Brandon Presser from Bravo's travel show Tour Groupis back with his latest column, in which he answers your burning travel questions. (Tweet at Brandon any time to ask your own question... and he might answer it right here.) Today, the travel expert and Bravo star responds to a viewer to talk about family vacays... near and far!
Twitter's @diaryofarealG asks: "My family loves outdoor vacations and we are currently planning a summer trip. Any suggestions for new & fun destinations?”
"Thanks for the great question — in fact I like this one so much that I’m going to answer it twice, instead of taking on two separate questions this week. There’s a big misconception that international travel can be tricky for families, especially ones with younger children. But eyeing the right deal and the right destination can often yield better price-value vacations than domestic travel.
Option 1: Belize
An all-inclusive experience in the Caribbean can seem enticing — you don’t have to prepare food and you can drop the little ones at the kids’ club — but there are options out there that feel less anonymous by accentuating a destination’s natural assets and culture instead of simply promising a generic margarita on a generic beach.
Consider Belcampo in southern Belize’s Toledo District. The flight’s comparable to any Antillean destination, and there’s a bonus puddle-jumper flight from Belize’s capital city to the resort that’ll be a blast for kids.
You can get a per-night rate at Belcampo, but I recommend booking a package deal that will give you and the family the run of the resort and its incredible amenities. The property offers access to a massive jungle preserve where you can have close encounters with howler monkeys and smaller critters. There are Mayan ruins to explore as well. Belcampo also has water access, perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, and day trips out to a protected chain of pristine islands perfect for snorkeling and beach barbecues. If your kids are foodies in training, they’ll love the property’s acres of self-sustaining farmland and the messy coffee- and chocolate-making classes.
Option 2: Mongolia
If you can manage the long-haul flight, Mongolia is poised to be your next summer adventure for the entire fam. Malaria free and very low on crime, it’s one of the best places on the planet for your not-in-Kansas safari experience.
You start in Ulan Bator, a strange city with an interesting mix of Soviet structures and Buddhist temples. Layover at the Shangri-La the only international hotel of true quality, which also offers some elevated versions of local Mongolian cuisine to sample.
Then it’s off to the Gobi Desert. You know those dinosaur bones your kids visit with awe at the local museum? They’re probably from the Gobi — and there are tracts of land in the middle of the desert where you can still spot shards of ancient dinosaur bones baked into the earth. The best part, however, about a trip to rural Mongolia? Trying your hand at the nomadic lifestyle: living in yurts, riding bactrian camels, and playing games like archery. You’ll need Nomadic Expeditions — the country’s most sustainable and most luxurious operator — to set everything up so that nothing gets lost in translation."
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