Planning a family holiday? The possibilities are endless, from Lion-King-style African safaris to Asian beach breaks and culture-soaked city getaways. To help plan your perfect escape, talk to our team of experienced travel experts who can give you the inside scoop on the best family-friendly hotels, destinations and activities. We’ll tailor the trip to suit your individual family needs, all you have to do is get in touch.
Planning your family holiday
Our Travel Experts, many of whom have children themselves, know that every family is different. So, whether you’re into beach breaks, city getaways or action-packed safaris, they’ll help you hand-pick the top experiences and accommodation to suit your family.
When shall I book?
The school holidays are always a busy time to travel, so it’s never too early to start plotting your next trip. Flights and family-friendly resorts can book up early, so we recommend planning your break when airlines release their schedules and fares, at least 11 months in advance.
How long shall I go for?
The school holidays will likely dictate the length of your family trip. If you’re taking an Easter or Christmas holiday, you can plan for up to two weeks, while week-long half-term getaways can be extended by a couple of days if you utilise that extra weekend. Summer has the potential for longer, multi-destination trips. Of course, at Alfred&, every holiday can be tailored to suit your needs and our flexible itineraries can be extended or shortened.
Where to stay
Seaside resorts, private villas, boutique hotels and tented safari camps – the accommodation options for family holidays are endless. Talk to our Holiday Experts when planning your trip, they know all the best family-friendly options, from which hotels have the top swimming pools and kids’ clubs to where you’ll find the finest villas and family suites.
How to get around
Your style of travel can dictate your holiday destination. For instance, Namibia is superb for a self-drive itinerary, while bullet trains are the best way to get around Japan. A mix of private transfers and scenic toy train journeys work well for India, while many African safari destinations are vast and require internal flights. Consider whether your children are patient enough for long journeys and limit your trip to a certain area of the country to cut down on travel time.
Health and safety
Before you travel, find out if your family holiday destination requires any pre-travel vaccinations or malaria medication. Be aware that virtually all of Africa and India lies within the malaria belt. Always pack plenty of sun protection, bug spray, and clothing to suit the climate – as a rule, light layers and sunhats are key. If you’re going on safari, it’s important that your kids are mature enough to follow safety instructions from a guide.
There’s no one-size-fits-all family holiday and your dream break will depend on everything from your kids’ ages to your personal interests. Seek inspiration from our blog and Instagram page, then talk to our tailor-made Holiday Experts for more advice. To get the ball rolling, here are some of our favourite holiday ideas:
Whether you’re spotting the Big Five in Africa or searching for tigers in India, a safari offers the perfect blend of excitement and education, bringing stories like the The Lion King and The Jungle Book to life. Although there’s often an age limit of seven, family-friendly lodges and camps offer stellar kids’ clubs, babysitting services, nature activities and even junior safari programmes. Families are also the perfect size for our money-saving group safari trips in Kenya and Tanzania.
Top safari destinations include South Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Tanzania. Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in a 4×4, guided by a knowledgeable ranger who’ll help you spot all kinds of wildlife. Safaris can mean a lot of sitting around but lodges often provide a safari kit to keep children occupied. Choose a lodge with a pool for some playtime; most have family facilities such as kids’ menus and interconnecting rooms.
The cultural holiday
Cultural holidays are ideal for a dose of world schooling. Asian destinations like Japan and India allow you to experience culture through everything from food tours to temple hopping trips and even Bollywood dance workshops. Head to Africa for wildlife lessons and bush skill classes. You can connect with locals on Maasai village excursions and visit Robben Island to learn about South African history.
Adventure and activity
Fancy an adrenaline-pumping family holiday? We can arrange adventure activities in any destination, from hiking Table Mountain and kayaking with seals in South Africa to cycling trips in India and learning how to swing a samurai sword (safely!) in Japan. In Namibia, you can soar down the dunes on a sandboard or ride a fat bike through the Namib Desert, while Kenya and Tanzania offer once-in-a-lifetime hot air balloon rides.
The beach holiday
Family beach holidays are heaven if you’re craving some R&R. Both Zanzibar in Tanzania and Kenya’s Mombasa coast offer resorts set on soft sands lapped by the Indian Ocean. In India, Goa and Kerala boast peaceful beaches and luxe seaside hotels. Beach breaks make great add-ons to a safari or cultural tour and if you do need to incorporate some action, kayaking, snorkelling and diving adventures await.
A multi-centre family holiday
If you’re keen to experience a bit of everything – wildlife, beach time, culture and adventure – we can build a bespoke multi-centre holiday that’ll please all the family. Perhaps you’d like to combine a bucket-list African safari with an all-inclusive Indian Ocean beach break? Or maybe you want to mix up some Asian city sightseeing with tropical island hopping and adventurous activities? We’re here to help you devise your dream itinerary.
Planning a trip with your extended family, perhaps with the grandparents? There are plenty of lodges that offer interconnecting rooms and sprawling villas that have space for everyone. Small boutique lodges may even allow you to book out the whole place for an exclusive family getaway. If you’re taking a safari, groups of up to six will likely be assigned your own vehicle and ranger, offering a private experience.
Family adventures can be found all over the world, from the jungles of India to Kenya’s wildlife-studded plains – here are some of our favourite recommendations:
South Africa: offers everything from powdery beaches to city sightseeing and safaris in malaria-free reserves. English is widely spoken and there’s just a two-hour time difference with the UK so you won’t suffer from jetlag. Excellent roads and left-hand driving mean South Africa is perfect for a family road trip, especially along the lush Garden Route. Then there’s the wildlife: spot the Big Five in national parks like Kruger and game reserves on the Cape. Adventures include Table Mountain hikes, whale-watching in Hermanus and even vintage side-car tours.
