While it's a blast to explore far-off continents and new cultures on your own, there's something special about introducing your family to foreign cities and cultures. Showing my family my favorite parts of the world has been one of my life's biggest privileges and has created some of my most cherished memories.
A few things to bear in mind when planning: many countries can be a culture shock, and some places cater more to family adventures than others.
Let's consider some of the best countries to visit when taking your family overseas for the first time.
Italy is the perfect way to introduce your family to Europe. Its well-built tourism infrastructure makes it easy to navigate the country and move around major cities.
Italy's incredible history spans thousands of years, and there are hundreds of well-preserved examples of art, architecture, and monuments that will take you and your family on a journey from the heights of Rome's power to the most celebrated artists of the Renaissance and the Into the present day.
The food in Italy is also mouth-wateringly delicious, with hundreds of pastas, breads, cheeses, and pastries to enjoy. In fact, I chose Italy as the first country to take my mother and brother, and my family was hooked within a day of wandering the stone alleys of Venice. Since that first trip, they have met me on three different continents across the globe.
Most travelers will tell you Thailand is the gateway to Southeast Asia. As soon as you land, you'll feel as if you've entered a strange new world. Even so, the country's expansive tourism industry makes traveling around Thailand a breeze.
Your family will love exploring Thailand's stunning beaches, world-class scuba diving, jungle trekking, golden temples, and much more. This is a great destination to inspire your family to step out of their comfort zone and introduce them to the craziness of Southeast Asia.
If Thailand and Italy sounded a bit intense, you might opt to take your family to a country that seems a little less foreign. There are a ton of good options, including England, Scotland, and Australia as well as others. All of them are great but I highly recommend New Zealand. New Zealand's landscape left me speechless.
The North Island is filled with rolling green hills and rocky bays. On the South Island, you're surrounded by craggy towering mountains and scenic beach drives. New Zealand is also an adventurer's dream country with some of the world's best bungee jumps, zip lines, skydiving, and canyoning opportunities. The country's small size makes it perfect for a one or two-week long road trip, and I promise it's a journey you won't soon forget.
Jordan is an excellent introduction to the Middle East. The country is easy to navigate on your own or with a tour. The people are friendly, and there are some fantastic things to do such as spending the day hiking around Petra or floating on the salty Dead Sea, the lowest spot on the planet.
Ireland, the first overseas country I ever visited, has had one of the most significant impacts on my life. This tiny country is famous for its lush green landscapes, old castles, small villages, and stunning coastal drives. Game of Thrones fans will also be in heaven in Northern Ireland, where much of the series was shot.
There are few places on this planet as stunning as the Greek islands. The sunsets on the island of Santorini are worth the trip alone. With its picturesque towns, brown rocky coastlines, and crystal clear waters, Greece is an excellent first overseas country for a family adventure.
Japan is sensory overload: bright lights, an exotic culture, and curiously different foods. Visiting Japan is a beautiful, odd experience that will likely push you and your family a bit out of the comfort zone. Keep in mind that English isn't widely spoken outside major cities, so it can be a little harder to travel around than other countries on this list.
Even so, the people are so friendly, and the country has such a culture of respect that it actually makes it easier to travel in than many other countries. If you are looking for a completely different way of life for your first overseas trip with your family, then visiting Japan is a perfect choice.
There are many great countries all around the world that are perfect destinations for your family's first overseas trip.
These are some of my favorites and are sure to entice your family to travel even more in the future.
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
Stephen Schreck is a world traveler, nomad, and adventure backpacker. Knowing a life of aimlessly wandering the globe in search of adventures was the only life for him he set out to make his dream his reality. Currently he is trying to conquer his fears and tackle his bucket list. Follow Stephen's adventures at A Backpacker's Tale or on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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