The Top Family Travel Websites

Last year, Rainer Jenss traveled around the world with his wife and two sons, and blogged about his experience here on Intelligent Travel. This year, he’s back with a new column that focuses on traveling with kids.

Signpost.JPGThis could be the toughest blog I’ve had to write yet. It’s Presidents Week and most kids across the U.S. have school recess. And while many American families have hit the road for a winter holiday, whether it be to the warm south for a reprieve from the cold and snow, spending a week at a ski resort, or even visiting Vancouver for the Olympics, well-laid plans are being fulfilled for those who planned ahead. But in the Jenss household, we’re home this week on a self-imposed “staycation.” Rather than wallowing in self-pity that we didn’t travel somewhere during this week’s winter break, I humored my wanderlust by researching some options for the next time the boys have time off from school.

In the past, we’ve taken advantage of spring breaks to visit relatives in North Carolina, San Diego, and Florida.  More recently, it’s become somewhat of a tradition for us to go to Jekyll Island, Georgia for an Easter almost guaranteed to include blooming azaleas and our first beach jaunts of the year. Always willing to consider new options, I wanted to see what I could find using the web. Typically, I favor word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends, but this gave me a good chance to explore what kind of information is available on family travel and how useful it really is. So after some extensive clicking, here’s what I found:

Travel With Kids (from About.com): From the site that gives you guidance on everything from the best digital cameras under $100 to what everyone should know about global warming, the folks at About.com give you a pretty comprehensive overview of what you need to know when traveling with kids, including family vacation ideas, but it seems that most of their information comes from sponsored links, which always makes me take pause.

Family Vacation Critic:  I became a member of this site which sends out frequent news alerts on developments in family travel. This extension of the successful CruiseCritic.com is still in its Beta stage, so the information library is still developing. It’s easily one of the more polished and professional looking sites, but it also comes across as very commercial, especially biased towards Disney World and Orlando.

The Family Travel Files: This site certainly has a ton of content and some valuable information, especially if you know what you’re looking for. If you don’t or you’re just after some ideas or advice, things get a lot more difficult to disseminate.

Family Travel Network: Like Family Travel Files, this site contains dozens of useful articles on a wide variety of subjects including “Best Deals” and “Top Tips.” But again, it’s not aesthetically pleasing and can use some images or even video to enhance the content.

TripAdvisor’s Inspiration Page: Even though it doesn’t go into great detail or a long narrative about the destinations they preview, their list is broad and intriguing (including places like Copenhagen and Nashville) and includes easy-to-navigate special deals, things to do, restaurant recommendations and their hallmark, reviews you can trust.  Ultimately, this “old reliable” site is probably the most helpful, but could do a better job customizing this section specifically for parents traveling with children.

Sherman’s Travel: If you’re surfing the web to hunt down travel bargains (much easier said than done), one of the best sites out there was founded by James Sherman in 2002. With over 3.2 million subscribers, it’s hard to keep good values a secret for too long, but at least the search is made simple. There’s not a whole lot of fluff here and their Family Vacation Blog is one of the better ones I’ve come across.

Over all, there seems to be a lot of information on family travel out there in cyberspace, but no one source that’s fully nailed it by delivering the content in a comprehensive, innovative, dynamic, and most importantly, user-friendly way.  That said, I think I’ll go back to good ol’ word-of-mouth for now. Anyone have suggestions? Please pass them along by commenting below or tweeting me @JenssTravel.

Photo: Rainer Jenss

Comments

  1. Ann Cee
    United States
    August 6, 2014, 4:57 pm

    Good list and great comments. After planning a Washington/Idaho/Montana trip last week, I don’t know how we did any of this without computers. I’ll throw out http://www.piecesofthejourney.com/ for ideas how to save for and photograph your vacation.

  2. Mireia Ezquerra
    Spain
    March 4, 2014, 9:46 am

    http://www.babyviajes.com is a wellkown family travel website in spain. In this site you can find a lot of hotels to have a great holidays with your family in Spain and other locations in Europe.

  3. lovisaken
    South Africa
    February 28, 2014, 5:58 am

    Hello

    Thanks to share a great family travel websites. i really need this websites.

