Home » Beyond the all-inclusive: 6 great family vacations to take instead

Beyond the all-inclusive: 6 great family vacations to take instead

written by Intrepid Travel May 3, 2018
great family vacations pyramid

All-inclusive vacations certainly tick a lot of boxes: beaches to relax on, activities to keep the kids occupied and food for picky eaters, but there is one thing they decidedly lack – adventure.

While you probably know that family vacations don’t always have to mean beaches and buffets, it can tough to know what else is out there! If you’re looking for a way to experience all the world has to offer and open your children’s eyes to new cultures, new food and new ways of seeing the world, we have some adventures for you.

Here are a few great family vacations – ones that are way different to all-inclusives – that the whole family will love:

An active adventure

great family vacations zipline costa rica

Zip-lining through the rainforest in Costa Rica

If your little explorers can sometimes be little monkeys, Costa Rica might be the destination for you. Not only will they be able to hang out with actual monkeys, sloths and tropical birds in the rainforest, but there are also a multitude of ways to get active here. With an incredible range of outdoor pursuits to keep you occupied, like while white-water rafting, horseback riding, hiking to waterfalls and whizzing from tree to tree on a zip-line, you and your family might never want to leave.

Get there: Visit on our 15-day Costa Rica Family Holiday.

ARE YOU A SINGLE PARENT? CHECK OUT OUR SOLO PARENT TRIPS

Ancient history come to life

great family vacations pyramid

A family exploring the pyramids in Egypt

Learning has never been as fun (or as easy) as it is in Egypt. Your children’s textbook will practically jump of the page the moment you see the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings. In addition to constantly being surrounded by incredible history and culture, this country is full of kid-friendly activities. From riding donkeys to exploring colorful markets to snorkeling (that’s right, snorkeling – the beach town of Hurghada has some spectacular reefs just offshore!), your family will love uncovering the ancient mysteries and modern marvels of Egypt.

Get there: Go on our 9-day Egypt Family Holiday.

READ MORE: 6 WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR A TRIP

The ultimate animal experience

great family vacations safari

On safari in Tanzania

The little ones will definitely not miss the all-inclusive life while they’re living out their own personal, real-life version of The Lion King. Go wild spotting everything from miniature dik-dik antelopes to lions to African elephants. The kids’ summer vacation from school is the perfect time to go on safari in Africa. It’s the dry season, which means more animals crowding around watering holes and less thick foliage, so the animals are easy to spot. If you’re lucky you might see a wildebeest river crossing up-close or spot the endangered black rhinoceros. The only downside? The zoo will never be the same.

Get there: Take our 8-day Tanzania Family Safari.

TRAVELING WITH TEENS? CHECK OUT OUR LINE OF TRIPS FOR OLDER KIDS

An island-hopping expedition

great family vacations kayak croatia

Kayaking in Croatia is fun for the whole family

You can’t go wrong with summer in Europe – it’s a classic for a reason. Croatia’s Adriatic coast is no exception. We suggest the route from the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik to the charming coastal town of Split, with some island hopping in between, of course. Croatia has something for everybody – from white sand and calm waters for the beach bums, to lush forests and waterfalls for the nature-lovers, to fortresses, castles and ruins for the history buffs, to mouth-watering cuisine and loads of vineyards (and therefore wine!) for parents. A trip here is fun for the whole family.

Get there: Explore this 9-day Croatia Family Holiday.

RELATED READ: 5 REASONS ITALY IS A GREAT FAMILY VACATION DESTINATION

A Southeast Asian adventure

great family vacations thailand elephants

Mother and daughter enjoying the elephant nature park in Chiang Mai

Thailand may seem a world away, but trust us that the memories you and your family make there will last a lifetime. Colorful markets, towering Buddhist temples and the best pad thai ever make this whole country a feast for the senses. Kids will be enthralled by boat rides through Bangkok’s canals, traditional Thai dance performances and seeing elephants up-close at a nature park (just be sure to visit a genuine elephant sanctuary with high animal welfare and conservation standards).

And if you’ve been putting off your Asia adventure due to the language barrier or logistical worries, now is that time to put those fears aside. If you go with Intrepid, you’ll have the expertise of local leader on your side to help translate and ensure you make your train on time.

Get there: Try our 12-day Thailand Family Holiday.

READ MORE: 6 THINGS I LEARNED VISITING ASIA WITH MY 5-YEAR-OLD

A classic destination done differently

great family vacations mexico ruins

Discovering ancient Mayan ruins as a family

At first, Mexico might not seem like an “alternative” destination, but hear us out. If your ideal family vacation includes authentic local eats, a healthy dose of culture as well as a relaxing on a beach, it’s time to book a trip there. You and the kids will love that every night can be taco night (or tamale night or chalupa night – whatever floats your boat!) and that there are tons of Mayan ruins to explore.

And when you’re done exploring Tulum and Chichen Itza, you can stroll along white-sand beaches, swim in sunken cenotes, snorkel among the mangroves, and of course, relax on the beach.

Get there: Discover our 8-day Mexico Family Holiday.

READ MORE: I’M 13 AND I’VE VISITED 45 COUNTRIES; HERE’S WHAT I’VE LEARNED 

Interested in one of Intrepid Travel’s great family vacations? With the perfect balance of planned activities and free time, kid-friendly itineraries, local leaders who are experts in the destination (and are often parents themselves), and a few like-minded families from all over the world, group tours can be the ideal alternative to the all-inclusive.

Check out our full range of family-friendly trips here.

(Image Credits from top to bottom: Intrepid Travel x3, Jaydene Chapman, Intrepid Travel, Dyan Mckie, Luis Fernando Dafos Garaizabal.)

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