10 entry-level destinations for long-distance travel with children
We are asked this very often: Which countries are particularly suitable for long-distance travel with children? Especially when you’re just getting started. It would probably be easier to make a list of which countries are not suitable. But we still want to try it. Here it comes. Our TOP 10 list, inspired by the most frequently booked long-distance destinations with children, from east to west.
Long-distance travel with children places 1-5
1. South Africa
Admittedly, South Africa is not really Africa! But that is exactly what makes it a popular travel destination for new parents. Even if security is still a problem in some parts of the country. There are many corners that you can travel safely and comfortably with a little common sense. Many choose a permanent location near the beach (in the Cape region) during their parental leave to make day trips from there.
But also a rental car or camper tour along the garden route is possible. With older children, you can go on great safaris in the countless public and private national parks, especially the most famous, the Kruger National Park. In South Africa you can dose and decide how much "real" Africa you want to experience. Malaria is only an issue in certain seasons and not in all parts of the country. This also makes it a health-friendly travel destination with babies and toddlers.
If you still want to know, you can include the neighboring country Namibia in your tour. However, there you have to prepare yourself for longer distances to the next human settlement and poorer infrastructure. It is always worthwhile.
2. Sri Lanka
If Africa is too unsafe for you, but you still want to see animals and go on a safari, you are in good hands in the country of the friendly Sinhalese. The price level is significantly lower than e.g. in South Africa and therefore particularly suitable for low budget long-distance trips with children. There are no lions, but elephants, cheetahs, buffalos, crocodiles, monkeys and much more can be seen. The country is also manageable. In a few weeks you can see a lot, enjoy dream beaches and experience a lot of culture. The flight is short and cheap compared to many other destinations, if not directly.
And Sri Lanka can be traveled all year round if the route is adapted to the climate. Renting cars with a driver is cheap so that you can be mobile and have your guide (and babysitter?) With you. The health system is not quite as well developed and Sri Lanka is not malaria-free, so it is more suitable for trips with children who are already out of toddlerhood. These children also have more of nature and wildlife.
If there is such a thing, Thailand is probably THE destination at all when it comes to long-distance travel with children. As the easiest country to travel to in Southeast Asia, it offers everything that insecure parents who want summer sun and bathing weather want: Exactly that! Plus delicious food, friendly people and a safe environment. Outside of Bangkok, political unrest is largely unlikely. Malaria only occurs in very remote corners of the country.
The tourist infrastructure is perfectly developed, even when getting on the train you are still taken by the hand. Health care is nationwide and Bangkok can be reached with direct flights from Germany. If you are looking for more remote and less touristy places, you will find them in Thailand with a little patience. The price level is very different, everything is possible from low budget to luxury resorts. If you have a lot of time, you can also think about a combination with the neighboring countries Cambodia and Vietnam.
No destination for a vacation trip, but a perfect stopover on the way to other Southeast Asian countries or to Australia / New Zealand. One of the cleanest and best organized metropolises in Asia. Here you can even push a buggy on the sidewalk. There are fantastic hotels (at such prices) where you can see the city from the pool. Of course, it is also cheaper. The zoo is world famous and a real attraction for young and old. There is also a lot to see otherwise. The city is also a great stop on the way to the South Pacific with direct flight connections to Fiji.
5. Indonesia (Bali)
Here comes the second destination in Southeast Asia, which is headed for by almost every long-distance family. This is also due to the good connections to Australia and New Zealand. But primarily because the Balinese are considered the most child-friendly people in Asia. The island is manageable. Characterized by a special Balinese Hinduism, the central city of Ubud is the perfect starting point for day trips.
If you like (black) beach, the best thing is to find accommodation on the east coast of the island. Bali is completely malaria-free and can be traveled all year round. This is also very practical if you can’t choose the time of year to travel. You only have to be prepared for the fact that Balinese like to "kidnap" a child, especially babies, and e.g. show around in the restaurant kitchen ;-). The price level is low, you can book a lot of luxury for little money. Unfortunately there are still no direct flights from Germany.
