Are you dreaming of the perfect family trip? If so, we’re here to guide you through the exciting world of the best international family vacations for 2024.
Try to think of a vacation where every family member finds their slice of happiness. It’s a possibility we’re about to explore together and not just a dream!
The Joy of Family Travel
I don’t ever want to hear parents say that traveling with their kids is pointless. While it may be true that your child won’t specifically remember seeing the Buckingham Palace changing of the guards at age two, you will remember.
Just because you had kids does not mean your travel dreams should be neglected. Your children will feel the energy of growing up in a house where mom and dad are not driving themselves crazy just to live some fake suburban dream. Instead, get on that quick flight and see the world’s most popular destinations with your kids in tow.
What Makes a Destination Perfect for Families?
When we talk about the best international family vacations, what exactly are we looking for? Is it the ease of access to family-friendly resorts? The excitement of a water park for young ones and adventurous activities for older kids? Or perhaps the chance to immerse in local culture and natural wonders? The answer is all of the above!
A perfect place for a family vacation caters to the interests and needs of each family member. It makes every moment of the trip special.
Setting the Stage for Your Next Adventure
As we dive into our curated list of top destinations, we’ll explore a variety of places. We’ll traverse the rugged beauty of Banff National Park, bask in the artistic ambiance of Paris, delve into the wild heart of South Africa, wander through the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand, and embrace the vibrant energy of San Francisco.
Stay tuned as we unfold the magic of these destinations. Each of them offering a unique experience, ensuring your next family vacation is nothing short of extraordinary.
So, pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and get ready for an adventure that promises to be the best international family vacation yet!
1. Costa Rica
Experience the Pura Vida in Costa Rica
A destination where natural beauty meets adventure, making it one of the best international family vacations for 2024. Renowned for its lush rainforests, stunning beaches, and abundant wildlife, Costa Rica is a paradise waiting to be explored by families seeking both relaxation and adventure.
Outdoor Adventures for Every Age
Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure. The country’s diverse landscape offers an array of activities perfect for the whole family. Zip-lining through the rainforest canopy, horseback riding along pristine beaches, or spotting exotic wildlife in their natural habitat – these experiences ensure that Costa Rica isn’t just a great place to visit, it’s unforgettable.
Accommodations in Costa Rica cater wonderfully to families. From luxurious all-inclusive resorts to cozy eco-lodges, you’ll find places that not only offer comfort but also easy access to nature’s wonders. Many resorts provide special activities for young ones, while ensuring that older kids and adults have plenty of options for exploration and relaxation.
The Ideal Time for an Adventure
Timing your visit can make your trip even more enjoyable. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from December to April. This period offers sunny days perfect for beach outings and outdoor explorations, making your family trip a delightful experience.
Embrace the Culture
A trip to Costa Rica goes beyond the stunning landscapes, it’s also an opportunity to immerse in the local culture. Engaging with the friendly locals, trying delicious Costa Rican cuisine, and learning about the country’s commitment to conservation are all part of the unique experience that makes Costa Rica one of the best international family vacations.
2. Mexico City
Dive into the Heart of Mexico’s Rich History
Mexico City, a bustling metropolis brimming with history and culture, is an ideal destination for families seeking one of the best international family vacations in 2024. This city, known for its vibrant streets and rich historical heritage, offers a unique blend of past and present, perfect for families eager to embark on a cultural journey.
Engage with History and Culture
In Mexico City, every corner tells a story. From the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan to the colorful streets of Coyoacán, the city is a living museum waiting to be explored. Visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum or taking a boat ride through the canals of Xochimilco provides not just entertainment but a deeper understanding of Mexico’s cultural roots, making it a great place for both young ones and adults to learn and have fun.
When it comes to accommodations, Mexico City offers an array of family-friendly hotels. Staying in neighborhoods like Polanco or Condesa gives you easy access to major attractions and a taste of the city’s cosmopolitan lifestyle. Many hotels cater to families with young ones, offering amenities like indoor pools and kid-friendly menus.
