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Family travel with kids around the world. Visiting new places, cultures and immersing in new adventures, National Geographic Family Expeditions, Journeys,

Family travel and exploring are two of my favorite things to do. In fact, if I could do anything in the world, it would be to show my children every square inch of the world introducing them to as many people, cultures, languages and lands as time would allow.

I believe that the key to being a good person is being a good citizen of the world and embracing and appreciating the differences in people and places, all the while remembering that at our core, we are all human beings; that is our shared experience and it all begins with family travel.

Family travel, travel with kids around the world. Visiting new places, cultures and immersing in new adventures, National Geographic Family Expeditions, Journeys,

This is the only tie we need to bond us to one another; humanity. It has nothing to do with where we were born, what we eat, what language we speak, our religion, who we love or what we believe. It has everything to do with decency, respect and human kindness. I feel it is my duty to instill this virtue in my children but there is only so much I can do from my neighborhood.

Family travel, travel with kids around the world. Visiting new places, cultures and immersing in new adventures, National Geographic Family Expeditions, Journeys,

Like you, I teach my children that they need to respect themselves and those they encounter in the world but, right now, their world is still pretty small. It’s home, school, ballet, gymnastics, church and repeat. It’s quite the little bubble.

Family travel takes us out of our bubble and that’s good.

I’ve realized that the more we travel, the bigger their scope for human understanding becomes and in turn the way they move through this world. I see them grow with each travel destination we visit. I see curiosity for knowledge of others growing inside them. I encourage them to go be a part of it, to interact and have new experiences. I demand that we have adventures because I don’t want my children growing up as bystanders in their own lives.

Family travel, travel with kids around the world. Visiting new places, cultures and immersing in new adventures, National Geographic Family Expeditions, Journeys,

I want to inspire my girls to spread their wings and venture outside of our comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong, I love 5-star hotels as much as the next person but there is a part of me that is filled with wanderlust and that part is hungry for adventure. I want to see things I’ve never seen and share those with the Big Guy and my girls. I want us to do it together.

Family travel, travel with kids around the world. Visiting new places, cultures and immersing in new adventures, National Geographic Family Expeditions, Journeys,

I want to be a part of their life adventure so that someday they won’t be afraid to take their children on adventures. I want to not only visit places that are familiar but I want to immerse ourselves in places and cultures unknown. I literally want to give my children the world. As a parent, aside from unconditional love, I think the gift of travel and the perspective it gives, the bravery that comes from unshackling yourself from conventional thinking and inspiring my children to see beyond borders is one of the most important gifts that I can give to them. I want them to explore and learn new things that nature can give. Recently, I learned the best duck call for beginners which I also taught my daughters so we can watch ducks closely and just admire their beauty.

Family travel, travel with kids around the world. Visiting new places, cultures and immersing in new adventures, National Geographic Family Expeditions, Journeys,

On a recent call as a National Geographic ambassador, I was introduced to National Geogrpahic Student expeditions, summer trips for high school students and middle school students. My girls are still too young to travel alone but I like that they’ve put this program together.

More importantly, I was floored by the National Geographic Family Expeditions, Unique Lodges of World and National Geographic Journeys which just launched 70 Adventures because these are completely organized trips that you can take with your family. You choose your dream destination almost anywhere in the world and National Geographic does the rest. Trips range from 7 days to 22 days.

Family travel, travel with kids around the world. Visiting new places, cultures and immersing in new adventures, National Geographic Family Expeditions, Journeys,

I am most excited about the National Geographic Family Expeditions for obvious reasons. What better way to introduce my family to the wonder of world travel then through an unforgettable family expedition?

Family travel, travel with kids around the world. Visiting new places, cultures and immersing in new adventures, National Geographic Family Expeditions, Journeys,

Set out on one of National Geographic’s family trips and experience the magic of discovery and exploration with your whole family. They’ve crafted their family expeditions to inspire and enrich travelers of any age, drawing on their global resources to create experiences in incredible places that are authentic, immersive, and fun. Watch humpback whales breach and kayak into remote fjords in Alaska; spot lions, elephants, giraffes, and more on safari in Tanzania; or go white-water rafting through Costa Rica’s tropical forest. National Geographic’s expedition leaders and local experts enrich your understanding of the culture, wildlife, and natural wonders of each incredible destination, and on many of their family trips, a young explorer leader facilitates fun learning activities for kids. This would be the perfect trip for our family of four to step put of our comfort zone and experience the world fully immersed. Now, I just need to start planning and saving for it.

