If you’re looking for budget family holiday ideas, here are 10 cheap, child-friendly destinations that will make for a fantastic family trip. Keeping the cost of your flights down by choosing one of these short-haul holiday hotspots means that you’ll be able to spend more on ice cream (for them) and sangria (for you) when you get there. Have a peek and pick a good value, low-cost holiday for you and yours this summer.
1. Algarve, Portugal
You could easily spend your whole holiday in the Algarve soaking up the sun on beach or by the pool, but if the kids need some excitement in their lives, they’ll be satisfied with a day at Aqualand, near Alcantarilha, one of the largest water parks in Europe. One of its star attractions is ‘Banzai’, which involves a 23-metre slide and what looks like a tray with handles on top. Excited youngsters can enjoy the thrill of precariously skimming across the water on said tray before plunging merrily into the depths. But if all of that sounds far too exhausting, you could always head to the relatively uncrowded beach of Praia da Rocha near Portimao instead, and simply let the kids build sandcastles while you doze in the sun.
2. Menorca, Spain
Menorca has a well-deserved reputation for family-friendly sun, sea and sand holidays. It’s far quieter than neighbouring Ibiza and Majorca, meaning you’re less likely to be disturbed by all-night discos. It’s only two hours from the UK, and shorter is better when it comes to flying with kids! Make sure you have a paddle at Binibeca Nou, one of the loveliest beaches on the island. Or alternatively, visit the small but beautiful Cala Macarelleta, with its clean sands and beginners body-boarding size waves. If your children are a bit older then a great way to visit the more secluded beaches is by paddling a kayak along the coast. Rent sea kayaks from Menorca en Kayak, who also offer tours.
With its untamed terrain and notoriously fearless creatures — from sea lions to seagoing lizards — the isolated isles of the Galápagos lure those looking for exhilarating encounters in the wild. After all, where else can you observe giant tortoises grazing on tall blades of grass, short-feathered penguins waddling along the equator or blue-footed boobies conducting their unique mating ritual without flinching at the flash of your camera? More than 100 years after Charles Darwin visited during his legendary voyage aboard the Beagle, adventurers continue to use his footsteps as a guide for their own extraordinary journeys. The Galápagos archipelago sits 600 miles west of mainland.
4. Brittany, France
Brittany is ideal if you want to take the kids abroad but not somewhere too hot – peak summer months are July-August and temperatures are usually about 18°C. There are many child-friendly resorts around France’s western coast, from Saint Malo to La Baule, with sandy beaches big enough for a city of sandcastles. Fly to Dinard from the UK: the traditional seaside resort of Dinard is especially convenient as it’s got its own airport. Make sure you visit the awe-inspiring Mont Saint Michel (Saint Michael’s Mount), a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features a beautiful abbey which is linked to the mainland by a spindly causeway. It was featured in the video game Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – make sure to casually drop that into the conversation when informing potentially difficult teenagers about the trip and they’ll be clamouring to go.
Capri was where the ancient Romans chose to spend their vacations, and on a clear day you can see Vesuvius, the volcano that buried Pompeii in A.D. 79, from the Hotel Caesar Augustus. A statue of Augustus himself recalls the first emperor who admired Capri’s beauty so much that he took the island as his private preserve. In ancient times, these giddy heights, which could only be reached by a 1,000-step stone stairway called the Scala Fenicia, were dotted with luxury villas. Sit down to an alfresco banquet at the Lucullo Terrace restaurant, and the kids might even declare that history is pretty cool after all.
6.Sandy Lane, Barbados
Marvel at the green monkeys of the Barbados Wildlife Reserve and the green pools of Harrison’s Cave. But marvel too at the Barbados school system, which has led to one of the world’s highest literacy rates at 99.7 percent. Let that be an example to the kids as you explore Barbados. Then relax at the luxurious, 112-room Sandy Lane resort, where celebrity parents have stayed. There through the complimentary Treehouse Club for children ages 3 to 16, you can all try a game of cricket, practice how to dive, and get a chance to swim and snorkel with turtles alongside a “turtle tutor.” You can’t help but learn something new.
7.CLUB MED SANDPIPER-Florida
A half hour north of West Palm Beach, set on the St. Lucie River in Florida’s Treasure Coast, Club Med Sandpiper offers a premium family retreat with an all-inclusive rate that takes the guesswork out of budgeting for meals and activities. Top-rated children’s programs occupy kids for the day with activities that include flying trapeze lessons, sailing, hikes, and picnics, with nighttime activities that include beachfront movies and beach parties. Favorite amenities for the adults include premium open bar day and night, a L’OCCITANE spa, and a fitness program that includes Zumba classes, Pilates, and yoga.
8. Corfu, Greece
Corfu attracts over a million visitors every year, most of them in the summer holidays, and mostly to a few resorts on the island’s north and west coasts. If you would prefer a little peace and quiet, rent a villa in a village on Corfu’s east coast. The peaceful village of Kalami is a great place to unwind with the family, with its secluded bay and scenic walks. However, if the kids are hankering for something to do, try Avlaki beach in the north, where they can learn to windsurf or even ride horses courtesy of Dimitri’s Horse Riding. Flights are cheap, as is the wine (good news for parents), but if Corfu doesn’t check all of the boxes and you fancy a spot of Greek island-hopping,
9.Ko Lanta, Thailand
For a low-key and relaxed holiday, take your family to Ko Lanta. It’s located off Thailand‘s West coast, and because of the large Chinese-Malay Muslim communities it’s a more conservative destination that hasn’t been taken over by the nightlife that other Thai resorts are known for. With the shallow waters of the turquoise Andaman sea and breath-taking white sand beaches, it’s a safe place for kids to swim. The island has many upmarket, family-friendly resorts, as well as local life to explore. With older children, you can go on diving or snorkelling trips and bicycle to the traditional villages on the island’s east coast, which are home to shrimp farms, fishing villages and a historic Old Town, full of century-old teak wood houses.
10.Ko Tonsay, Cambodia
Ko Tonsay, or Rabbit Island, is located a 20 minute boat ride from the city of Kep in the south of Cambodia. What makes it a great destination for a family trip is the remote and undeveloped atmosphere. There is no internet and the power on the island only works at night, allowing you technology-free time to truly connect with nature. With rustic family-run bungalows, cheap to rent during your stay, the beaches are far from crowded and they’re very safe for children.