The 20 best family holidays abroad for 2022

·18-min read
best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer sunshine multi activity small friendly sunshine outdoor weekend breaks - Thomas Barwick/Stone RF
best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer sunshine multi activity small friendly sunshine outdoor weekend breaks - Thomas Barwick/Stone RF

How quickly we forget. Not so long ago, at the start of the year, we were wondering if it was too risky to take a punt on Spain for a summer holiday. Now friends are returning from Florida and Nevis with suntans and talking about imminent trips to Mexico, the Seychelles, even Australia. So with the red list but a distant memory, and the whole world at our feet again, the big question is: where first?

All this freedom, all this choice – it’s almost too much. The possibilities are limitless. Once again, all that colour and vitality, all those unfamiliar flavours and mind-expanding cultures. Empty red deserts and the deep blue sea; the fragrance of the far-flung; the untethered remoteness of islands. The heat and dust and remarkable wildlife encounters of Africa. North America, that drama queen of a continent, beckons with its supersized and diverse landscapes; Italy, our eternal amore, proves that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Perhaps the destination does not matter so much as how we travel, and what we do when we’re there. Nothing feels more precious right now than finding those unique experiences with which travel can present us, which our children can gather and treasure – experiences to make them think, give them stories to tell, teach them new tricks, deepen their understanding of our planet, and broaden their horizons, so severely restricted of late.

Two years is a very long time to a child. After playing it safe the past two summers with holidays close to home, it feels as though in 2022 the kids, particularly, deserve something a bit more enriching and extraordinary than a run-of-the-mill beach break now that the world lies open before us once more.

We’ll always have the Shires – but the time has come to strike out for distant lands, push for adventures in the great beyond. Our return to travel should be triumphant, ambitious, as well as responsible. A glorious reunion with this big, wide, endlessly extraordinary world.

Best family holidays abroad

1. Make history in Egypt

For: teens

Even kids who think history is boring will make an exception for Ancient Egypt (“he did WHAT with his sister?”), and 2022 is a prime year to visit the country and bring the legends to life. This November – a century after Egyptologist Howard Carter chiselled his way into Tutankhamen’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings – the Grand Egyptian Museum is set to finally open in Giza. Black Tomato’s new “Unearth the Secrets of Saqqara” Field Trip digs deeper: teenagers (16+) join a real archaeological excavation in the tombs of pharaohs at the Unesco-listed necropolis.

egypt best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Shutterstock
egypt best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Shutterstock

How to do it: Black Tomato (020 7426 9888; blacktomato.com) offers a six-night Ultimate Egypt trip from £4,315pp, including Saqqara Field Trip, excluding flights

Entry requirements? Full vaccination or a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken up to 72 hours before arrival (under-12s exempt).

2. Canadian cool

For: everyone from tweens to gramps

This is surely one of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes: gargantuan forests harbouring wolves and bears, rugged peaks reflected in waters alive with humpbacks, orca and dolphins, wilderness mostly untouched, save a few rustic-lux lodges. Klahoose Wilderness Resort is the latest: owned by Klahoose First Nation, its guides share both wildlife and cultural secrets, telling stories passed down through generations. Take a cabin or commandeer the place.

canada best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Klahoose Wilderness Resort
canada best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Klahoose Wilderness Resort

How to do it: Klahoose Wilderness Resort (00 1 250 935 8539; klahooseresort.com) offers three-night Discover Klahoose packages, staying in two-bedroom cabins, from around £1,830pp all-inclusive, including activities; or book a package with Discover the World (01737 214251; discover-the-world.com).

Entry requirements? Full vaccination required for adults, and pre-travel ArriveCAN health form. Unvaccinated children over five must show proof of a negative rapid antigen test taken no more than 24 hours before flight. No vaccination required for under-fives. Arrivals may be randomly tested at the airport.