Family travel, travel with kids around the world. Visiting new places, cultures and immersing in new adventures, National Geographic Family Expeditions, Journeys,

If you want to get your little ones mentally prepared to take a leap outside of their comfort zone and curious for adventure, why not watch some travel documentaries together like Wildest Africa, Wildest Arctic, Wildest Islands, Wildest Latina America, Wildest India and several more to ignite that wanderlust in those little hearts? Or if they are a bit too young for documentaries how about Netflix’s new series that’s packed full of adventure just for the little ones, Dawn of the Croods, now streaming on Netflix.

Where’s your dream family travel destination?

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toyota, highlander, Toyota highlander hydrid limited, travel, family travel

I don’t know about you but travel is a form of religion to me. Nope, I don’t think travel is my God but in a profound way, I feel closer to something bigger than myself when I’m experiencing the beauty and the wonder of the world, especially if there’s music playing loudly in the background. For example, when I am flying or on a boat in the ocean, I feel freer and smaller than I’ve ever felt before yet, at the same time I feel grounded and significant in my small part. Sometimes when you’re on the open road headed toward a destination, driving can feel almost like a holy experience. I know, it might sound weird to some of you but to others you completely understand.

There is just something about taking all of that beauty in and really comprehending the enormity that this planet is where we get to live, in all of its natural glory. I’ve always loved travel but it’s only been the last few years where I’ve really begun to appreciate the beauty of the different landscapes, people and cultures. I want to show my children the entire world and everything in it

Last month, I was loaned the new Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited in toasted walnut pearl. I mean, is there a more perfect color name for a car that you are driving around amongst the changing leaves? The 2017 new front fascia with an updated front grille and redesigned headlights make a bold first impression.

toyota, highlander, Toyota highlander hydrid limited, travel, family travel

I don’t know everything there is to know about the Toyota brand, as I have never owned one myself but I know what I like. I have friends and family members who will only buy Toyota because they hold up so well and last for so long. To me, that says something about the brand. The Highlander certainly exceeded any expectations I had.

I was pleasantly surprised by what it added to our travel experience. Not only is it a beautifully sophisticated piece of machinery, it is eco-friendly, which is something else that I tend to look for more as my fondness for the planet grows deeper.

toyota, highlander, Toyota highlander hydrid limited, travel, family travel

Traveling with my family is my favorite thing to do and we do a lot of that traveling on four wheels. We like the freedom to stop and explore along the way. So the little things matter, especially when you are in a car for 18-24 hours.

Here are some of my features of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid:

  • Color-keyed heated power outside mirrors with turn signal lights and blind spot warning indicators and folding features. Safety, convenience and indulgence all rolled into one.
  • Panoramic moonroof with power sunshade and jam protection. This moonroof adds a level of sophistication and adventure.
  • Three-zone automatic climate control with air filter, separate second-row control panel, individual temperature settings for driver, front passenger and rear-seat passengers, and second- and third-row vents. This is perfect, especially for long road trips with children, tweens and/or teens. Everyone controls their own temperature, a little less complaining and distraction for the driver.
  • Integrated backup camera with dynamic gridlines. At this point, I am annoyed with any vehicle that doesn’t have backup cameras but the dynamic gridlines feature is perfect for new drivers learning to parallel park and just be safe in general.
  • SofTex®-trimmed 60/40 split, fold-flat third-row seat with sliding headrests and recline function. I know this sounds like an unnecessary luxury but believe me when you have tall passengers, stuck in a vehicle for long amounts of time the recline functions is definitely one that you will appreciate.
  • Blue LED ambient lighting on the interior of the front and rear doors and in-dash shelf. This sounds so unnecessary but I’m telling you, it’s one of those things you never knew that you always wanted. That little bit of ambient lighting makes all the difference when getting into your car at night.
  • Five total USB ports (three front and two second-row). Talk about convenience and luxury. There are 4 of us, we each have an iPhone and iPad and they need to be charged. No more fighting/bickering over whose turn it is to use the charger.
  • Second-row retractable window sunshades. If you have babies, this is a lifesaver on long trips. If you have children of any age sitting in the back seat trying to stay entertained with electronics or just not spend the drive with the migraine-inducing sun in their eyes, you too will love these window shades.
  • I love the safety features. I will have teen drivers in not too many years.
  • Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) — Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB) and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC). My girls will be driving before I’d like to think about and I will feel a lot less anxious if I know they are driving in a vehicle that does its part help keep them safe.
  • More safety features we can all get behind. Star Safety System™ — includes Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB), Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology® (SST).
  • Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) like backup cameras, how did we ever live without these features?
  • toyota, highlander, Toyota highlander hydrid limited, travel, family travel

**No husbands were harmed in the taking of this photo. He just has a morbid sense of humor and was in desperate need of a nap.

