Summer vacations are the perfect opportunity to spend time simply enjoying being a family, but your vacation time with your kids is precious, so where should you spend it?

Here are a few family summer vacation ideas to jump-start your planning from Alyson Long, a family travel fanatic. Alyson and her husband started traveling long haul with their kids when they were just 11 months old. This year completes 6 years of non-stop world travel that took the family to 6 continents and over 50 countries. Currently, she can be found hanging out on the Great Barrier Reef in tropical Australia. You can read all about this family’s global adventures at World Travel Family.

Alyson and her sons; World Travel Family
World Travel Family

First, aside from quality time, what activities could you be enjoying together during your family summer vacation?  Maybe you’re looking for child-friendly fun, educational value, simple relaxation or adventure and exploration. Just couple any of these with the shared bond of exploring an unknown place as a family and you’re onto a winner.

Deciding Where to Go for the Summer

Below are the top 10 trending destinations for family summer vacations, based on the increase in bookings from 2017 to 2018:

Destination 2017 to 2018 Growth in Bookings
Guadalajara, Mexico 70%
Manila, Philippines 63%
Paris, France 56%
Cairo, Egypt 42%
Rome, Italy 41%
Mexico City, Mexico 35%
Tampa, United States 34%
London, United Kingdom 33%
Cancun, Mexico 31%
Miami, United States 27%

The world is a wonderful and fascinating place offering opportunities to
learn and grow from exposure to new cultures, landscapes, histories, cuisines
and ways of life. Whether your kids are babies, toddlers, tweens or teens we’re
sure you’ll love to give them amazing summer memories while keeping your summer
vacation affordable. Families consistently place budget as their number one
deciding factor in choosing their vacation destinations, the good news is,
flight prices both domestic and international, may not be as steep as you
think.

Alyson of World Travel Family walking down steep stairs


Exploring history and culture while traveling

Top Family Summer Destinations

Here are the most popular destinations for domestic family summer vacations:

Destination Cheapest Month to Book Ave. Roundtrip Flight Price
Chicago January $311
Fort Lauderdale July $335
Atlanta January $337
Dallas January $338
Las Vegas July $342
Denver June $346
Boston August $361
New York January $391
Orlando June $394
Washington January $395

Sadly for parents, many flight prices do tend to rise during summer school holidays, with a few exceptions. Perennial favorite Florida and, internationally, Mexico can actually be cheaper during summer months. Mexico has been increasing in popularity in recent years and travel to Mexico has risen by up to 70% since 2017. Budget-conscious families can take advantage of all the cheap and delicious food and generally low costs down Mexico way while enjoying history, natural beauty and, of course, beach activities.

World Travel Family riding on camels
Riding camels in the desert

Other destinations–to spark a few family summer vacation ideas–include Europe. Hot spots such as London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid welcome an increasing number of US families during the summer. Iceland has risen to be a massive wish list destination with families looking to take an affordable transatlantic flight while enjoying something completely different–a free layover discovering Iceland’s dramatic and fascinating landscape.

How to Find the Best Family Vacation Destinations on a Budget

Below are the destinations that are more expensive/cheaper to travel to during the summer vs. other times of the year (prices per ticket but data is based on more than one adult and at least one child).

Destination Ave. Summer Round Trip
Price
Ave. Price during year
Cancun, Mexico $388 $403
Orlando, USA $241 $242
Fort Lauderdale, USA $243 $242
Miami, USA $316 $308
Atlanta, USA $246 $231
Denver, USA $251 $232
Los Angeles, USA $304 $280
Reykjavik, Iceland $414 $404
Seattle, USA $329 $300
San Francisco, USA $296 $269

Booking months in advance doesn’t necessarily afford the best deals if you’re thinking of taking your summer vacation internationally. It’s well worth checking Skyscanner to see what deals are available now for your family’s summer vacation and with London, in particular, being super affordable, along with Mexico and even some destinations in Asia, this could be your family’s year to stretch its wings. 

Don’t worry too much about finding a summer holiday destination that is “kid-friendly”. Almost anywhere can be that way if you choose the right accommodation, activities, and style of vacation. For babies, look out for safety in your accommodation and availability of baby essentials for purchase. Toddlers and younger kids love activity, so look for a kids club with lots of fun things to do and other kids to race around with, allowing guardians to get a well-earned five minutes to themselves. If you’re traveling with teens and tweens, you can seek adventure, new activities, cultural experiences, or social opportunities. Europe, Asia, maybe even Africa or domestic destinations can tick each of those boxes.

World Travel Family hanging out with elephants
Spending a day with elephants

If you’re heading to Europe, consider combining a city break to soak up history, culture, and art with a more outdoors focussed portion of your trip. Farm stays, camping, canal boats, surf camps, and beach-side resorts all offer family-friendly fun and relaxation after a few days of cultural exploration.

If you haven’t yet booked your summer vacation, hop on over to Skyscanner and see what last-minute deals you can find. Late booking isn’t always more expensive and, statistically, you could find bargain flights right now to create a family summer vacation to remember.

Read these other articles to help plan the best family summer trip:

Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Families to Visit

Best Family Vacations In The US You Can Take This Year

How to Book Last Minute Family Vacation Deals



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