There was a time when the thought of taking children to destinations such as Jordan, Peru, and Iceland would draw stares of disbelief. People would talk behind your back and question your sanity. But those days are gone. In fact, Family adventure vacations have exploded in popularity in recent years. Now, when parents are considering where to travel with children, they have as much chance of booking a family adventure vacation as they do a trip to Disney World. Even those parents who are looking for resort-style luxury in destinations such as the Caribbean are often combining adventure activities with their beach time and margaritas.
And as more and more publicity surrounds adventure family travel, the popularity of this style of travel is only going to increase. Family adventure vacations are something that benefits both the families who experience them, but also the industry as a whole. Adventure travelers tend to spend longer at their destinations. They often spend more money on experiences and activities than those who stay at resorts. And because many of these activities are locally run, this investment often pumps more money into the local economies than resort-style travel does. Families benefit from a richer experience. They leave a destination with a better appreciation of its importance, its people, and its culture. And the growth that these experiences spark lives on for a lifetime.
What Are Family Adventure Vacations?
Many people experience adventure vacations in different ways. But at its heart, adventure family vacations involve exploring new destinations while taking the road less traveled. Adventure vacations are all about trying something new, pushing your comfort zones, and allowing yourself (and your family) to come out of the experience having grown in a physical, spiritual, and/or emotional way.
Adventure family travel often pushes your body or mind to accept something that you might not normally consider. Whether that be trying new foods, as we did in Shanghai, China, experiencing new cultures like during our experiences in Jordan and throughout Peru, or testing your mettle through adventurous activities such as our SCUBA diving experience in Hawaii, or zip lining from a mountain in the Philippines.
Adventure travel with kids doesn’t have to involve death-defying antics like sandboarding. Sometimes it can be as simple as our hiking trip in Iceland. Or even visiting a nearby town or conservation area that you might not otherwise experience. But, the ultimate goal is to do something that you might not otherwise try. To push your family to grow through new experiences. And most importantly, to have fun!
How Do You Take Adventure Vacations With Kids?
Family adventure holidays used to be solely a DIY option. Not long ago companies only catered to adventure-spirited solo and couple travelers. But in recent years several niche operators have carved out an industry that focuses on the adventure-spirited family. Companies such as Alpine Elements Activity
Other companies such as Intrepid Travel and G Adventures have begun offering packages that cater to families who are looking for immersive cultural experiences. Slowly but surely, the industry is coming around to the idea that yes, families are a market for adventure travel. And that means that the future is bright for those looking to push themselves into new experiences.
Because of the growth of companies offering family adventure, it has never been easy for families to explore deeper into the destinations that they are interested in traveling beyond traditional resorts and theme park destinations.
What Are The Benefits Of Adventure Travel For Families?
Kids need adventure. Whether it is out on the playground, in the house, or around the world. Adventure helps children grow confidence, learn, and practice creativity. And while not all families want to immerse themselves in food, culture, and exciting activities while they travel, each year, more and more do. Adventure family travel can have dramatic benefits for both the mind and the body. The advantages are too numerous to count, but here are some of my top reasons for taking my children on adventure vacations:
Activity Makes You Feel Good
These days it’s very easy to forget to be active. Outdoor time in schools is constantly being reduced, and playgrounds are often not considered the safe place that they used to be. As a result, children, and parents aren’t getting the activity that they need, and that is causing issues with development. Adventure travel often involves exciting activities that get the blood flowing and the energy moving. Whether you are camping, fishing, or snorkeling, active holidays are an energy booster for families that make you feel great!
Adventure Stimulates The Brain
Adventure travel provides a mental boost for everyone. Whether it’s the emotional stimulus of seeing endangered animals in the wild, like when we spent a day watching Andean Condors in Colca Canyon, Peru, or the mental growth from learning about a new culture, like when we visited a remote Guarani tribe in San Ignacio, Argentina, adventure travels often feel a boost that promotes learning, growth, and mental strength.
The opportunity to be exposed to new situations forces your brain to adapt and learn. And children especially can see huge growth in their ability to problem solve and deal with new situations. This is a huge booster for self-confidence and adaptability. And heck, there’s been research that shows that getting active actually helps make you smarter.