3. Neapolitan mini grand tour

For: all ages and groups

Sleepy Procida, barely two square miles, has been named Italy’s Capital of Culture in 2022, its pastel-painted streets – backdrop for Il Postino – alive with cultural events. Make it part of a Bay of Naples jaunt that includes catching supper with fishermen (foraday.it), Ischia’s beaches and thermal pools, underground skulls in Naples, and lava tales at Pompeii and Vesuvius.

How to do it: Yescapa (yescapa.co.uk) offers campervans from £566 a week in Naples. Spectacular new Villa Ischia has six bedrooms and gardens down to the sea, from £12,545 a week (020 7586 5342; theluxurytravelbook.com).

Entry requirements? All travellers aged six and over must be fully vaccinated or supply either evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before entry, a negative rapid lateral flow test taken within the 48 hours or a covid recovery certificate.

4. Sri Lanka made even easier

For: tweens and up

Sri Lanka’s blend of easygoing culture and natural beauty appeals for an accessible taste of the faraway. It’s great for kids – less hectic than India but still colourful, with friendly people and delicious food; it has leopards and elephants in its national parks, langurs and loris in its rainforests, sandy beaches and breakers to surf, heritage fort towns and peaceful temples. Wild Frontiers’ new 11-day Sri Lanka Family Adventure reveals the island by catamaran, canoe and on foot, from tea plantations to coast.

sri lanka best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Getty
sri lanka best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Getty

How to do it: Wild Frontiers (020 8741 7390; wildfrontierstravel.com) offers 11 nights from £1,240pp

Entry requirements? No test required for vaccinated travellers. Unvaccinated travellers aged 12+ will need to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of embarkation or Rapid Antigen Test taken within 48 hours before embarkation. No restrictions for children under 12 or partly-vaccinated children aged 12–18. Online pre-travel health registration form and Covid-19 travel insurance required. Accommodation restrictions apply for the unvaccinated.

5. Portugal's untamed coast

For: tots, tweens and groups

A rustic alternative to the Algarve is Comporta, which the Portuguese would rather keep secret. With its long beaches and paddy fields it feels remote, though Lisbon’s only an hour away. Days are spent horse riding, birdwatching, sailing and surfing among bottlenose dolphins. There’s little development, no nightlife and few hotels – the thing to do here is rent a house, which is why it’s ideal for families.

portugal best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Cavalos na Areia, Comporta
portugal best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Cavalos na Areia, Comporta

How to do it: New pool villa Pego Paradise has five bedrooms with private terraces and sleeps 14, from £7,905 a week (020 7586 5342; theluxurytravelbook.com). Or try the villas at eco-chic Sublime hotel (00 351 269 449 376; sublimecomporta.pt), which can arrange experiences

Entry requirements? Full vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival (under-12s exempt).

6. New Orleans and Deep South by Road

For: teens

Music makes a comeback in New Orleans with a blare of trumpets this year. Rebuilt once again, after Hurricane Ida, the Big Easy will get spangled up with the return of Mardi Gras. Carnival season will run over February half term, and a year packed with festivals will bring musicians to the streets of the French Quarter. Between Creole feasts, join gator-spotting swamp trips, delve into voodoo, and take Black History walking tours to engage and enlighten teens.

How to do it: Abercrombie & Kent (abercrombiekent.co.uk) offers The Iconic Deep South nine-night self-drive tour, also taking in Nashville and Memphis, from £5,275pp

Entry requirements? Proof of full vaccination, plus negative PCR or lateral flow test taken no more than 24 hours before travel. Testing may be required with 3–5 days of arrival unless you have proof of recovery. Unvaccinated children aged 2–17 require a negative Covid test taken up to 1 day before travel.

7. Botswana Bushcraft

For: teen-and-parent eco warriors

This year Africa luxury travel specialist &Beyond launches Wildchild Eco-guide Challenges, conservation-focused trips designed to engage, educate and inspire 14- to 18-year-olds and parents travelling together. The small-group journeys layer hands-on experiences with game drives in some of Africa’s most amazing locations. In Botswana’s Okavango Delta, for example (best visited later in the year), teens might learn Bushman skills, tracking and fishing, and assist in the conservation of rhinos, wild dogs and baobab trees.

