Where will 2019 take you and your family? We asked a few of our favorite family travel bloggers to give us their picks for the hottest travel destinations 2019. Each of these destinations offers one-of-a-kind, kid-friendly experiences. They also focus on sustainable tourism practices and giving back. The result? Transformational trips your whole family can get behind.
Here are their top 10 vacation destinations for meaningful family adventures in 2019.
Christa Jimenez, Pura Vida Moms
Costa Rica is one of our top family travel destinations for 2019. Because family travel is the norm in Costa Rican culture, you will love multigenerational travel in Costa Rica. From hotels with cribs and childcare to restaurants with awesome kid’s menus and high chairs, and even playgrounds at many parks, beaches, and hot springs, traveling with kids is super easy.
Add in a commitment to sustainability — the country is the fastest moving towards carbon neutrality in the world – and you’ve got a great spot for family adventure travel. And did we mention that Costa Rica has no army? That’s right. It’s a completely neutral country that abolished its army in favor of education, making it one of the safest countries in Latin America for families. Don’t forget that you can drink the water everywhere, too. What are you waiting for? Check out our favorite family beaches in Costa Rica and get ready to experience the Pura Vida life!
(Learn more about Our Whole Village’s 8-day Costa Rica Adventure, a mixture of authentic, sustainable cultural immersion and kid-friendly adventure.)
Kirsten Maxwell, Kids Are A Trip
I think 2019 will be the year that Puerto Rico is once again a popular destination for traveling families. After the destruction of Hurricane Maria, the people of the island have come together to rebuild and create a destination that is putting an emphasis on sustainability and ecotourism. Puerto Rico has established a Green Certification program for hotels and a Blue Flag program for beaches, as well as many other Sustainable Tourism programs for businesses.
Families will enjoy exploring Old San Juan, walking the city’s blue cobblestone streets, and wandering through the Spanish fortresses. If families want to learn about the native Taíno culture, they can take a hike to Cueva Ventana in Arecibo to see the indigenous cave paintings. For an unforgettable experience, head out to Vieques to see the glowing dinoflagellates of the bioluminescent bay.
And, of course, what family doesn’t want to enjoy the beautiful crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea? So, do yourself a favor, and book a trip to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. They’re ready to welcome you with open arms.
Karilyn Owen, No Back Home
Hidden away in between Central America’s tourist hotspots is one of the regions best destinations for transformative travel — Guatemala.
Guatemala offers family travelers everything from beautiful naturescapes to opportunities to delve into the local culture. Try your hand at cooking traditional dishes in the colonial UNESCO heritage town of Antigua, learn about Guatemalan backstrap weaving on Lake Atitlan, or climb Mayan ruins at Tikal. For those into nature, you will never forget roasting marshmallows on an active volcano or kayaking through placid lakes in the jungle.
If you need a little more focus for your trip, sign up for family Spanish lessons at one of the many schools scattered around the country.
Guatemala offers visitors history, culture and some of the nicest people in the world in a beautiful setting and at a great price!
Keryn Means, Walking On Travels
A trip up the Rio Negro in the Brazilian Amazon will transform the way you think about a vacation with your kids. Not only will you disconnect from the outside world, but you will connect with your children through nature, new foods, and learning about the local communities who call the Amazon rainforest their home.
Our Whole Village made it so easy for my son and I to arrive in Manaus, Brazil, and start an adventure in a new country (and new hemisphere!). Patricia and her team had a driver waiting to bring us to our hotel, and then cars to bring us to the boat the following day. The crew on our ship, the Jacaré-Açu, was warm and welcoming, making it easy for me to just focus on reconnecting with my son during our cruise up the river into the unknown.
The fact that this company hires their staff from the local community, gives back to the villages in the remote parts of the Amazon through the Almerinda Malaquias Foundation (FAM) by providing teachers and school supplies, and teaching environmental education and woodcraft, is just icing on the cake.
Katja Gaskell, Globetotting
Iceland was one of the last places we travelled to as a family in 2018 but definitely ranked as one of our favourites. The land of fire and ice has been in the travel spotlight for a while now, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a beautiful country filled with wonderful wildlife, stunning scenery, magnificent lagoons and plenty of family adventure.
If it’s your first time to Iceland, then a day in Reykjavik is a must. The country’s capital is an easy place to explore with kids with plenty to see and do including some fun interactive museums and a picturesque seafront for running along. Second on the list is a self-drive tour of Iceland’s famed Golden Circle, taking in the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, the great Geyser, the fascinating Thingvellir National Park and the steaming waters of the Secret Lagoon. And, of course, if you’re visiting Iceland then you must visit the Blue Lagoon, one of the most visited attractions in Iceland and named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World.
If you have longer in Iceland, then the opportunities are endless: walk through an ice cave, visit islands populated only by puffins, watch icebergs drift slowly by, marvel at the northern lights and much, much more. If you’re debating where to travel in 2019, make sure Iceland is top of your list.
Melynda Harrison, Traveling Mel
Slovenia is one of my favorite countries to visit, and I think it should top every family’s wish list for 2019. “Europe’s Greenest Capital,” Ljubljana is filled with family-friendly opportunities. My kids loved getting mixed up in the Museum of Illusions and swinging outside the medieval castle overlooking the city. We drank hot cocoa with kitties at the Cat Caffé and wandered the cobblestone streets (pedestrian only!) looking for dragons.