Even Your Body Will Learn To Adapt To New Situations
Outdoor activity can often lead to a stronger immune system. And the more you experience new situations and environments, the more your body will learn to adapt. While these immune boosters are often short-lived, continued exposure to new situations and environments have an even longer-lasting effect.
Family Adventure Vacations Reduce Stress
That’s right. These vacations reduce stress! During adventure family vacations you are forced to live in the moment. You stop thinking about work, email, cell phones, and all the burdens of life back home. These family holidays keep you on your toes, so we don’t have time to think about the junk that fills up our lives and distracts us from what is really important.
Adventure Travel Is Something For The Whole Family
Adventure travel is perfect for multigenerational family holidays. We’ve gone hiking through Newfoundland, Canada with my Mom and we’ve explored natural wonders of the world with Christina’s parents in the Philippines. And the best part about making adventure travel a multigenerational experience is that we have more people to share the wonder and excitement with when we get home. People who have been there and really understand the adventure that we just had.
Adventure Travel Is Safer Than Staying Home
This might sound weird, but it’s true. Most injuries happen within 10 km from home. At home, we’ve suffered broken bones, broken teeth, cuts, sprains, and much more. The worst that has happened to us on the road is some upset stomachs and a few bruises. And we travel a LOT. At the time of this post, our children (aged 5 & 7) have each been to nearly 20 countries, and Christina and I are pushing 40 each. And we aren’t gentle when we travel. We are often looking for the wildest and exciting things that we can do at any destination.
Fun Adventure Travel Vacations For Families
There’s no limit to the type of adventure travel vacations that families can undertake. You may even come up with your own that is perfect for your unique family. But if you are looking for some amazing ideas for family adventure vacations, I have a few just for you.
Fun Local Family Adventure Activities
Camping And Hiking
Camping and hiking make for a great introduction to family adventures. You get outside and away from distractions, and to top it off you are surrounded by nature. Hiking can be combined with great adventure camping outings, but it’s also something you can do by itself. We love visiting the conservation areas and parks near our home to do some outdoor exploring.
Local Food Tours
You don’t need to travel to experience new and exciting foods. Most major cities have incredible corners that are waiting to be experienced. Instead of heading to that same-old comfortable restaurant, why not join a local food tour like we did in Toronto. Or, you try out a unique restaurant that seems just a little out of your comfort zone.
Be An Urban Explorer
Explore the underside of your own city. Discover the best graffiti locations. Explore the art scene or take a class on dance, parkour, or anything that you’ve always been fascinated by, but have never taken the time to do. Who knows, you may find yourself drawn into a whole new scene!
Our Favorite Family Adventure Vacation Destinations
If you feel ready to take your local adventure family travel and take it around the world, these are some of our favorite destinations for family travel around the world.
Jordan was one of our first and most epic adventure family holidays. And it still stands as one of the most amazing destinations that we have ever traveled to. The stunning ruins of Petra are enough to blow your mind. But there is so much more. The deserts such as Wadi Rum are magical to explore. There is the Dead Sea to float in. And the Jordanian people are some of the most welcoming to children that we have ever encountered. You can find some great ideas for adventure family vacations in Jordan here.
Iceland is one of our all-time favorite family travel destinations. And for adventure seekers, Iceland is a wonderland. Whether you are looking for incredible whale watching, outdoor adventure, or exploring Viking history, Iceland is filled with amazing adventure opportunities. We loved our Iceland family hikes through the interior and whale watching on the northern coast. You can find some great ideas for adventure family vacations in Iceland here.
Peru is a country that combines some of the most amazing aspects of a family adventure vacation. There are exciting national parks to explore, epic hikes that even children can take part in, breathtaking ruins and massive sand dunes that you can sandboard down. On top of that, Peru has some of the most diverse and fascinating cultural travel opportunities of any country in the world. You can find some great ideas for adventure family vacations in Peru here.
Do you love adventure family vacations as much as we do? Tell us about your favorite family travel experience in the comments section. Or, drop by our Facebook page and share a photo of your experience. We would love to share in your travels.
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