A Culinary Adventure for All Ages
Mexican cuisine is a feast for the senses, and Mexico City is the perfect place to indulge. From street food stalls serving tacos and quesadillas to upscale restaurants offering gourmet Mexican dishes, the city offers a culinary adventure that appeals to every family member. Exploring local markets or taking a family cooking class can be a great way to bond and enjoy the local culture.
Best Time to Visit Mexico City
The ideal time to visit Mexico City with the family is between March and May. During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the city is alive with a variety of festivals and events, making it the perfect time for an international family vacation.
3. Banff National Park, Canada
Discover the Majestic Beauty of Banff
Embark on an unforgettable journey to Banff National Park in Canada. The thing I remember most about Banff is that every time you stop for gas you are also stopping because you can no longer see out your front windshield. There are so many bugs in the summer that your visibility becomes limited by the dead bug carcasses.
Outdoor Excitement for Everyone
Banff National Park is a playground for all ages. Families can enjoy hiking trails that wind through breathtaking landscapes, spot wildlife in their natural habitat, and relax in the natural hot springs. If mosquitos love your blood as much as they love mine, you’ll want to head to Lake Louise to nurse your itching in nearly ice cold water. Soaking my bug bites in that lake was the only thing that made them feel better.
Family-Friendly Accommodations in the Heart of Nature
When it comes to staying in Banff, the options are as diverse as the park itself. From luxurious mountain resorts to charming cabins, families can find accommodations that provide both comfort and easy access to the park’s natural wonders. Many places offer family-specific amenities, ensuring a comfortable and convenient stay for visitors of all ages.
Embrace the Seasons in Banff
Banff National Park is a year-round destination, each season offering its unique charm. Summer brings lush greenery and perfect hiking conditions, while winter transforms the park into a snowy wonderland ideal for skiing and snowboarding. Planning your visit according to your family’s interests can enhance your experience in this natural paradise.
Connect with Nature and Local Culture
A visit to Banff is an opportunity to connect with nature and learn about the local culture. Participating in ranger-led programs or visiting the Banff Park Museum can provide insightful and educational experiences for the entire family.
4. Paris, France
Fall in Love with the Charm of Paris
Paris, known as the City of Lights, is more than just a romantic destination—it’s also one of the best international family vacations for 2024. With its iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, rich history, and family-friendly attractions, Paris promises magical experiences for every family member.
A Journey Through History and Art
Paris is a living museum, with each street and corner unveiling a piece of history. Families can marvel at the majestic Notre Dame, explore the Louvre Museum, or take a leisurely boat tour along the Seine River or out on the man made lake at Versailles. For young children, the city’s many parks and gardens, such as the Luxembourg Gardens, offer delightful playgrounds and open spaces.
Family Fun in the Heart of the City
No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to Disneyland Paris, a magical kingdom where fairytales come to life. It’s the perfect place for a family adventure, offering a range of attractions suitable for both young kids and older children. I will add that out of the four Disney parks we’ve been to, Paris Disney had the worst food by far, so my suggestion would be to pack snacks for your day at the park.
Paris offers a variety of family-friendly hotels and accommodations. I’ll tell you that on our numerous trips to Paris we’ve settled on one hotel in particular that is our go to favorite. The Renaissance Paris Nobel Tour Eiffel Hotel is located right next to Trocadero station and has the best breakfast spread of all Paris hotels we’ve stayed at. In fact, because of the amazing service we’ve received I would say that hotel is one of the best hotels in the world.
The Best Time to Visit Paris
The ideal time to experience Paris with your family is during spring (April to June) or fall (September to November). These seasons offer mild weather and fewer crowds, making it easier to explore the city and enjoy its outdoor attractions.
5. South Africa
Experience the Diverse Beauty of South Africa
South Africa, with its rich wildlife, stunning beaches, and vibrant cities, is an exhilarating destination for families and stands out as one of the best international family vacations for 2024. It’s a place where adventures abound, offering a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences.
Wildlife Encounters and Safari Adventures
One of the highlights of a family trip to South Africa is undoubtedly the safari experience. National parks like Kruger National Park offer families the chance to see the famous Big Five in their natural habitat. These wildlife adventures are not only thrilling but also educational, providing a great opportunity for children to learn about conservation and the natural world.
