Top 5 International Child Friendly Destinations For Summer 2019

Photo of Top 5 International Child Friendly Destinations For Summer 2019 by Pratibha Periwal

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

Travellers have wings and true to this they are flying across the globe to satisfy their wanderlust.

Travelling with and without kids are both very different experiences. However, when kids today are so sharp and inquisitive, why deprive them an opportunity to explore the wider world? Travelling to international locations with kids exposes them to beautiful life changing experiences.

I am penning down few of my top international recommendations. I have had a firsthand experience of these locations with my son (currently 7 years), so these are all tried and tested places. So here we go:

1. Portugal: Portugal is one of the easiest and most cost effective European countries for families to enjoy. Welcoming and child friendly, it has something for all ages and a variety of landscapes and opportunities to suit all needs. If you like cultural tourism, Portugal is home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including fairy tale inspired beautiful castles and forts that will excite even the youngest of travellers. If you like nature, you can explore Cascais National Park and Cabo da Roca which is the southernmost tip of the Western Europe. This is far more beautiful than I can describe. One hour drive from this is the Pena Palace in Sintra which is a gorgeous yellow palace. Lisbon itself is a culturally and historically rich city. Leave aside kids, even parents will be mesmerized by the old world charm of the city, and not to forget the fun ride on Tram 28 (riding in a quaint yellow tram as it screeches and rattles through the narrow streets of the city). Porto and Faro are the other prominent gateway to Portugal with beautiful sandy beaches and limestone formations. It doesn’t matter where you start: Portugal is sure to engulf you and your kids in its beautiful weather, delicious food and charming heritage for a trip to remember.

Expert Tip: One can base oneself in Lisbon (Capital of Portugal) and take multiple day trips. Lisbon is tourist friendly & central location offering very good train/bus connectivity across Portugal.

Mt Titlis @ Switzerland favourite with Indians and Bollywood too

Photo of Portugal by Pratibha Periwal

2. Switzerland: Switzerland offers jaw-dropping scenery and fun activities that can turn kids who are normally attached to screens into kids who are happy to step away from their gadgets and into nature. Nothing can describe the charm and the heavenly beauty of Switzerland unless the same is experienced firsthand. I have been to Switzerland multiple times, which has given me enough opportunities to explore this wonderland with my son. I may say, Swiss can be one of the best holiday experiences for all age groups. From visiting snowy mountain of Titlis , Matterhorn and jungfraujoch to the lush green meadows of St Moritz , Montreux, Chun and Gstaad . The list is endless. Kids can explore chocolate factories to UN heritage sights, all in one trip. Switzerland is one of the best countries in the world in terms of ease of getting and using the public transport.

Expert Tip: Take a 7 day unlimited SBB travel pass valid across train, bus, tram and boats. It will take you across the length and breadth of the country with unparalleled comfort and convenience. The pass also offers good discounts for Mountain Trains, Gondola rides and free entry to many museums.

Thailand !!!

Photo of Switzerland by Pratibha Periwal

3. Thailand: Thailand is an all time favourite and evergreen destination catering to all ages and all budgets. There is so much to learn in Thailand when you start exploring history, culture, climate, ecosystems, agriculture and more. From the cosmopolitan Bangkok to beach towns of Phuket , Krabi to Hill stations of Chiang Mai the list is long. Where can kids get the joy of exploring and shopping in the floating market!!! On a global scale, Thailand is one of the cheapest countries for families to visit. Ample food options are available even to please the pickiest eaters. A week’s holiday including Bangkok, Krabi and Chiang Mai will give you the flavour of the country. Though Chiang Mai is the not the most talked about destination, we found it outstanding for kids . Chiang Mai boasts of a Night Safari, a lovely huge Zoo and a 3D art museum to entertain kids.

Expert Tip: Though Thailand offers Visa on Arrival to Indian Nationals, when travelling with young kids/ toddlers it is advisable to get the Visa from India itself to avoid last minute hassle and paper work. Cost is anyways same.

Miracle Garden , Dubai

Photo of Thailand by Pratibha Periwal

4. Dubai: Dubai is truly a man made marvel. Though it may not be the best time to visit Dubai for Summer Vacations, the humongous malls, souks, covered themed parks will take care of the warm weather. When it comes to entertainment for kids there are very few destinations which can match upto Dubai. From having an adventurous thrill at the Wild Wadi Water Park, to exploring the first educational city in United Arab Emirates, from nurturing the young artist inside your kid at Jamjar to riding a cable car, from replicating yourself at the KidZania to racing your pulse at the SEGA Republic, Dubai has it all . Do not miss the latest attractions like Bollywood theme park, LegoLand etc. Underwater Aquarium and Dolphin Bay will leave you all happy and satisfied. Nature lovers will freak out at beautiful Miracle Garden and Butterfly Park, one of its kinds. Even mommies can have a great time indulging in Duty Free Shopping.

Expert tip: Most of the flights to Europe or Africa take a halt at Dubai. So a quick de tour can also be planned to Dubai. However a separate visa will be required for Dubai. Abu Dhabi, a fantastic city, is just next door to Dubai and makes for an excellent getaway. A visit to Ferrari World will be unforgettable for the little car enthusiasts.

Hong Kong Skyline

Photo of Dubai - United Arab Emirates by Pratibha Periwal

5. Hong Kong: Beneath Hong Kong’s modern skyscrapers lies a surprisingly kid-friendly destination. You won't run out of things to do on a Hong Kong family vacation, trust me. A fair blend of natural and man-.made wonders make Hong Kong a perfect holiday destination. The list of experiences which you can undertake with kids is rather large. To being with Hong Kong Disneyland is one of the finest and one of the main attractions to visit HK. Either you can stay at Disneyland (which is a rather expensive option!) or visit the same on a day trip. Hong Kong Ocean Park is a sea based theme park and one of its kind. Some prefer this park to Hong Kong Disneyland because it’s unique with fewer crowds and opportunities for animal encounters. Other thing which you can do includes a tram ride to The Peak, visiting Science Museum, HongKong by night tour and a stroll along Toy market.

Expert tip : Few of the Chinese cities like Macau and Shenzhen are just a few day trip from HongKong. Visa can be obtained on arrival. Macau is known for fascinating casinos, often known as Vegas of the East . While Shenzhen is usually visited for shopping and exploring Windows of the World ( a theme park which has about 130 reproductions of some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world squeezed into 48 hectares).

P.S. These are top recommendations based on my experience . You may pick any of these destination for your next vacation.

Duration of the Trip : At Least a week at any of these destinations.

Costing : Will vary significantly basis the kind of flight and accommodation booked.

So let’s get going!!!! Summers are calling!!!! Happy Holidaying !!!