Botswana best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Kichwa Tembo
Botswana best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Kichwa Tembo

How to do it: Four nights at &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, from October 22-26, costs from £2,500 per child/£4,970 per adult (00 27 11 809 4300; andbeyond.com)

Entry requirements? Full vaccination, or proof of negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before date of travel and possible PCR test on arrival at traveller’s own expense. Under 12s exempt.

8. All-action Azores

For: all ages and groups

The natural adventure playground of the Azores gets closer this summer when British Airways launches additional routes to Sào Miguel and Terceira. The archipelago – the first in the world to be EarthCheck-certified sustainable – does a good line in rustic-chic eco-lodges, such as Benedita Branco’s Lava Homes on Pico island. Recently she opened Adega do Fogo, a luxury six-bedroom house on a vineyard, with a Balinese-style pool deck overlooking the volcano. Aimed at families, stays here are all-action; the host can arrange mountain hikes, bike rides, live music, fishing trips, diving and whale-watching.

How to do it: Adega do Fogo (00 351 960469255; eng.adegadofogo.com) offers three nights from £5,000 for 12 people

Entry requirements? Full vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival (under-12s exempt).

9. Indian Ocean Immersion

For: children aged over six

Once a honeymoon fly-and-flop spot, the Maldives has moved on, with many resorts pioneering marine conservation initiatives with which guests of any age can get involved. Six Senses Laamu runs a Junior Marine Biology programme for six- to 16-year-olds, joining marine biologists researching turtles or restoring coral, while families can dive and plant corals together. At Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani, an inhouse academy offers courses studying the night sky, marine life, or ocean navigation and tides for children aged over 12.

maldives best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer
maldives best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer

How to do it: Scott Dunn (020 3553 6900; scottdunn.com) can arrange holidays and programmes at all three resorts

Entry requirements? No restrictions or testing required, even for unvaccinated travellers.

10. Ranch life in Croatia

For: tweens and up

Exhilarating rides, open country, big skies… a ranch holiday is just the ticket for broadening horizons, and Montana is high on the wishlist for 2022. But there’s a working guest ranch closer to home, though just as remote: Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch, in Croatia’s Velebit mountains biosphere reserve. This sustainable wilderness retreat is brilliant for families; as well as riding there’s canoeing and caving, animal tracking and archery, wagon rides and more. At night, storytelling around the campfire, music, dancing, and sleeping in tipis.

How to do it: Earth Changers (0330 2232 784; earth-changers.com) offers three nights from £317 per child/£667 per adult

Entry requirements? Full vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival (under-12s exempt).

11. World wonders in Jordan

For: young families and solo children/parents

The Cambridges chose Jordan for a recent family holiday, putting it back in the spotlight for 2022. It offers mystique and adventure, but is easy enough even for those with young kids (not least the very doable five-hour flight), combining wonders such as Petra with colourful but safe thrills: camel trekking, Red Sea snorkelling, Dead Sea floating, and sleeping in Bedouin camps.

Jordan best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Shutterstock
Jordan best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Shutterstock

How to do it: Families Worldwide (01962 302062; familiesworldwide.co.uk) offers a new seven-night Arabian Adventure (bespoke or small-group tour) from £1,895pp for adults/£1,645 children, excluding flights

Entry requirements? No restrictions or testing required, even for unvaccinated travellers.

12. A blue cruise

For: older kids and multigen groups

Exiled poet Cevat Şakir made the Blue Cruise – a gulet voyage along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast – fashionable among the Istanbul cognoscenti in the Sixties. In 2022 it’s particularly fashionable with Brits, too; Turkey is great value, easy to reach, and a sailing charter makes a dream bubble holiday that still allows for exploration – seeking out pine-forested bays, uninhabited islets, shoreside tavernas, and underwater remains of ancient civilisations.

