Tours of a Lifetime: For Families
In our May/June issue of Traveler, contributing editor Margaret Loftus introduced us to 50 amazing Tours of a Lifetime, splitting them up into three categories: Classic, Cultural, and Adventure. But lo and behold, there are subsets within the categories that we find equally interesting, so we’ve collected the most Family-friendly trips here for you.
ADVENTURE FAMILY TOURS:
Like an ellipsis on the west coast of Arctic Norway, the Lofoten archipelago is a series of rocky mountains, sheltered inlets, and stretches of unspoiled seashore. Paddle and hike by day, returning at night to renovated fishing cabins called rorbuer. You can also try your hand at rowing a Viking ship. Crossing Latitudes: “Lofoten Multi-Adventure, Norway,” summer; 8 days; $3,000.
The hardy islanders of Sardinia have preserved much of their folklore, language, and cuisine, making their island a living diorama of Mediterranean country life, which unfolds as you bike this ancient landscape. Discover the nuraghi (prehistoric rock towers) built to protect villages; share lunch with local shepherds; learn how to make pane frattau, a dish made with traditional flatbread; and swim off pristine beaches on this multisport adventure. Ciclismo Classico: “Sardegna Multi-Sport Adventure, Italy,” summer; 8 days; $3,795.
From a daylong cooking class in the Nonthaburi home of a Thai cook to a three-day stay at the Highland Farm and Gibbon Sanctuary in Tak Province to an overnight in the home of a hill-tribe family in Ahka village, Absolute Travel has drawn from its nearly 20 years of experience in Thailand to craft this itinerary full of interaction with local people. Absolute Travel: “Family Vacation, Thailand,” 14 days; $5,980.
CULTURAL FAMILY TOURS:
China: Through the Back Door
With itineraries custom-tailored to families, A Bridge to China’s new venture shows you the country through the eyes of its people. Make a kite with a fourth-generation kite maker in Beijing, shoot down a bobsled course at the Great Wall, meet with an Aka shaman, and behold the spectacular hair dance of the Da Wa, a tribe who were considered headhunters up until the mid-20th century. A Bridge to China: “Immersion with the Tribes of the Aini and Wa; Beijing to Simao, Yunnan,” 13 days; $6,850.
CLASSIC FAMILY TOURS:
- Nat Geo Expeditions
After tours of New Delhi and Agra, the real fun begins, for kids that is, with a visit to a bear sanctuary, home to some 350 bears who have been rescued from poachers, traders and dancers. Other kid-centric highlights include an elephant village near the ancient capital of Amber Fort where you can feed the residents and maybe even get a ride; an overnight at a Rajasthani village for camel riding, henna painting, and turban-tying; and a spin aboard the Shimla Toy Train, where you can see the Himalaya peeking through the mist. Greaves Tours: “Family India,” spring, summer; 12 days; $6,125;
East Africa for Kids
A warm welcome to the family home of the outfitters’ founders outside Nairobi sets the tone for this extravagant safari with an emphasis on activities for tots and teens. From Lake Naivasha to the Maasai Mara to the Serengeti, kids make traditional crafts, such as Samburu-style beaded necklaces and masks, track game animals through footprints and scat, check out Swahili pop music, make their own bow and arrow, and maybe even play a game of soccer with new friends during a visit to an orphanage in Mukuru. Micato Safaris: The Family to Family Safari, Kenya and Tanzania,” 15 days; $8,350.
Photo: Lofoten Nordic Adventure Tour, courtesy Crossing Latitudes