If you’re looking for family vacation ideas outside the U.S., you might be wondering where you can go that’s both safe and affordable. Fortunately, there are several places that fit that description. Keep reading to see which destinations are the best places to visit with kids.
Safety index score: 70.03
Average hotel cost: $129.33
The capital of Chile is one of the safer family vacation spots in South America. Bordered by the Andes Mountains, Santiago offers plenty of outdoor activities and indoor attractions, such as the hands-on art museum Artequin and the beautiful Metropolitan Cathedral.
Although affordable, Santiago isn’t the cheapest destination on our list. It has the fourth-highest average nightly hotel rate.
Safety index score: 71.9
Average hotel cost: $73
Athens is one of the best places for history buffs and one of the world’s oldest cities. You can visit the Acropolis archaeological site to see the Parthenon and Theatre of Dionysus and the Acropolis Museum. Relax on Elafonissi Beach, or take a virtual-reality trip to ancient Greece at the Hellenic Cosmos museum.
Although meals in Athens are more expensive than in most cities on our list, the average nightly hotel rate is the fifth lowest.
Safety index score: 72.06
Average hotel cost: $55.67
Beijing is one of the travel hot spots where your dollar goes furthest thanks to a favorable exchange rate and affordable accommodations. In fact, it has the second-cheapest average meal cost on our list at $4.73. Top attractions include the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, which was home to emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Safety index score: 73.11
Average hotel cost: $42.67
Kuala Lumpur is one of the best bargain family vacations. The capital of Malaysia has the cheapest average hotel cost and cheapest average meal cost per person — $3.08 — of any city on our list. Plus, it’s one of the best places to visit this spring because flights are cheaper then, another GOBankingRates study found.
While there, families can enjoy the Sunway Lagoon water theme park, Skytrex Adventure tree canopy zipline tour and Aquaria KLCC aquarium.
Safety index score: 73.59
Average hotel cost: $64.67
The capital of Qatar has the fourth-lowest average nightly hotel rate on our list. You can soak up some of the city’s history at Souq Waqif, a centuries-old marketplace and possibly the only traditional souq left in the Persian Gulf area. Or, learn about the history of Qatar at the National Museum of Qatar.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Safety index score: 76.35
Average hotel cost: $88.67
If you’re looking for the best family vacation spots in South America, consider the capital of Argentina. Buenos Aires is safer than other cities in this part of the world. And the average nightly hotel rate is lower here than in about half of the cities on our list.
Family-friendly attractions include world-class wildlife park Temaikèn and the Jardin Japonés, one of the largest Japanese gardens outside Japan, as well as a day trip by train to the Parque de la Costa theme park.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Safety index score: 76.91
Average hotel cost: $45.33
Located on the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It has the second-lowest average hotel cost on our list. Transportation and food costs are also among the lowest.
Families can enjoy the Arabian Wildlife Park on nearby Sir Baniyas Island, the Corniche waterfront with its beach access, and the rides and waterslides at Yas Waterworld. A must-see is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the world’s largest mosques.
Safety index score: 79.3
Average hotel cost: $73.33
Accommodations in this city in northern Italy are more affordable than most of the cities on our list. However, the average cost of a meal — $18.82 — is among the highest.
Kids will enjoy the Acquario Civico aquarium, the Planetarium Hoepli and Civico Museo di Storia Naturale (a natural history museum). History and architecture buffs might like the Duomo, Milan’s famous cathedral that took hundreds of years to build.
Safety index score: 80.7
Average hotel cost: $110.67
Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, a self-governed island off the coast of mainland China. The average hotel rate is higher here than in more than half of the cities on our list. But the average cost of a meal is among the cheapest — just $5.18. Some of the best family-friendly attractions include the Taipei Zoo, Taipei Children’s Amusement Park and Taipei 101, which is one of the world’s tallest buildings.
Safety index score: 83.01
Average hotel cost: $109.67
Brussels is both the capital of Belgium and the administrative capital of the European Union. It is both modern and medieval, affordable and family-friendly. To explore the city’s historical side, visit the Grand Place square to see 15th- to 17th-century architecture. Or check out the futuristic Atomium, a popular attraction that is a cluster of nine spheres that represent an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.
Wellington, New Zealand
Safety index score: 83.18
Average hotel cost: $107
Wellington isn’t the cheapest place to visit on our list, but its safety score is among the top 10 best. And you have fans of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy in your family, Wellington is a must-see destination because the films were set in locations around the city.
