If you love the outdoors, you are a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and you want to start passing these traits onto your brood sooner rather than later, then the chances are you aren’t the typical package holiday sort of family. Rather than hopping on a plane and sunning in it up in a generic Balearic for a fortnight in a nondescript all inclusive, you’d rather head off the beaten track and show your family a more novel vacation experience.
Rather than forking out a small fortune to take a jaunt overseas in the summer holidays, why not consider a winter vacation. A break in the cooler months can be a relief from the grey and monotonous days of Blighty. While you might think that there are less vacation options when the days are colder and the daylight hours are shorter, this couldn't be further from the truth. Some of the most exciting and wonderful holidays can be enjoyed while your friends are shivering back home in the wind and the rain, while you are hot footing it halfway across the globe. Take a look at these three winter family vacation ideas to inspire your next break away.
Forget the Costas or a Greek Isle, and instead, take a three hour flight to the Land of Fire and Ice. Iceland has been a destination for many adrenaline junkies and outdoor lovers. More recently, the tourism industry in Iceland has begun to cater more to families who want experiences that are more substantial for their holidays. Forget lounging around by a pool, and instead, go snowshoeing on a glacier, take a helicopter ride above a live volcano and take a trip on the Baltic Seas to spot minke and dolphins. Your kids won’t fail to see the splendour in this ice environment.
Hire a truck and take a trek across the island to traipse across tectonic plates, see Old Man Geyser and marvel at the power and size of Gullfoss Waterfall. No trip to Iceland would be complete without spying the Northern Lights. This intergalactic laser show is a sight that many travellers have on their bucket lists. Encourage your offspring to tick it off theirs early on by hopping on a tour bus or by keeping an eye on the Aurora Borealis forecasts online and heading out to where there is no light whatsoever to enjoy the solar flares lighting up the sky.
Iceland is a wonderful, almost mythical environment in which to immerse your little darlings. They will be active and experiencing new things for the entire trip. If you are heading out off the beaten track beyond Reykjavik, it’s a good idea to head out with enough data, should you get a little stuck. With a new mobile network like Smarty, you can add on enough bolt ons of data and only ever pay for what you use, meaning that there are no extortionate bills to greet you at the end of your trip.
Isle of Skye
If you fancy a trek a little closer to home rather than a flight away, why not head out on a road trip to the Isle of Skye. Connected to the mainland of Scotland via a bridge, Skye is an explorer’s paradise. Ridley Scott even chose the Old Man of Storr rock formation as a backdrop to his film Prometheus. You could find yourself hiking up a mountain, heading to one of the many otter, eagle or red kite wildlife conservation areas on the island or simply enjoying the hospitality of the capital Portree. The people are friendly and welcoming and adore nothing more than talking about their incredible island.
You might even fancy a trip out on the open seas with a Scottish fisherman. Here, you can head out to the salmon farms, venture to the nearby rock formations to spy some seals and sail a little further towards the cliffs, where you can enjoy watching the sea eagles swooping down to the tide to catch their meals of fish.
While the island is relatively unspoilt, the tourist industry is now beginning to take off. People love heading to Skye for the fairy glen type vistas and the incredible terrain of the Trotternish Peninsula. If you prefer more of a scramble, the Quarang mountains can provide the climbing challenge that you are looking for.
Hiring a car and booking a traditional self catering Scottish cottage is a cheaper alternative to the other fancy far flung destinations you might be considering.
For something altogether more exotic, you could do worse than taking an eleven hour flight to Shanghai in China and then spending a few weeks touring the country. China is a country that remains relatively warm in November, so while your nearest and dearest might be stoking up their fires, you could be enjoying twenty degree heat in Hong Kong.
There is plenty to marvel at in the Far East, from the Great Wall to the Giant Buddha at Leshan and from the historic Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City. China is a massive land of contrasts so you could enjoy the technological haven that is Shanghai with the Bund, world class fine dining and designer shopping opportunities, or you could spend your days exploring rural China, and settling down at the Emeishan mountain range for a more traditional and authentic taste of life.
For a totally different cultural experience and authentic cuisine, you cannot choose a better destination than China. While social norms may take some getting used to, the people are friendly, adore families and are willing to welcome you into their nation. Forget venturing to China in the summer season; this is a much more appropriate winter break destination.
While there is a time and a place for a relaxing, simple sun filled getaway, you don't have to plump for the safe option every holiday season. For a winter vacation idea to inspire your next getaway, follow this guide and get off the beaten track with your brood.
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