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Where’s our next holiday, dad?

Where’s our next holiday, dad?
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First Published: Sat, Jul 11 2009. 01 15 AM IST

 Sun-kissed: Splendid Sardinia. Philip & Karen Smith / Lonely Planet
Sun-kissed: Splendid Sardinia. Philip & Karen Smith / Lonely Planet
Updated: Sat, Jul 11 2009. 02 31 PM IST
As anyone who has travelled with under-16s knows, once away from their routine of home-school- family-friends-sports, children are a different ball game altogether. Whether it’s a babe-in-the-arms (one of the easiest ages, actually) or a teen with a mind of his/her own, travelling with children can be as much of a learning experience for parents as it is for the children. Who are your children, really, outside of the familiar? Does it speak volumes about your parenting skills if they can survive without flush loos or domestic help? Are they outdoorsy people? Or better off among the bright lights of the big city?
The people at Lonely Planet, who have been guiding clueless travellers for at least three decades now, have just released the fifth edition of Travel with Children: Your Complete Resource. Packed with tips, customized for all age groups (babies, crawlers, toddlers—“the most difficult time to travel with children”—preschoolers and older, and teenagers) and researched with the thoroughness that’s a hallmark of the brand, it lists the Top 10 holidays in various categories that you could do with your children. Exclusive edited excerpts:
Top 10 Beach Holidays
Sun-kissed: Splendid Sardinia. Philip & Karen Smith / Lonely Planet
1. Costa Del Sud (Sardinia): The water is clean, the sand is white and there aren’t too many people. www.sardegnaturismo.it
2. Cottesloe (Australia): A beautifully safe beach for children to swim or snorkel, and the weather always seems to be perfect.www.cottesloe.wa.gov.au
3. Durban (South Africa):The city’s beaches have plenty of free swimming pools for children and lots of family entertainment such as Sea World and Ushaka Marine World. www.durban.gov.za
4. Karon Beach (Thailand):With its Flintstone-themed fun park, it’s a great base for exploring Phuket’s beaches and reserves, including Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre. www.phuket.com/island/beaches_karon.htm
5. Kaua’i (Hawaii, US):Home to plenty of beaches where children can snorkel in very shallow waters, and an excellent Children’s Discovery Museum. www.kauai-hawaii.com
6. Aitutaki (Cook Islands): Soft sand beaches edge a turquoise lagoon filled with tropical fish. Kayaking, snorkelling and boat cruises are also part of the picture. http://cookislands.travel/index
7. Noosa (Australia): Great beaches, beautiful natural environment (Noosa National Park) and very child-friendly. www.noosa.qld.gov.au/aboutnoosa
8. Tavira (Portugal): This quiet town has a magnificent untamed beach that goes on for miles. Best of all, you take a boat to get to the beach. www.visitportugal.com
9. Sayulita (Mexico): A safe, laid-back beach town full of hip North American and European families, where you and the children get “back to the basics”.www.sayulitalife.com
10. Sanur (Bali): A quiet little town close to the “happening” area of Bali, with a great little collection of ‘warungs’ (outdoor restaurants) lining the beach at both ends. www.balitourismboard.org
Top 10 Outdoor Adventures
Rocky road: Trekking through Banff National Park in Canada. Philip & Karen Smith / Lonely Planet
1. Arusha & The Northern Safari Circuit (Tanzania):Feed ‘Lion King’ fantasies at Tarangire and the bird paradise of Lake Manyara, visit the Ngorongoro volcano, stop by the Serengeti desert and climb Mt Kilimanjaro. http://tanzaniatouristboard.com/
2. Naxos (Greece): Inland from the beaches and the bustling main town lie beautiful untouched villages, rolling hills and low-key archaeological sites. www.gnto.gr
3. Belize: Aside from laid-back beaches, there’s wildlife galore in the inland jungles, with a jaguar reserve at Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, birdlife at the Mayflower Bocawina National Park; majestic Mayan ruins dot the country too. www.travelbelize.org
4. Grand Teton National Park (US): Encounter buffalo, moose, bears, eagles, coyote, deer, foxes, rabbits and more. There’s canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, swimming and rafting for older children. www.nps.gov/grte
5. Kangaroo Island (Australia):This is a national park with lots of Australian wildlife, caving adventures at Kelly Hill Conservation Park, sleeping seals on the beach and the ‘Remarkable Rocks’. www.tourkangarooisland. com.au
6. Wadi Rum (Jordan):Hike or ride a camel into the dazzling Wadi Rum canyon, then camp in a Bedouin tent. www.visitjordan.com
7. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (Costa Rica):There are lots of trails, a few huts where you can stay the night and an amazing skywalk above the forest canopy. www.monteverdeinfo.com
8. Outer Hebrides (Scotland):Some of the oldest rocks in the world are on these islands off the north-west coast, linked by car ferries and bridges. www.visithebrides.com
9. The Canadian Rocky Mountains (Canada): Unspoilt wilderness with endless outdoor pursuits—hiking, skiing, fishing, horseback riding and mountain climbing. www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab
10. Wilsons Promontory (Australia): This national park boasts rainforests, mountains and sandy bays and is a great beach/bush getaway with children. www.promcountrytourism.com.au
Top 10 City Breaks
Compact: Charming Copenhagen.