  4. Branko
    United States
    August 27, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Nice web site about family travels can be found at http://kids.stradun.net . All authors are paid for their work.

  5. Melissa
    United States
    August 25, 2013, 8:34 am

    Awesome :)

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Dean Gould
    Australia
    August 4, 2013, 10:19 pm

    Great to see so much activity in this space. If you’re looking for a site that is “delivering the content in a comprehensive, innovative, dynamic, and most importantly, user-friendly way” then try http://www.backseattravel.com – a relative newcomer but first rate info for a variety of destinations

  7. Matthew-Duong
    Vietnam
    August 4, 2013, 9:58 pm

    Hi,

    It is such an interesting list of sites where all can finds lots of useful tips and advice. Thanks so much for a great effort in informing potential family travelers of where, what and how to make a great holiday. I am sharing this http://www.redcranetravel.com/tours/vietnam-family-holidays if any ever wants to see Indochina.
    Kind regards,
    Matthew-Duong

  8. shakshi
    india
    July 17, 2013, 10:05 am

    Hello Dear
    Nice Post. Thanks for sharing. Please see the links given belows-

  9. James Brady
    UK
    February 12, 2013, 3:57 pm

    Hi,
    We are a new company that was born out of frustration. We found it increasingly difficult trying to find affordable family friendly accommodation. Therefore we decided to make a website that advertises family accommodation. currently we have over 12000 family friendly hotels and guesthouses.worldwide. Have a look at http://www.familyrooms.co.uk and let us know what you think.

  10. Donna Bozzo
    Chicago
    May 1, 2012, 9:47 am

    Here’s a terrific one…
    http://www.TheLadyWithTheAlligatorPurse.com

    : )

  11. Resorts at Goa
    India
    April 23, 2012, 7:17 am

    Thx for sharing nice travel post.

  12. Amandah
    Cleveland, OH United States
    February 24, 2012, 7:24 am

    Great list!

    Traveling with kids can be a challenge in and of itself, especially if you’re traveling via car or RV. Also, i’s important to find hotels and resorts that are kid friendly, yet have something for mom and dad and teenagers.

  13. George Martin
    Qatar
    January 25, 2012, 1:53 pm

    Great List. But i would recommend htttp://www.selectyourhotel.com to the list. Thier rates are comparitively lower than other online hotel booking websites and they do not charge any booking fee.

  14. Angelica
    California
    December 19, 2011, 12:05 am

    Thanks to every one who has left family travel pages to look at. I shall be taking my grand daughter on trips as soon as she is old enough, and planning is crucial, she is 6 now. I just started a travel page with good travel tips. http://www.traveltoinfo.com please check it out and may it help make your traveling easier.

  15. Drina Murphy
    Uk
    September 6, 2011, 4:07 pm

    Try http://www.roomfor5.co.uk The website provides information on hotels with family rooms, suites or connecting rooms that can sleep 5 or more in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and more!

  16. Rena Smith
    August 16, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Good cause our family is planning ahead for Christmas vacation so we were thinking of spending it to their grand parents house and this travel tips would surely help us. Thanks

    Gold Coast activities

  17. Mike Hudson
    April 27, 2011, 1:53 am

    Thanks a lot for sharing this useful and informative post and I will be waiting for other great news from you in the nearest future

    Mike Hudson from Yellow pages Hyderabad

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  20. Carmen Mahabir
    April 20, 2011, 10:29 am

    I just had to take a moment to thank you for sharing this with us. As a average citizen I’ve really appreciated the great insights and content obtained from visiting your blog. I hope you will continue to develop a intelligent community here as I will…

  21. Hyman Noffsinger
    April 20, 2011, 7:08 am

    I just wanted to comment and say that I really enjoyed reading your blog post here. It was very informative and I also digg the way you write! Keep it up and I’ll be back to read more in the future

  22. Linwood Coln
    April 19, 2011, 3:15 pm

    hi-ya, I like all your posts, keep them coming.

  23. Lainie Liberti
    March 6, 2011, 10:14 pm

    Awesome list! I’ve actually discovered a few new ones. There are so many wonderful families out there sharing their experiences on the road, it makes traveling so much easier with community. My son and I are on an 8 year around the world trip, and we’ve found so much support and advice from many of the sites on your list. Thanks for providing a few new ones!!