Since Slovenia is such a tiny country — smaller than our home state of Montana, even smaller than New Jersey! — it’s easy to access its wilder spots, and there are a lot of them since 60% of the country is covered in forest. Slovenia is known for their caves and mountains, and we took advantage of those open spaces. We crawled through the underground in Postojna Cave, ice skated on Lake Bled, and snowshoed in the Julian Alps.
In 2018, National Geographic called Slovenia “the world’s most sustainable country.” As we travel with our kids, we try to show them how we can be good visitors and minimize our negative impact on the places we visit. Slovenia makes it easy since they achieved 96 out of 100 detailed sustainability indicators (including environment and climate, culture and authenticity, nature and biodiversity, among others).
Victoria Westmacott, Far-Flung Lands
Think of Peru and no doubt images of the mysterious lost city of Machu Picchu will immediately spring to mind. This wonder of the world is Peru’s most famous attraction and rightly so, it’s a mind-blowing archaeological masterpiece shrouded in mystery and legend….and llamas!
What I hadn’t appreciated until we arrived in Peru, however, was just how much else there is to see and do besides visiting the magical lost city. Nor had I expected the actual journey to Machu Picchu to be so interesting, so spellbinding or quite so beautiful.
Away from archaeological wonders of the Incas, kids can marvel at the mythical Nazca Lines, learn about the incredible flora and fauna of the Amazon jungle, go white water rafting along the Urubamba River, visit the indigenous peoples of Lake Titicaca, discover the characterful city of Cusco and much more.
(Check out this 11-day Peru Family Adventure, a mixture of history, culture, wildlife, and kid-friendly adventure.)
Amanda Ponzio-Mouttaki, Maroc Mama
Morocco is a fantastic family destination; and I’d argue you’ll have an even better time if you do travel the country with your children. Moroccans are all about family and will go out of their way to not only accommodate your family but make sure your children are having a great time.
The country has a lot to offer from its unique geographical landscapes that are perfect for the family that loves to get outdoors — think hiking, dune bashing, or even rock climbing! If you’re more interested in cities and culture, just walking through a Moroccan city conjures up images of the past.
While not prevalent yet, there are more and more homestays, which allow families the chance to stay with a Moroccan family and really get a feel for what it’s like to live in Morocco. There is something for every type of family in Morocco making it a good spot no matter what you want!
Lisa Grabelle, Hilton Mom Voyage & We Said Go Travel
The hospitality and exquisite beauty of Japan left us all wishing we had more than two weeks to explore the Land of the Rising Sun!
Tokyo is a kids’ playland! Time spent in the vibrant, hyper-organized, pulsing, historical, stylish, futuristic Tokyo oozes fun and excitement. Check out cosplay (costume play) cafes by visiting a kitschy maid cafe… Catch an entertaining ZENtertainment! show full of laughs and high-tech imagery… Eat your way through the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market… Take part in the Shibuya scramble rushing across the world’s busiest intersection… Attend a Japanese baseball game full of loud singing, fireworks, and so much more… Take one of the Omotenashi Nihonbashi Information Center’s food tours or origami classes… Spend a day in teen heaven — the pop-culture Takeshita Dori street in Harajuku… Hop on the sleek Yurikamome driverless train in Shimbashi (like a kiddie ride in itself) to futuristic Odaiba.
That is just the beginning!
Visit Kyoto’s engaging monkeys, mysterious geishas, karaoke parlors, samurai swordplay, and savor candied octopus on a stick. Check out Osaka’s foodie delights and family-friendly parks, Hiroshima’s moving museum, and Miyajima Island’s tranquil streets, gorgeous mountains, and the spectacular Itsukushima shrine.
Japan will enchant your entire family!
Julia Slatcher, Inspire World Travel
Families love Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches, excellent wildlife, delicious food, ancient ruins, and diverse cultures. After an elephant safari in Udawalawe National Park, you can visit the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, which fosters orphaned baby elephants until they can be re-released into the wild. It’s adorable to watch them come running for their milk! Choose wisely though, as there are other “elephant orphanages” that are not reputable.
Families will also love visiting local markets with their intoxicating spices and exotic fruits and vegetables, and cooking classes are fun, too. Don’t miss the alluring city of Kandy, where you can eat a delicious lunch at the Sthree Craft Shop and Cafe, an inspiring women’s cooperative that trains and employs local disadvantaged women and mentally impaired youth in hospitality. The profits help fund a safe house for abused women and children. Sthree also sells gorgeous crafts and clothing made by women entrepreneurs.
Need your kids to expend some energy? Hike up to the ruins of a 5th-century palace on top of stunning Sigiriya (Lion Rock) or up to Little Adam’s Peak in the gorgeous hills near Ella. Sri Lanka will stay with you forever.
Hottest Travel Destinations 2019 for Families on the Go
Which of the hottest travel destinations 2019 has captured your imagination? From the kid-friendly ease and adventure of Costa Rica to the ancient ruins and diverse cultures of Sri Lanka, 2019 will be filled with family-friendly adventures, one-of-a-kind experiences, and tourism that’s sustainable and gives back to local communities and economies. Where will 2019 take you?
At Our Whole Village, we create transformational trips for curious families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and its cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for adventure-seeking families just like yours.