Taking the family on an exciting vacation is a great way to make lasting memories, but also a great way to put a strain on your bank account. The cost of travel seems to go up every year and adventurous families are on a never-ending quest to find ways to keep family travel fun and exciting while making it affordable and cost-effective.
For many popular tourist destinations, peak season is during the summer months. This isn’t only driven by weather but by school schedules as well. After all, it makes perfect sense to make the most of our kids’ summer vacation, right? The problem is it makes sense to everyone else, too, driving up prices and overcrowding popular attractions. Just ask anyone who ever tried to go to Disneyland or the Grand Canyon in the middle of July.
Let’s face it — empty bank accounts and wall-to-wall people don’t make for happy vacation memories. A late-season trip to the Greek Islands is a great way to solve these little problems.
While peak season runs June–August, the islands are beautiful all year long. During winter months, many become virtually deserted and there is limited transportation to and from the mainland, but during the spring and fall there are ample opportunities to find great deals without the crowds.
Getting there is much more affordable …
Before and after peak season prices are much more affordable for plane and ferry tickets. A round-trip plane ticket from Athens to Santorini, one of the most popular island destinations, during the month of August can run around €150 with Aegean Airlines, while the same trip can be had for less than €100 euros during the month of October. When it comes to buying tickets for a family of four, that adds up to significant savings.
Staying there is much more affordable …
During the month of August, the height of the tourist season, hotel rates on the islands can run quite pricey. One night in a boutique hotel on the popular island of Mykonos can run more than €800 a night for a family of four. By visiting during the beginning or end of the season, such as May or October, these prices are often slashed by more than half.
Smaller crowds equals less stress …
In the springtime the islands are just opening for the season and, during the fall, they are starting to wind down. This means smaller crowds. While this also means you are likely to find some restaurants not open, don’t worry, there are always plenty of wonderful choices and they come without the overwhelming throngs of tourists.
Crowds cannot only be exhausting for adults but challenging for little ones as well. No one wants to spend a small fortune on a vacation of a lifetime only to fight the crowds at every turn — waiting for tables at restaurants, standing in long lines at attractions and swimming shoulder to shoulder with strangers at the beach. When you combine the heat of the summer months with long waits and large crowds, everyone feels the strain and your dream vacation can quickly turn into a nightmare.
With all of the savings and the smaller crowds, an early or late season Greek Island vacation is practically a no-brainer. The extra savings can be used to fund another trip or go toward more luxurious accommodations during your stay.
Lake Powell, a family-favorite vacation destination in the American Southwest, lies between Utah and Arizona — an ideal place to rent a houseboat and spend your time exploring the lake and its shores as a family, enjoying the sun, the water and plenty of adventure.
If you’re looking for a charming new island escape on the East Coast, get away to a locale many have yet to discover. Daufuskie Island considers itself the Nantucket of the South, a hidden gem off the Southeast Coast, near Savannah, Georgia, and Hilton Head. The luxurious environment is unpretentious, but filled with all the amenities discerning family travelers need.
A beach vacation is a family favorite in the summertime; the weather is nice, towns are thriving and there are fun activities all season. For families looking for the ultimate summer beach vacation, consider Ocean City, New Jersey.
This summer, family travel at The Peninsula receives an upgrade with the debut of Camp Peninsula, a children’s experience that recreates the spirit of camping right in the heart of Beverly Hills. The journey begins with a special welcome from Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot, at check-in. After taking a picture with the life-sized teddy bear, kids will be whisked away by a Peninsula Camp Counselor to a luxurious guestroom where a charming teepee awaits. An afternoon of camp-themed games and activities, including a hotel-wide scavenger hunt, rounds off the family-friendly experience, fun for children of all ages. Whether it’s a luxe staycation or an extended holiday, Camp Peninsula is an ideal way to ensure the little ones are happy campers.
Prior to any family trip, every responsible adult will have a checklist to ensure the journey and destination can be made as safe as possible for everybody. A packing list can incorporate healthy snacks, bug repellant, a first-aid kit and minor illness remedies (cold and flu meds; anti-diarrhea pills) while pre-trip cautions — depending on the location — immunizations and family discussions on how to avoid injury.