Travel Tips

Exotic Family Experiences For Tighter Budgets & Timelines

Locations in this article:  Paris, France San Diego, CA Seattle, WA

museumWe all know there are destinations we want to see, and there are destinations we can actually afford. When it comes to traveling with kids, there are always extra factors to consider. After discovering great swaps for popular destinations, family travel writer Margot Black shares her alternatives. Read on to discover how she found that you don’t need to leave the country—or travel far—to have memorable family experiences, teach your child about other cultures and languages, and see wildlife up close.

My love of travel is something I’m keen to pass on to my son, a naturally adventurous kid, who loves visiting different places. He’ll try international foods and makes new friends everywhere, so I want to show him the world. However, after penning an exotic wishlist of must-see destinations, I realized I’d also need to raid his college fund to make it happen.

So, how was I going to show him Capitol Hill, the Amazon, the Serengeti, Bavaria, and the Great Barrier Reef? They were all on the list, but we live in California, which is a heck of a long way from most of those places. Capitol Hill, the nearest, is 2,600 miles away and almost five hours on a plane. That’s a lot of air miles, so forget the Great Barrier Reef, which is precisely 7,218 miles and 17 hours flying time from my house. That’s one high maintenance after-school activity.

While I couldn’t fly to Africa or Australia, I realized I could swap the actual destination for one close enough to offer a similar experience.

I’m not saying that we’ll never visit the Great Barrier Reef or Bavaria, but these five swaps have given my son a taste of what he might have seen elsewhere—and he still gets to go to college.

We saved a lot of money and travel time, but our trips educated him about other cultures and languages, and we all had an absolute blast.

First: Swap Washington, D.C. for…