There are a few families that choose the hobo life of nomadic travel, but most have to stick to traveling just one trip at a time. We’ve found that when it comes to family travel, starting early is the key to building resilient and eager travels. If all your kids know are amusement parks and beach resorts, they may be resistant to visiting a (gasp) museum or architectural landmark. If all they are fed are chicken fingers and hot dogs, they may turn up their nose to trying escargot or sushi.
So family travel really starts at home. By looking at maps, reading books, trying new foods, and visiting local museums. Small road trips prepare kids for more rigorous journeys so that when flights are delayed, lines are long and attractions are closed they know how to roll with the punches and go with the flow.
Planning also goes far to make a family vacation run smoothly. That is why I love to offer sample itineraries on We3Travel for places like Rome, Iceland, San Francisco and even Gettysburg, PA. Of course Triphobo makes it easy for others to copy these itineraries and book their own trip.
Hawaii was our first uo;big trip” with our then six year-old daughter. On our first morning, we woke at dawn to the call of the birds outside our open air hale, calling us to the water. We walked down to the beach just as the sun was rising over the horizon, spreading its golden arms across the tiki statue on the beach. As we turned to leave, we watched a group of sea turtle carving a path from the waves up onto the beach what a special beginning of a trip that turned us all into travelers.
Spain was the first time we took our daughter to Europe. We spent months preparing for the trip by reading books (like Don Quixote), watching videos (like On the Road Again with Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow featuring foods of Spain), and brushing up on our conversational Spanish with the Coffee Break Spanish podcast. There were many uo;moments” to this trip the stunning architecture of La Sagrada Familia, which inspired writing journal entries for months to come, ordering in Spanish for the first time, taking flight in a hot air balloon, and the thrill of seeing masterpieces at the Prado that our daughter recognized from her art books at home.
Visiting Italy is like stepping into a warm embrace. The people, the culture, and especially the food are different yet familiar. We were so pleased when our daughter found the clash of modern and ancient in Rome just as exciting as we did during our first visit 10 years prior. After days of touring and learning about history where history took place, nothing can compare to relaxing along the Amalfi Coast. Climbing those steep stairs in Positano with the smell of bougainvillea in the air. Cruising through the Faraglioni rocks off the coast of Capri. Bobbing in the waves off the rocky coast and sampling some of the tastiest food in the world.
Travel sparks a desire for journeys to new and different places. Last year, that interest drove us to try something new and different with a family trip to Iceland. It takes a really special place to make us don winter gear in June, when we had four feet of snow on the ground just three months before. Iceland offers not just an otherworldly landscape; it also offers all sorts of adventures. We were able to try out dog sledding, hike across a glacier, walk behind a waterfall, and boat between the icebergs.
All of these journeys have caused each of us to dig a little deeper, travel more thoughtfully, and be open to new adventures. So it was not one journey that made an impact on our family, but a series of journeys that have turned our family into travelers. Travelers that have an appreciation to other cultures, and have an understanding of the world and history in a way that only hands on experience can deliver. I’m convinced that these experiences have helped shape the person my daughter is growing into a kind, caring, giving, open-minded person with a deep interest in history, language, food and other cultures.
About Tamara Gruber
Tamara writes at We3Travel.com, a family travel blog with a mission of making planning family vacations easier by providing tips, destination information, trip reports, sample itineraries and reviews. Her family of three is exploring the world one adventure at a time blending a recipe of education, soft adventures and culture exploration for fun family vacations. She is also the co-host of the weekly Vacation Mavens family travel podcast, which provides vacation inspiration and tips to get you out the door, with interviews of leading family travel experts and destination specialists.
Tamara is also a contributing writer and Family Vacation Consultant for Ciao Bambino, a leading luxury family travel website and Virtuoso travel agency. She is also a member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association and Family Travel Association. Her freelance writing can also be found on Travel Age West, This Girl Travels, and other travel websites.
All photographs by Tamara Gruber