  24. lloverxer lol
    February 8, 2011, 11:38 pm

    Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? Thailand resmål

  25. Buenos Aires Apartments
    January 23, 2011, 6:37 pm

    Interesting!

  26. Allie
    December 29, 2010, 6:32 am

    I found AOL Travel (http://news.travel.aol.com/category/family/) very helpful when I was planning for a trip with my kids.
    Allie @ Web Development

  27. alex
    December 22, 2010, 9:54 am

    Hi
    I would also like to suggest http://www.littletravellers.com
    Great website for family holidays!

  28. david
    December 12, 2010, 1:39 pm

    very good list of sites you have given.i think you had done mind throttling effort for this…for any feedback related to this topic contact@pass4sure 640-816

  29. marry
    November 20, 2010, 4:52 am

    Travel insurance only costs about 5% to 10% of its total investment of the trip, and is definitely worth buying. Although you can not come to any use, in the end, can give peace of mind from the beginning to the end of your holiday. If you buy a standard policy of travel insurance may be covered for medical expenses, trip cancellation or restriction, emergency medical rescue, and baggage loss and damage. Some travel policies offer broader coverage, which may include loss of money and personal possessions, personal liability, travel agent by default, and the medical meeting. If you need special coverage options you can pay a little more to add to your travel plans. You can also request an upper limit of compensation for coverage. For example, if you’re going to keep expensive items in his luggage and the maximum amount of the initial payment is less than the total value of the items, you can ask for a better coverage for lost luggage.seminyak villas

  30. 100 Places To Visit Before You Die
    November 5, 2010, 9:23 am

    Great list please take a look at our travel blog 100 Places To Visit Before You Die

  31. Masini de inchiriat Aeroport
    October 30, 2010, 2:10 pm

    Me and my friend were arguing about an issue similar to this! Now I know that I was right. lol! Thanks for the information you post.

  32. AmandaTT
    August 16, 2010, 11:24 am

    What a shame that I am an absolute zero at web development. I would definitely create the best travel website out there. Nowadays it is really hard to find some useful information about the places you want to visit. For example tripadvisor looks like a wonderful web, but try to ask something in the forum. I have gotten none answers on my questions. They love answering easy questions about train or bus tickets, restaurants and so on. They do that almost automatically. However if you ask a hard question nobody will answer you. I would change that in my website. Maybe someday… I will do that. Thanks for the great article here and for all the blog overall. I love reading it in my spare time.

  33. debbie
    July 21, 2010, 6:41 pm

    people are flocking to on line Travel membership sites at the moment because of group buying power and great value for money. I mean who ever goes to the high st anymore to be ripped off!

  34. Dinnels
    July 15, 2010, 8:52 am

    I like http://www.NewFamilyTravel.com, it’s one of the few family travel sites written by a guy and he’s funny while giving good advice. Thanks

  35. Rich
    July 15, 2010, 8:51 am

    I’m not a blogger, but I am a mom with 4 kids. I’ve always found the information on WeJustGotBack.com to be exceptionally useful when planning my family vacations. сантехника в Киеве They track down great deals and really do their homework. I’m surprised it isn’t included in this list!

  36. Letitia
    May 9, 2010, 11:40 pm

    We have an online community site on family travel called bigbluetrunk. You will find reviews, articles, a forum and blog. We’re relatively new so check us out at http://www.bigbluetrunk.com as we build momentum.

  37. Gideon Nurick
    April 15, 2010, 12:49 am

    I’d like to suggest travellingdad.wordpress.com – authentic and interesting and lots of good tips.

  38. Dubai Tours
    March 15, 2010, 1:58 am

    Thanks for sharing the useful travel tips. Its a nice website.

  39. HomeForHome
    March 7, 2010, 2:04 am

    Thank you for sharing this information, our blog team is always looking for good advice for our users and these websites will definitely help!