Turkey best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Alamy
Turkey best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Alamy

How to do it: Red Savannah (01242 787800; redsavannah.com) has several beautiful gulets for charter, sleeping up to 20; while Blue Cruise (020 8968 7770; bluecruise.co.uk) offers affordable shared cruises

Entry requirements? Entry without testing for the fully vaccinated and under-12s; via PCR or antigen test, or proof of recovery, for others. Online form (register.health.gov.tr).

13. Become a jedi master in Florida

For: children aged over seven

An out-of-this-world experiential adventure launches this March in Florida: a two-night “voyage” aboard the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Launch Pods transport kids and parents from Disney World through hyperspace to the Starcruiser, an immersive space where they will meet and work with Star Wars characters, take the ship’s controls, learn to use lightsabers, join missions and sleep in a cabin looking out at galaxies far, far away.

How to do it: Disney World (disneyworld.co.uk) offers 14-night Galaxy’s Edge Package from £932pp, including accommodation and Disney 14-Day Magic Ticket.

Entry requirements? Proof of full vaccination, plus negative PCR or lateral flow test taken no more than one day before travel. Testing may be required with three to five days of arrival unless you have proof of recovery. Unvaccinated children aged 2–17 require a negative Covid test taken up to 1 day before travel.

14. Anchors aweigh in Anchorage

For: solo parents and children aged over seven

National Geographic has teamed up with G Adventures to create a series of Family Journeys. The small-group trips are designed to give young travellers meaningful encounters, and learn something while they’re at it – with like-minded company for parents/kids travelling solo. Destinations for 2022 include Alaska, where children can earn junior ranger badges while making unforgettable memories: dogsledding across a glacier, watching whales breach, and going on a bear hunt.

How to do it: G Adventures (0344 272 2080; gadventures.com) offers a nine-day Alaska Family Journey from £3,599pp for adults and £3,449 for children.

Entry requirements? Proof of full vaccination, plus negative PCR or lateral flow test taken no more than 24 hours before travel. Testing may be required with 3–5 days of arrival unless you have proof of recovery. Unvaccinated children aged 2–17 require a negative Covid test taken up to 1 day before travel.

15. France on two wheels

For: teens

Amateur cyclists can conquer Normandy this year on the new Seine-side cycle route: La Seine à Vélo, winding 270 painterly miles from Paris to the sea. Starting from Notre-Dame, the route takes you along the city’s hip Canal Saint-Martin quarter and the Seine’s old towpaths, via Renoir’s immortalised terrace on the Ile des Impressionnistes. On, past barges, timber-frame houses, orchards. This is impressionism country: at Giverny you’ll see Monet’s house; later medieval Rouen and, at the coast, picturesque Honfleur.

france best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - David Darrault
france best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - David Darrault

How to do it: Plan your journey at laseineavelo.com

Entry requirements? Proof of vaccination for ages 12 and over; or a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours or antigen test taken within 48 hours of travel. Under 12s exempt.

16. Glamp America

For: tots to teens

As with so many things, Americans go large on glamping. AutoCamp – whose lux-kitted Airstreams are 31 feet long and sleep four – opened new sites recently in two beloved US locations, beach-classic Cape Cod in 2021, and otherworldly-desert Joshua Tree. These camps are about all-American outdoorsiness: smores and folk tales around the campfire, barbecue cook-outs, movie nights and creative workshops, and inventive activities from leaf peeping paddleboard tours to fat biking through cranberry bogs.

How to do it: AutoCamp (autocamp.com) offers Airstreams from £100 per night

Entry requirements? Proof of full vaccination, plus negative PCR or lateral flow test taken no more than 24 hours before travel. Testing may be required with 3–5 days of arrival unless you have proof of recovery. Unvaccinated children aged 2–17 require a negative Covid test taken up to 1 day before travel.