Japan: has something for all the family with its blend of modern and ancient culture. Picture neon cities with cutting-edge museums where you can meet robots, magical forest temples and stays in traditional Ryokans. The home of Pokémon, Karate and Manga, Japan has cultural experiences for all ages, from e-biking in Mount Fuji to Samurai sword classes. Being able to whiz around by bullet train means you can cover the country’s most iconic destinations, even during a short break.
Kenya and Tanzania: are best for safari and beach combos, offering Big Five game drives in world-famous parks like the Maasai Mara and Serengeti. Paradisical beach destinations like Zanzibar and Diani offer white sands, all-inclusive resorts with pools, and kids’ clubs. On safari, you’ll stay at some of Africa’s top family lodges and camps that provide children’s activities and private 4×4 vehicles; you can also take respectful visits to local villages for some world schooling.
Namibia: if you love a family road trip, head to Namibia. Travel across the country independently, stopping to explore along the way. Discover the towering dunes of the Namib Desert in Sossusvlei, the shipwreck-strewn Skeleton Coast and wildlife-rich Etosha National Park. Thrilling family tours include sandboarding, dolphin-watching cruises and searching for creepie crawlies in the Namib Desert. Teach your kids about conservation with a visit to the AfriCat Foundation and track endangered rhinos and pangolins at Okonjima Nature Reserve.
India: can seem overwhelming but plan your trip carefully and its cultural kaleidoscope, warm people and diverse landscapes make for a life-changing getaway. Our advice is to stick to one area. In the south, Goa has brilliant beaches, while Kerala offers tranquil backwater cruises and family farm stays. Search for tigers in national parks straight out of The Jungle Book, from Panna and Pench to Bandipur and Bandhavgarh. If you’re travelling with adventurous teens, cultural tours abound, including Bollywood dance lessons, cooking classes, textile workshops and visits to the Golden Triangle.
Travelling with kids means you’ll need to choose destinations that offer good weather during the school holidays. As a general rule, avoid sweltering summer temperatures and wet seasons that can make travel hazardous. India and many African countries are so large that their weather will vary by region, so bear that in mind, while others like South Africa are feasible for year-round visits.
January to March: February half-term
It’s the dry season in Kenya, which means animals are drawn to waterholes so you’ll enjoy prime wildlife viewing. The beaches on the coast are also hot and sunny, with clear skies for beach holidays. This is also the ideal time to visit India, with warm, dry conditions across the country, excluding the Himalayas, which can be freezing throughout the year. February half-term is the tail end of summer in South Africa, so there’s plenty of sunshine punctuated by short bursts of rain, but you’ll also avoid the crowds.
April to June: Easter holidays and May half-term
In India, this is the best time for tracking tigers in the wild as temperatures rise, long grass dies off and animals are attracted to crucial water sources, making it easier to see them on safari. Visit Japan in April for the iconic cherry blossom season, when trees are adorned with glorious pink hues. Throughout the month, locals take part in hanami (picnicking beneath the petals) and shops sell delicious cherry treats.
July to September: Summer holidays
Kenya and Tanzania make fantastic summer holiday destinations with sunny, dry weather. The Great Migration is in full swing between July and September when herds, chased by fierce predators, make the daring journey from Tanzania across the Mara River to the fertile plains of the Maasai Mara. Summer is also good for safaris in northern South Africa, such as Kruger and Madikwe, as it’s dry season and animals flock to waterholes.
October to December: October half-term and Christmas holidays
In Namibia, temperatures stay in the mid-20s from the summer through to October. This is also the dry season and peak time for wildlife spotting, particularly in Etosha National Park. The cool, clear nights provide some of the world’s most epic stargazing. If you’re into autumn foliage, head to Japan in the October half-term to see fiery maple leaves and golden gingko trees. You can also enjoy whale watching and fair weather on the eastern Cape of South Africa. Heading into the Christmas holidays, India experiences its most pleasant weather, avoiding scorching temperatures and the monsoon season.
To get the most out of your family holiday, we’ll help you tailor the trip according to your kids’ ages. Here are some things to think about:
Holidays for families with children under seven
Whatever your destination, accommodation is key when travelling with under sevens. Look for options with family-friendly facilities, from kids’ clubs and childminders to private suites with cots and flexible menus. If you’re planning a safari, be aware that many lodges have a minimum age limit of seven but top options like Lelapa by Madikwe Safari Lodge and Tinga have safari drives and activities for under sevens. From a health perspective, you may also want to consider visiting non-malarial areas like the Eastern Cape and Madikwe in South Africa.
Holidays for families with children aged 7-12
Children aged seven and up tend to get the most out of safaris as they have more patience for long drives and a keen urge to learn about wildlife. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to lodges and tented camps in Africa that cater for families. Road trips can be a great option if you want independence and flexibility to explore; Namibia and the famous Garden Route in South Africa make for exciting self-drive itineraries.
Holidays for families with teenagers
If you’re travelling with teens, cultural visits to Japan and India provide adventure and immersive tours with the locals. Think Indian tie dye and cooking classes, trips to hot springs and cycling tours in Japan. On safari, plan conservation activities such as visits to anti-poaching units and big cat tracking. Adventurous teens will love lodges like Shamwari in South Africa which offer guided walking safaris through the bush.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Laura, who's travelled extensively in your chosen destination. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the balloon pilots who can wow you with spectacular vistas, the guides who can give you real insights into the local people and customs, and the hotel managers who can recommend the very best spots to watch the sun go down.
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