Alternative family vacation destinations

Taking a vacation that is rich in outdoor pursuits offers plenty of entertainment, and a little bit of adventure may be just what the family wants, but this doesn’t have to mean a trip to an expensive theme park or a pricy overseas resort. With a little bit of imagination, alternative family destinations can be found offering the best ingredients for a great holiday, made even better by being a tad out of the ordinary. It’s certainly possible to save money, if that is a consideration, and also to venture into territory the family has not previously explored, and still have lots of fun.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Grand Canyon National Park

The truly awesome spectacle that is the Grand Canyon makes this a first-class winner with parents and children alike. There’s so much to do and to see here, from guided tours to river trips, from hiking or catching a shuttle bus, to backpacking and even taking a ride on a mule. The Grand Canyon evokes the Wild West in the imagination and there are Grand Canyon hotels on the same theme that the kids will love.

The whole family can explore the nature of this fascinating area and along the South Rim discover more about the history of the Grand Canyon via the information centers and museums.  It is also possible to rent a bicycle and take a guided tour. Near Desert View take the time to learn about the life of the Pueblo Indian. Along the North Rim a winding scenic drive will reveal the extent of this inspiring and powerful landscape that is of immense proportions.

Tour Europe on a budget

The classic European resorts tend to be the most expensive ones – Greece, Tuscany and the Costa del Sol, for example. The same experiences can be had at cheaper alternative destinations, however, so trying out Albania, Croatia and Bulgaria is likely to surprise and delight everyone, including the person holding the purse strings. Right next door to Greece, Albania shares similar deep blue seas, lovely beaches and the warm climate of its neighbor. The coastline of Ionia is a fabulous alternative to the Greek islands and much more affordable than Kefalonia or Corfu.

The Istria region in Croatia is a lot like Tuscany, where food and wine are of immense importance. The largest city, Pula, is an acknowledged center of gastronomic excellence, whilst the wine growing in the region benefits from both a Continental and a sub-Mediterranean climate. Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast is the ideal spot for a beach vacation with a difference – there are family resorts, plus warm seas and sands, but at a fraction of the cost of the Spanish ‘costas.’

Safari time

From the Wild West to the equivalent of the wilds of Africa (without going there)try a safari in British Columbia for an amazing choice of excursions for families keen on wildlife. Wolves, grizzly bears and deer can be stalked in the forests, mountains and national parks, with something to please enthusiasts of all ages. There are also great seal and whale-watching areas accessible via speedboats for an extra thrill.

Going Camping on a Motorbike

One of the great things about camping is that you’re free to do pretty much anything you want while you’re there; it’s definitely one of the most flexible kinds of holiday you can take, as long as you don’t mind packing light. There’s not a lot of room in a tent or in a caravan, and basically you can only take what you can fit in your car – but when you think about it, that’s probably more than you can fit in your suitcase when you take a holiday on a plane.

If you really want to have your freedom on a camping holiday though, you’re best going on a motorbike. There’s something to be said for not having something as big as a car to fall back on to truly make you feel like you’re in the wild, and you can usually still fit two people on the back, with plenty of space for a backpack too. There’s also space for storage in the bike itself, but you’ll need to just pack the essentials or it’s not going to work.

Camping on a motorcycle is something that wasn’t really possible until more recently, because campsites have only just been upgrading their security to a standard that an expensive piece of kit like a bike can be truly safe overnight. It’s always important to make sure you take the proper precautions, such as taking a bike lock, and remembering to hide your keys properly if you are leaving the bike unattended; it’s also a good idea to make sure that any campsites you are thinking of visiting have the proper security measures in place.

In addition, although you obviously have to travel light, it’s still important to make sure you have all the essentials with you in order to keep your bike in good condition. The BMW Club has a handy checklist for all the things you might need with you in order to fix any problems you might have with your bike while you are on your travels.

As long as you’re properly prepared, a camping holiday on your bike is one of the most fun experiences you can have. The sense of danger and the unknown that comes with camping more than any other holiday anyway is really a much bigger rush when you’re on a motorbike.

My travel wish list

I’m a stay-at-home mom for the longest time, but I still keep my wish list of the places that I still want to visit while I’m still able and fit to travel.

Image courtesy of surasakiStock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The places in my travel bucket list include Baguio, Benguet, Vigan, Batanes, Tagaytay, Cebu, and General Santos City.

I’ve been to Baguio, Cebu, and Tagaytay City several years ago. But those visits were related to work. I want my next visit to be for relaxation purposes.