17. So Dam cool

For: all ages

The Unbound is the hip weekender for young Amsterdam families: a scattering of black-timber cabins in a green suburb 30 minutes’ cycle from Centraal station. While not billed as ‘family-friendly’ (which for many adds to the appeal), this being Holland it’s entirely inclusive, with menus for kids and dogs. Families can put up at the five-berth Lighthouse or the two-storey Barn, both with hot tubs; or at nearby Freelodge Village in seven stilted two-bed cabins. Parents appreciate the barrel sauna and restaurant helmed by acclaimed chefs; children love the outdoor theatre, playground, pond and canoes.

amsterdam best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer
amsterdam best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer

How to do it: Freelodge cabins from £100 a night, unbound-amsterdam.com

Entry requirements? Full vaccination or proof of recovery. Under-18s exempt when travelling with vaccinated parent/guardian.

18. Costa Rica surf

For: tots to teens

Costa Rica is an ecotourism champion. It’s also safe, easy and just the ticket for families seeking wildlife and jungle adventures, with a slew of new tours. Alternatively, you could take two weeks to get to know one place well, surfing the beach towns of its breathtaking Pacific Coast, such as Santa Teresa and Nosara, and the less-visited Osa Peninsula. In Nosara, Olas Verdes is a chic eco-lodge where guests can surf, ride, take nature tours and help with rewilding efforts.

costa rica best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Alamy
costa rica best family holiday abroad foreign travel book 2022 summer - Alamy

How to do it: Family Surf Co (familysurfco.com) can arrange surf breaks for all ages and budgets, including Olas Verdes

Entry requirements? No restrictions or testing required, even for unvaccinated travellers.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

19. Delicious Mauritius

For: all ages

Mauritius has reopened to Britons in time for Lux* Grand Baie, which has thrown open its doors on a lagoon at the island’s north tip. For all its smart Kelly Hoppen interiors, it’s well set up for families – various pool villas and residences have multiple bedrooms. The kids’ club has imaginative experiences and activities (ice cream-making, junior yoga, gardening), while teens get DJ decks and vintage arcade games; plus windsurfing and paddle board lessons.

How to do it: Lux* Grand Bai (00 230 209 2200; luxresorts.com) offers Pool Residences sleeping four from £350

Entry requirements? Full vaccination or proof of recovery; or unvaccinated travellers must take a Covid test on arrival and isolate for seven days in accommodation of their choice. Under 18s must take a test on arrival. Covid insurance mandatory for all travellers.

20. Secret Cyclades

For: multigen groups

The little-known Cycladic island of Antiparos is a Hydra for our times. Arty bohemians drink ouzo alongside local fishermen and the very famous (Bruce Springsteen, Matthew McConaughey, Madonna), unfettered by crowds. Tom Hanks has a house – but if you aren’t friends you can rent your own. Try The Thinking Traveller’s understatedly lovely Kairos, which has five bedrooms, pool overlooking the sea, and shady outdoor kitching and dining space. Or for a showstopper of a property, Greek Villas’ new eight-bedroom Hampton has a dramatic terrace and infinity pool overlooking the Chora and the sea below, with a concierge who can work all kinds of magic: horse riding in the sea, Greek cookery lessons, cruises around the Aegean, kite-surfing and SUP yoga.

How to do it: Kairos sleeps 10 from £8,000 a week (00 20 8131 5867; thethinkingtraveller.com). Hampton sleeps 16 from around £20,835 a week (00 203 286 5400; thegreekvillas.com)

Entry requirements? Unvaccinated over-fives must show either a certificate of covid recovery, a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before arrival or a rapid antigen test taken up to 24 hours before arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers do not need to test.

Reader Service: Planning to travel with your family? Purchasing family travel insurance can help you get great cover for your trip.

This guide is kept updated with the latest information.

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