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Family holidays that won't send you (or the kids) around the bend

November 28, 2019

Family holidays can be a bit of a lottery.

Just how do you keep everyone happy? What's great for the kids, might not work for the grown-ups. And teens—well, that's tricky territory for just about any family.

Image: Spencer Travel Southside’s Jess Minton and family in Fiji.Image: Spencer Travel Southside’s Jess Minton and family in Fiji.

To find out how the professionals do it, we asked some ATAS accredited travel agents for their tips and personal experiences with brilliant family holidays. Their responses ranged from the ski slopes of Canada, to the beaches of Bali and self-drive boating holidays in Europe.

Keep reading for recommendations from some of the best Australian travel agents in the business. ATAS-accredited travel professionals - experience you can trust.
Image: Kids having a ball at Club Med Nusa Dua Bali. Credit: Club Med.

Image: Kids having a ball at Club Med Nusa Dua Bali. Credit: Club Med.

When did you last 'Club Med'?

Allira Middlebrook, Travel Advisor at ATAS accredited Weston Cruise & Travel recently stayed at Club Med Nusa Dua in Bali, and it was a multi-generational affair.

"The trip was for my 40th birthday and our 11th wedding anniversary. We brought along my parents, my sister and her boyfriend, my husband and our two children aged 5 and 8. It was a truly amazing family holiday!", says Allira.
 Image: Club Med Nusa Dua Bali. Credit: Club Med.

Image: Club Med Nusa Dua Bali. Credit: Club Med.

By the sound of it, the Club Med holiday 'recipe' made Allira's break a breeze.

"I think it's the easiest and most fun holiday you can have. You can do as much or as little as you like—without or without the kids. Your holiday starts the moment you arrive," adds Allira.

Image: Club Med Nusa Dua Bali. Credit: Club Med.Image: Club Med Nusa Dua Bali. Credit: Club Med.

Another plus was the 'no need to get your wallet out' joy of Club Med's all-inclusive experience. "Meals, drinks, bar, snacks and free-flowing milkshakes, juices and babycinos for the kids...happy days," she says.

Kids of all ages are well looked after with a focus on fun, education and variety that includes a trapeze. And for the grown-ups? Chill-out options include sunset and sunrise yoga, a day spa for Balinese massages and beauty treatments, and an adults only Zen pool.

Allira found the sensible approach to accommodating families refreshing too.

"Club Med's interconnecting rooms with two bathrooms are ideal for families. And the balconies provide the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy the sunset and lush tropical garden surrounds," she says.

Image: Club Med Nusa Dua Bali. Credit: Club Med.

Image: Club Med Nusa Dua Bali. Credit: Club Med.

Giselle Pennington, ATAS accredited Personal Travel Specialist at Sydney's Spencer Travel Southside is another Club Med fan.

"What better way to stop, flop and drop with my busy family than an escape to Club Med Bintan Island?", quips Giselle. The Indonesian resort is typically accessed by a short ferry ride from Singapore.

Image: Club Med Bintan. Credit: Club Med.Image: Club Med Bintan. Credit: Club Med.

"Bintan has the loveliest white sand and clear, calm water. It was just so gorgeous and inviting. Our boys—15, 13 and 11—took to the place like ducks to water, meeting new international friends in the Teen Club. It was Mum-and-Dad heaven!" she says.

"Club Med for us is a one-stop-shop with almost no hand-in-pocket expenses. Our boys love to eat so this was a godsend and, for the adults, the cocktails available in the all-inclusive alcohol package were a heavenly way to unwind," adds Giselle.

Image: Giselle’s family making the most of their time in Bintan. Credit: Giselle Pennington.

Image: Giselle’s family making the most of their time in Bintan. Credit: Giselle Pennington.

With everything from the high-energy circus trapeze, to relaxing family snorkelling trips on offer, Giselle's Club Med experience ticked a lot of boxes and ensured a family reconnected. They're hooked, and already looking for their next Club Med destination.

Giselle's Spencer Travel Southside colleague, Jess Minton, recently took off on her own multi-generational holiday to Fiji.

