When is the best time of year to travel with Kids?

March 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

When to travel is a question that everyone has to deal with.

Australia in summer

Australian outback in summer

For most families, the answer is very simple – school vacation time. But then one has to take into account the fact that every country has its low season for a reason – it could be too cold, too hot, too wet. Should that stop you from traveling though if school vacation time falls smack in the middle of the Indian monsoon, or the African winter or the Australian summer?

My experience has been that you can make any country work for you no matter what time of year, as long as you are well prepared. Not every region of India is drenched in the monsoon, and travel to a desert region during summer can be great, as long as you plan it correctly. Remember, weather can play tricks on you – you can plan the ideal summer beach vacation and it can rain every day.

Some personal examples include:

Outback Australia in summer – definitely regarded as the off-season, with temperatures soaring to over 40 degrees Celsius daily, I nevertheless took my wife and three young kids a couple of years ago. We had the most awesome time. We began every day early…about 5.30am, so that by late morning we were done with our sightseeing, hiking and explorations. We hiked Kings Canyon at first light, and saw Uluru while most people were sleeping. By about 11am, we were back at the hotel pool, where the kids could have fun until the later afternoon, when we did some final exploring for the day.

South West USA in summer – after our successful summer trip in Outback Australia, we travelled through 12 national parks in Arizona, New Mexico and the Four Corners region of the USA. Hot yes, but we knew how to do it and it worked just great.

Vietnam in the rainy season – The rainy season lasts for months in South East Asia. That is no reason not to travel. We took light breathable rain coats, and went out every day to explore the country. The fact is, that in tropical countries, it’s hot all year round and while it may be rainy, you can still have a great time – and it only rains for a few hours a day typically.

Provence, France in summer – this is high season and supposedly a wonderful time of year – but when we went, the infamous Mistral was blowing.  The mistral is a wind that can blow at any time of year, and when we were there it almost literally blew us off our feet for days on end.  So, summer yes, rainy no, but windy – unbelievably so!

Cape Town in winter

Cape Town in winter

Cape Town in December – summer time in Cape Town is glorious, but typically, December can have very mixed weather – it often rains for days. Summer really kicks in properly from late January, when days are long and hot and the beach is wonderful. But by then, it’s back to school.

Cape Town in July  – winter, and regarded by most as a bad time of year. We went last year in July, and apart from two rainy days, we had warm blue-sky days nearly all the time, and the kids swam in the ocean (mind you, they were the only ones swimming, but for us it was swimming weather). It was easily as warm as Vancouver in summer with temperatures in the mid 20’s (Celsius) every day.

So, to recap – my advice is, travel when you can – just go and don’t be put off by the so-called “best” and ‘worst” time of years. You’ll be just fine. Just make sure you have good advice from people who know what they are talking about!

PS: These days I am helping families plan trips to destinations worldwide. Click here for more details.