  • The storage space is huge. I was able to put my 6’5″ husband in the back. Not that you’d move a body in the Highlander but, the point is, you could if you needed to 😉
  • And, did I mention the mileage on the Highlander Hybrid? If I didn’t I definitely should have. I had the vehicle for 10 days and never had to fill it up. The mileage is out of this world compared to my Enclave.

toyota, highlander, Toyota highlander hydrid limited, travel, family travelI could go on for pages but these are just a few of my favorite features of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited. All of these features help me to focus on what is important about family vacations, family and not let the small stuff like comfort, charging stations and gas mileage ruin the whole thing.

Travel really is an experience that transcends time and space, your mind needs to be free to wander without distraction and completely immerse in the people and places you visit. Traveling with my family, showing them the people and places of this planet, is having the very best of both worlds. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited makes the journey as fantastic as the destination.

What was your favorite family trip destination? How did you get there?

Disclosure: I was provided the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited to drive for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

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I am very excited be collaborating with Sarah Wilson of One Savvy Mom and to give you our candid take on some of the top Family Travel Destinations in the United States.

When it comes to traveling as a family unit, there are definite challenges that can present themselves especially when traveling with young children.  Because all destinations and hotels are NOT created equal, we have compiled some fabulous destinations and accommodations that will make your next family getaway a success. We will showcase reviews for some excellent Family Friendly Destinations (Hotels, Cruises & Attractions) that you won’t want to miss when booking your next family getaway.

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adventures by Disney, Japan, Teen Travel, vacation with teens, see the world, have teens will travel, family adventure, disney

Anyone who knows me knows that my dream would be to gift to my girls the world; a life filled with adventures. Of all the things I could give them, aside from kindness and tolerance, I’d love to introduce them to different cultures. I’d love to raise good human beings who were strong, independent.  Teen travel is so important. Start them young as babies and your vacation with teens will be an adventure you can share together.

It’s a very different life when you live in a bubble compared to when you’ve seen the world. I know it’s not possible or probable for most and I know that some people don’t care about global citizenship the way or to the degree that I do. It probably has a lot to do with my father not being from this country. It probably has more to do with spending my summers in Mexico.

This has always caused me to be more enthusiastic and open to adventure. Having a father whose first language was not English, made me more patient and tolerant of those who didn’t speak English. It made me want to learn other languages so that I could understand and communicate with others. This is why I spoke 4 languages by the time I graduated from college.

I appreciate the differences in people, places, and things. It’s more interesting to be surrounded by difference than sameness. My girls are falling into this same pattern. They see differences as an endless possibility for adventure and travel as the ultimate exploration. This is why I am so excited for Adventures by Disney. They have something for every family member.

READ ALSO: Top  Secret Tips to Rock Your Disney Vacation

As you know as a reader of my multiple posts about our trips to Disney World, Disneyland and on Disney Cruise line, we love Disney. The thing is you can take a short escape or a long one. You can travel in the United States or internationally. It really is a choose your own adventure Disney style and as anyone who has ever been to the happiest place on earth can attest to every adventure by Disney is different. Make of it what you and your family will.

Adventures by Disney offers many different destinations and new ways for travelers to experience the world’s most remarkable destinations with guidance, which is always nice especially if it’s your first time in a city or country. Teen travel is exciting and hectic because not only are our children changing at a dizzying pace, showing them the world is amazing. Adding a guided vacation with teens allows you to eliminate the frustration and just enjoy your time together.

In 2019, Adventures by Disney travelers will experience the captivating culture and rich diversity of Japan during a brand-new itinerary, with expeditions ranging from ancient locales steeped in tradition to fast-paced modern cities. Adventures by Disney collaborated with the Japan National Tourism Organization to create a trip that is both culturally authentic and deeply immersive. Whether exploring a breathtaking bamboo forest, centuries-old temple or high-tech metropolis, vacationers will be fully immersed in the ancient customs and storied traditions deeply rooted within this cultural wonderland.
During this 11-day, 10-night itinerary, travelers will visit Kyoto, Osaka, Takayama, Hakone and Tokyo.