Pristine Beaches for Family Fun
South Africa’s coastline is dotted with beautiful beaches, perfect for families. Building sandcastles on the shores of Cape Town or enjoying the calm waters of the Garden Route, the country’s beaches are ideal for young children and offer a peaceful retreat for the entire family.
Explore Cape Town
Cape Town, a gem in South Africa, offers a mix of history, culture, and stunning natural scenery. Families can visit Table Mountain, explore the historic Robben Island, or enjoy the local cuisine at the V&A Waterfront. The city is also a gateway to exploring the nearby Cape Winelands, offering a scenic day trip for the whole family.
Comfortable Stays in the Heart of Nature
Accommodations in South Africa cater to families of all sizes. From luxury resorts in the bush to family-friendly hotels in the city, there’s something for everyone. Many accommodations offer special programs for children, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
The Best Time to Visit South Africa
The best time for a family vacation in South Africa is during its dry season, from May to September. This period offers the best wildlife viewing opportunities and pleasant weather for beach outings and city explorations.
6. New Zealand
Explore the Natural Wonders of New Zealand (NZ)
NZ, a land of unparalleled beauty, is a top contender for the best international family vacations in 2024. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, friendly locals, and a plethora of outdoor activities, it’s a destination that offers a unique and unforgettable experience for families.
Adventure Awaits in Every Corner
For families that thrive on adventure, NZ is a paradise. From hiking through the majestic Fiordland National Park to experiencing the thrill of water sports in Queenstown, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to keep the entire family engaged. Exploring the famous Hobbiton Movie Set or taking a boat tour through the Milford Sound, every day in NZ is an adventure.
Family-Friendly Stays Amidst Stunning Scenery
Accommodations in NZ cater to families of all sizes and preferences. From cozy bed and breakfasts to luxury lodges, each offers a warm Kiwi welcome. Many accommodations are situated in picturesque locations, providing easy access to the country’s natural attractions and outdoor activities.
The Best Times to Visit NZ
New Zealand’s seasons offer different experiences. Visiting during the summer months (December to February) is ideal for beach activities and hiking. For those interested in skiing or snowboarding, winter (June to August) transforms the country into a winter wonderland, especially in the South Island.
Immerse in the Local Maori Culture
A trip to New Zealand is also an opportunity to immerse in the rich Maori culture. Visiting a marae (Maori meeting grounds), experiencing a traditional hangi (Maori feast), or watching a haka performance are not only entertaining but also educational for both parents and children.
7. Cairo, Egypt
Experience the Timeless Wonder of Cairo
Cairo, the sprawling capital of Egypt, is a mesmerizing destination for the best international family vacations in 2024. This ancient city, known for its rich history and majestic pyramids, offers a unique blend of historical exploration and modern charm, suitable for families with diverse interests and ages.
A City Rich in History and Culture
Cairo is a hub of historical and cultural wonders. Families can marvel at the Great Pyramids of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, or explore the treasures of the Egyptian Museum. A walk through the bustling Khan el-Khalili bazaar offers a taste of traditional Egyptian life, while a felucca ride on the Nile provides a serene view of the city.
Exploring Cairo’s Natural and Architectural Beauty
Cairo’s landscape is dotted with impressive architectural feats and natural beauty. A visit to the historic Al-Azhar Park offers panoramic views of the city and its ancient structures. For a closer look at Cairo’s architectural marvels, families can tour the Citadel of Cairo, a medieval Islamic fortification, or the stunning Mosque of Muhammad Ali.
Comfortable and Opulent Accommodations for Families
In Cairo, families will find a range of accommodation options. From luxurious hotels overlooking the Nile to budget-friendly guesthouses in the city center, there’s something for everyone. Despite being a fairly affordable city, upscale accommodations can get quite pricey. We spent a month at the St Regis Almasa Hotel which is in an area they call the New Administrative Capital. Uber’s are so inexpensive that the cost savings of staying further out made it worth it for our long stay in Cairo.
The Ideal Time to Visit Cairo
The best time for a family vacation in Cairo is during the cooler months, from October to April, when the weather is pleasant for sightseeing. This period avoids the intense heat of the summer months, making outdoor activities and exploration more comfortable for the whole family.
