Travel planning is one of my favourite things to do in the evening (other than watching The Mummy Diaries. I know. Kill me). Allllll the anticipation of looking at the best countries to visit when, top hotels, adventurous spots, looking for bargainous flights – the works. Many an hour has been lost to it. I have so many family travel ideas in my head, so I thought I’d write it all down.
Where we’re not travelling to in 2019
First I’ll let you into where we’re not going – Poland and India. We were hoping to get to Poland for a Christmas market this year, but I couldn’t make the flights/prices combo work around the kids. But a top tip if you do want to get to a Christmas market in Europe – Poland is WAY cheaper to visit than some of the stalwart favourites such as Prague or Berlin. It’s cheaper to stay there too. Both Warsaw and Krakow look amazing. I’ll keep my eye out for some last minute flights but I’m not holding my breath. I only wish we’d done this when we had no kids. I found a flight to Poland in December going out on a Friday, returning on a Sunday for £19 all in. I kid you not.
Asia is my favourite continent, with Thailand currently at the top of the table. I’m hoping I’ll have a love affair when I visit India. I’ve never been there, but I think it’s my kind of place. Our plans to India were scuppered by the zika virus risk (can cause brain deformity during pregnancy). We may try for a third, so unfortunately decided to rule out India. It was a tough call to make, as the risk is very low, but we’re in the luxurious position of being able not to take that risk, so India will have to wait for another time. I had done a lot of research too and narrowed it down to Rajasthan or Kerala, the favourite being Rajasthan. We’ll get there soon I hope!
Where we’re definitely travelling to in 2019
We’re going to Jordan during the Easter holidays next year. I’m so happy. It sounds like the perfect destination for us. A heady mix of adventure, history, desert landscapes, castles and ruins, 5-star spas, seas to float and dive in. Complete dream. April is one of the best times of year to visit Jordan – all the wildflowers are out, and the weather is pretty much perfect. It’s an extremely safe country to explore – the Switzerland of the Middle East (I’m not sure why? Anyone know?). Yes it does border with some volatile countries – hello Syria but as long as you’re not within a 10km range of the border, you’ve (apparently) got no worries. The flight is only 5 hours and there is no jet lag. What’s not to love?
We’re going independently, though there are plenty of tours you can do, or the choice to just stay in one place. Jordan is a small country so it’s easy to travel around in one week. We’ve got 14 days so lots of time to take things slow.
Our Jordan itinerary
Here’s where we’re heading. I’m hoping we’re in for a treat.
Ma-in. Sits south of the capital. We decided to skip the capital. There are some things to see and do, but nothing which we thought our young children would enjoy too much. We thought we’d rather spend time out of cities too. Plus the hot springs resort looks amazing and perfect place to find our feet for a couple of nights before embarking on our adventure.
Staying at: Ma-in Hot Springs
Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is only a half hour drive from Ma-in (see what I mean about distances being very child-friendly!). I’ve heard mixed reviews about the Dead Sea and children. If you have any cuts or scrapes, going into the salty water can be excruciating, and I’m sure it’s not pleasant if you get it on your eyes. But I reckon slathering up in mud with be a sure hit, as will staying in the complete overkill lux resort. Spa treatments here I come.
Staying at: Kempinski Dead Sea Resort
Dana Nature Reserve. After our horizontal couple of days, we’ll head down to embrace the countryside. We’re staying in rustic Dana Guesthouse (which still looks incredible – the views!) and we’re hoping to get out for some hiking. Jordan has a national trail which runs from top to bottom, so we should be able to tag onto and enjoy some of this.
Staying at: Dana Guesthouse
Petra. Again, I’ve heard that young children don’t especially enjoy Petra as it’s so huge, and possibly a little boring for them. We may try Little Petra as a back up as I think that’s a little more fun for littleys. We decided to stay out of the centre as it was far cheaper, and I found a really sweet B&B with a family room.
Staying at: B&B Petra Fig Tree
Wadi Rum. I’m hoping this will be a highlight for the boys. Basically camping and sand – their favourite things. I cannot wait to rough it a bit out in the wilds of the desert landscape.
Staying at: Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp
Tala, Red Sea. After a fairly hectic week of activity, we’re staying at a luxury (but not too expensive) resort a little out of Aqaba, which is the main town of the Red Sea region. We won’t be diving, but snorkelling yes, and I’ve heard there is a boat you can go on for kids to see the underwater world.
Staying at: Movenpick Tala Bay
Shobak, Mount Nebo, Madaba. A long day of driving (four hours) so we’re stopping along the way to see a few things. Shobak castle and Mount Nebo before staing overnight in Madaba, which is very close to the airport.
Staying at: Black Iris Hotel
If you are planning on visiting Jordan I found these blog posts extremely helpful:-
Where we might go to in 2019
Also on my radar for 2019 is Austria late May – cycling there is amazing, especially for families. Plus I like the idea of a gorgeous spa at the end of the cycle ride. Apparently Austria does these very well. Late May is warm enough to visit, but without the hefty price hikes.
Iceland looks great. I’d love to hire a car and drive around the island over a week, and do some small hikes with the kids. I’m sure they would love the Blue Lagoon as well if we got there this summer. We’ve discounted going in winter, as we think it will be too chilly for the kids, but may go during shoulder season if the weather looks okay.
Summer holiday special to one of the islands – maybe one a bit off the beaten track. I’ve not done any research into Greek Islands yet, but the appeal for me lies in the sun, beaches and fab food.
Scilly Isles, Devon, the Lakes or Scotland
We’ll be digging out all the camping gear over summer and heading to one of these places for a few days. Since having kids I’ve realised how amazing our own little country is, and there are so many spots I want to explore here now – these four being the top (at the moment).
Amsterdam, Bruges, Lille or Copenhagen
For an adventurous rail trip, we may pick one of these exciting cities and visit for a few days. Totally love the idea of travelling somewhere other than aeroplane, and train seems a great idea with young kids (other than the ferry which I think is the best form of transport with children).
So that’s it for next year! Until I find somewhere else I want to go to. Does the wanderlust ever go away? What are your family travel ideas for 2019?