This is traditionally the time of year for three types of family holidays: beach bunnies seek the sun in Bali or Fiji; expats go to Europe or the US, and hibernators head for Hobart or the Blue Mountains.
But, according to research by Travel Insurance Direct (seetid.com.au), based on policies taken out by families over the past three years, these are soon to be the hot spots for a mid-year break:
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The Qantas/Emirates partnership means many more families are using Dubai as an extended stopover. There’s plenty to keep the kids busy: take a dip at the Wild Wadi waterpark, chill out in the snow at the Mall of Emirates’ Ski Dubai, or visit the interactive ‘edutainment’ centre, Kidzania. During Ramadan, alcohol is only available after sundown which, conveniently, is the same time you put the kids to bed.
Often overshadowed by Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, Malaysia is reappearing in school holiday itineraries, as families seek ‘authentic’ experiences. Langkawi provides the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, with luxurious resorts, bustling night markets and wildlife parks. Just remember: the monkeys are cute, but they mean business: keep an eye out, or they might snatch your valuables.
These days, Japan is synonymous with snow holidays, but families are finding a lot more to do than skiing in Niseko. While the weather in July can be muggy, there are plenty of indoor museums, activity centres and cultural experiences to keep the kids occupied. Take in a tournament of sumo wrestling in Tokyo, or visit the famous orange gates at the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine in Kyoto. Buy a Japan Rail Pass online before you go, for unlimited travel on all buses and trains.
Named the world’s most visited country in 2014, it seems everyone is falling in love with La Belle France. Buy tickets online to beat the queues at the Eiffel Tower, or use the story of Quasimodo as an incentive to climb the 387 steps of Notre Dame Cathedral. A Paris Museum Pass allows you to visit more than 60 museums, including the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou, which has a kid-friendly introduction to modern art.
Book a fun and educational family tour through Context Travel to learn all about the Colosseum, Forum and Pantheon. If you’re visiting the Vatican museum with young ones, it’s worth having a chat about nudity and violence in the Renaissance art area. And the blackened mummies in the Ancient Egypt section. Getting around is cheap, because children aged between four and 11 travel for free when accompanied by a guardian on a Eurail Pass.
Competitive airfares mean destinations like this are within reach.
The key is to book well in advance, and keep an eye out for discounted seats.
Plenty of time to plan for next year!