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Some things never change: modern-day kids still mutter ‘are we there yet?’ as often as youngsters of the past (despite smart phones and advanced navigation systems, we’d like to point out), those pressed souvenir coins still exist, and holiday mishaps continue to become the stuff of family legend. But for the things that do change – the destinations that evolve, the new technology we incorporate into our travels – we’re keeping track. That’s why we’ve rounded up the top trends in family travel for 2018. Happy memory-making.

Choose-your-own adventures

Picture it: you’ve just turned 16 and you can go anywhere in the world… where would you go? Recently, relatives have been offering their loved ones the gift of travel for a major birthday or a school graduation. But beyond footing the bill, these generous gift givers also let the recipient pick the place. We were especially taken (and slightly perplexed), by one eight-year-old girl who picked Idaho for the potato harvest as her dream destination.

Single-family slides
As you’ve taught your kids, sharing is usually the way to go. However, when it comes to a personal water slide, we’re willing to make an exception. Soneva Jani hotel in the Maldives has multiple overwater villas with private slides that wind into the surrounding lagoon. Skipping the lines at the water park is the ultimate luxury in family travel.

The Pilgrm, bunk beds

The Bunk Room at the Pilgrm in London

Boutique bunk beds
As far as we know, basic bunk principles remain the same: one must call dibs on top; bottom bunker reserves the right to swat away any dangling limbs from top inhabitant. But what has changed is where you’ll find these stacked sleepers. Once reserved for hostels and rustic cabins, bunk beds are now popping up in luxury boutique hotels. The Arlo SoHo in NYC has them in its sleek wood-paneled rooms, and you’ll find them covered in Egyptian cotton linens at The Pilgrm in London.

Hollywood-style holiday films
You’ve just returned from a trip, you’ve got over a hundred shots of your family hamming it up on holiday, and one day you’ll organise all those pictures on your iPhone. Yes, one day… We’re not saying we don’t believe you, but in the meantime, consider hiring someone to make sense of your memories. Companies like UrLife – started by a former film producer for Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros – will take all of your footage and cut together a highly polished film. Take that, slideshows of yesteryear.

Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa

The pool at kid-friendly Anantara Si Kao Resort in Krabi, Thailand

Thailand for tykes
If Southeast Asia with kids sounds about as fun as a 72-hour layover, this is for you. There’s more on offer these days than when you backpacked Thailand back in the day. In Phuket, for example, Trisara hotel has a kids club, a whole host of baby gear to borrow (cots, buggies, changing mats, etc) as well as kayaking and snorkeling for little ones. Over in Krabi, kids at Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa can take batik painting and Thai language classes, and in Bangkok, the Oriental Residence has multi-bedroom suites with families in mind plus a pool for pint-sized swimmers.

Farm-to-family stays
So you’ve raised a brood of city slickers? It’s still possible to give your kids a taste of the rural life. This year, take them to Los Poblanos in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they can lend a hand in the hotel’s lavender field and organic farm. At Chewton Glen in Hampshire, England, cookery classes for kids include a lesson in how the hotel grows fruits and veggies in the kitchen garden. Or, give the staff at Lucknam Park Hotel in Wiltshire, England a heads up and they’ll arrange a duck herding experience for little ones.

Museum of Ice Cream, Sprinkle Pool

The Sprinkle Pool at the Museum of Ice Cream; photo via Instagram/@museumoficecream

Museum-hopping for the ‘gram
Your teens may soon be begging for a museum visit, believe it or not. That’s because a slew of interactive exhibitions have made museum shots the coolest pics to post on social media. Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinity Mirrors’ exhibit, which is headed to Toronto in early 2018, has been called out 91 million times on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #InfiniteKusama. At the Museum of Ice Cream, which launched in New York City and then spread to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami (Jay Z and Beyoncé even stopped by the LA location), museum goers can snap photos of themselves wading through a pool of sprinkles or posing beside oversized ice pops. Up next: The Museum of Selfies (yes, seriously) opens in January in LA.

Scootin’ suitcases
While adults were busy adding chargers and trackers to their luggage, kids’ bags have become more mobile than ever. There are now Vespa-inspired cases, beagle-shaped bags with built-in seats, and even a suitcase modelled after an SUV. Then there’s the Zinc Flyte, which is actually a scooter in disguise. And to think, four-way wheels was once a novelty.

Featured image is the Four-Bedroom Water Reserve at Soneva Jani in the Maldives

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