An overseas holiday is one of the best adventures a family can have, but with plenty of planning needed before boarding the plane it can seem overwhelming. The secret to keeping the entire family happy on an international getaway is to choose destinations that offer activities that cater to all ages, from tots to teens and all kids in between. To help Aussie parents ensure their next overseas vacation is a winner, the travel experts at KAYAK.com.au have rounded up top activities to keep the entire family occupied, including Mum and Dad.
New York City
From soaring skyscrapers to Sesame Street, there are many reasons to visit the Big Apple. The city is a tourist haven with a bustling street life and rich cultural landscape that provides plenty for Aussie families to do.
For the kids: No trip to NYC is complete without a visit to the iconic Empire State Building. With panoramic views 1,050 feet above the pedestrian packed streets below, the kids will love being able to spot famous landmarks and attractions including the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Staten Island Ferry passing the Statue of Liberty.
For the adults: Parents wanting to treat themselves to a romantic night out in NYC should opt for an evening of luxury with a Bateaux New York River Cruise along the Hudson River, New York Harbor and East River. With a gourmet menu, live jazz music and a glass of sparkling French wine, there’s no better way to admire the stunning Manhattan skyline than from the water.
Where to stay: Stay in New York at the Empire Hotel, starting from $355*
How to get there: Return flights from Sydney to New York from $1768**
Discover more activities in New York City here
Families seeking a taste of Asia should look no further than Tokyo, Japan. Centuries-old traditions meet modern technology in this electric city, and it’s also an ideal base for exploring other regions. High-speed trains are at the ready to whisk travellers from Tokyo’s mains stations south to beautiful cities like Osaka or north to some of the world’s best snowfields. This makes Tokyo the perfect destination for families hoping to mix sightseeing and culture with a little adventure on the side.
For the kids: To truly experience Japanese culture, kids can enjoy a traditional rickshaw ride through Tokyo’s Asakusa district. Knowledgeable tour guides provide fun and quirky insights about Tokyo’s various landmarks, including iconic temples and shrines. Fashion-forward teens might prefer a walking tour of Tokyo’s famous Harajuku district, well-known for its wild and wonderful street style. To please all family members, young and old, there’s no better place than Tokyo Disneyland. Located just 25 kilometres from the city centre, the amusement park is a truly magical experience that the whole family will enjoy.
For the adults: Parents keen to try their hand at making sushi can take a class with a professional sushi master, following a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market. Renowned for its top quality fish, meat and fresh produce, there’s no better place to begin mastering the Japanese culinary art. Some parents hope to escape the kitchen altogether on holiday, and should instead book a table at Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant to experience Japan’s weirdest and wackiest dining sensation; a 90-minute robot show.
Where to stay: Stay in Tokyo at the Tokyo Bay Maihama Resort, starting from $394*
How to get there: Return flights from Sydney to Tokyo from $820**
Discover more activities in Tokyo here
With pizza, pasta and gelato aplenty, a family trip to Rome is definitely one for the memory books. A colourful city with vibrant inhabitants, Rome provides the perfect balance of history and culture; the many landmarks, relics and museums within walking distance of the city streets can provide hours of fun – and the kids will learn something too.
For the kids: A tour combining the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Capitol Square is a great way to introduce the kids to life in Ancient Rome. Families curious to see it all should opt for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour that offers trips to Rome’s best sights, including the Vatican, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Families with older children will enjoy the city’s popular segway tours.
For the adults: Experience something out of the ordinary with a tour of Rome’s crypts and catacombs, including the Capuchin Crypt; lined with the bones of over 4,000 Capuchin Monks, although this sight may be a little too spooky for the kids. Mums and Dads wanting to taste the best of Italy (and who wouldn’t!) can indulge in a private three-hour food tasting tour with a local, including a total of 10 tastings.
Where to stay: Stay in Rome at the Hotel Capannelle, starting from $189*
How to get there: Return flights from Sydney to Rome from $1572**
Discover more activities in Tokyo here
An 8.5 hour flight from Sydney, Singapore is an ideal choice for families wanting to spare themselves a long-haul flight, but still wanting to enjoy an international experience. Singapore is known for being one of the safest and cleanest cities in the world, as well as one of the greenest, with more than 50 per cent devoted to parkland.
For the kids: A great destination for families looking to get up close and personal with nature, Singapore offers a number of outdoor activities for the kids. Spanning 20.2 hectares, the city’s Jurong Bird Park is home to over 380 species of birds and has no shortage of things to see and do. Youngsters will particularly enjoy feeding the colourful lorikeets at the park’s Lory Loft. Thrill-seeker families looking for an adrenalin rush can treat the kids to a day at Universal Studios Singapore; with more than 24 rides and attractions, there is something for everyone.
For the adults: Aussies love their beer and when it comes to the liquid gold in Singapore, Tiger Beer is the beverage of choice. Mums and Dads interested to learn how beer is made can take a tour of the Singaporean brewery, including a tasting session at the Tiger Tavern. Adults wanting to experience a taste of Singapore’s burgeoning nightlife can book in for Chinatown Night Tour, where travellers can cruise along the Singapore River in a bumboat.
Where to stay: Stay in Singapore at the Parkroyal on Kitchener Road, starting from $340*
How to get there: Return flights from Sydney to Singapore from $560**
Discover more activities in Singapore here
London provides families with endless activities and sometimes knowing where to start can be tricky. Like Rome, first-timers to London are best to invest in a hop on hop-off bus tour; a quick and easy way to see the city’s most well-known sites, including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tower Bridge. Families seeking get a taste of England outside the nation’s capital, can also choose one of the many affordable day trips to nearby towns and landmarks including Bath, Oxford and Stonehenge.
For the kids: For a tour of London that’s a little less conventional, take the kids on a Movie Hot Spot Walking Tour where they can see sites made famous by movies from Batman and Harry Potter, to Bridget Jones’ Diary and James Bond. To catch a glimpse of their favourite movie stars, families can head to Madame Tussauds where they can take a photo with life-like wax figures including Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, and The Royals themselves, Kate and Will.
For the adults: An evening at the theatre in West End is a quintessential London experience. Parents can reignite their love of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons by checking out the award-winning show, Jersey Boys, at Piccadilly Theatre. To really make a night of it they can opt for a pre-show dinner at Spaghetti House, available as part of their ticket. For something a little more sinister, the Gangster Walking Tour of London’s East End will reveal the villains of London’s underworld, both fictional and real.
Where to stay: Stay in London at The Corner House Hotel Guest House, starting from $138*
How to get there: Return flights from Sydney to London from $1589**
Discover more activities in London here
Debby Soo, KAYAK Vice President, APAC said, “At KAYAK we want to show Australian families that it’s possible to travel the world together, regardless of your age and budget. Using our tools like Explore alongside the recently launched Activities platform, Aussie parents can not only organise flights, accommodation and car hire, but also pre-purchase tickets to some of the world’s best experiences – from guided walking tours, to museums and theme parks. By managing reservations online or through the KAYAK App, travellers can ensure their dream family holiday goes a smoothly as possible.”