In addition to our top picks, there are numerous other international destinations that serve as great options for family vacations. These honorable mentions are perfect for families with a sense of adventure looking for the best places that may not be on every travel guide’s radar. Inexpensive and up and coming international locations are often the best choices for families traveling on a budget.
Exploring these less-traveled paths is often the best way to create unique and memorable experiences. Each offers a unique blend of adventure, culture, and natural beauty, making them worthy additions to any kid’s travel bucket list.
A Treasure Trove of Natural and Cultural Wonders
While exploring the best international family vacations, it’s impossible to overlook Slovenia, a small yet stunning country in Central Europe. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and friendly atmosphere, Slovenia is an emerging destination that offers an array of experiences for families.
Embrace the Great Outdoors in Slovenia
Lake Bled and Triglav National Park
Slovenia’s natural beauty is epitomized in places like Lake Bled, with its iconic island church, and Triglav National Park, offering hiking trails and spectacular mountain views.
For families seeking outdoor adventures, Slovenia provides options like kayaking, cycling, and horseback riding in its scenic countryside.
Explore Slovenia’s Rich Cultural Tapestry
Ljubljana, the Charming Capital
Stroll through the vibrant streets of Ljubljana, a city that blends historical architecture with youthful energy. The city’s central location also makes it a great base for exploring the rest of the country.
Visit the Postojna Cave, one of the largest karst caverns in the world, or explore the medieval castles dotting the countryside, offering a glimpse into Slovenia’s rich history.
Family-Friendly Stays in Slovenia
Accommodations for All
When selecting your accommodation in Slovenia, consider a cozy bed and breakfast in the countryside or a family-friendly hotel in Ljubljana. The country provides comfortable and convenient options for families.
Indulge in Slovenia’s culinary offerings, which blend diverse influences to create unique and delicious dishes, appealing to both adults and children.
Ideal Time to Visit Slovenia
The best time to visit Slovenia for a family vacation is late spring (May to June) or early fall (September to October), when the weather is pleasant, and the natural landscapes are at their most vibrant.
A Blend of Mediterranean Charm and Historic Beauty
In our search for the best international family vacations, we must give a nod to Croatia, a gem on the Adriatic Sea. Known for its stunning coastline, historic towns, and lush national parks, Croatia is an ideal destination for families seeking a mix of relaxation, adventure, and cultural enrichment.
Discover Croatia’s Natural and Historic Wonders
Stunning Beaches and Islands
Croatia’s Dalmatian coast boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, perfect for family beach time and water sports.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
A must-visit for nature lovers, this UNESCO World Heritage Site features cascading lakes and waterfalls, offering breathtaking scenery and easy walking trails for the whole family.
Immerse in Croatian Culture and History
Dubrovnik and Split
Explore the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik and the historical Diocletian’s Palace in Split. These cities provide a captivating blend of history, culture, and modern amenities.
Local Traditions and Cuisine
Engage with the local culture through traditional Croatian music, dance, and cuisine. The country’s culinary offerings are a delight, with fresh seafood and local wines topping the list.
Family-Friendly Accommodation Options
Variety of Stays
Croatia offers a range of accommodations that cater to families, be it a seaside resort, a villa in a historic town, or a rural farmhouse.
Many places provide amenities like pools, play areas, and family-oriented activities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay for guests of all ages.
Best Times to Visit Croatia
The best time for a family trip to Croatia is late spring (May to June) or early fall (September to October). These months offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and the opportunity to fully enjoy the outdoor and cultural experiences.
A Diverse and Exciting Destination for Families
Argentina, a country known for its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and diverse attractions, is an excellent choice for families looking for a unique international vacation. From the bustling streets of Buenos Aires to the breathtaking natural beauty of Patagonia, Argentina offers a blend of experiences that cater to both adventure seekers and those looking for cultural enrichment.
A City of Music and Color
Buenos Aires, the country’s capital, is a dynamic city filled with history, art, and tango music. Families can explore colorful neighborhoods like La Boca, visit popular attractions like the Recoleta Cemetery, or enjoy a day in the numerous parks and plazas.
