Have sunny beach holidays been your last resort (pun intended) for family travels? Or did you do yet another theme park? Perhaps it was a cruise?
Not that there’s anything wrong with island vacations, Disneyland or cruise ships – they’re fun for sure! Especially for families with young children or elderly parents.
But some people may be looking for slightly more alternative experiences, or are a little tired of their typical villa with plunge pool type vacation. Maybe you’re looking for a more meaningful way to spend your time.
With a bit of ingenuity, know-how and a sense of adventure, you may just want to consider any one of these slightly less common family travel ideas for your next trip.
Travel for sport
Is your family the type who like to cycle together on weekends? Perhaps you used to skateboard before the kids came along or you got too busy with work?
If so, consider going for a skiing vacation or to pick up surfing in Bali (or Hawaii depending on budget).
If you’ve never done this before it helps to tag along with a couple or another family who have. Sharing a vacation home and hired vehicle can help to save on costs and you won’t have to deal with the hassle of first time planning.
But if you don’t know anyone who’s done it before, have no fear! Holiday providers like Club Med make sporting holidays a breeze with their all-inclusive family packages in both mountain and island locations. All you have to do is get yourself to the resort and everything else (including ski, scuba diving, surfing or even tennis and golf lessons) is taken care of.
Remember that being active while on holiday comes with an added degree of injury risk (as opposed to just lying on a deck chair) but don’t let that be a deterrent.
Remember to prep well for the trip and that includes keeping fit in the days and weeks to come and keeping up your health with vitamins, supplements and eating well. You don’t want to miss out on the snow or surf because of a runny nose, do you?
Also, check your travel insurance for the types of recreational sports covered. For instance, most travel insurance policies would cover surfing but not skiing. Or you may want to look into more specific types of insurance to cover your expensive gear if you’re a serious player.
Climb a mountain
For sure, it’s not something that appeals to the Average Joe among us, but if the idea intrigues you, you don’t have to be Sir Edmund Hillary to experience something similar with your family.
For instance, Mount Bromo in Java is a beautiful mountain that is easily scaled by a fun horseback ride and a short flight of (admittedly rickety) steps. The whole experience is remarkably family-friendly and fun for kids too and does not require anyone to be a super fit mountaineer or trekking enthusiast.
If you have older kids in their teens and want to level up, consider Mount Rinjani in Lombok or Gunung Tahan in Malaysia, an easier entry into the world of mountain climbing.
But choosing this route would mean serious business if you’re a newbie. Make sure you get guidance on what proper training and equipment you need and go with a reputable company to bring you up to the top.
Most travel insurance policies do cover this activity as categorised under “hiking” or “hill walking” but may specify an altitude limit – so be mindful of this when planning your trip.
A good travel insurance policy should also cover you for accident and injury resulting from the activity. Sometimes, it’s also worth asking the tour operator if they offer additional onsite insurance (many licensed ones do).
Help the people
But even in popular touristy destinations like Bali and Thailand, you might encounter the less fortunate, peddling their wares and trying to make a living just a stone’s throw away from your five-star resort. Suddenly you wish that you could do more with your time…
“Voluntourism” is not a new thing. As people become global citizens, many travelers have become more aware that they are empowered to help those whose countries they visit.
Travelling to help others is also an eye-opening experience that helps to cultivate compassion and empathy in millennial children.
There are various ways to get more involved. Not everyone needs to start by building houses with Habitat for Humanity, an organisation which builds housing and shelter for needy communities all over the world.
For instance, a group called Jaringan Ekowisata Desa (JED) in Bali is an ecotourism company that fosters cross-cultural understanding and helps to conserve village communities against one negative impact of tourist trade. Their excursions range from a few hours to a few days.
For others who’d like to do more, there are numerous causes actively seeking voluntary aid or disaster relief in various ways.
What you will notice is the ones that are in most dire need would be in locations without travel conveniences, possibly in places ridden with disease or experiencing political turmoil. There are many families (such as missionaries) who have made this type of travel a common practice.
If you’re new to this, do your research and choose an affiliation that is experienced in their work and equipped to handle visas, emergency evacuation among other travel necessities.
Or if you’re volunteering abroad alone in a less developed country, it’s probably a good idea to purchase travel insurance which offers a medical evacuation option. In the event the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues a travel advisory for your volunteer destination, you could then potentially be covered for any trip cancellations that might happen.
Don’t travel naked!
Considering any of the above ideas already? Remember that all of them require far more rigorous planning than your sundry beach getaway in Bali!
Also, with more adventurous or physically-oriented trips or travel to Third World or war-torn countries, you’d want to make sure that your travel insurance covers you more comprehensively. Because the travel stakes are higher and there’s more at risk than just a delayed flight or lost baggage!
So don’t go naked on your next holiday; make sure your trip is protected by travel insurance. With insurers like Aviva, you can get a quote on-screen in seconds with the Aviva Travel App, available both on AppStore and GooglePlay.