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Eric Stoen of Travel Babbo has traveled with his three kids to 54 countries and all seven continents. We’ve always loved his photography, so we asked him to share 20 of his favorite photos from his travels to inspire families to take their kids to new destinations and on new adventures. 

Family Travel Inspiration

I take my kids everywhere. Each of the kids gets to choose a destination for an annual one-on-one trip, and we travel as a family during school breaks. Every trip has fed the kids’ passions, or helped to further develop their talents, or given them new insights about the world and its cultures. And every trip has been fun. We do it by starting our planning a year in advance, booking flights when they’re as inexpensive as possible, saving frequent flier miles, and working with hotels to get their best, least-expensive room setups for a family of five. Some destinations don’t lend themselves to budget trips (I’m looking at you Antarctica), but most do. With a little planning, or a lot of planning, it’s possible to travel virtually everywhere without spending too much.

I had fun pulling together these 20 photos for Travelocity, including all seven continents and 17 different countries. Hopefully one, or several, or all of them will encourage you to branch out a little for your next vacation. It’s an amazing world! And it’s even more amazing when you get to see it with your kids.

Mammoth Lakes, California

Mammoth Lakes is a perfect weekend destination – in the winter for skiing and in the summer for hiking. I highly recommend bringing a hammock!

Family Travel Inspiration - Mammoth Lakes, California

Lake George at Mammoth Lakes, California

Kyoto, Japan

Two days is all you need to see Kyoto‘s highlights, including Fushimi Inari Taisha and the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. If you have more time you can travel deeper and get away from the tourist zone a little. Either way it’s an amazing destination for kids and adults.

Family Travel Inspiration - Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Taisha

Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Taisha

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

We love the Ngorongoro Crater. It’s only a few hours from Arusha and its international airport, and the wildlife density is amazing – there’s virtually everything in the crater but giraffes. There are more exotic/remote places to go on safari, but for kid-friendliness, Ngorongoro Crater is excellent.

Family Travel Inspiration - Watching buffalo in Tanzania's Ngorongoro Crater

Watching buffalo in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater

Sydney, Australia

Sydney has become a frequent family travel destination for us. My kids love Australian animals, and Sydney is a direct flight from LAX. An added bonus: Australia’s seasons are opposite the US, so a cold winter day at home can turn into a summer beach day 24 hours later down under.

Family Travel Inspiration - In Sydney

In Sydney

Atacama Desert, Chile

Chile’s diversity is incredible – from the mountains of Patagonia to the Moai of Easter Island and the markets of Santiago. Of everywhere we’ve traveled in Chile, however, our kids’ favorite destination is the Atacama Desert and its sand dunes.

Family Travel Inspiration - Walking on dunes in the Chile's Atacama Desert

Walking on dunes in the Chile’s Atacama Desert

St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg is a spectacular city with an amazing history. It’s not always easy to get a Russian visa, so a cruise (with visas waived) is a great way to see the city for up to 72 hours.

Family Travel Inspiration - Walking towards the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia

Walking towards the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia


I took my daughter to Antarctica when she was eight and it was an extraordinary trip, with kayaking, icebergs, whales, hiking, and a LOT of penguins! It’s far more kid-friendly than you would think. Eight is a good minimum age.

Family Travel Inspiration - Kayaking in Antarctica

Kayaking in Antarctica

Borobudur, Indonesia

We love Bali. But for a less-touristy experience, take a quick flight over to Yogyakarta and drive to Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple. Sunrise is the popular time to head to the temple, but we’ve found it to be far less crowded at sunset, right before closing.

Family Travel Inspiration - At Indonesia's Borobudur TempleAt Indonesia’s Borobudur Temple


Iceland has become extremely popular. So head to Greenland instead! The hiking is incredible, plus there are icebergs everywhere.

Family Travel Inspiration - Sketching in Igaliku, Greenland

Sketching in Igaliku, Greenland

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Take your kids! And get there early, before the tourist buses arrive, for a much better experience.

Family Travel Inspiration - Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

Want to unplug? Head to the Amazon. Five days on the Rio Negro were a perfect digital detox – for us and our kids. And how many kids get to fish for piranha over summer vacation?

Family Travel Inspiration - On the Rio Negro in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest

On the Rio Negro in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai is a great family travel destination. Add in a hot air balloon ride and it’s even better!

Family Travel Inspiration - Overlooking Chiang Mai, Thailand

Overlooking Chiang Mai, Thailand

Musandam Peninsula, Oman

A stay at Six Senses Zighy Bay starts by paragliding off the side of a nearby mountain. Then you check in and head over to your beach villa with a private plunge pool. From there you can hop on bicycles, head out for water sports, or explore the canyons nearby – a perfect introduction to family-friendly Oman. This shot captures the Omani architecture.

Family Travel Inspiration - At Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman

At Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman

Palawan, Philippines

Palawan is one of the prettiest places in the world. We stayed overwater, kayaked constantly, went on excursions to other islands and paddle boarded a little. Although there’s always the temptation to just sit on the beach and gaze out at these waters.

Family Travel Inspiration - Paddle Boarding in Palawan

Paddle Boarding in Palawan

Orlando, Florida

Our kids have seen a lot of the world, but they’re still kids, and they love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. Heck, I do too!

Family Travel Inspiration - In Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando

In Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando

Santorini, Greece

We spend several weeks in Greece every other summer. We enjoy Naxos and Paros a little more than Santorini, but Santorini has the best views!

Family Travel Inspiration - Reading in Santorini, Greece

Reading in Santorini, Greece

Tokyo, Japan

We love Tokyo anyway, but we love it even more with the opening of the Mori Digital Art Museum. Every room is interactive, and even the floors and the hallway walls are interactive. And they’re all magical.

Family Travel Inspiration - In the Mori Digital Art Museum in Tokyo

In the Mori Digital Art Museum in Tokyo

The Maldives

The Maldives are halfway around the world from California, but the islands have become an annual family travel destination for us. We love staying in overwater bungalows, getting around on bicycles, and not wearing shoes for our entire stay. Six Senses Laamu is our favorite resort, but there are places to stay all along the budget spectrum.

Family Travel Inspiration - Waiting for sunset in an overwater hammock in the Maldives

Waiting for sunset in an overwater hammock in the Maldives

Abu Dhabi, UAE

I’ve been spending more and more time in the Middle East the past few years and loving all of it, from the deserts of Dubai and Oman to Jerusalem‘s amazing old city to Doha‘s Museum of Islamic Art and Souq Waqif. But my absolute favorite site is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The architecture is spectacular, and if you arrive early enough, or stay late, you can have it practically to yourself.

Family Travel Inspiration - At Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

At Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park, with 16 lakes connected by waterfalls, is stunning, and it’s an easy day trip from Zagreb. Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a camera!

Family Travel Inspiration - At Plitvice Lakes National Park

At Plitvice Lakes National Park

How about you? What’s the most amazing place you’ve traveled to with your kids? What’s your dream destination?

Eric Stoen of Travel Babbo is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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