"There were 11 of us! A mixture of great grandparents, grandparents, my family and my sister's family. Our party also included three kids aged 4, 2 and 1. We really had to get the destination right to keep everyone happy," says Jess.

Image: Malolo Island Resort. Credit: Malolo Island Resort Fiji.

Image: Malolo Island Resort. Credit: Malolo Island Resort Fiji.

Jess and her significant entourage chose Malolo Island Resort Fiji. Why Fiji?

Jess makes the good point that being just 4-hours flying time from Australia's east coast, getting to Fiji is pretty painless when travelling with little ones.

"Malolo catered for everyone perfectly. There were enough activities to entertain the older 'boys', quiet areas perfect for a bit of rest and relaxation for the older folk, and a fantastic kids club with nannies ready to welcome the kids in with open arms! The kids just loved it," adds Jess.
Image: The proof is in the happy-kids pudding. Credit: Jess Minton Image: The proof is in the happy-kids pudding. Credit: Jess Minton.

Jess found Malolo the perfect fit for a holiday like this. "The resort is really well set up for multi-gen holidays offering lots of choices of accommodation including larger family bures that sleep up to seven. But there are also much more private adults-only bures in the quietest part of the island that are perfect for grandparents to escape the noise when they need to!", she notes.

Image: Malolo Island Resort Fiji. Credit: Jess Minton.

Image: Malolo Island Resort Fiji. Credit: Jess Minton.

But what if you're not a flop-and-drop, all-inclusive resort kind of family?

Anna McMurtrie, Managing Director of ATAS accredited Wentworth Travel in Sydney, fancies hitting the slopes with her mob.

"I love a family ski holiday. Everyone is active, and you can ski together as much or as little as you like—our kids always love their time at ski school," she explains.

Image credit: Victoria Borodinova from Pexels.

Image credit: Victoria Borodinova from Pexels.

But there's more to it than just that.

"The kids practice their social skills in ski school, on lifts, in the pool and at après-ski. And you can immerse yourself in the local culture, depending on the destination you choose," adds Anna. Her favourite family ski holiday destination?

"My favourite would be Whistler Blackcomb in Canada. They accommodate families so well as do most North American ski resorts. Recommended!", she says.

Image: Family on the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb. Credit: www.whistlerblackcomb.com.Image: Family on the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb. Credit: www.whistlerblackcomb.com.

Barry Downs, Sales & Marketing Manager at ATAS accredited Bicton Travel in East Fremantle recommends an altogether different type of holiday: self-drive boating on the Venice lagoon.

"We were a multi-generational group of six adults and four kids from 3 to 60 years of age spanning three generations from all over the world. Exploring the islands of Venice and the wider Venice Lagoon aboard our own 'Le Boat' was an experience this family will never forget," says Barry.

Their home away from home was a 10-berth 'Magnifique' vessel.

"Having flown into Venice, we headed to the Le Boat base in Casale. After a safety briefing, the team helped us navigate for the first hour out of the marina before leaving us to sail solo for five incredible nights," he explains.

Image: Barry Downs and family aboard their Le Boat. Credit: Barry Downs.

Barry Downs and family aboard their Le Boat. Credit: Barry Downs. 

Even though they were sailing solo, did they ever feel lost or all at sea?

"The Le Boat team helps you plan your route to avoid the high traffic areas and point out all of the free moorings available, good restaurants, markets and supermarkets to stock up on the essentials at the various locations. Two years later the kids are still asking when can we do a Le Boat holiday again," he says.

Barry’s next Le Boat adventure? Canal du Midi, France. Credit: Le Boat. Barry’s next Le Boat adventure? Canal du Midi, France. Credit: Le Boat.

Whether you're planning a quick weekend away with your nearest and dearest, or a multi-generational special occasion chat to your favourite ATAS-accredited travel professional - experience you can trust.

Looking for more insights from ATAS-accredited travel agents? Try these on for size: Festivals around the world in 2020; Unveiling the island of Madagascar; and Glamping - What's it all about?

Categories - Leisure Travel Family & Theme Parks Travelling with Kids

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