Summer Through the Ages
We’re typically seeing families traveling with children starting from the age of 8, all the way through to when they leave college at the age of 22. This leaves them with 15 summers to really make the most of time with their kids before they fly the nest. To show them the world, introduce them to different cultures, teach them the circle of life and give them a sense of adventure. So, we’ve collated the ultimate collection of the best summers through the ages. From classic journeys we think should be on every family’s bucket list to adventures where we dare them to be brave.
Children at this age still have a sense of curiosity and wonderment that is so special, and a safari in Kenya is the perfect place to ignite their excitement. Their jaws will drop at the sight of a thundering elephant herd, they’ll be fascinated while learning about the lives of the colorful Samburu tribe and gushing to friends about the time they “tracked an endangered black rhino in Kenya”. We can’t talk about Kenya without mentioning the Great Migration that floods the Mara every August to September, making it the perfect summer family vacation.
Highlight: Family bonding about the day's wildlife over bush dinners.
There’s no better way to get a ten-year-old excited about an upcoming trip than centering it around things they’re already interested in. Welcome to the UK, the land of Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and real-life princes and princesses. England and Scotland offer a variety of activities for every interest at this age. Watch the Lion King at a theater in London’s West End and visit Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio in Oxford. For families looking for an outdoor adventure, the Scottish Highlands offer archery, falconry, horse riding, cycling and wildlife safaris.
Highlight: A tour searching for the fabled Loch Ness Monster.
Once kids reach tweendom, they start to crave a little more adventure and independence. A vacation to Southeast Asia will keep them thoroughly entertained. In Chaing Rai, Thailand, families will love bathing baby elephants and cooking classes. On the more adventurous end, Northern Laos is a completely untouched region fantastic for trekking. And a trip to the Instagrammable Kuang Si waterfall is a must, its turquoise pools are perfect for swimming. While in Cambodia, enjoy Indiana Jones-style explorations of Angkor Wat and postcard-perfect beaches.
Highlight: Bonding with kids during a culinary adventure through Siem Reap on the back seat of a Vespa.
When hormones are in charge, it’s important to keep kids busy. An adventurous vacation through Peru and Chile does just that. In Lima, visit one of the city's many fascinating museums. For something to tick of everyone’s bucket list, explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu with a private guide, don’t forget to snap a selfie with an alpaca! Cuzco’s market stalls are the perfect place for teens to practice their Spanish. In Chile’s Atacama Desert, go horse riding, hiking and cycling through the stark landscapes and rugged canyons.
Highlight: Relaxing at the Termas de Puritama, where eight pools are fed by hot springs.
Being far from the parents and somewhere a little more insta-worthy is the priority at an age when children turn into adults. Indonesia offers so much in terms of adventure and culture. In Ubud, take a trip to visit the mighty Mt Batur or head to Monkey Forest. While the kids relax on the breezy beaches of Seminyak, parents can head out with private guides to trek through Bali’s vibrant green terraced paddy fields. And on the secluded, lush island of Sumba, families can bond and bask in the sun as you try your hand at surfing, paddle boarding or horseback riding.
Highlight: Discovering the Sumba Foundation, the philanthropic arm to Nihi Sumba Island.
Say welcome to adulthood with a classic trip to Italy. Once kids reach eighteen, it seems like their minds magically open up. They become more interested in different cultures, they want to go to museums and may even ask to be taken to historical sites that once bored them. On this quintessential tour though Italy, glide down the canals of Venice in an iconic gondola, take a hands-on gelato making class in Florence and enjoy the art, architecture and fabulous shopping in Rome.
Highlight: Visiting the Vatican without the crowds on a private early morning tour.
We hate to stereotype, but at twenty-one a proper adventure including a couple cocktails is just what’s in order. The perfect way to celebrate this big birthday is with a trip to New Zealand. Toast to becoming legal at Marlborough’s verdant vineyards, sail under a canopy of thousands of tiny glow worms in the Waitomo Caves, swim with dolphins off the coast of Kaikoura, heli-hike on the Franz Josef Glacier or take in Waihke Island on an art tour.
Highlight: An immersive evening combining Maori culture, gastronomic traditions and natural wonders.
For the ultimate graduation gift, and perhaps your final big trip as an entire family, gorilla trekking in Rwanda, followed by the Great Migration in Tanzania makes for an ideal send off into the world. Standing face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is unforgettable and one of Africa's great wildlife encounters. Jumping from one bucket list experience to the next, Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is the perfect spot to witness the Great Migration one more time. For your final stop, fly onto the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar. Expect turquoise waters, coral reefs and soft white sandy beaches.
Highlight: Venturing out onto the Indian Ocean in a dhow, a traditional sailing boat.