In 2019, a reimagined Alberta, Canada itinerary will offer all-new adventures in Calgary, before traveling to breathtaking Banff National Park and the stunning Lake Louise. In Calgary, travelers will be welcomed as honorary citizens during a traditional ceremony before visiting some of the area’s ranches and farms.

Banff is one of the most beautiful places in the world that I’ve ever traveled to. I’ve not taken my family there yet. When I went I came home with an entirely new outlook on life and appreciation for natural beauty. There is something about standing amongst ancient glaciers and surrounded by pristine nature that makes you feel so small and lucky at the same time. Banff is on my family travel bucket list. I think this Adventure by Disney would be perfect for my family.

Adventures by Disney also recently announced an array of offerings that can be added to a Disney Cruise sailing. Talk about the ultimate land and sea vacation. In 2019, travelers can journey to unforgettable locales such as Barcelona and Copenhagen. All while enjoying renowned Disney service and storytelling. Can you even imagine?

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know about the Disney Dream. 

These unforgettable trips join dozens of Adventures by Disney vacations worldwide, including a new itinerary on France’s Seine River. Revel in the beauty of the sites of Paris while engaging in immersive activities for the whole family. Paris has been on my travel bucket list since I was in 7th grade.

adventures by Disney, Japan, Teen Travel, vacation with teens, see the world, have teens will travel, family adventure, disney, Paris

The 2019 Adventures by Disney land tours feature a wide variety of vacation destination options, something for every traveler. Families will find a wealth of unforgettable moments imbued with special touches that are uniquely Disney.

READ ALSO: Free Tips for Maximizing your Disney World Trip

If you prefer s short trip how about a best of Boston adventure? Treasured American history and contemporary culture come to life in Boston on the new Short Escape itinerary.

adventures by Disney, Japan, Teen Travel, vacation with teens, see the world, have teens will travel, family adventure, disney, boston

Guests are immersed in the city’s legendary stories. During a privately guided tour along the Freedom Trail, families follow 18th-century costumed guides back in time. A private, after-hours tour of the Old North Church places travelers in the famed footsteps of Paul Revere, while another special after-hours visit to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum concludes with a private dinner steeped in the city’s storied roots.

Other family-friendly excursions and activities include rowing along the Charles River and biking the city on a private sightseeing tour. Perfect for teens are exploring the grounds of Harvard Yard. Perfect for the entire family, indulging at a private New England clambake on Thompson Island.

I can tell you from going here every year with our children, there is no shortage of things to do in Boston. You could go back time and time again and still find things to do.

adventures by Disney, Japan, Teen Travel, vacation with teens, see the world, have teens will travel, family adventure, disney, banff

Looking for the ultimate family vacation that’s teen friendly?  Whether you prefer beaches resorts or outdoor adventure, Adventures by Disney has you covered. What are you waiting for?

What Adventures by Disney trip would be perfect for you and your teens?

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Ways to grow closer to your spouse, ways to grow stronger as a family

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

It’s a little frightening how many people I know my age have gotten divorced recently. I’m sure the pandemic didn’t help. You really get to know someone when you’re trapped in a house with them for 16 months. CoVid was a marital stress of epic proportions. I’m sure even the healthiest couples thought about it at least once during the past few months.

This is why I am constantly trying to think of ways to grow closer to my spouse and ways to grow stronger as a family.

Some of the couples I thought were perfect for one another, called it quits quietly. Divorce is, unfortunately, pretty prevalent these days with about 39% of all marriages ending in an uncoupling. Let’s be honest, no one gets married to get divorced but no one gets married to be unhappy either. Honestly, if the marriage isn’t working out, there are only 3 ways it can go 1) work together to grow together and hope it’s enough 2) do nothing and stay in a miserable marriage (this shouldn’t even be an option) 3) divorce and move on with your life.

The thing is sometimes there is someone to blame, sometimes people just fall out of love and sometimes people grow apart. It’s not a crime but it’s not exactly the happily ever after any of us dreamed of. People are busier than ever before; kids are overscheduled, parents are overworked, overwhelmed and exhausted and no one has time to just be present anymore. This is where things can start to slowly fall through the cracks and no one even notice it.

The best thing we can do as couples is spending quality time together; one-on-one facetime, listening and touching. Hugs, holding hands, kissing and saying I love you may seem trivial because you assume the other person just knows but they don’t. Words and actions matter. It never hurts to speak it into existence. Take the time, say it and do it. It can mean the difference between 2 months and 20 years. This applies to building relationships with your children too.

