Don’t let memories of the Griswolds get in the way of enjoying one of the best ways to travel — road trips, when planned well, can offer more flexibility, freedom and bonding opportunities than organized tour groups for families. In many cases, there are even some companies that will plan your road itinerary for you so you don’t have to rely on your phone GPS or unexpected roadblocks — literally. (This is especially helpful overseas!)
Some of the most ideal locations include:
In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it’s worth checking out Brendan Vacations’ various self-driving holidays. Starting at $1,000, the packages include driving routes and daily breakfast, your rental car with drop off and pickup in different airport locations, detailed suggestions of what to do at leisure when you get to each city, and customizable accommodation levels including family-friendly hotels, B&Bs and even castles. It’s the best way to enjoy the scenery in a leisurely manner, since bus transport in Ireland especially is often via indirect routes.
Sure, Germany’s train system is one of the most efficient in Europe, but the multiple connections required to explore the Romantic Road doesn’t exactly make the journey desirable when lugging luggage and little ones. Rent a car to enjoy the best of historic cities like Würzburg, along with three medieval walled gems: Nordlingen, Dinkelsbühl, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Finish your journey with a trek to Neuschwanstein Castle (make sure to reserve advance tickets online) and the Alps.
Some of the country’s most iconic sites are along the great expanse from San Francisco to Seattle, so it’s worth spending at least 10 days of your hard-earned vacation time to kick back and recline that rental seat. Start in the Bay Area to check out the Golden Gate Bridge and Alamo Square’s Painted Ladies before heading to coastal Mendocino. (Parents traveling independently may want to make a detour to Sonoma/Napa wine country, however.) Redwood National Park beckons next on the Pacific Coast Highway, then head up to the foodie paradise of Portland, Oregon. Stop and smell the roses at the International Rose Test Garden before heading to Mount Rainier and then the Emerald City of Seattle, surrounded by mountains and forests both. (Pro tip: Return the rental car when driving in, you won’t need it in city center.)
The state of Utah’s website offers several preplanned itineraries that are also family-friendly in terms of meals and activities (think shorter hikes that are just as scenic). The Grand Circle Tour, for instance, is an 11-day, 1,500-mile adventure with six national parks, Monument Valley and giant lakes in the desert. If national parks are your thing and you’re looking for a spot to rest up before hitting the road, check out Trip Savvy’s guide to iconic national park drives within driving distance of Las Vegas: Zion (three hours); Bryce Canyon (4.5 hours); the Grand Canyon (4.5 hours); and more (Mesa Verde, Monument Valley).
New Zealand is ideal for natural splendor and opportunities to bond as a family. It’s fairly impossible to see it all without a rental car, but Fine Tours New Zealand organizes 3- and 4-star itineraries that include lodging, daily breakfast, a detailed tour pack with suggested times for arrivals and suggested activities, a rental car (with GPS), and train station and airport transfers.
Pasadena gears up for a lot of attention as it prepares to host its annual Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, but it won’t just be the parade that makes it the place to be for family travelers in 2024. The coming year is full of great things for the city, like interesting anniversaries and fun kid-friendly events, which means great ways for visiting families to explore and discover.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
If you’re trying to travel with the family on a budget, you might feel like there’s no way you’ll be able to truly enjoy all the culinary experiences you might if you were to travel solo or just with your partner. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Don’t make the mistake of thinking every culinary capital across the globe is going to cost you a pretty penny every time you head to dinner as a crew. A new study from Sail Croatia uncovered the cheapest foodie destinations in Europe, so you can plan your next trip accordingly.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Dude alert: If you’ve fallen out of touch with the other guys in your family, Cody Yellowstone is the perfect place to catch up — and autumn is the ideal season for doing so in the great outdoors. From off-road adventures to historic ghost towns to plenty of wildlife, there’s something in this dynamic destination to please family travelers.