There are plenty of other things to do in New Zealand’s capital, including enjoying the waterfront at Oriental Bay beach, visiting Wellington Zoo, riding the historic cable car and touring the national museum of New Zealand, Te Papa.
Seoul, South Korea
Safety index score: 83.61
Average hotel cost: $78
Accommodations in the capital of South Korea are cheaper than in more than half of the cities on our list. And the average cost of a meal is among the lowest on our list.
Families can enjoy the Lotte World or Everland amusement parks, Caribbean Bay waterpark and the Seoul Children’s Grand Park, which has a zoo and botanical gardens. Or visit Gyeongbok Palace, Korea’s most famous royal palace.
Safety index score: 83.88
Average hotel cost: $87
Spain’s capital and largest city offers urban amenities with plenty of historical attractions. You can explore Madrid’s markets, parks, gardens, museums and the Royal Palace of Madrid — the largest palace in Western Europe. Or, take the kids to Parque Warner, a Warner Bros. theme park with rides and live shows.
Safety index score: 85.2
Average hotel cost: $85
Switzerland’s largest city is one of the safest overseas family destinations, and the average hotel rate is lower here than in half of the cities on our list. However, Zurich has the highest average meal cost — $27.19.
Zurich’s location on Lake Zurich near the Swiss Alps offers families plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as swimming, hiking and boat tours. There are also museums, a zoo and a complimentary bike rental program you can use to explore the city.
Safety index score: 86.22
Average hotel cost: $138.33
This former British colony is now an autonomous territory in China where both English and Chinese are spoken. The average nightly hotel rate in Hong Kong is the second highest on our list, but the average cost of a meal — $7.03 — is the fourth lowest.
Families can visit Hong Kong Disneyland, buy knickknacks at Stanley Market or explore the beaches and seafood restaurants of Cheung Chau, one of Hong Kong’s islands.
Safety index score: 86.72
Average hotel cost: $112
The capital of Sweden offers a safe and relatively affordable family getaway. There’s plenty to see and do, including Tekniska Museet (the National Museum of Science and Technology), Eriksdalsbadet aquatic center, Skansen open-air museum and zoo and the Kulturhuset cultural center. However, note that public transportation is more expensive here than any other city on our list.
Safety index score: 87.3
Average hotel cost: $77
Australia’s second-largest city is one of the safest family vacation spots that also is affordable. The average nightly hotel rate is lower here than in half of the cities on our list. Plus, there’s no shortage of things for families to do, from seeing the more than 320 species at the Melbourne Zoo to enjoying the rides and roller coasters at Luna Park.
Safety index score: 87.36
Average hotel cost: $105
The U.S. has plenty of affordable family vacation spots. But you can easily get to Canada’s largest city, which is just across Lake Ontario from upstate New York.
While there, take a ferry to the Toronto Islands, where you can enjoy beaches, picnic areas, an amusement park and great views of Toronto. Or, stroll through the Kensington Market to check out goods from around the world and watch street performers.
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Safety index score: 89.64
Average hotel cost: $132.33
This island country in Southeast Asia has the second-highest safety score on our list. It also has the third-highest average hotel rate. However, American families might consider it a plus that English is one of the official languages of Singapore.
While there, families can visit the Universal Studios Singapore theme park and the breathtaking Gardens by the Bay nature park or ride the 165-meter Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel that offers views of the city.
Safety index score: 89.8
Average hotel cost: $168.33
Tokyo has the highest safety score of any city on our list. However, it also has the highest average nightly hotel cost. But meals, which cost an average of $9.38 per person, are relatively inexpensive.
And there are plenty of family-friendly attractions in Tokyo, including Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Skytree complex, which houses an aquarium, a planetarium and the city’s tallest structure, where you can view the city from observation decks.
On the flip side, check out 20 affordable destinations that are too dangerous to visit.
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Methodology: In order to determine a ranking of safe and affordable cities around the world, GOBankingRates surveyed the cities included the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2017 Safe Cities Index 2017 report, which includes four factors: 1) digital safety; 2) health; 3) infrastructure; and 4) physical safety. We then narrowed the list to find the cities with the highest score (not including U.S. cities or multiple cities from the same country) and estimated their average four-star hotel costs, assuming summer vacation stays during the week of July 7, 2018, to July 14, 2018. Hotel costs were sourced from Hotels.com.