  40. soultravelers3
    March 3, 2010, 5:17 pm

    Wow! Great to see so much discussion about family travel!!
    Thanks Rainer & Janelle for sharing it here & to all the great comments!
    “no one source that’s fully nailed it”
    I think you are spot on with that comment & the way it should be because each family is unique as well as each family trip.
    I love all the sites that have been mentioned & each has their area of specialty. Don’t forget @wendyperrin who is as wise & nice in person as she is in her Perrin Post blog & columns. We’ll never forget the Halloween that we spent with her family!
    We were thrilled when we began our open ended, non-stop world tour in 2006 that National Geographic Traveler ( the name of IT when it began) called Soultravelers3 “one of the best family travel blogs in cyberspace”.
    4 continents, 32 countries & 175,000 miles (most over land) later, we’re still traveling, blogging, doing viral Youtube videos to share the secrets of long term family travel while living richly on 23 dollars a day per person (much of it in Europe so far)!
    We have the time to explore deeply, find the hidden gems & keys to maximizing the fun, education & luxury on a budget.
    We’ve never had a contest nor sent out 1 press release, we don’t do paid “FAM” trips as most in the industry do, yet we have inspired many to do their own journey. UK Guardian recently called us a “family travel guru”, we were just profiled in the NY Times by the Frugal Traveler & we won 2 Lonely Planet Travel Blog Awards. (Fun to be online that night from Spain with @marilyn_res & the Nat Geo crowd waiting for the announcement).
    I have no staff or co-writers, no one pays me to write about travel on our blog, nor influences me with freebies, I do it totally out of passion as I want families to know that it is cheaper, easier & more enriching than most know.
    Today’s internet allows for SO many different niches within family travel that it is a win/win for all. There is no one way or one website. We can all help each other & inspire more families to explore this beautiful planet together.
    Nothing wrong with the big sites wanting to make money by promoting typical travel industry PR, but sometimes you might find the best secrets are by the families out there on the front lines DOING it.
    I want families to know that world class travel doesn’t have to be expensive & ANYONE can live the dream!

  41. soultravelers3
    March 3, 2010, 5:12 pm

    Wow! Great to see so much discussion about family travel!!
    Thanks Rainer & Janelle for sharing it here & to all the great comments!
    “no one source that’s fully nailed it”
    I think you are spot on with that comment & the way it should be because each family is unique as well as each family trip.
    I love all the sites that have been mentioned & each has their area of specialty. Don’t forget @wendyperrin who is as wise & nice in person as she is in her Perrin Post blog & columns. We’ll never forget the Halloween that we spent with her family!
    We were thrilled when we began our open ended, non-stop world tour in 2006 that National Geographic Traveler ( the name of IT when it began) called Soultravelers3 “one of the best family travel blogs in cyberspace”.
    4 continents, 32 countries & 175,000 miles (most over land) later, we’re still traveling, blogging, doing viral Youtube videos to share the secrets of long term family travel while living richly on 23 dollars a day per person (much of it in Europe so far)!
    We have the time to explore deeply, find the hidden gems & keys to maximizing the fun, education & luxury on a budget.
    We’ve never had a contest nor sent out 1 press release, we don’t do paid “FAM” trips as most in the industry do, yet we have inspired many to do their own journey. UK Guardian recently called us a family travel guru, we were just profiled in the NY Times by the Frugal Traveler & we won 2 Lonely Planet Travel Blog Awards. (Fun to be online that night from Spain with @marilyn_res & the Nat Geo crowd waiting for the announcement).
    I have no staff or co-writers, no one pays me to write about travel on our blog, nor influences me with freebies, I do it totally out of passion as I want families to know that it is cheaper, easier & more enriching than most know.
    Today’s internet allows for SO many different niches within family travel that it is a win/win for all. There is no one way or one website. We can all help each other & inspire more families to explore this beautiful planet together.
    Nothing wrong with the big sites wanting to make money by promoting typical travel industry PR, but sometimes you might find the best secrets by the families out there on the front lines DOING it.
    I want families to know that world class travel doesn’t have to be expensive & ANYONE can live the dream!

  42. Janelle
    March 3, 2010, 2:11 pm

    Michelle, Jennifer, et al: You make some very good points, and it’s true that Rainer sorted through the “Big Hitters” on the list first, but please don’t feel slighted. It was absolutely our goal to drill down and look at other blogs, sites and people covering family travel from all angles, and we’ll continue to do follow up posts to that end.

