5 Places to Travel Abroad With Your Kids This Year

London, Lapland, and Tanzania are on the cards in 2024.

People wearing hats walking around a grassy area

TAASA Lodge offers a walking safari among several other singular experiences.

Courtesy of Go2Africa

Is it worth traveling abroad with your kids, especially with so many great options in the United States? Short answer: yes. That’s especially true if you consider one of these family-friendly destinations our writers have visited in recent months. They’ve been roaming with their children in the United Kingdom, Japan, Tanzania, Greece, and Swedish Lapland and have unearthed some great spots for the whole fam for 2024. Just try not to think about the flight there (and especially the flight home) . . .

Osaka, Japan

The entrance of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan.

Theme parks and enticing street food are among the highlights of a visit to Osaka.

Photo by Usa-Pyon/Shutterstock

Wandering through Osaka’s neon-clad neighborhood of Shinsekai with my son—a hard-to-impress tween with a thirst for photo-worthy culinary creations—we passed takoyaki stands advertising their octopus-based wares with 3D tentacle-covered displays and a conveyor belt sushi joint adorned with an enormous rotating nigiri platter. Ultimately, we were drawn into Jumbo Tsuribune Tsurikichi, a restaurant boasting expansive pools of fish that you can catch with provided bait and rods. Here, they’ll cook and serve whatever you reel in—which, in our case, was a beast large enough to feed a family twice our size.

Memory-making experiences like this are only the beginning here, where maximalist signage beckons hungry travelers at every turn. And despite rising food costs across the globe, affordable eats are still easy to find in Osaka, making it an enticing choice for anyone looking to test their taste buds without breaking the bank. Even the pickiest of eaters will find something to love in this dynamic destination, and fun-loving families will find a variety of singular eateries. Dine alongside Pikachu at the popular Pokemon Café or enjoy impossibly cute Mario-inspired meals at Super Nintendo World at Universal Japan, which will soon offer even more options in its new Donkey Kong–themed land, slated to open in 2024.

Where to stay

For an immersive experience, families can sleep on traditional tatami mats at Ukiyoe Ryokan. The Cross Hotel Osaka, meanwhile, provides comfy digs located steps from the bustling food stalls in the Dotonbori area.—Amanda Adler


A soccer game at TAASA Lodge

“I spy” gets a whole lot more interesting when there are leopards, hippos, and warthogs to peep.

Courtesy of Go2Africa

Taking a toddler on safari is not for the faint of heart; I knew if I was gonna do it, I needed serious help. Enter Go2Africa, a seasoned tour operator staffed by specialists who’ve traveled extensively with small children throughout East and Southern Africa. These experts knew exactly which camps were the family-friendliest and how to safely travel between them. They arranged private safari drives for us in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO-protected World Heritage site with Africa’s densest population of large animals, and a quiet corner of Serengeti National Park. Over multiple game drives in the two regions, we spotted lions, leopards, hippos, ostriches, flamingos, warthogs, and roughly a gazillion wildebeest, but it was a dazzle of zebras lingering within arm’s reach of our 4x4 that really had my son clapping up a storm.

Where to stay

Check out TAASA Lodge, a boutique bush camp in a 15,000-acre concession north of the Serengeti, and Gibb’s Farm, an 80-acre organic farm and coffee plantation less than an hour from Ngorongoro Crater. Both properties hire guides, trackers, and staff who truly love children, as opposed to merely tolerate them. Both also have swimming pools—a fantastic way for kiddos to spend some time in between game drives.—Ashlea Halpern, contributing editor

Athens, Greece

Astir Beach in Vouliagmeni, close to Athens, Greece, during sunset time

Ancient history comes alive in Athens.

Photo by Sven Hansche/Shutterstock

While history and ancient ruins may seem boring for little ones at first, Athens is actually an entertaining and educational family destination. Before you even leave, get your kids into Greek mythology and history—there’s the graphic novel series Olympians that reinterprets the mythologies and a funny and engaging podcast by National Geographic called Greeking Out that my eight-year-old son loves. Once you land, kids will be eager to see the sites that otherwise might look like crumbling dirt. When I visited last summer with my husband and two young kids, I booked a private tour with Be a Greek specifically meant for families. Our guide kept both of my children (and my husband and I) engaged with a scavenger hunt, trivia, games, and dynamic storytelling as we traipsed around the city, ticking off sites like the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Panathenaic Stadium, and Syntagma Square to see the changing of the presidential guard.

