Sun, Sand & Camels? Planning the Ultimate Family Vacation


Its holiday time… this is a moment that many parents dread because it is hard to pick a destination that the entire family will love.  We want kid friendly, but heaven forbid we have to hear other people’s children; we want affordable, but not too cheap that it’s a dump; and we want to go to a place that seems exotic and far away, but without too much hassle getting there. Let’s face it we want it all.

Well here are my tips on how to get as much as possible out of your family vacation.

Firstly do not let the length of the journey dominate where you go. Who cares about being on the flight an extra 4 hours if the final destination is worth it? Honestly getting to the airport early and on and off the plane is the real hassle not the flying. People book connections in the USA that to go from Minneapolis to Florida via Detroit and that is about the same travel time as jumping on the Minneapolis to London Flight. It is all in how you view the journey.

If you want sun then make sure you book a place that actually has the sun. Florida is one of my favorite destinations but it does sometimes have weather issues with a lot of clouds and rain. Winter can get cold too and if you’re there during an off week you’ll return home feeling like you wasted your trip. So try Arizona. Arizona will pretty much guarantee you sun all the way through the year. There is a fantastic family-friendly hotel in Phoenix called The Hilton Squaw Peak. This place is very affordable, has a few nice dining options and even has a water park at the main pool for the kids. It is a really good option

Do you love all-inclusives but hate the crowds and lines for dinner? Well then stay clear of Mexico and the Caribbean. and head East. This why Thailand is so hot of a destination right now. From December until May you will be sure to find sun and heat and the hotels are luxurious but not expensive. Hotels in Hua Hin are a great option as they are just a couple of hours outside of Bangkok and unlike other seaside areas, the region isn’t over built or spoiled. It’s a lovely destination for the family. The Hilton is great as are the Soffitel and Hyatt. There are also many exclusive boutique hotels like V Villas Hua Hin. I developed menus for them and it is one of the most tranquil places I have ever been. The property boasts little villas with private pools and a butler service. Let me tell you firsthand, nothing is too much trouble for them to arrange.

Next up for sun and heat is Dubai. Dubai again is in the dessert and has little to no cloud cover, ever. It has new polished and well kept hotels. It’s Vegas without the trash; Vegas without the seediness. All man made and a little over the top flashy, but it has well run activities from dessert off road trips to indoor snow skiing. It is a family place to go and it feels like you have arrived in a fantasy land. It’s harder for Americans but Dubai is just a short trip from Europe and not too long of a flight from the Far East. My hotel picks are the Jumeira Beach Hotel, the Ritz Carlton for a little more opulence and the Dusit Thani if you want more of a business Hotel. This is where I designed in room dining and I loved the location and hotel.

In the end my best advice is to plan well so that you never take a trip and come home thinking that it was a waste of money. So make a list and let everyone choose one thing they want out of the holiday.

Daniel - Living GreenDaniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.

To contact Daniel or learn more visit or follow on Twitter @themodelcook.

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