There was once a time when casual family travel from North America to Europe was considered impossible for all but the elite. But jumbo jets brought the cost down in dollars and hours, and guides like Arthur Frommer and Rick Steves showed us how it could be done well on a budget. Now family vacations to Ireland or Tuscany are affordable and commonplace.
There was once a time when Mexico and the Caribbean were only for Hollywood stars and royalty. But then came a show called The Love Boat that sparked a boom in cruises, coupled with new resort cities being opened like Ixtapa and Puerto Vallarta. Airline deregulation brought cheap fares and dozens of new daily flights. Now a spring break in Cancun or a long weekend in Cabo are seen as everyday as a getaway to Las Vegas or Orlando.
But up to now, mention you're interested in a family vacation to Asia, and you'll be stared at - questioned - thought slightly bonkers. "What about the language?" "What will you eat?" "What do they think of Americans?" "You're going to take YOUR KIDS?"
You know what? Your kids are ready to go. Between video games and anime, K-pop and martial arts films, they already recognize some of the cultural touchstones. The air lanes across the Pacific are finally opening up and fares are coming down, thanks to new trade agreements and modern aircraft like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. Hotel chains are expanding, and Internet resources are springing up to let you explore at your own pace - on your own time - and with fewer language hurdles.
We'd love for family travel to Asia to be as commonplace as a trip to Aruba, Mazatlan, or London. Come explore with us!
Guidebooks are great - but usually written for luxury, adventure, or business travelers. We aim to give families practical tips on getting ready, getting around, and understanding East Asian culture. Some of the content you'll find here includes:
Even for experienced flyers, an Asian voyage may take you through new airports and new airlines. And traveling with kids is definitely a different situation than flying for business. Look in this section for layouts, preview photos, family-friendly amenities and secret tips for a more enjoyable experience.
Mosquitoes are a fact of life in most parts of the world, but the shocking spread of the Zika virus has reminded travelers of the need to manage their exposure on the road. This article discusses the mosquito-borne diseases in East Asia and gives an overview of how to minimize travel risks.
In this series of photo essays, I'll take you with me to walk around specific places and events in East Asia, and beyond. Part-travelogue, part-personal reflection - with tips on how to get there, what to do, and where to stay.