My Family Travel Wish List for 2016

There’s something about January that always makes me desperate to travel. Maybe it’s because the excitement of Christmas is over or perhaps it’s the persistent grey skies we get in the UK at this time of year. Or maybe it’s that a new year promises a new start and for me that always means travel. Come January, I want to go everywhere and see everything. So compiling a list of places I want to visit is filled with delight and despair. Delight at the excitement of seeing new places, despair at the realisation that I don’t have the time or the money to see it all right now.

When planning our travels I’m forever caught between the desire to return somewhere I love and the need to go somewhere new, to discover all those places in the world I haven’t been to yet. One of the advantages of travelling as a family is that you can return somewhere you visited in the past and rediscover them through the eyes of your children.

So here’s a list of all the places I’d love to visit this year. If only…

Essaouira, Morocco

My Family Travel Wishlist for 2016

I’ve taken the boys to Morocco a couple of times and it’s a brilliant country for family travel. The people are friendly and everything feels so different – even though it’s only a three-and-a-half-hour flight from the UK. I’ve wanted to go to Essaouira on the Moroccan coast ever since reading Esther Freud’s beautiful descriptions of her visit there as a child in ‘Hideous Kinky’. We’d walk along the ramparts, stay in a riad, play on the beach and eat freshly caught fish every day. The trouble until now was getting there. It’s a three-hour bus ride from Marrakesh and I didn’t much fancy that with two small children. But last year, Easyjet launched direct flights from London so suddenly a trip to Essaouira is top of my must-do list for the year.

Lisbon, Copenhagen and Venice

All European cities, all beside the sea, all so different. We’ve promised ourselves a four-night break over the boys’ February half-term holiday and we still haven’t decided where to go. The boys like the idea of going somewhere that no one in the family has visited before and Lisbon and Copenhagen have both been on our must-visit list for years. But Venice has crept onto our list because although my husband and I have been a few times, the boys haven’t, and they’re both desperate to see it. In truth, our decision will probably boil down to which is cheapest to fly to but I’d love to think that we could visit all three of these cities in the next year (or two).

Botswana

My Family Travel Wishlist for 2016

When is the right time to take your kids on a safari? I’ve always felt that it was best to wait until they were old enough to appreciate it yet young enough to be completely blown away by the experience. My two are now 10 and 12 and just the right age so I would love to take them on a safari to Africa this year. I’ve picked Botswana for my list because the Okavango Delta is renowned for some of Africa’s greatest concentration of wildlife from lions and hippos to elephants and leopards. I’d book the boys onto a specialist tour for children where they could learn how to make bows and arrows, fish for their dinner from canoes and discover how to track wildlife from fresh spoors.

The Isles of Scilly

My Family Travel Wishlist for 2016

I have always wanted to visit the Isles of Scilly, the archipelago of islands off the coast of Cornwall. Beautiful, unspoilt and uncrowded, it sounds exactly like my sort of place. There are beaches to play on, castles to visit, great seafood to eat, rock pools to explore and miles of gorgeous coastal walks. What’s not to like?

Kerala, India

My Family Travel Wishlist for 2016

I’ve wanted to take the boys to India for a while now. I spent nearly a year backpacking around the country after university and want them to experience this extraordinary place for themselves. Kerala is the perfect choice for a child’s first experience of India: it’s more laid-back than other parts of the subcontinent, children are warmly welcomed and even the curries are milder. We’d take a boat trip along the waterways, watch the fishermen hauling in their catch from nets on the beaches, trek into the jungle to spot elephants and flying squirrels and eat food off a banana leaf.

Greece

Five Fantastic Reasons why Greece is the Perfect Family Holiday

Regular readers will know my heart belongs to Greece. We went to Turkey last year so it would be hard not to return to Greece this summer. So for us, as always, it would be a case of another year, another island. I’m thinking small, untouristy and picture perfect. Somewhere with a small harbour with a beach and a couple of tavernas… Anyone got any suggestions?

Egypt

My Family Travel Wishlist for 2016

In the same way that I wanted to wait until my two were old enough to go on a safari, I wanted to wait until they were old enough to take them to Egypt. They’re already fascinated by the stories and history of Ancient Egypt. Now feels like the right time for them to experience the wonders of the country for themselves. They’re the right age to appreciate the Pyramids in real life yet young enough to be thrilled at the thought of riding on a camel or a donkey. On our ideal trip, we’d visit Tutankhamen’s Tomb, the Mummies Room in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, ride camels around the Pyramids of Giza, sleep under the stars in the desert and sail around the Nile on a felucca.

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “My Family Travel Wish List for 2016

  1. What a great list – I do love Lisbon and Copenhagen was great when we visited. I’d definitely recommend the Isles of Scilly after our trip last year too. And love the thought of India, Morocco and Egypt (perhaps in a few years for us!)

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  2. I would suggest Paros and Antiparos for Greece. We island hopped the Cyclades 2 years back and Paros was our favourite island because it was so laid back, but has everything we expect from a Greek island. You can fly to Paros bigger neighbour, Naxos, and from there take the ferry to Paros and Antiparos if you don’t have your own boat.

    I second Botswana, it’s on my list as well.

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  3. Essaouira is a fab place to explore with children! Mum and I had a great time there with Imin. But if your boys love swimming, pick a hotel with a good pool as although the beach is great for games, sandcastles and walking, it’s very windy and can feel quite fresh! We went to Skiathos a couple of years ago and loved exploring that island, although it is quite mainstream. Botswana sounds amazing but I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to take the children to Eqypt or India! Enjoy your travels x

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    • Thanks so much for the Essaouira tip! Pools are often a good idea with children – we stayed in a hotel with a pool in Marrakesh and it meant that we could balance days of exploring with lazy days by the pool.

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  4. A safari and Egypt are on our “wish list” as well! We did Venice this year, if I have one recommendation, it would be to avoid the summer months and enjoy it in the off season! Wishing you happy travels and hoping you get to check some of these off your list!

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    • Thank you! I definitely agree with you about going to Venice in the off season. I think most European cities are best seen outside the main summer months if possible. I hope you get to do a lot more exploring this year too. I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures.

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  5. Clare I completely agree with you re: just wanting to get away in January! It is such a depressing month. Wow your travel wish list above has brought back many incredible memories for me… Like you I love Venice, it is such a unique interesting city. I also love Lisbon (the shopping is fab) but more importantly there is so much to see and do (I would definitely recommend the cable car). We took a city break to Copenhagen in November (I have posted some articles on my blog, if you decide on the Danish capital please do feel free to drop me a quick line as I have a few contacts which may be useful to you).
    I have a very similar photo of the fisherman in India:) Egypt is also an incredibly interesting place but personally I will be leaving it for a few years before I think about returning as a family holiday because the culture would be lost on my two boys (4 & 19 months!) and we will be sticking instead to beach hols and activity hols in Europe. Have a fabulous 2016, where ever you decide to go:) I look forward to reading all about your family adventures

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    • Thank you so much for your lovely comments. It’s so enjoyable trying to work out where to travel in a year – I only wish I could go to all these places in 2016! Thanks for your helpful suggestions about the city breaks. I should have a better idea of where we’re going in February later this week. Enjoy your travels this year!

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