How to choose a family holiday destination (part 2).

March 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Now its time to get down to the nitty-gritty – figuring out where to go exactly.

I wrote a few days ago on the best time of year to travel – usually it’s fine to go in the off-season, but I think most people would prefer to avoid the off-season if possible. It’s not always possible though, and for most of us, budget plays a big part as well. It’s cheaper to go to India or to Morocco in July – for good reason – the monsoon rains are pouring down in India, and in Morocco its hot hot hot! On the hand, you can get great hotels at a 50% discount during monsoon season, and you won’t be running into tons of tourists, another big plus in my book.

Be sure to include a fun time for everyone!

Be sure to include a fun time for everyone!

So, lets look at school holidays this summer – July and August for those of us in the northern hemisphere, July for those in the southern hemisphere. What are the top candidates?

South Africa – it’s winter, meaning that it is the best time of year for safaris.  Vegetation is sparse and so it is much easier to see the animals in the bush. South African schools are on holiday in July, so August is a great time for a visit – less people and easier to find accommodation. It’s a good time of year to for the Kwazulu Natal beaches – meaning that a safari and beach holiday is very possible. Only in Cape Town and along the South Coast should it be raining – but even so, you can get some great weather.

Morocco, Israel, Jordan – In North Africa and the Middle East summer is just plain hot. Paradoxically, its high season, because these countries receive many visitors from Europe and its their summer vacation. Morocco and Israel have great coastlines meaning great beach holidays and forays to the historical sites are perfectly possible. Jordan is really all desert – sightseeing has to be done between, say, 5.30am and 11am. After that, it’s too hot.

A great time of year for safaris

A great time of year for safaris

India – it is high season in the mountain desert region of Ladakh, one of the most exotic regions in India, that is just too cold to visit anytime else. For the rest of India, its smack in the middle of the monsoon season – rain every day – sometimes a little, sometimes a  lot. What you do get are some of the best hotels in the world for cut price rates. A risk worth taking? Yes, if you’re talking Rajasthan, which is an arid state to begin with. Probably no, for the rest of the country.

South East Asia – pretty much high season too, though it’ll rain often. I’ve been to Vietnam and apart from a few hours of rain every day, it was great. I’d say, yes, go for it.

Colombia and Guatemala – temperatures don’t change so it’s either wet or dry. It’s dry, so a good time.

Turkey – high season – hot, but a good time to go, apart from perhaps South East Turkey, which will be similar to Jordan.

France and Spain – high season for tourists – hot in Spain, and pretty great in France. A good time.

New Zealand – winter, and typically very rainy and cold. I’d stay away.

So, for our family, it looks like South East Asia this year – there seem to be some reasonable air fares to Thailand, and you can get anywhere in the region easily from Bangkok. I’d love to take the family to Myanmar (Burma) – I’m told its a great family destination and I think it could be great new destination for Quivertree, otherwise Laos or Vietnam are both incredible countries that I’d love to revisit.  Other possibilities in the region – Malaysia or Indonesia.

I’ll keep you posted!

PS: I’m planning great trips for families to destinations worldwide. Click here for more details.