Argentina is renowned for its cuisine, especially its steaks. Enjoying a family meal in a local parrilla (steakhouse) is a must.
Experience the Natural Wonders of Argentina
The southern region of Patagonia is a paradise for nature lovers. Families can hike in national parks like Los Glaciares, witness the majestic Perito Moreno Glacier, or even go whale watching off the coast of Puerto Madryn.
A trip to the breathtaking Iguazu Falls, located on the border with Brazil, is an unforgettable experience. The falls offer various trails and boat tours, making it a thrilling exploration spot for families.
Family-Friendly Accommodation Options
Wide Range of Stays
Argentina offers a variety of accommodations to suit family needs, from luxury hotels in major cities to cozy lodges in the countryside.
Resorts and Estancias
For a unique experience, consider staying in an estancia (ranch) where families can experience the gaucho (cowboy) lifestyle, enjoy horseback riding, and learn about the local culture.
Best Times to Visit Argentina
The best time for a family vacation in Argentina varies by region. For Buenos Aires and the north, spring (September to November) and fall (March to May) are ideal. For Patagonia, the summer months (December to February) are the best time to visit.
Travel Planning Tips for the Perfect Family Vacation
Planning the perfect family vacation can be a breeze with the right tips. If you’re considering a stay at an inclusive resort or a road trip adventure, the key is to focus on destinations with popular attractions that appeal to all ages. Finding a better place for little kids and adults alike means looking for locations with a mix of relaxation and excitement.
Think about short walks to cultural experiences, resorts with easy access to amazing things to see and do, and itineraries that cater to small groups for a more personalized feel. Remember, the best things about family vacations often come from the simple joys of exploring new places together.
Choosing the Right Destination
For a hassle-free experience, consider staying at an inclusive resort. These often offer a range of activities and amenities for all ages, from water parks for little kids to spas and golf courses for adults. Sipping a cocktail by the pool while your kids enjoy water slides and craft projects can be the exact kind of relaxation you were looking for on a vacation.
If your family seeks a rich cultural experience, target destinations known for their history and arts. Cities like Paris or Rome can be a short walk away from some of the world’s most popular attractions and museums. Some of the best family vacation destinations are actually undercover learning experiences.
Planning Your Itinerary
Balance is Key
Mix leisure with adventure. While visiting a popular attraction, also allocate time for relaxation at your resort or a nearby beach. Our family likes to trade off kid days and adult days. You could try kid mornings and adult afternoons or vice versa. Your job as a parent on vacation is to negotiate, compromise, and bribe your kids into the vacation experience you’re hoping for.
For families that love exploring, a road trip can be the best way to see a country. Plan a route that includes small towns and natural wonders, offering a more intimate and diverse experience. Stop at attractions purporting to be the world’s largest of anything and be willing to have entire meals at road side coffee shops.
Small Group Tours
Consider booking small group tours, especially for more unique experiences like wildlife safaris or culinary tours. They offer a more personalized experience and often cater better to families. A tour group of a small size is invaluable as the natural highs and lows of a kids day can affect pushing forward. We’ve had amazing tour guides that have gone to get our kids medicine or switched the restaurant plans because of our kids preferences.
Proximity to Attractions
Choose accommodations within a short walk or a quick drive to major attractions. This reduces travel time and keeps young kids from getting too tired. The less you have to drag the kids from one end of an area to the other, the better. Plus, the more central you are the less you have to spend on transportation.
Look for hotels or resorts with family-friendly amenities like kids’ clubs, an indoor pool, or family suites. These can make a huge difference in your vacation experience. We always look for hotels with the best breakfast spreads because every vacation day starts off with a buffet on our ideal trip.
Making the Most of Your Vacation
Dive into the local culture by trying traditional foods, attending local events, and engaging with residents. These experiences often end up being the highlights of a trip. Visiting a place as an absolute tourist outsider is a bit of a waste in my opinion. We prefer to get into the vibe of the city and experience at least some elements where locals spend there time.