Long-distance travel with children places 6-10
The huge country with the lively east coast, the desert interior and the crazy, child-friendly Aussies is also on the bucket list for almost every traveler. And in terms of flight technology, it lies on almost every route around the world. It is malaria free and you can find ideal climate conditions anywhere in the big country at any time of the year. The culture is similar to ours, the prices too. The most popular are road trips with the camper, e.g. on the west coast, along the Great Ocean Road between Adelaide and Melbourne or along the east coast from Sydney to Brisbane or very high up to Cairns, to the Great Barrier Reef.
For babies and children there is everything you need and is used to from Germany. Plus tons of kangaroos, cuddly koalas and, unfortunately, a few nasty little poison animals that you better avoid. Anyone touring in Australia with a camper quickly forgets the worries at home and the time in general because of the “no worries” they hear every day. That’s why many have already missed their onward flight … A dream destination for long-distance travel with children!
7. New Zealand
Be honest: who doesn’t dream of a trip to the land of hobbits? But: it is far there, 24 hours flight time. And the ideal travel time is not in our summer, but in winter, when nobody with children actually has a long vacation. So what could be more obvious than to travel to New Zealand on parental leave? With a camper or rental car + motels / AirBnB you can see as much of this diverse country as possible and can go to both the North and South Island. Everything is there, from dream beaches to white glaciers.
The culture is western, medical care and other infrastructure are good. Dangerous tropical diseases or dangerous animals: none. The only drawback is that the price level for a trip to New Zealand between December-March is very high and increases annually. It’s worth thinking about traveling in the less popular spring and autumn seasons. Then you also have the chance to be alone on a campsite. Unthinkable in high season.
You can find more exotic long-distance travel destinations for families here on our blog!
8. South Pacific (Fiji / Cook Islands)
Certainly not the first goals that families think about when they think about long-distance travel with children. But the South Seas are on the way for travelers to Asia and New Zealand or world travelers! And it shortens the otherwise very long flight path across the Pacific into tolerable bites. There are countless island groups. Because of the good and direct flight connections to Australia / New Zealand on the one hand and Asia / USA on the other hand, Fiji and the Cook Islands are particularly suitable for a stay.
The infrastructure on both islands is also good for travelers with children. There are dream beaches in abundance and the residents of the South Pacific are very child-friendly. A detour to side islands is worthwhile if you want to be away from the tourist crowds. However, the price level then rises quickly, which is otherwise quite moderate.
The land of unlimited possibilities offers families with children an easy way to get started in a somewhat familiar culture. The most popular are road trips and swimming stays in Florida, where the climate is good all year round. You can also cruise for weeks along the west coast in California and Nevada with its numerous national parks and the metropolises of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The price level is comparable to ours, except in the big cities or during vacation periods. City trips to New York, a city that offers a lot for children, are also great. And with a stop there you can interrupt long flights to the west coast. Miami, on the other hand, is an ideal gateway for flights to Central and South America or the Caribbean. Medical care is top notch in the United States, only overseas travel insurance is slightly more expensive if you want to include the United States or Canada with their expensive healthcare systems.
10. Costa Rica
Anyone looking for a Spanish-speaking environment in the distance will find it here. There are also Caribbean and Pacific beaches, well-protected national parks and almost western infrastructure. By Latin American standards, Costa Rica is also safe to travel and politically stable. There are no direct flights to Germany, but there are good connections via the USA or other European countries. Children are very welcome everywhere. Medical care is good, malaria occurs only in one part of the country and only very rarely there. You can also travel with babies without hesitation.
For older children, Costa Rica offers a wealth of great outdoor activities. And the rare luck of being guaranteed animal sightings. Not a matter of course in tropical countries. If you can not see a sloth, monkey or iguana for days in Costa Rica, you have to be blind. Since the country is currently establishing itself in ecotourism, the price level is corresponding. If you are thinking about long-distance travel with children, Costa Rica should be at the top of your list!
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