Whether you’re on the hunt for a budget, family-friendly spring break spot or a summer vacation extravaganza for the whole crew, CheapAir.com has you covered. Read on for our top picks for every family’s travel style in 2019.
1. Budget Pick: Zion National Park, Utah
There’s no shortage of National Park splendor in Utah, and the price is so nice for frugal families. A 7-day pass for one is just $12, with families not to exceed $25 overall. The range of hiking activities for outdoor enthusiasts is wide, with wading through the water of the Narrows a favorite pastime. There are countless hiking trails for all skill levels, from beginner trails all the way up to the death-defying heights of Angel’s Landing. You’ll easily avoid crushing crowds of destinations like the Grand Canyon in the summer, and you’re within driving distance of it, as well as Arches National Park and Bryce Canyon should you like to do a tour of natural wonders. The Junior Ranger programs with the National Park Service are a must-do for kiddos. Do your research and plan to participate!
Accommodation: Camping is the most economical way to do Zion, with nightly fees starting at just $16. Some campsites in and outside the park are first-come first serve,
Amusement Park Lovers Pick: Southern California
Your crew enjoy nothing more than the thrills of a solid roller coaster? Younger tots love Disney or Harry Potter? Maybe you’ve got budding oceanographers in your house? The sheer volume of amazing amusement parks in California can easily keep you entertained for weeks. Older kids will adore visiting Magic Mountain for roller coasters and thrill rides par excellence while Disneyland is a winner for the whole family (special nod to the littles, of course). Further inland, Universal Studios has upped their game to compete with Disney, with an immersive Harry Potter experience that will thrill the most ardent fan boys and girls.
In Long Beach, you can explore one of the top aquariums in the United States. Depending on the year (springtime),you might even take a whale watching trip off the coast. Plan ahead. The best time to visit amusement parks (especially Disneyland) is weekdays not in the summer months. Get the Disney app for insider scoop on ride wait times and crowd calendar for trip planning. Side note: If you time it right you can spend some amazing days at beautiful beaches too! July, August and into September will get you the best beach bang for the buck!
Accommodation: Hotels and motels around amusement parks are plentiful and available at every price point. Book early for the best choice!
Beach Babies Pick: Maui, Hawaii
The best part of a beach vacation for the grown-ups are the ample opportunities to relax and unplug. We love Maui for a classic beach vacation for so many reasons. To begin with, the pace in Maui is molasses slow, so if a beach hang is all you need, you’ll be sorted right out of the gate. Maui’s larger hotels are set up to cater to your kiddos, so many parents choose to send their tots to in-house “kid camps.” You can select an all-day program, or just drop in for a few hours here and there in most cases. They aren’t usually free, so it may be worth it to consider the Four Seasons, who throw it in as an extra perk.
The scenery is stunning anywhere you visit on Maui. When you get tired of lounging on the beach, there are many waterfall hikes or scenic strolls to participate in. Consider the beach you choose carefully – some bays are so placid they provide a safe backdrop for the wee ones. Older kids might enjoy the sunrise cycling trip down from Haleakala, Maui’s impressive volcano. And everyone loves a Hawaiian luau. Stardust Hawaii offers an exciting array of excursions and activities for the whole family.
Accommodation: If hotels aren’t your thing, or you prefer a more budget choice, consider one of the many condo-hotels on Maui. They provide private accommodation and full kitchens so you can cook for your brood. Most offer high chairs, pack and plays and even babysitting services!
International Beginners: Ireland
Ireland is a fantastic gateway for parents on the fence about tackling international travel with the kids. To begin with, the Irish are some of the friendliest folks in Europe. People will be open to chat with you and children are everywhere. Kids are even allowed in most pubs – so you can have a pint while they tuck into some solid Irish pub dining. The scenery is stunning on the Green Isle and there are craggy medieval castles everywhere. Visit the Cliffs of Moher, the Blarney Stone and stay in bed & breakfasts as you travel the country. It’s easy to navigate once you get the hang of the driving challenges, and you can see most of the country in a week.
Accommodation: A mix of bed & breakfasts where you get breakfast included and a chance to chat with your hosts and more full-service hotels are probably the best combination for a family touring in Ireland.
Lifetime Learners and History Buffs, Washington, DC
Perhaps this year, you’d like to keep the educational benefits dialed up to 10, on a scale of 1-10. There’s no better city to visit in this case than Washington, DC. The Smithsonian Institution alone has more museums than you can possibly see in one trip. The National Air & Space Museum, the National Museum of African American History & Culture, the National Zoo and the National Museum of American History are just a few of the highlights, and are all completely free. Stroll around the national Mall and visit some of the most iconic monuments including the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and Martin Luther King’s Monument. The Planet D offers a walking tour of must-see monuments to see.
Accommodation: Accommodation in Washington is plentiful and caters to every budget. Don’t get too hung up on which part of the city you’re staying in. The public transportation system is inexpensive and efficient. Skip the rental car and just pick a hotel near a metro stop.
Next up, hot international destinations for 2019!