7 places not to take a family vacation in 2017

Planning your family holidays for 2017? Avoid the tired trip cliches, from eco-adventures to desert safaris here's where you should be travelling as a family in 2017
View of Mykonos and the famous windmill from above, Mykonos island, Cyclades, Greece
View of Mykonos and the famous windmill from above, Mykonos island, Cyclades, Greece

We're approaching a brand new year, which has many of us planning out our next epic family vacation. We're putting a fresh twist on the expected, stepping away from the traditional and venturing out into new terrain. Read on for seven places not to take a family vacation this year; along with some adventurous alternatives. From adrenaline-pumping wildlife safaris to charming city breaks, we've got you (and the rest of the family) covered.

1. The Bahamas

The Bahamas is one of those tried-and-tested family travel locales – the sun-drenched coastlines, the beachy bliss, the laid-back attitudes; trust us, we definitely see the appeal. The one problem? For families on the hunt for something a little different, the Bahamas might be losing its lustre.

Try instead: An eco-adventure through Costa Rica

This Central American gem offers up a much-craved alternative for families who love soaking up the sun. Those with a penchant for snorkelling will feel right at home at the heavenly Tamarindo Beach, a hot-spot that also plays hosts to flying fish, dolphins, turtles and more. Round out your adventure with unforgettable volcano treks and walking tours through the jungle. Insight Guides hits all the high points with its Costa Rica Coast to Coast vacation package.

2. Orlando's Magic Kingdom

Being a Florida resident, nobody loves Magic Kingdom more than me – which is exactly why I'm always on the look-out for new spins on Disney fun. Step away from the familiar by experiencing a different side of your favourite mouse.

Try instead: A jaunt to Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland is the latest Disney theme park that has everyone all jazzed up. Since opening in June, all eyes have been on Shanghai – aptly nicknamed the "city of the future". Families used to the Orlando park are in for a treat, with its newest Chinese counterpart featuring a mix of familiar rides and all-new attractions that are missing from the Magic Kingdom. Come for Disney, stay for the spectacular food, contemporary art galleries, and gorgeous Buddhist temples. Whisk your family away on this luxury tour of China.

Picturesque Tuscan scene.Picturesque Tuscan scene. Photo: Shutterstock

3. A Mediterranean cruise

Cruises certainly have some perks: the endless supply of top-notch food, for starters, and the fact that you can hit multiple destinations in one trip. The downside is that you're attached to a strict timetable. If you miss the boat (literally), you're on your own.

Try instead: Trekking through Italy

Explore at your own pace with a family trip through exquisite Italy. The Italian Lakes are an often overlooked kid-friendly destination that's also divine for the parents. Theme parks, wildlife, fantastic cuisine, and non-stop culture are all on the menu. Our personal favourite though is a break to Florence. From charming street-side cafés to famous Renaissance art, there's plenty on offer for the grown-ups in this romantic Italian city. Meanwhile, the kids can enjoy explorative days spent in the rustic Tuscan countryside. Let Insight Guides take you and your family on a once-in-a-lifetime tour through Italy.

4. A popular city break 

There's nothing quite like discovering the magic of a big city. The quick-paced, bustling energy of a metropolis can equal big fun for suburban families. Whether it's New York City, Paris or London, many families stick to what's familiar. Of course, by doing this, you lose out on the exotic.

Try instead: Being dazzled by Hong Kong

This Asian family travel destination has a little something for everyone. Parents will no doubt enjoy the epic shopping, fabulous views, and authentically delicious cuisine. The good news? The children will be equally entertained. Hong Kong happens to be home to a plethora of top-notch theme parks, including Disneyland and Ocean Park. Families can also take advantage of an awesome interactive science museum before roller-skating or hitting-up a playground at Victoria Park. Insight Guides' Hong Kong Deluxe trip covers the city's highlights.

5. Mykonos

The Greek island of Mykonos has no shortage of stunning beaches and natural wonder. It's also one of those destinations that caters to travellers of all stripes; from young partiers to families on holiday. But perhaps the biggest issue here is that it's sometimes too easy for the former to interfere with the latter.

Try instead: A desert oasis

Try something outside the box for your 2017 family vacation. An Arabian family adventure in the UAE ought to do the trick. Touch-down on the glamorous shores of Dubai before checking out the tallest building on the globe. Let out your wild side at the Wild Wadi Waterpark, then hit the sparkling beaches of the Arabian Sea. Few desert excursions also offer a chance to go skiing and snowboarding – Ski Dubai is an incredible indoor establishment that lets you do just that. Fresh, different, and over-the-top exciting, this trip will have your children begging to go back.

The world's first seven stars luxury hotel Burj Al Arab in Dubai.The world's first seven stars luxury hotel Burj Al Arab in Dubai. Photo: Shutterstock

6. National parks

Families who head to national parks come vacation time are usually the adventurous type. They're the go-to destination for those who are into hiking, trekking and getting their hands a little dirty while surrounded by natural beauty. We totally get it, but that doesn't mean you can't step it up a notch.

Try instead: The ultimate hiking adventure through the Himalayas

Dial up your family's next outdoor adventure by taking to the wilds of the Himalayas. Nepal's hill villages and verdant lowlands were made for daring families seeking a bit of an adrenaline rush on their next vacation. This part of the world is packed with mini mountain treks, perfect for the whole gang. While away your days river rafting before embarking on a wildlife safari. Come nightfall, camp outside and sleep under the stars – with spectacular mountain scenery as your backdrop. Insight Guides' Himalayan Family Adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime experience your family won't soon forget.

7. Hawaii

The Hawaiian islands represent a far-flung paradise in the Pacific. There's no question it's one of the most breathtaking spots in the world, but it's also one busy with tourists. For a dose of culture and fun, consider wandering off-the-beaten-track.

Try instead: An Indian Wildlife safari

A trip to colourful, vibrant India is a treat for the senses. Its magnificent national parks are a real draw for families looking for a spot of adventure and exotic fun; expect to catch glimpses of Bengal tigers, monkeys, leopards and plenty of other wildlife elite. India also offers up other rich cultural attractions for the whole crew, with the legendary Taj Mahal and Ranthambore Fort topping the list. Throw in some shopping in Dehli and you've got yourself a top-notch family adventure for the books. Insight Guides' Indian Wildlife Safari ticks all the boxes.

What are you waiting for? Book your next dream vacation with Insight Guides now:

Browse suggested itineraries online or submit a trip request to create your holiday from scratch.

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