This year seems to have passed by in an absolute flash and we’re finding that attention in our family is turning to what awaits in 2014. Although it’s all too easy to get bogged down in the demands of everyday life, thinking about travel adventures is guaranteed to put a spring in the step.
We like to involve the kids in the decision-making process from the outset. We tell ourselves that getting them involved in investigating new destinations is a great way to broaden their knowledge of the world and supports the learning that they do in school. There may well be some sort of truth to that line of reasoning, but it’s fair to say that it’s also just an excuse for spending hours looking at maps and travel websites!
We find that the planning stage is almost as much fun as actually getting to travel. The availability of a plethora of websites certainly makes things easier than they once would have been. There may be a certain temptation to rely heavily on information that’s contained within the pages of Trip Advisor, but we try and encourage the kids to look further afield. Discovering sites offering local knowledge seems to be a particularly good way of getting real insights on specific locations. We’ve reached the point where we have a shortlist of great destinations for 2014. Here are our thoughts on each of them – we’d really welcome your feedback too:
Beginning with the mention of an entire country may not seem like a sign that we have got very far with narrowing down our options! It’s fair to say that we do have a number of specific locations in mind, including Rome, Florence and the Amalfi Coast.
But we’re also drawn to the thought of carrying out some sort of tour. The kids like the thought of spending some time on the beach at some point during our stay. In fact, they may not even consider it a real break unless they get to do so.
As parents, we actually dread the idea of spending two weeks on the beach. We’d rather mix things up a little, which is what draws us to Rome and Florence. Both cities seem to have an enormous amount of history and cultural interest.
Italy doesn’t have the best reputation, in terms of the quality of driving. As a result, we’ve been giving some thought to making use of trains to get around, which seems like a very realistic option. Indeed, driving is unlikely to be much fun in the big cities.
One of the great appeals about Italy is the accessibility of the food here. The children will be happy with never-ending supplies of pasta, pizza and ice cream! In fact, all of those are sure to appeal to adults too!
A trip to Indonesia would certainly be exotic and there might even be a chance to get the kids introduced to diving in Bali.
Experiencing a completely different culture is certainly appealing and everything that we read about Indonesia suggests that this is a place where diversity is cherished.
Our only concerns surround the distances involved, both in terms of getting there and seeing the different islands. Bali seems to be the location that has most to offer and makes an obvious location to serve as a base for the trip. If we’re uncertain about getting around Indonesia, as compared to Italy, then this may simply reflect the fact that we need to do more research.
The Catalan city of Barcelona has real appeal because it allows for that wonderful mixture of stunning architecture, great history and a beautiful coastline. The city boasts many attractions that will appeal to the children, including the Nou Camp stadium and nearby water parks.
It would offer an opportunity to spend time within a city environment, but knowing that it would be easy to escape to the beaches, if we were feeling in need of a break from that more hectic city lifestyle. The Gaudi buildings are quirky enough to appeal to all of us too. The cool factor cannot be overlooked, particularly when it comes to the kids discussing their trip with school friends. There’s absolutely no doubt that Barcelona has seen a surge in popularity, ensuring that this is a great place to be seen.
We had thought about heading for Brazil, but the country is due to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014. That’s had an impact in a number of areas, most obviously leading to an increase in flight and accommodation prices.
With the event taking part in numerous Brazilian cities, there have also been some criticisms of the impact of the tournament on local people. That uncertainty has put some doubts in our mind, but we still like the idea of heading for South America.
We’ve been considering Argentina as an alternative, partly because we had the good fortune to meet a nice Argentine family recently. They spoke highly of their own country and were particularly positive about the city of Buenos Aires.
They were talking about the vibrant nature of the city and mentioned that it also has some of the finest museums to be found in South America. That sounds like a great option, which might be more secure than Rio, but still leave us feeling that we are heading to somewhere that’s really different from our normal expectations.
Author: Simon Barnett enjoys traveling, especially with his family. He sees travel experiences as being enlightening for young and old alike.