  43. Michelle Duffy
    March 3, 2010, 1:49 pm

    I’m a huge (huge!) fan of National Geographic but I find this post very disappointing.
    I look to the NationalGeo to push the envelope in what I know about the world in innovative + adventurous ways. I expect that when NationalGeo writes about family travel, it will do the same.
    About.com? TripAdvisor? It seems like a lot of the content on Family Travel Files is provided by tourism boards!
    The list provided by Mara in the first comment above (deliciousbaby.com, travelsavvymom.com, thevacationgals.com, wejustgotback.com and Mara’s own site, motherofalltrips.com) provide significantly better word-of-mouth content for any family planning travels anywhere in the world. For comparison: ShermansTravel (one of your better picks), recently wrote about the SpotMeID. TravelSavvyMom + TheVacationGals wrote about that product over a year ago!!

  44. Jennifer
    March 3, 2010, 12:10 pm

    What’s with all the “Big hitters” on this list? About.com is owned by the NY Times, for crying out loud. Parents planning family vacations online want to read blogs by real parents who take real vacations with their kids. Michelle at Wandermom, Mara at Motherofalltrips, and Meg at Backpacktobuggy are a few travel bloggers who’ve earned my respect.

  45. Linda
    March 3, 2010, 7:40 am

    I’m glad someone already mentioned Trekaroo.
    For those of us traveling in the US with more than the standard two children, Six Suitcase Travel is valuable in helping us find a hotel room that will fit our family. I recommend it for families of five or more who are trying to find lodging.
    And of course, my own site, Travels with Children.

  46. Will Davidson
    February 28, 2010, 12:16 am

    I like http://www.NewFamilyTravel.com, it’s one of the few family travel sites written by a guy and he’s funny while giving good advice.

  47. Helen Breakey
    February 26, 2010, 8:28 pm

    When our third child was born vacation planning took on a whole new challenge. Not many hotels will allow three kids to share one hotel room with their parents. Back in 2004 we booked our first holiday with http://www.vacationkids.com and have every year since then. Vacationkids has helped us book vacations to Mexico, Dominican Republic,Jamaica and Costa Rica. There advice and recommendations have always been trust worthy and spot on.

  48. Brennan Pang
    February 24, 2010, 2:46 pm

    Rainer and everyone else – Thanks for the great list of sites!
    Mara – thanks for the trekaroo mention! In addition to our community which contains tens of thousands of reviews by families, tip articles, and forums for kids travel, we also run a family travel blog at http://blog.trekaroo.com. You can follow us on twitter at @trekaroo or join our facebook fan page. We like to think of ourselves as a starting point for everyday travel, from finding the museum and playground down the street, to the weekend trip to the mountains, or the spring break trip to a National Park. Travel with kids? You bet.

  49. Simone Kane
    February 24, 2010, 6:41 am

    I think you’re so right about giving your kids a camera – every time we’ve done this, it’s resulted in some of the best photos of the whole holiday.

  50. Nick Bowditch Travel
    February 23, 2010, 5:38 pm

    Gday, can I be cheeky and suggest my own site? Nick Bowditch Travel – Australia’s Family Travel Expert. http://www.nickbowditchtravel.com
    Thanks
    Nick.

  51. Jess
    February 23, 2010, 3:55 pm

    It’s not so much a family website but if you’re worried about cost I just found http://www.budgetyourtrip.com. It’s good from planning and tracking your trip costs.
    Also lonelyplanet.com has a very active forum. It’s also not directly family related, but useful info nonetheless.

