How to spend a sabbatical when you have a family

Taking an extended break from work is becoming increasingly common, with people choosing to take months or even a year out of their career in order to do something a bit different. But what if you’ve got a family – is a sabbatical for you?

The good news is that there are plenty of ways in which you can spend time with your family while also exploring the world, so if you are keen to do a bit more travelling with the kids in tow, there’s nothing to stop you.

In fact, there are a host of family adventure holidays to choose from, with some showing you a different side to well-known destinations and others taking you a long way off the beaten track. The following are just a few suggestions to give you an idea of what you could get up to if you took an extended break from work.

While many of these trips aren’t longer than a couple of weeks, you can take a few months off to spend proper time with your children both before and after your adventure.

Travel through south-east Asia

The standard backpacker route through countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia is one that’s become much more accessible in recent years and there are several family-friendly tours that visit the region. One particularly good trip will see you start your exploration in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, before moving on to discover some of the country’s most famous sights (including the Cu Chi Tunnels and floating market at Cai Rang) and then cross the border into Cambodia.

It’s the Angkor Wat temple complex that will be your main focus here, an incredible site featuring temples and other buildings from the 12th century, all located in the heart of the Cambodian jungle.

Moving on to Thailand, you’ll spend time on one of its idyllic islands – Ko Chang – before heading to the thriving metropolis of Bangkok where you can soak up the sights and sounds at the colourful market and visit some more breathtaking temples.

Get back to nature in Belize

The Central American nations, such as Belize and Costa Rica, are hubs of biodiversity and if you and your kids have an interest in the natural world, these destinations should be firmly at the top of your list for an extended trip.

There are dozens of national parks and nature reserves in Belize where you can see animals like spider monkeys, toucans, crocodiles, green iguanas, vultures, hummingbirds and jaguars to name just a few. What’s more, you can introduce a spot of history to your travels by visiting ancient Mayan ruins such as Xunantunich, where you’ll find an amazing pyramid, among other structures, tucked away in the forest.

Discover Canada’s natural beauty

For something completely different, jet off to the wonderful wilderness in Canada, where you and the kids can discover a truly untouched area of natural beauty. The country is a haven for wildlife lovers and active travellers, with plenty to keep both happy.

A visit to the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge is a must to see these incredible animals, while a hike along Maligne Canyon is breathtaking. This gorge is said to be one of the most spectacular in the Canadian Rockies, with its sheer sides towering some 50 m high on either side.

Another highlight for adventurous families will be exploring Banff National Park, where you can get a close-up look at the Columbia Glacier, admire the stunning Lake Louise and marvel at the striking Bow Valley. It’s a fantastic place for hiking and wildlife watching.