Visiting the Acropolis is a bit more challenging, so be sure to go in early morning or evening when it’s cooler and less crowded, and leave the stroller behind (way too many steps!). Kids will also enjoy the Acropolis Museum (request a “family backpack” for educational resources, puzzles, and more); riding the bright red Athens Happy Train; going up Mount Lycabettus via cable car; and strolling around the picturesque Plaka neighborhood. When you need to escape the heat, head outside the city center to the Athens Riviera for some time at Astir Beach or to the still-in-progress Ellinikon, which already features an incredible playground and park, with more to come.

Where to stay

To be in the center, stay at the new boutique Apollo Palm Hotel, which offers triple rooms perfect for a family of three (or four if one child is in a crib, which can be provided) while still boasting a chic design, gorgeous rooftop bar, and delicious breakfast buffet. For a resort experience, complete with a kids club, beach, and pool, the Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens has spacious rooms and an incredibly friendly and helpful staff who clearly love children.—Devorah Lev-Tov

White reindeer up close to a camera with people around

The Jokkmokk market has been around for hundreds of years.

Photo by Tommy Alven/Shutterstock

Swedish Lapland

My kids were just toddlers when we visited Swedish Lapland’s Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, where I pushed them in strollers as they teetered across packed-snow floors in rooms carved out from river ice by artists from around the world. (We sanely slept in the warm accommodations on site.)

On a visit this past winter on my own, I found several other reasons to plot a trip back soon with my now-older crew. The best winter adventures in this part of Sweden come with experiential elements that go beyond chasing the northern lights. At Arctic Bath in the small hamlet of Harads, I watched a British family with elementary school–age kids brave cold plunges together following a sauna session, stepping down a metal ladder straight into the frozen Lule River and whooping it up before beelining it for the outdoor hot tubs.

Nearby, the whimsical variety of cabins on stilts at Treehotel—including one shaped like a bird’s nest and another like a UFO—were pure fantastical fun, with ice fishing and snowshoeing among the activities. Sapmi Nature Camp offers three-night packages to stay with Sámi hosts in private lavvu tents on the family’s grazing lands for reindeer while learning about their modern way of life. And if you’re here in early February, the excitement of the annual Jokkmokk Winter Market draws hundreds of Indigenous people from all over the Sápmi region of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia for an outdoor festival with live music, shopping for silverwork and traditional clothing, and many more activities.

Where to stay

All of the aforementioned stays are a treat worth planning a trip around. But I’m dreaming of a multi-generational winter adventure at Fjellborg Arctic Lodge, where you can arrive via dogsled from nearby Jukkasjärvi. Families stay in a luxurious four-bedroom cabin with its own sauna and outdoor hot tub overlooking Lake Väkkärä. (Smaller cabins can accommodate more people right nearby.) The lodge’s wilderness guides lead all manner of excursions—including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and ice fishing.—Terry Ward

London, U.K.

Buildings in London, UK

With musicals, green spaces, and seemingly endless restaurants, no two days in London are the same.

Courtesy of One Aldwych

From a wickedly funny Yeoman Warder guide at the Tower to a bike tour with London Bicycle and a visit to the Harry Potter studios (where all eight movies were filmed), my family’s weeklong trip across the pond proved to be equal parts educational and fun. We also adored the Matilda musical, based on Roald Dahl’s beloved book, in the West End, with all four of us singing along to its catchy tunes as we left the theater. The city’s many green spaces (Hyde Park; Kensington Gardens, with the Princess Diana Memorial Playground; Battersea Park) also allow ample opportunity for little legs to stretch, run, and stop to smell the roses. With a food scene that’s the stuff of legend, eating at Indian street food chain Dishoom and plant-based Mallow in Borough Market were also musts and didn’t disappoint.

Where to stay

London has many great hotels. I liked the elegant 101-room One Aldwych in the heart of Covent Garden, within blocks of theaters, restaurants, and museums, such as the fantastic London Transport Museum (where kids can see double-decker buses and grown-ups can marvel at the history of the Tube). Along with spacious suites, thoughtful touches like the daily replenished complimentary mini-bar (with biscuits and chips to keep little ones happy) and a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” themed afternoon tea make the hotel truly perfect for families.—Tanvi Chheda

Tim Chester is a deputy editor at AFAR, focusing primarily on destination inspiration and sustainable travel. He lives near L.A. and likes spending time in the waves, on the mountains, or on wheels.
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