Plan a family vacation to an exotic location. Visit historic sites, stunning beaches, and fun destinations.
From the kid-friendly and relatively affordable Waikiki Beach area, to the crashing surf of the North Shore, Hawaii is a beach destination like no other. Visit the USS Arizona Memorial, site of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Take a drive along the scenic Hana Highway, whose views must be seen to be believed. If you can rouse the kids early enough, get up to the top of the Haleakala volcano on Maui to witness a jaw-dropping sunrise.
South Africa will play host to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and in preparation has invested in transportation infrastructure, hotels, and new stadiums. Visitors can enjoy the beaches of Cape Town and the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg. Not to be missed is Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Africa, which offers guests many options for hiking, camping, lodging, and safari.
The city of Beijing has been an important population center for thousands of years, from the prehistoric era through several dynasties to the modern day. The ancient architecture of structures like the Forbidden City and Tiananmen are breathtaking, and have recently been rivaled by a renewed emphasis on striking, modern buildings. Of course, no trip to China is complete without a visit to the Great Wall, one of the most famous landmarks in the world.
One of the fastest growing resort areas in the world, Phuket's sandy beaches and inland forests are attracting more visitors all the time. The popular Patong beach has all the amenities you'd expect from a top-of-the-line destination, while still allowing visitors to experience the exotic cuisine and local culture.
Though a relatively small country, the two islands of New Zealand are home to a remarkable diversity of wildlife, geology, and climate. Because of its geographic isolation, the country contains many plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world, including its national icon, the kiwi bird. Fans of the Lord of the Rings movies will be delighted to know that much of those films were shot on location in New Zealand, and many guided tours are available through the landmarks of Middle Earth.
Australia is the world's largest island, with several major cities located on its perimeter. Sydney is perhaps the most well known. Its scalloped opera house is a national landmark. The city of Perth, on the western coast, has a comfortable, if wet, Mediterranean climate, and hosts stunning beachfronts. But the bulk of the Australian landmass, the Outback, is empty of almost all human activity. It can be a rugged trek, but it's like no other journey in the world, with chances to encounter native Australian wildlife such as the dingo and the kangaroo.
Machu Picchu, Peru
For years, "the lost city of the Incas" was nearly impossible for the average visitor to reach. That was a shame: Built high in the Andes Mountains, Machu Picchu offers commanding views, and has been preserved to a degree that rarely occurs with cities of its age and historic importance. Today, visitors can reach Machu Picchu by more trails and vehicles than ever before. However, with growing concerns about disturbing this pristine site, getting there may begin to get more difficult.
Trans-Siberian Railroad, Russia
Spanning almost 6,000 miles, seven time zones, and an entire continent, the Trans-Siberian Railroad proves to be a one-of-a-kind journey. Tours are available in either direction, between its terminuses of Moscow in the west, and the Pacific port city of Vladivostok in the east. Depending on the train you take, you will be able to stop in various locations along the way, seeing local towns and culture across the vast expanse. Sleeping cars may be tight for families, but that's a small price for such an unforgettable trip.