9 ways to grow closer to your spouse and ways to grow stronger as a family

Eat Together

Every day, everyone is in a hurry to get to work or school. Usually, breakfast is hurried, lunch is spent at work or school so make dinner count. This is something my parents do and something, the Big Guy and I have made a point of doing. Dinner every night at 5, unless there is an extracurricular, in which case, we all wait until we’re all there. Sharing meals is one of the best ways to come together as a family and check in with one another.

Whenever you share a meal, stay focused by implementing a no phone and no television rule. Instead, be present and talk to one another.  

Do the boring stuff together

Chores and errands often feel like a lot of work and no fun. Obviously, kids (and adults alike) would rather spend their days with friends, relaxing, watching movies or doing anything else other than the menial stuff. Everyone who lives in the house should be responsible for doing their part of the chores and if you do it right (we add loud Latin music, lots of dancing and laughing and a definite start and end time) it can be a great way to bond as a family. Have a list of tasks ready and assign them accordingly; you can perform them together at a set time during the week or weekend when you all can do them together.

Doing chores together fosters teamwork; if one experiences a difficult time, those who complete their tasks first can help and that tiny act shows love. If your kids have demanding schedules, give them deadlines to complete their chores. They’ll soon learn that performing duties together makes it more fun and fast than doing them alone. To make it more rewarding, have something to look forward to afterward, like enjoying a special meal or going out to the movies.

One-on-one time

Spending time as a family is great, but don’t forget to have one-on-ones with each other. It’s about quality not quantity. You can spend half an hour with each of your family members on different days. It’s as simple as asking what they’d like to do. Having one-on-ones with parents is crucial for kids; you get to discover what’s going on in their life away from home and their needs or troubles. One-on-ones with your partner is what feeds the intimacy that will get you through the hard times. Give your partner your full attention when there are no distractions; you can discuss issues to do with family and individual hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

Laugh together

Laughter is said to be food for the soul; it makes a bad day better and helps you bond as a family. Laughing stimulates your immune system and reduces stress; it has been proven to actually add to one’s life. Enjoy every moment you get to share in laughter, whether your husband ripped his pants showing off his killer dance moves at an impromptu kitchen dance party or you’re watching funny TikToks with your family (something we do often as an after-dinner activity). Whenever possible, create time to share stories, play games, or just cut up and laugh together. It relieves tensions and models to not take yourself too seriously to your children.

Attitude of gratitude

Family members do a lot for each other without expecting anything in return; saying thank you after a good deed can go a long way in making someone feel valued. Be appreciative by taking the time to surprise a family member with a gift, note of gratitude, or simply say “thank you” when one does something for you. It teaches respect and instills an attitude of gratitude.

Create family traditions

Family traditions and rituals enable you to create time for each other and memories; they shouldn’t just be for the holidays. Create routines like family movie nights, carving out pumpkins, game nights and baking days, weekly or monthly. Suppose there is an activity that you all enjoy doing, such as playing soccer, attending festivals, or picking strawberries during summer, do them together. These traditions ensure that even when the kids move away, they’ll want to make time to attend and be together with the rest of the family because of the fond memories they have of doing them in the past.

Family vacations

For us, travel is top of the list of things to do to ensure our family grows together. Going away on regular trips gives you quality time as a family, away from busy schedules and school. It allows you the space and time to be present with one another while making new memories together. Include everyone in the planning so that no one feels left out, including the kids. If going away on vacation sounds like fun, start planning, say a month earlier. Include it in the family calendar and inform everyone. Weekend getaways with your spouse can really reignite the fires of romance too and it doesn’t have to be far, just a local hotel will do where you can be man and woman and not just mom and dad.

Exercise as a family

Exercise is personal and I love my time alone, if I’m being honest but other times, I love long walks with my husband, bike rides as a family or a fun HIIT dance workout with my teen girls. If your family is into fitness, working up a sweat together is a healthy and fun way to spend time and bond with each other. Exercising together doesn’t require you to sign up for a boot camp, though that’s also a viable idea. Find simple ways to stay active while outdoors or indoors. When it’s warm, take a walk, run or bike around the block or to the park, create an indoor gym or plan workouts and do them together. If you have a furry friend, take him out for a walk together. It’s not about what you do, it’s about moving and being together.

