You Can Skip the Planning for These 7 Affordable Bucket List Family Travel Adventures

These value-packed family travel adventures run smoothy and don't come with any costly surprises.
Northern Lights over Norway (Photo: Shutterstock)
Northern Lights over Norway (Photo: Shutterstock)

As enriching as family vacations can be, there’s no question they’re stressful to plan. And if you want to show your kids the world, planning family travel adventures to bucket-list destinations like Ireland, Alaska, or America’s national parks can also be a bit daunting. The good news is there may be a better alternative to consider—letting someone else do all the planning on a guided tour.

I’ve participated in numerous guided group tours with my family, and they’ve been among the most hassle-tree times together we’ve ever had. Letting trip planners and seasoned guides take care of tedious details and time-consuming logistics removes many of the difficulties that come with traveling, especially with kids.

While a trip to the destination of your dreams is never going to be a cheap family vacation, group travel tours can save you time, money, and a lot of stress. The end result? Family travel adventures that run smoothly and don’t come with any costly surprises. Here are 15 value-packed guided tours for your family’s 2024 adventures. 

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1. Iceland with National Geographic Family Journeys

G Adventures

Iceland waterfall (Photo: G Adventures)
Explore waterfalls and volcanic craters in Iceland (Photo: G Adventures)

Renowned small group travel tour company G Adventures has teamed up with National Geographic to create escorted family travel itineraries that take full advantage of NatGeo’s expertise in wildlife, storytelling, and photography. The company’s eight-day Iceland Family Journey delves into the subarctic island nation’s unique geological features in an experiential way, including hiking on the edge of a volcanic crater and riding Icelandic horses near a waterfall.

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The tour company’s trip leaders are trained to engage young guests ages seven to 17, and the participant limit is capped at 20. These guided family travel adventures start at $4,999 per adult (there’s a $200 discount for kids ages seven to 12) for 2024 and they include transportation within Iceland, accommodations, daily breakfast, three lunches, and one dinner. 

2. Highlights of Ireland

Brendan Vacations

Brendan Vacations takes you to all the highlights of Ireland (Photo: Brendan Vacations)
Brendan Vacations takes you to all the highlights of Ireland (Photo: Brendan Vacations)

The wild Atlantic Ocean, misty cliffs, and impossibly green countryside are a few of the reasons why the Emerald Island’s mystical beauty has inspired poets for centuries. From Dublin’s cosmopolitan charm to hanging by your heels to kiss the Blarney Stone in Cork, Brendan Vacations are experts when it comes to Celtic travel, and its Shamrocks and Leprechauns tour is a favorite with families.

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Highlights include going behind the scenes where Game of Thrones was filmed and marveling at the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. Interactive experiences, such as tea with a family on their sheep farm and dressing up like medieval archers as you learn to aim a bow and arrow, make a lasting impression. 

There’s a maximum of 45 participants aged five and older on this 10-day trip in 2024. Prices start at $3,083 and children ages five to 17 receive a 10 percent discount. Transportation within Ireland, accommodations, and 15 meals are included. A travel director accompanies you throughout, with local specialists enriching the journey. 

3. Canadian Rockies from Banff to Jasper


Explore the Canadian Rockies from Banff to Jasper with Backroads (Photo: Backroads)
Explore the Canadian Rockies from Banff to Jasper with Backroads (Photo: Backroads)

Backroads’ guided family travel adventures are a hit with active travelers who crave communion with nature. On Backroads’ Banff to Jasper Multi-Adventure Family Tour, you’ll join a small group of families as you bike, hike, and paddle your way across the magnificent Canadian Rockies. Float down the Athabasca River, soak in sweeping vistas at Icefields Parkway, and walk on a glacier. 

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This trip has a maximum of 26 guests and is recommended for ages nine and older. Trip leaders receive specialized training to ensure that they’re well-equipped to engage youngsters. The six-day trip costs $3,999 per person in 2024. Kids 17 and under receive a 10 percent discount when staying in a single or double occupancy room; the child discount is increased to 20 percent if there are three or more people staying in the same room. Lodging, activities, daily breakfast, six lunches, four dinners, and snacks are included. 

