10 Trips for Incredible Family Bonding Time in 2018
Where will you go to bond with your family in 2018?
At Space In Your Case we feel very strongly that the main purpose of travelling with your family is to bring you together, take time away from the inevitable chaos of family life, resetting the agenda for your time together. Family bonding is hard to focus on in the 21st century, when individual schedules make for fragmented time together, often punctuated by meals on the run, and the multi-tasking that doesn’t allow for down time. Travel lifts everyone out of that day-to-day mindset, allowing you to really appreciate the people in your life, and enjoy rediscovering and learning about each other.
So for 2018 we asked some of our favourite family travel writers to tell us about the family holidays they’ve taken that have really helped them to reconnect with each other, and come home with a new shared mindset.
Travel inspiration for family bonding
A family road trip in Tennessee
A road trip is the perfect opportunity to bond with your family, according to Alice Langley, who writes about affordable travel at Project: Wanderlust. Alice says “Whenever we go on a road trip I feel we bond more as a family. Being in each place for only a few nights means none of us really make any connections outside of the family – so we spend our time just the four of us, and that always refreshes our relationships in the most wonderful way!”
A motorhome trip around Loch Lomond
Once you’ve got the bug, you could even take it up a level by hiring a motorhome. Travelling new horizons then snuggling down together to gossip about your day can help you bank a host of family travel memories to reminisce over once you’re home. Katy from Otis and Us described her family’s love of a motorhome: “We move on every couple of days and explore. Our Scotland road trip was amazing, and our evenings were spent on the shores of Loch Lomond and Loch Ness . I loved ‘unplugging’ and just spending quality time together as a family. Check out these great tips on planning a motorhome road trip – start local, then build up to a big summer road trip that will really open up your family horizons.
A safari adventure in Rwanda
Pushing your boundaries as a family is guaranteed to offer up tons of bonding opportunities, says Karen from Mini Travellers: “Our trip to Rwanda really brought us all together as a family. The fact that the trip was outside of all our comfort zones meant we all leant on each other that little bit more. The kids were so in awe of what they were seeing and experiencing that we had none of their usual holiday meltdowns over ice cream and iPad time and the like, as they knew that stuff was simply unavailable.”
A guided tour in Cambodia
There’s definitely a lot to be gained as a family by taking your children on the kind of holiday where you’ll all have new experiences. As parents, we’re used to leading the way for our kids, and we invariably have preset ideas about how to approach the things we’ve done before. Experiencing something completely new at the same time as your child offers a whole different scenario for your family to discover together, and seeing something through your child’s eyes can give you a totally new perspective on travel. There’s more on this theme in our highlights of a family trip to Cambodia.
Swap sun for snow in Lapland
When we’re planning a family holiday we’re most often searching for sun. The lure of glorious beaches and fun water parks can be difficult to resist, but you’d do well to think outside the box and opt for a snowy destination instead, says Jenny, of Monkey and Mouse. Remember, lying on a beach with young children isn’t as relaxing as it used to be before you became a parent – you’re looking for minimum stress and maximum bonding opportunities. “For us it was our trip to Lapland.” says Jenny. “The amount of fun that can be had in snow really strengthens a family bond, particularly when you are sledging down hills together or cuddled up in a reindeer drawn sleigh!
Skiing in the French Alps
Some of the best trips we’ve done have been ski holidays, so we know about the bonding potential of snow! Quite aside from the limitless opportunities for mischief and games (boredom is never a risk when you’re skiing!), the retelling of stories at the end of each day gives families a chance to laugh together that rarely happens during the course of a mundane week at home. Nell, from Pigeon Pair and Me agrees, and told us about the ski trip she took this Christmas: “It’s so healthy! We’re all out in the fresh air, learning at our own separate paces. When we get together for a family ski it’s great fun sliding around, with stunning mountains as a backdrop. Plus we get to compare notes on the day’s ski over hot chocolate topped with cream – what could be better?” What’s more, even teenagers love a ski trip – the trick is to pick a great family-friendly ski resort that has plenty of facilities for all ages, then head out and start your family’s next chapter!
Hang out in nature at Darwin Forest
Closer to home, and brilliant if you’ve only got a few days off school, a country park resort can offer a wonderful opportunity to sink into a slower pace of life with your kids. Erin, from Yorkshire Tots, took her family to the peak district for a post Christmas reconnect, and says this is a great time of year to stop, and really appreciate your family. “We’ve just come back from Darwin Forest where we spent most of our holiday on site. It was really nice to just relax and spend time together without trying to rush around and fit loads of things in. We played the games the kids got for Christmas, took walks, swam and played in the park. It was a fantastic way to start the year.”
An action-packed holiday park stay in the Netherlands
It can feel compelling to fill your holiday with excitement, day trips, and exploration – after all, you’re only there once, right? But we shouldn’t feel guilty about not exploring the wider area when we’re away from home. Think about what you travelled for in the first place. If it was to see temples and sights, great. But if all you’re looking for is time to reconnect and have fun with your family, staying local seems perfectly natural to us – what’s the point in seeing all the sights if you’re going to feel frazzled by the end of it? One place it’s easy to sit still in is Duinrell, in the Netherlands. There’s so much there for families to enjoy, that there really is no need to venture too far outside the park.
The remotest Thai island you can find
Sometimes the biggest distraction from family bonding isn’t the trip itself, but what we take on it. We can’t pack the contents of our linen baskets, or the ever-growing chaos of the loft, but most of us carry a smartphone, and it can be difficult to ignore the temptation of email and social media. Carrie, from Flying with a Baby says her family’s best trip for bonding was a digital detox in Koh Jum – a remote Thai island off the beaten track. Describing the island Carrie told us “It’s only recently had electricity added but has miles of beach with a couple of villages full of local people with genuine smiles and warmth. It gave us the opportunity to properly talk without TV or other distractions, live at a slower pace, appreciate nature and each other.”
Switching off from tech is probably one of the hardest things to do, especially if you have teenagers. But it’s so important. We’ve included some off the beaten track gems in this fab list of unusual places to stay – find something remote and declare a no wifi week!
Camp out in the wild
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to Thailand or a ski resort, don’t despair. Natalie from Plutonium Sox claims her best holiday for family bonding came as a result of a less than perfect camping trip. “We went on holiday last year to Kielder forest. There was no phone signal, the tent leaked and the weather was awful. We made our own entertainment, had days out with my husband and daughter cycling, my youngest daughter in a weehoo bicycle trailer, and I ran with the dogs. It was great family bonding time for all of us. The children even seemed to get on better with the dogs by the end of the week.”
Shared experience is where it’s at, and any experience will do, though of course, we’d recommend having as much fun as possible while you’re bonding! Check out our wild camping survival guide, or take a look at 2017’s top campsites for inspiration for your next family adventure.