Travel: Get the kids to pack their bags for a great break

As anyone with children will tell you, travelling with little ones, or not so little ones, can have it’s challenges. It can also be one of the exciting and memorable times you will ever have with your children. Here’s our short guide to some child-friendly destinations.

Fiji

Every resort offers children's meals, a kids' club and most have nannies available upon request for the parents to take time off to explore the islands.

One option is Nadi on the main island, Vita Levu or Denaru, a small island to the north-west where the resorts are five-star quality, have several restaurants, spas and gyms.

The pools are great but the ocean is not very clean, unless you go to the Coral Coast, which takes over an hour by car.

For a more budget-friendly option take a two-hour boat ride — or a quick helicopter transfer — to one of the islands where the meals and accommodation are paid for in a package in advance. 

Islands like Plantation and Castaway offer children's entertainment, family facilities and a huge range of activities (some free) like canoeing, windsurfing, mini putt-putt, snorkeling and cruises.

Flying to Fiji takes around four hours from Sydney and baby sitting services can cost as little as $3 an hour.

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Camping

There's plenty to love about a family camping holiday.

Having a camper trailer and 4WD in our family, we have enjoyed many bush adventures with the basic amenities — kitchen, sleeping quarters and a lounging area (usually a mesh annexe with a few chairs and makeshift table).

A camper trailer is portable enough to take almost anywhere, but the same principle applies to folding out a tent, using a few swags or just sleeping in the back of a ute.

The more you bring, the more you have to clean up. So the golden rule is to bring only the essentials and pack everything in reasonably waterproof and sturdy containers.

Grab a gas cooker, Primus lanterns and a giant chiller bin or portable fridge and you're right to go.

If you're adventurous, just use a bucket with holes in it hanging from a tree branch for your shower. Warm the water on the camp fire and don't forget the shovel to dig your toilet.

Bring plenty of repellent if you don't like mosquitos biting you and be ready for bugs to fall in your damper mix while you prepare it by torch light.

Camping is an ideal way to reaquaint yourself with your family while exploring your district, state or beyond.

— by Maryann Jenkins

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Disneyland

When tackling the unique world of all things Disney, planning is key.

You'll need three days to see it all properly and will do well to avoid the United States school holidays, spring break, Christmas holidays and weekends to avoid the huge crowds.

Keep in mind your clothes will be absolutely drenched in the water rides, so pack an extra change or do the rides early in the day so they can dry before night time.

Make every effort to get there before the park opens, start exploring the left side of the park first as most people start on the right and book a restaurant in advance to have a meal there if you're staying into the night to watch the spectacular fireworks (not on every day). To save time lining up buy the tickets before you arrive at Disneyland — mousesavers.com is up to date with specials on park hopper passes.

The Mousewait app helps you monitor ride wait times and show times.

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The Snow

When visiting the Snowy Mountains of NSW you can ski, snowboard, toboggan or just sit by the fire in one of the chalets drinking hot chocolate and playing board games.

Consider staying closer to the snow in places like Thredbo, Perisher or Mt Selwyn.

Accommodation is a bit more expensive but it will save you the 30 minutes' drive from Jindabyne.

The ski resorts offer classes for people of all skiing levels and can also give parents who are experienced skiers time on more challenging runs.

Clothes and gear hire is available at Jindabyne (except for gloves and beanies).

Remember to include lift passes in your budget.

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Vietnam

Village and hut in the highlands of Vietnam, near Sapa. Photo: Kristjan Porm

Village and hut in the highlands of Vietnam, near Sapa. Photo: Kristjan Porm

Looking for a great week away with two teenage boys?

Believe it or not, Vietnam could be the answer.

I recently spent a week with my two sons (15 and 17 years old) in northern Vietnam and not only was it the perfect escape away from technology for all us, but it offered them enough excitement and entertainment that our week could have easily been extended into two.

Hanoi was a great place to start our family adventure, learning to cross roads all over again by weaving through the traffic, trying the tasty and cheap street foods and enjoying the unique sights, sounds and smells.

An overnight train trip to Sapa, in the mountains, provided another new experience which was followed up by a 20-kilometre trek through picturesque mountain terrain.

And after returning to Hanoi we headed off to a relaxing two-day cruise in Halong Bay.

The plane fare was reasonable, and accommodation and food was extremely cheap by Australian standards and good enough to satisfy potentially fussy teenagers.

— by Pat Stringa

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