vacation? Airlines, guided tours and cruise ships all have age requirement rules depending on specific itineraries. Speak to your pediatrician before planning any foreign travel with your children. Your doctor will be the most familiar with the health and well being of your children. In addition, familiarize yourself with any health alerts or requirements for your chosen destination with the U.S. State Department. From here, it's a personal choice for parents. Personally I believe travel is a life skill like learning table manners or riding a bike. The earlier kids learn what is to be expected, the more freedom parents have to travel.
An international vacation is an investment of both time and money. Parents only get about 15 chances to explore the world with their kids over the course of childhood. There are no vacation do-overs. You need to get it right the first time. Use the expertise and advice of an experienced travel agent to make this vacation one that exceeds your expectations.