1. Oaxaca (Mexico): Pint-sized, charming and fun to explore on foot. A central plaza provides plenty of run-around space. www.visitmexico.com
2. Istanbul (Turkey):With its mosques, palaces, museums, bazaars, multicoloured carpets, food markets, the Bosphorus cruises and sweet apple tea, the children will be fascinated and enchanted. www.tourismturkey.org
3. London (England):In summer, don’t miss playing in the fountains at Somerset House. There’s an outdoor ice-skating rink in winter. www.visitlondon.com
4. Los Angeles (US): A good destination for teenagers—choose between the original Disneyland, Universal Studios and Santa Monica. www.discoverlosangeles.com
5. Vancouver (Canada):There’s lots of water as well as beaches, an urban park and numerous hiking and biking trails. In addition, all the attractions of the Rocky Mountains are just over 100km away. http://vancouver.ca/visitors.htm
6. Lisbon (Portugal): With trams trundling up to a castle, a state-of-the-art aquarium and a fascinating museum that explores Portugal’s great seafaring past, this city captivates children. The fairy-tale town of Sintra, too, is just a short train ride away. www.lisbon-guide.info.
7. Copenhagen (Denmark):Oozes old-world charm, with a compact city centre, a lively waterfront and pedestrian zones. www.visitcopenhagen.com
8. Singapore: Sentosa Island, with beaches and a dolphin lagoon, has to be seen to be believed. www.visitsingapore.com
9. Sydney (Australia):If beaches, swimming pools and numerous ferries aren’t enough, there’s Sydney Aquarium, Taronga Zoo and the Koala Park Sanctuary. www.sydney.com.au
10. Rome (Italy):With some of Italy’s best gelato, the impressive Colosseum and Castel Sant’Angelo, and spooky catacombs under Via Appia Antica, the challenge in Rome is not to do too much. www.romaturismo.it
Top 10 Camping Holidays
Jumbo: Elephants at Kruger.
1. West Coast of the South Island (New Zealand): Lakes and rivers, short walks to magnificent glaciers and the chance to hear the chirps of the elusive kiwi bird. www.holidayparks.co.nz
2. Sunshine Coast (Australia): Surf or frolic on endless beaches or tramp through the sub-tropical rainforest of the hinterland. www.goseeaustralia.com.au
3. Yellowstone National Park (US): Geysers, hot springs, wildflowers, bears and bison are only a fraction of the attractions. www.nps.gov/yell
4. Vancouver Island (Canada):Spot orcas, fish for salmon and watch eagles soar overhead. www.vancouverislandabound.com/camping.htm
5. Hvar and Korcula Islands (Croatia):Shady beaches that aren’t too crowded—yet. www.findcroatia.com
6. Corsica (France) and Sardinia (Italy):Get two cultures for the price of one when you island-hop from France to Italy by ferry. You’ll find white beaches, mountains, amazing food and campsites. www.campingcorse.com/indexang.html; www.byguide.com/eng-camping.asp
7. Bornholm (Denmark): The soft-sand beaches and dunes of this island are perfect for children. There’s a camping ground in a wooded area next to the beach. www.visitdenmark.com
8. Sea of Cortez Coast (Mexico): The place to go in a camper van. Calm swimming beaches, lazy fishing villages and whale watching are on the menu. www.ontheroadin.com
9. Kruger National Park (South Africa):Excellent child-friendly facilities in one of Africa’s greatest wildlife parks. www.sanparks.org
10. Cyclades (Greece): The islands of Naxos and Amorgos, among others, have lovely laid-back seaside camp spots. www.gnto.gr
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First Published: Sat, Jul 11 2009. 01 15 AM IST