  52. Mark
    February 23, 2010, 1:56 pm

    We didn’t invent the family travel Web site but we made a splash early on starting in 1996-97. For a reference point, Google did not exist.
    Our family traveled the country in an RV as our children attended school via the Internet as we documented our discoveries via our Web site: http://www.blondins.com
    The adventure garnered an invitation to U.S. Department of Education sponsored conference called “Families, Technology and Education.” http://ceep.crc.uiuc.edu/eecearchive/books/fte/general/blondin.html
    You can read our paper here: http://www.blondins.com/paper/ and see the multimedia presentation here: http://www.blondins.com/pp/
    We leave the site as it was developed for sentimental reasons…
    Mark

  53. Kara at The Vacation Gals
    February 23, 2010, 12:13 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out Mara. And back at you with a hearty recommendation. Your first-hand reports of places you have visited with your kids are chock full of info: MotherofAllTrips.com
    Rainer, I think FamilyVacationCritic.com is great — disagree it’s centered on Orlando/Disney. For the site, as a freelance writer, I’ve contributed resort reviews of all-inclusives in Mexico as well as Colorado ski-in/ski-out properties. I’ve written destination reviews of Santa Fe, Denver, Moab, Steamboat Springs, Snowmass … lots of great info there!

  54. Erika
    February 22, 2010, 3:49 pm

    Also “Taking the Kids” by Eileen Ogintz: http://www.takingthekids.com

  55. Bon
    February 22, 2010, 3:37 pm

    Agreed all the sites listed above are really great, this is another one to add to the list. they got a wide selection of accommodations perfectfamilyvacation.com

  56. Amy @ The Q Family
    February 22, 2010, 3:12 pm

    I echo the above list from other comments.
    I also would like to add FamilyTravellogue.com by Sheila.
    Also thank you for the list. I didn’t know about the Familyvacationcritic. I use cruisecritic a lot so I’m glad to see them have a separate family-focus website and forum.
    Family travel websites provide valuable information but I tend to go to personal family travel blog for more insight of particular location.
    Like Mara mentioned, the family travel blog community is growing and each blog has their strength and certain area. So it’s nice to be able to read the local view of particular area.
    Also for full disclosure as well, I’m also a family travel blogger at The Q Family Adventure Travel Blog

  57. Christine
    February 22, 2010, 1:55 pm

    I’m not a blogger, but I am a mom with 4 kids. I’ve always found the information on WeJustGotBack.com to be exceptionally useful when planning my family vacations. They track down great deals and really do their homework. I’m surprised it isn’t included in this list!

  58. Sheri Wallace
    February 22, 2010, 12:56 pm

    I second the recommendation for Travel Savvy Mom and We Just Got Back, especially if you’re looking for packages and last minute deals. I also like Traveling Mamas (www.travelingmamas.com) for destination information and tips.
    Word of mouth information is fantastic if you actually know the person giving you the tips. You can better understand their bias and plan accordingly. Online WOM isn’t as useful because right from the beginning you have people who exaggerate their reviews (good and bad) and then you can’t tell much about the person doing the review. When they say it was a good value, what do they usually pay for a night out with the kids?
    That’s why a trusted site that you get to know over time is so valuable.

  59. Lisa at The World is Calling
    February 22, 2010, 12:41 pm

    We are also a part of that family travel community. I really like Mara’s site (motherofalltrips.com), CiaoBambino.com for family-friendly places to stay, and TravelMamas.com for more ideas, as well as those that Mara listed.
    Come on over to Twitter and join us! (We’re @TheWorldCalls)
    Also, so glad to know about this Jenss family adventure–we’re hoping to go RTW, or at least REurope in 2010-2011, so I need to look up those blog posts in the archives.

  60. Janelle Nanos
    February 22, 2010, 11:44 am

    Thanks for those tips Mara, it’s a great list!

  61. Mara
    February 22, 2010, 11:09 am

    I don’t know about a comprehensive site, but if you’re looking for information that’s like word-of-mouth information from family friends, there are lots of family travel blogs with tips, suggestions, and ideas. A few of my favorites are:
    Delicious Baby (http://www.deliciousbaby.com/)
    Travel Savvy Mom (http://www.travelsavvymom.com/)
    The Vacation Gals (http://thevacationgals.com/)
    A few other sites with recommendations and reviews are We Just Got Back (http://www.wejustgotback.com/) and Trekaroo (http://www.trekaroo.com/)
    Full disclosure – I also have a personal family travel blog and am pretty networked with the online community of family travelers. If you visit these sites and follow their owners on Twitter (they are all members there as well) you’ll find they are a very helpful and chatty community with lots of suggestions and ideas.