Have you thought about Bucket List Family Holidays? Yes, me too. The trouble is though, once you have a family, your annual holiday can become a little bit… samey, doesn’t it? Just getting everyone packed and away becomes a challenge – so once you know what works, it becomes an easy thing to just keep doing the same. Maybe you’re a ‘go somewhere hot and flake out gratefully for two weeks’ person. Or perhaps you’re a ‘let’s go to that resort we love’ type, returning to the same place for the fifth year running.
But there are always, at the back of your brain, the things that you’d actually just really love to go do.
So let’s make 2020 the year of the ‘Sod It, Let’s Do It!’ trip.
Pick just one of these Bucket List Family Holidays and make it yours this year… which one will be your first pick?
Bucket List Family Holidays…
The Family Sailing Holiday
I know, it’s something that sounds ridiculously extravagant – chartering your own yacht for a family sailing holiday. But actually, renting family-friendly sailing yachts can often be cheaper than a hotel stay or villa rental. Oh yes, really.
And seriously – sipping your cocktail on deck as the sun sets across the bay… it’s truly a magnificent way to explore a new country.
And no, you don’t need to be a keen sailor at all. Start with a family ‘flotilla holiday’ (take a look at those from Ocen Elements here – https://www.oceanelements.com/sailing-holidays/flotilla); a group of yachts sailing together, escorted by a lead yacht with a skipper and hostess. You have all the support of the flotilla crew, so that you actualy get time off to enjoy your holiday, and you can even have. acrew to do the actual sailing part for you (and teach you along the way).
There are organised activities and adventures along the way, your route is pre-planned, and you can stay on board or head to shore for a local restaurant each evening. Heavenly.
And your options are wide open – from Croatia to Fiji, there are some unexpectedly brilliant places to charter a yacht.
The Family Safari Holiday
Surely on everyone’s bucket list? I know it’s on mine – and I’ve done one already! Our honeymoon was a glorious 2.5 weeks in Kenya – and I’ve been trying to get back ever since. Tricky with a husband who has refused to set floot on a plane for 20yrs (despite it being him who held my hand on my own first flight – to Kenya!).
But far from the romantic adults-only quiet Africa of our honeymoon, a family safari is a great way to expose your kids to nature and wildlife without the aid of David Attenborough. Yes it’s great to watch a wildlife documentary together – but how about camping out among them? Maybe getting up close with orphaned elephants (have you seen them? https://www.sanctuaryretreats.com/blog-2019-animal-conservation-programmes), walking through the bush, driving close to the waterholes – and spending evenings under the dazzling sky in the company of real tribesman? Unforgettable.
The Acient History Holiday
Yes, okay, Italy’s my tip top favourite and of course it was going to make it in. But that’s because it’s stuffed to the creaking gills with Ancient History., You literally cannot walk down a street in any Italian city without stumbling across an ancient ruin just hanging around.
For me, though, my bucket list has to be Greece – even older than the ancient Romans (one of my most memorable days from our Italian road trip was the day we spent at Paestum – no one ever talks about it, and yet it was ancient when the Romans were there, being the site of ancient Greek temples some 600 years before Caesar showed up), and with the perfect combinatiopn of astonishing beaches and mind-meltingly ancient sites, what’s not to love?
Go Cold with the Northern Lights Holiday
Instead of heading for the sun this year, why not go North? Take your summer holiday at Easter instead, and finally see the Northern lights. April is a great time to visit Iceland – the ice is thawing and the landscape gets less white and more green. The days grow long enough to enjoy them – but the nights are still dark enough for you to catch those Northern Lights. It won’t be balmy springtime though – this is the Arctic Circle after all, and snow is a constant potential.
The Family Adventure Holiday
A few years back now we suddenly realised that our crew of small people were all getting pretty big – and that this meant we could do some fun stuff which had previously been off the menu.
Even on UK holidays our family walks became demanding 12+ mile hikes, and we started adding the odd adventure like Kayaking, Caving in the Brecon Beacons, Moonlit Canoeing and Ghyll Scrambling in the Lake District.
No parent loves spending time with their teen when their teen’s face is buried silently in their phone. Imagine how amazing instead to spend some joy-filled hours riding a camel across the desert, or sitting around a fire as you gaze at the African night sky from outside your tent. Or maybe you’ll just go on a short adventure break kayaking a Norwegian Fjord. The picture we all get in our heads from Bucket List Family Holidays is one of shared happiness, isn’t it?
The world’s your playground – think about something you’ve always fancied trying and go make it happen. Sharing exciting experiences draws you closer, and creates a bank of amazing, precious memories to look back on.
The New York Trip
Right. If you say ‘Bucket List Family Holidays’ to your teen, I’m betting the first reply would be ‘New York!’. I think every teen wants to be able to say casually ‘…when I was in New York…’. I mean, there’s a zillion cool points right there.
Firstly – America.
Secondly – New York!
Save on the hotel fees by booking an AirBnB somewhere achingly cool like Brooklyn. Take them shopping (cheap clothes their mates won’t have; we’re talking American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, Pink, Gap, Hollister…!), explore Times Square, see a show on Broadway – and sneak in some culture with a morning at MoMA (repaid by lunch in the diner of their choice). Don’t miss out on the bigger attractions (they’ll still want to see the Empire State, and the 9/11 memorial) – the city pass website has a handy teen-freindly bucket list), but leave some time for just wandering Greenwich Village and 5th Avenue.
The Surfing Holiday
Maybe you don’t want to lert go of the fact that the beach is your thing – so mix it up a little, and make it a surf beach. You still get to roast yourself into a tan with your book, but your too-old-for-sandcastles teens will be busy from morning to night with the local surf school.
You don’t have to go far – Portugal and France have some of the best surf beaches in the world (and don’t forget world-famous Cornwall – though North Devon is hot on its heels for great surf beaches!).
If you can combine glorious sandy beaches with excellent wave action, then you’ll keep the most adrenalin-hungry teen happy, along with the ones who simply want to sit plugged into their headphones alongside you and snooze.
Teen-perfect beaches are a special combination; but get it right and you just might be making holiday magic with a simple click of a Book It button!