Make time for family meetings

Meeting as a family is essential for you to check in with each other, discuss plans, or air grievances. We do this daily at dinner time. Family meetings also create an excellent time to discuss upcoming events like chores to perform during the weekend, day trips, or vacations. Schedule meetings on your calendar or check in with everyone to know their availability if it’s impromptu. Let everyone send in their items or issues for the agenda so that all grievances are discussed. To make these meetings effective, establish some guidelines.

Family is the most important thing in life, couples, siblings and parents are all a vital role in it. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep everyone together and thriving. We intentionally set an example early on so that our girls would grow up placing a high value on family. The bottom line is that family is everything so enjoy and cherish your family in all the ways. Never lose sight of the fact that marriage and parenting take effort and don’t just happen. Remember to not take one another for granted and tell people how you feel, happy or sad, before things go left unsaid and unheard for too long.

These are just a few of the ways, I work on my family and my marriage every day. It’s not the only way but it is the way that works for us. What are your best tips for ways to grow closer to your family and ways to grow stronger as a family?

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Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

I think every family should go RVing before their kids grow up, at least once, if not do like some of my friends and take an entire year to explore. If you want to really connect as a family, for us, there need to be minimal distractions, intimate proximity and the freedom to unplug from the rest of the world. Your priority and attention need to be present with the people who are traveling with you. If there is a beautiful destination involved, a place where you can sit in wonder and awe, even better. This year, we discovered that for us, RVing is the only way to ensure that result.

As many of you know, my family and I are nomads. I could roam the world homeless forever. I was raised that home is where the people you love are and so home for me is wherever the Big Guy and my girls are at. That’s all I need; my health, them and the wide open road. Road trips are my jam; while I love traveling by any means possible, especially to a tropical destination, road trips allow for unexpected adventures that you just can’t plan. Detours and roadside stops or choosing a different path feels a lot like living in your own private choose your adventure game.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

Last month, we had one of the best family vacations of our lives and that is saying a lot. I knew traveling by RV would be fun but I had no idea how much we would all connect. I had no idea how many beautiful memories we would make on this one trip. It was as simple as unplugging, being present and actually seeing the people and places in front of us.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLifeDisclosure: We were provided an RV and a campsite at a destination of our choice by Go RVing but all opinions and memories are our own.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

A screen is a beautiful thing but it pales in comparison to looking up and seeing the ocean. It is garbage compared to human contact and interaction around a campfire at night on a beach beneath the stars. It’s a poor substitute for real life. Virtual has nothing on human interaction.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

The weekend before school started back, we went on a magical end of the summer trip in an RV. I like to sneak in that one last relaxing getaway with my people before schedules get hectic and we’re all neck deep in the minutia of our day to day schedules. Last year, we stayed in a parked RV model in Traverse City, Michigan and we thought that was amazing and it was but it wasn’t the same experience as driving with your family in an RV. Definitely not the same as a road trip in an SUV or car, though, I do love those too.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

READ ALSO: Why RVing is the best family trip

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

We drove 9 hours to the D.C. area to pick up our Winnebago Intent Model 31P before driving another 7 hours to beautiful Camp Hatteras campground in Rodanthe, North Carolina. Talk about style. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this Winnebago exceeded anything I could have imagined. It was almost 32′ in length and could accommodate up to 7 people with bunk beds for the kids. There were only 4 of us, so we had plenty of space.

There was plenty of storage space, both inside the RV and in the under-storage areas for food, toys and games and whatever you want to bring along. There was a television in the sitting area, the back bedroom and even outside, along with a mini-fridge and sink; perfect when you’re grilling and don’t want to miss that special game. For us, the television was perfect for when it rained outside. We’d all snuggle up and watch a movie together before a midday nap. That’s what vacations are for, right? We were sucking every bit of relaxing we could get out of this trip.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

The Outer Banks has always been on my travel bucket list and it was not a disappointment. We can’t wait to go back. There is just something about a vacation by water that is intuitively relaxing for me, especially the ocean.

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There were a ton of things to do at Camp Hatteras from mini golfing, corn hole tournaments, live music, ice cream socials to crafts and karaoke but we were more interested in sunsets on the sound, long walks on the beach, playing in the surf, exploring under the pier and bonfires under the stars right on the beach. You choose your family adventure.

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You could surf, kayak, take a boat out and fish or you could build sandcastles, bathe in the sun and talk to the people on the blanket next to you on Camp Hatteras’ private beach while your kids laughed and ran from the waves. Campgrounds have a whole culture that I never knew about before and the people are all so fun and friendly. The first night we arrived, our site neighbors came out and helped us novice campers hook everything up.