4. Grand Alaskan Adventure


A moose in the wild at Alaska's Denali National Park (Photo: NPS)
A moose in the wild at Alaska’s Denali National Park (Photo: NPS)

If your family loves the Great Outdoors, Alaska is the vacation of a lifetime. Cosmos offers guided group tours to “America’s Last Frontier” that present value without skimping on quality. The Grand Alaskan Adventure is an appealing choice with a balanced blend of group activities and free time.

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Starting and finishing in Anchorage, you’ll cross Prince William Sound and glimpse otters, seals, and whales. A ride on the Alaska Railroad will delight fans of train travel, while two days spent in Denali National Park’s wilderness is an immersion in majestic beauty. Keep your eyes open for bears, moose, and caribou as you travel the Denali Highway across Alaska’s lightly treaded interior.

In 2024, this seven-day guided family travel adventure starts at $2,139 and includes some meals, accommodations, and activities. Children as young as five are welcome, and those ages five to 17 receive a 10 percent discount. The average number of participants is 36.

5. Taste of Portugal


Experience a unique wicker basket toboggan ride with Globus (Photo: Miguel Moniz)
Experience a unique wicker basket toboggan ride with Globus (Photo: Miguel Moniz)

With alluring beaches, ancient villages, and sophisticated cities, it’s no wonder Portugal is trending in 2024. The Taste of Portugal with Madeira guided group itinerary from Globus visits cosmopolitan Lisbon, Porto’s cobbled streets, and the semi-tropical island of Madeira, with its natural rock-pools and unique wicker basket toboggan ride. 

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This 11-day escorted trip starts at $3,309 including hotels, nine breakfast, and three dinners. Kids as young as five may participate and those between ages five and 17 receive a 10 percent discount. The average group size is 36 guests. 

6. New Zealand Family Travel Adventure

Austin Adventures

Explore the adventurous side of New Zealand with Austin Adventures. (Photo: Austin Adventures)
Explore the adventurous side of New Zealand with Austin Adventures. (Photo: Austin Adventures)

Headquartered in New Zealand, guided tour company Austin Adventures is an expert when it comes to showcasing this country’s natural assets. Energetic families who want an intimate group experience will be pleased with the New Zealand Family Vacation itinerary. Starting and finishing in Christchurch, you’ll visit a wildlife preserve with resident koalas, wallabies, kiwi, and ancient tuatara (a rare reptile); hike to glacial lakes; and kayak and float down a rose-lined gorge. 

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Children six and older are welcome on this 13-day trip, which costs $5,499 per adult and $4,999 per child 12 years and under. Lodging, activities, and almost all meals are part of the deal. The maximum group size is 14 people plus two guides. 

7. The Greek Islands of Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete

EF Go Ahead Tours 

Step into Greek history with EF Go Ahead Tours (Photo: Jessica Wardwell)
Step into Greek history with EF Go Ahead Tours (Photo: Jessica Wardwell)

Get acquainted with a trifecta of Greek islands on The Greek Islands: Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete from EF Go Ahead Tours. Absorb ancient Hellenic heritage in Athens before arriving in lively Mykonos for a dip in its crystal-clear water. Cruise to Santorini, where volcanic black sand beaches are juxtaposed with bright white and sea blue houses. Then it’s on to Crete with its trail of historic treasures, from palaces to archaeological ruins. 

This 14-day family travel adventure has a maximum of 30 participants and starts at $4,019 in 2024. It includes hotels, daily breakfast, five dinners, a dedicated tour director, and local guides along the way. Children age six and older are welcome, though they don’t receive a discount.

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Allison Tibaldi
Allison Tibaldi has written for publications including CNN, Business Insider, FamilyVacationist, HGTV, USA TODAY, and Travel Weekly. As a former early childhood educator, she is interested in the way kids experience the world, and thinks that travel is the best education for young minds. Tibaldi is based in New York City.