Whether your family plans to take more vacations this year or make more meaningful weekend getaways close to home, there are plenty of ways to whittle down your list while enjoying new experiences. Expand your horizons at home or abroad with this list of tips and suggestions for a memorable 2019.
Need a Quick Trip? Go Close to Home
Consider a slow start to your family’s big year of travel and venture somewhere in your own backyard. If you live within a few hour’s drive, bus ride or train from a small town you’ve never visited or city you’ve always taken for granted, now’s your chance. It’s a great way to whet your appetite for travel without going too hard too soon.
With warm weather around the corner, there’s no need to run off to an all-inclusive resort or grand getaway. Check Amtrak schedules near you and see which destination grabs your family’s attention. Check the trip-planning map and keep it as simple or as elaborate as your family has time for.
Need a Good Excuse? Go Somewhere New
If the train part catches your kids’ eyes, upgrade to a full-scale vacation with Vacations By Rail. Ride the country coast to coast, like a road trip without the driving and navigating.
With the whole road trip aspect in mind, there is so much to see in our own country. Pinpoint a few states you’ve been meaning to visit, either for a specific reason like a museum, city nightlife, music scene, art festival or national landmark, or just for fun.
While you never really need a reason in mind for a family vacation, planning for one can help narrow down your options. Here’s a little inspiration if your kids are into videogames, BBQ, books, movie culture or even the undead.
Need a New Experience? Go International
Getting out of the country for the first time ever, or this year, can seem like a whole to-do, but it really doesn’t have to be. For first-timers, find a tour in your country of interest that best suits your your family. An expert guide who speaks the language can ease your family into the new location, language and culture, familiarizing your family to a new place. You’ll get the lay of the land with the comfort of having an experienced traveler along for the ride.
If your family is a group of avid travelers looking for a unique destination, cultural experiences and something off the beaten path to be the envy of your peers, we have a few suggestions:
With all the cobblestone charm, Medieval architecture and fairytale scenery you can handle, Eastern Europe is a treasure trove of travel inspiration. Choose from the scenic lakes and lush greenery of Slovenia; the incredible history of Romania, Poland and Czech Republic; the endless beauty of Estonia, Croatia and Montenegro; and everything in between.
While Paris is already on most traveler’s lists, France offers so much more than the City of Love. Through the real-life fairytale castles, charming French culture and almost unbelievable cuisine, the Dordogne region is France is a must for 2019 — especially considering it’s the 100th anniversary of the Félibrée, an annual celebration of Occitan, a language of romance. Indulge in festivities surrounding art, music, food and all things fun in Dordogne. With all the active outdoorsy fun you’d expect in the South of France and all the culture you’d find in Paris, Dordogne’s 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites and luxury attractions are nothing to scoff at. For all the tour-goers out there, NatGeo tours has one through Spain and France, uncovering human origin landmarks.
Mexico City, Mexico
Foodie families should look no further than Mexico City for 2019 travel aspirations. For all things corn, tortillas, tamales and any traditional Mexican cuisine you can get your hands on, Mexico City is in a golden era of restaurateurs. Eater named 38 essential Mexico City restaurants to try, all conveniently located in and around the center of the city.
While the ice seems to be melting all around us, Greenland is a must for 2019 travelers seeking spectacular views, incredible natural beauty, wildlife, natural wonders and Inuit culture. Meet the friendly locals and dine on oddities you wouldn’t normally find in the States. Wait for the warmer months to roll around and get the best views of the Northern Lights, or get the full wintery experience — darkness and all — and visit during the colder months. The once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing some glaciers and ice caps is something not every family has appreciated together. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll see sled dogs working hard for the money, pops of color along fisherman’s homes and small-town charm around every corner.