I have a bucket list of dream destinations just like everyone else. While I love traveling with kids, some vacations are just more practical (and enjoyable!) with adults only, and others simply feel too daunting with young children in tow. You will never have enough time or money so if you get the chance to travel before kids, do it. Here’s our list of places to go before you have kids.
Now that my children are school-aged, I look forward to the day they can accompany me to these places to travel as young adults, but in the meantime, the following destinations remain on my ‘I wish I’d visited before I had kids’ list.
Top 10 places to go before you have kids
1. Southeast Africa: I’ve long wanted to tour the National Parks of Africa, including Swaziland National Park and Kruger National Park. Eco-friendly safari lodges are on the rise, and the beauty of this part of the world should not be underestimated. Our itinerary for three months in Eastern and Southern Africa offers all this and more, including stints in Tazania and Dar es Salaam.
2. India and Tibet: These countries intimidate me, and I think I’d be more likely to bring my kids here if I felt more familiar with them. As I feel in all countries with cultures vastly different to mine, I’d love to take the time to travel in a way which allows me to get to know the people and customs; a quick tour just won’t cut it. Plus, in Tibet, travelers can eat some of the world’s healthiest foods.
3. New Zealand: Can you say extreme sports? I cannot wait to bring my children to New Zealand, especially when they’re grown (and twice as daring as I am). With a love for the outdoors and adventure, I know I’ll embrace New Zealand’s North Island especially. Plus, who doesn’t want to see the land of Lord of the Rings?
4. Peru: Volunteering abroad is something I’ve always wanted to do, and should have taken the time for while in college. While volunteerism programs for families do exist, there is more opportunity for solo travelers. Peru is a land of rich culture, natural beauty, anthropology, ample volunteer opportunities, and history to explore.
5. Western Europe: While my husband and I did have at the chance to travel through Europe before having kids, we didn’t stay as long as we’d have liked, and extended travel with kids is very challenging. I wish we’d taken the time to travel through France by rail or Scotland by barge.
6. Vietnam and Cambodia: Given the benefits of traveling by tour operator through much of Asia, I wish I had crossed these diverse countries off my list while it was cheaper to do so! When the kids are grown, I may embark on a women’s only tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. After all, the six hour bus ride to see Siem Reap is not one I want to experience with kids.
7. Australia: Australia is a country (and a continent!) I’d like to tour with kids; however, I’d leave the cross-country Outback journey to a trip sans children. While I’d love to cross the Outback by rail from the east coast of Australia to Perth, it might be a long journey with kids along.
8.Brazil: I’m not saying I need to go during Carnival, but Rio de Janeiro is a destination I’d love to explore without kids. There are few destination where city and beach living merge to form the perfect adult getaway.
9. Alaska: Yes, Alaska is easily accessible with kids, but given the vastness of this state, and the depth of outdoor excursions, I wish I had given it a ‘dry run’ before planning a trip to Alaska with kids as my only experience there pre-kids was on an Alaskan cruise with stops at multiple ports. A pre-kids Alaska itinerary would have included Denali National Park, but also glacier viewing from a bush plane over Talkeetna. My fourth grader has experienced Denali National Park in his classroom as his teacher arranged for his class to Skype with a park ranger there. It looks like a trip to visit Anchorage (where our friends recently moved) and Denali National Park may be in our near future!
10. Greece: I feel relaxed just thinking about Greece: the food, the sunshine, the beauty of the whitewashed architecture… all things to be savored before (or after) family vacations come into season. The city of Mykonos is all about late nights and leisurely mornings of sea, sun, and blue horizons. Sign me up!
Surely everyone has a wish-list of things we should have done and places to go before you have kids. What other destinations would you add to these places to go before you have kids? If you traveled extensively pre-kids, where did you go that was adult-friendly?