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Cape Hatteras can be as exciting or laid back as you choose. We opted for relaxing togetherness. I took the girls’ phones away. I only used mine for pics. We stopped worrying about ticking boxes and having to be anywhere and we just played it all by ear and it was magical. I seriously can’t recommend it highly enough. If your end goal is to relax on vacation and spend quality time with your family, go RVing.

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There was no running to see sights. It was just high grass, soft sand, blue water, crashing waves and star filled nights with the three people I love most on the planet. It couldn’t get any better than that and yet, it did. There were nights of delivered pizza while listening to the wave crash from our Oceanside site. There was coming in from a scorching beautiful day on the beach to an air-conditioned, all the amenities of home RV including a hot shower and a refrigerator full of ice cream.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLifeREAD ALSO: Ogunquit Maine is the Perfect Place to Eat Cake by the Ocean

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There were lots of laughs and lots of love. There were so many moments and memories made in the that RV and on that beach that I will never forget. If I close my eyes, I can smell the salt in the air, hear my girls giggling and feel the Big Guys hand in mine as we watched our girls run in and out of the surf, delighted by the different creatures in the sea from rogue crabs to spotting a pod of dolphins off in the distance. I can’t wait for next year’s end of the summer adventure.

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Have you ever taken a family trip in an RV? If not, start planning next year’s trip now. We only get a handful of these precious years of togetherness like this before our kids grow up and the dynamics change. Sure, they will always be our babies but it won’t always just be us and them and they won’t always be as easily contented by spotting a pod of dolphins, splashing under the pier or sitting beneath the stars making s’mores on a starry night with nothing more than the surf and your doting heart.

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Take advantage of every single moment you can. Go RVing!

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camping, GoRVing, Traverse City KOA, KOA, Michigan, Family travel

I’m definitely a 5-star resort kind of girl . I love luxury, lazy rivers, hot tubs, and wifi. I blame my husband. Before him, I was the outdoorsy type. I’m not sure if I loved roughing it or I just grew up in a family of 6, so roughing it was the standard on vacation. I never considered that RVing is the best family trip you can take your children on.

I could often be found hiking, swimming, rolling down some grassy hill, laying outside looking up at the stars or just staring in wonder at the natural beauty surrounding me. I took great pleasure in the simple things. The beauty of a sunset, the grass beneath me and the sand and surf between my toes. These things made me happy.

camping, GoRVing, Traverse City KOA, KOA, Michigan, Family travel, Why RVing is the Best Family Trip You can Take Your Children On

I graduated from university, started having babies, a bad back and no time. Suddenly, 5-star resorts became my gold standard. I’m not afraid to admit that I adore a good room service breakfast in bed. Achy bones and a weary body make a good bed and a deep tub my happy place. Until a couple years ago.

READ ALSO: Why Every Family should go RVing before their Kids Grow Up

I attended an epic road trip with Ford where I drove from Kamloops to Calgary and it was a life-changing moment for me. I was reminded of how truly awesome this world is and how it is ever changing. I knew then that I needed to share this with our girls.

I came home from that trip changed forever. I wanted nothing more than to immerse them in that inspiring, mind-blowing beauty in person; to see how breathtaking mother earth is without the distractions and noise of everyday life. I wanted to take them to this quiet solitude with nothing but the hum of cicadas, the soft summer breeze as it rustles the trees and the crash of the surf meets the shore. I wanted them to hear the ripple of their life that you can only hear when alone in nature.

camping, GoRVing, Traverse City KOA, KOA, Michigan, Family travel, Why RVing is the Best Family Trip You can Take Your Children On

My love for nature is innate. Both of my parents descend from farmers, so we appreciate the earth because we know it gives life. I guess I just never realized how damn beautiful she was until that moment in Banff. I was ready to share this immediately but photos can’t do justice to that sort of beauty. It always falls short plus that kind of natural peace has to be felt to be understood. But due to circumstances beyond my control, that moment would have to wait.