If your family loves nature, choose destinations known for their natural beauty. Spending time in nature can be incredibly rewarding, be it at the beach, in the mountains, or at a national park. You can swim with sea turtles or learn to scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef. Exploring waterfalls on the Hawaiian Islands or getting up close with wildlife on the Galapagos Islands are also amazing options.
Look for destinations that offer educational experiences for children. Museums, historical sites, and nature reserves can provide learning opportunities in a fun and engaging way. Not all learning has to feel boring. You can learn a lot about animation and movie magic at Harry Potter Studios outside of London.
Safety and Comfort
Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance. It’s essential for protecting your family in case of unexpected events or emergencies. Honestly, in years past the need for travel insurance was kind of a toss up. These days, with flight cancellations mid-trip, potential wars breaking out, and potential personal injury, it’s kind of crazy not to get travel insurance.
Pack according to your destination’s climate and activities. Remember to include first-aid essentials, especially when traveling with kids. Be sure not to overpack and end up paying luggage overage fees. Read: Pack for Vacation Like a Minimalist
After the Trip
Cherish the Memories
After returning, take time to look through photos and souvenirs with your family. This is a great way to relive the experiences and talk about the amazing things you did together. We’ve made some really fun travel memory books on Shutterfly to give as holiday gifts.
The Joy of Travel
Planning the best international family vacations may seem daunting, but with these tips, you’re well on your way to creating an unforgettable experience for your loved ones. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
Embracing Sustainable Travel with Your Family
Making a Positive Impact While Exploring the World
In today’s world, where sustainable living is more important than ever, incorporating eco-friendly practices into your family vacations can enhance your experience and contribute positively to the places you visit. Here are some tips for embracing sustainable travel during your next family adventure.
Choose Eco-Friendly Destinations and Accommodations
Opt for destinations known for their environmental conservation efforts. Places that prioritize sustainability often offer unique experiences aligned with nature preservation.
Look for hotels and resorts with recognized environmental certifications. These establishments often employ practices like water conservation, recycling, and use of renewable energy sources.
Travel Responsibly and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Whenever possible, choose public transportation, biking, or walking over renting a car. This not only reduces emissions but also offers a more immersive experience of the local area.
Support Local Businesses
Choose local and family-run businesses for your dining and shopping needs. This helps in supporting the local economy and reducing the environmental impact of tourism.
Educate and Engage Your Family in Sustainable Practices
Use your vacation as a chance to educate your children about environmental conservation. Activities like visiting wildlife sanctuaries or participating in beach cleanups can be both fun and educational.
Practice Eco-Friendly Habits
Encourage practices like minimizing waste, using reusable water bottles, and respecting local wildlife and natural resources.
Leave a Positive Impact on Your Destinations
Participate in local community projects or eco-tourism activities. This can offer a deeper understanding of the destination and its environmental challenges.
Consider contributing to conservation efforts or donating to local environmental organizations as a way to give back.
A Greener Path to Family Adventures
Embracing sustainable travel goes beyond reducing your environmental footprint. It’s about creating meaningful and responsible connections with the world. By choosing to travel sustainably, you’re setting a positive example for your children and contributing to the preservation of the beautiful destinations you visit. Let’s make our adventures count for more!
Embark on Your Next Family Adventure
As we wrap up our journey through the best international family vacations for 2024, it’s clear that each destination offers its unique blend of adventure, culture, and natural beauty. From the lush rainforests of Costa Rica to the historic streets of Mexico City, the rugged beauty of Banff National Park, the enchanting allure of Paris, the diverse landscapes of South Africa, the adventurous spirit of NZ, and the urban charm of Paris, these destinations promise unforgettable experiences for every family.
Creating Memories that Last a Lifetime
Each of these locations not only provides the perfect backdrop for quality time with your loved ones. It also offers opportunities for learning, adventure, and relaxation. If your family is looking for outdoor adventures, cultural immersion, or just a serene escape, these best international family vacations have something special for everyone. Remember, the best family vacations are about making memories that will be cherished for years to come.
Start Planning Your Dream Family Vacation!
Now that you’re equipped with all the information about these amazing destinations, it’s time to turn your dream family vacation into reality. Don’t forget to consider the best time to visit, the most suitable accommodations, and the activities that will delight every family member.