Written by: David Willis
There comes a time when your children don’t want to go on holiday with you anymore. They have reached an age when they would much prefer to go on holiday with their friends or stay at home with the trusted responsibility of looking after the cat. But just before they set sail to explore the world for themselves, there is often a transitional period when children want to join their parents on family holidays without being escorted by them. They are not quite ready to jet set, but not impressed with the idea of being shackled to mum and dad either. So how can you let the kids off the leash and ensure that they are safe? It’s a tough one, but you can start by considering holidays in some of the world’s safest countries.
Gap year safe destinations
Situated in the South-western Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is regarded as one of the safest, as well as one of the most beautiful places in the world. A country rich in landscape with impressive mountains and glaciers, it is also a place of great calm. This peaceful nature is due in part to the Kiwi people’s culture. The indigenous peoples are respectful to foreigners and travellers and maintain a society based on respect and civility. There is little chance of political or internal conflict and the countries neutral political stance makes it an unlikely target for attack. New Zealand is a beautiful country and is a great destination for those who like the great outdoors. It is also popular with climbers and extreme sports enthusiasts.
Ever fancied skiing? Well now is the time to give it a go in one of the safest places on the planet. With a peaceful culture and low levels of violent crime, it is a safe bet that the only trouble the kids get in here will be on the ski slopes. This country is stunning in terms of natural beauty, it is full of mountains, lakes and elegant villages. Hotspots include Lake Neusiedl, the Wachau Valley and of course the breathtaking Alps. In fact, it is the mountainous landscape that presents the biggest danger in Austria, so if you are thinking of braving the mountains, it is best to stick to guided trips.
The capital city Vienna is a great place to explore, attracting five million tourists a year. It is a city steeped in culture and is renowned for its penchant for opera and classical music. If there is a budding architect in the family you have come to the right place as Vienna’s architecture is spectacular. The buildings are grand, intricate and elegant; some of the outstanding sights include Hofburg Palace, State Opera and St Charle’s Church. Austria is sure to impress the whole family; a great place to relax, offering a safe and serene environment.
With little chance of a natural disaster and a law abiding population, Singapore ranks high in terms of safety. This Asian island situated just off the Malay Peninsula is a fascinating place to visit. It has a vibrant atmosphere and for such a small country it is surprisingly diverse. Singapore is multicultural and exciting and a great place where young people are able to enjoy themselves freely with little threat of danger. Crime is rare here and this is perhaps due to the serious penalties given to offenders. Hefty fines are dished out for littering and smoking in undesignated areas, so have fun but remember to keep it clean.
As well as boasting paradise-like holiday resorts, Cyprus in one of the safest tourist destinations in Europe. The island has a minimal crime rate and personal safety is all but guaranteed. So it’s fair to say the kids will be safe to wander around and do their own thing, and on this island they will be spoilt for choice. There are a whole range of sports activities on offer as well as other types of entertainment, such as discos and live music. This island is a great choice for a family holiday, and with a safe and relaxed atmosphere it ticks all the boxes.
Is Iceland an odd choice of holiday destination? Maybe. Is it safe? Definitely. Iceland has a homicide rate of zero and a police force that don’t carry guns and often take second jobs because they literally have nothing to do. It doesn’t get much safer than that. What do you do here? You explore this charming country safe in the knowledge that you and the kids are, well, safe…