When you’re planning a family holiday, flight time can be a deciding factor. We’ve rounded up our favourite family destinations based on how long you’ll be in the air, plus a few top tips from our experts to help you out. Armed with the right snacks, gadgets and Frozen on repeat, there’s no need to miss out on going long haul…
Up to 3.5 hours flight time
Halkidiki – 3 hours 15 minutes
For a quick dose of sun not far from home, Greece is the perfect solution. A short three-hour flight from the UK, it’s ideal for young families or parents flying with a baby for the first time. In the sun-baked Aegean Peninsula, Halkidiki’s shoulder seasons are easily warm enough for the pool – expect mid-20s averages in May and September. If you’re travelling with pre-schoolers, you can avoid school holiday times for the most competitive prices (and fewer crowds).
Where to stay: We love Ikos Olivia for families. It’s a hotel that works hard to make your life easier, from the Worldwide Kids Company kids’ clubs (split out by age) to Babewatch; a complimentary babysitting service on the private beach where staff will watch the kids for half an hour, while you relax.
Up to 6.5 hours flight time
Dubai – 6 hours 30 minutes
If your kids can handle a couple of hours longer, Dubai’s super-charged entertainment is just six and a half hours away. The city’s sky-scraper hotels and fabulous beaches are jam-packed with everything from water parks to camel rides. It’s a fantastic winter-sun destination, too – averages temperatures stick around 30 degrees from November to April.
Where to stay: A hotel with its own waterpark and aquarium? That will get the kids on board with a longer flight. At Atlantis The Palm, you can spot sharks, shop, take a helicopter ride, dine in one of 20 restaurants – all in the same day, if you fancy.
Up to 9 hours flight time
Dominican Republic – 8 hours 45 minutes
When you see the Dominican Republic’s beaches, you’ll know it was worth the nine-hour flight time. Soaked in 300 days of sunshine a year, the beaches curl around the coast for miles with incredible flour-white sand, rippling palm trees and warm, clear waters. It’s just the thing for water babies, with days spent swimming, snorkelling and taking boat trips.
Where to stay: Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana has everything from an 18-hole golf course to rock climbing walls, plus nine restaurants and 15 pools. What we love most, though, are the hotel’s family suites, which come fully stocked with kid-friendly mini bars and Xboxes.
If you’ve got two children but only one iPad, buy a headphone splitter. They’re inexpensive and allow you to plug two sets of headphones in, so they can watch films together. Clare Mardell, Travel Expert
Up to 12 hours flight time
Thailand – 11 hours 15 minutes
If you’re going to be taking kids on a plane for 12 hours, it had better be somewhere brilliant. Thailand is an incredible experience for families; from near-perfect beaches to the famously welcoming locals, it’s a wonderful opportunity to introduce your children to a different culture. Some of our hotels even offer Thai language lessons and yoga for kids.
Where to stay: On a secluded beach in the notoriously gorgeous Phuket, Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket’s waterpark, huge kids’ club and teen activities are real crowd pleasers. Grown-ups can have their own fun at the sea-view Mare Italian restaurant, or a Thai Harmony massage at SPA Cenvaree.