Finally, last month, we got the chance to give them a taste of all that beauty. We took the girls on a camping trip to Michigan, courtesy of the Traverse City KOA and GoRVing and it did not disappoint.

camping, GoRVing, Traverse City KOA, KOA, Michigan, Family travel, Why RVing is the Best Family Trip You can Take Your Children On

A bad back and age sometimes make me feel like I’m in my 80’s. But, I dream of sharing all the national parks in the United States with my girls; being outdoors and appreciating the small things that we take for granted so often. I want them to look up at the sky at night and see the millions of stars surrounded by nothing but nature and love. I want them to see the Aurora Borealis dance across the sky and be left breathless. To do all of that, you have to leave the bright lights of the city and go to where nature is still untouched. You have to go camping to really be in it.

camping, GoRVing, Traverse City KOA, KOA, Michigan, Family travel, Why RVing is the Best Family Trip You can Take Your Children On

We stayed in a stationary RV that looks just like a cabin but is actually built on an RV chassis and towed to its final destination by towingless.com. It was gorgeous and perfect for the first time camper, the person who wants to be one with nature but prefers indoor plumbing with a grease trap installation to improve the house, the avid glamper or those of us who just might prefer some of the luxuries of home, while communing with nature.

READ ALSO: The Secret to the Best Road Trip Ever

However, you slice it, I would highly recommend staying at the Traverse City KOA and renting a GoRVing RV, stationary or otherwise. You won’t be disappointed. I know we weren’t. It had all the comforts of home, including tv and WiFi, which we didn’t really use but it was nice to know it was available if we needed it.

Our trip was for 4 days and it was the best vacation we had all summer. We travel a lot and we do love it. We love big cities and exciting things but being in nature is a different kind of vacation. There was no need for scheduling and planning. The only plan was to get on the open road, enjoy one another and the nature all around us.

camping, GoRVing, Traverse City KOA, KOA, Michigan, Family travel, Why RVing is the Best Family Trip You can Take Your Children On

Camping is the kind of trip that refuels your soul. There was something absolutely magical about sharing the Sleeping Bear Dunes with my daughters, swimming on a private beach and eating the best pizza ever at a market.

camping, GoRVing, Traverse City KOA, KOA, Michigan, Family travel, Why RVing is the Best Family Trip You can Take Your Children On

We combed the beach for rocks to make kindness rocks for others. We danced and sang with our tweens as we barbecued outside and laughed so hard that we cried while sitting around a bonfire talking and roasting smores. It was magical because we slowed down enough to just be with one another. We talked. We listened. We laughed. We came back together stronger.

camping, GoRVing, Traverse City KOA, KOA, Michigan, Family travel, Why RVing is the Best Family Trip You can Take Your Children On

I don’t know about you and your family but I suspect it’s similar to mine, we work all the time. We work hard. Between the Big Guy and I working, the girls going to school and 6 days of ballet a week, there is not a lot of time for just being, as much as we would love more of it. We try to have dinner together and we do talk to each other every day. We make the effort to ask questions even when we are all so busy and tired all we want is a nap and some silence. Camping together allowed the rest of the world to fall away for four days and it was just us and nature and it was truly the most special time.

camping, GoRVing, Traverse City KOA, KOA, Michigan, Family travel, Why RVing is the Best Family Trip You can Take Your Children On

Before we even got home, the Big Guy was talking about making this an annual trip. But I think we want more. I’m hoping to get to take my family to the national parks out west next summer, hopefully in an RV. I want that togetherness that camping provides.

camping, GoRVing, Traverse City KOA, KOA, Michigan, Family travel, Why RVing is the Best Family Trip You can Take Your Children On

I only have 6 more summers with my oldest daughter before she goes off to college and that fact is not lost on me. Each moment is precious. I’d love to have at least 6 more RV camping trips with our girls. I want them to look back on their childhood fondly and remember all the magical moments together standing in awe of the beauty of nature surrounded by all the love.

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I want to extend a sincere thank you to GoRVing.com and the Traverse City KOA for facilitating this absolutely magical trip for my family. It’s changed the way we vacation. I guess I’m not as much of the 5-star hotel girl as I thought I was. The outdoorsy me is still inside and begging to sleep out under the stars.

If you don’t have an RV, staying in a park model cabin like the one we stayed in is a popular option to try out the RV lifestyle.  Some campgrounds also have travel trailers all set up on site available for rent.
In addition, there are some companies like Camp N Style located in San Diego that will bring an RV (could be a travel trailer or a motorhome) right to the campground and hook it up so when you get there, its ready to go!  These are generally equipped with pots, pans, dishes, full kitchen & bath, AC & heat, too!.

Ready to plan an RV adventure of your own?  Visit GoRVing.com for info on how to get started, how to choose the RV that’s right for you, where to go, what to bring and so much more!

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Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston,

I went to Boston and fell in love.

I am serious. I just got back from Boston and I have fallen madly, deeply and head over heels in love. The people, the food, the beautiful harbor and the accents that had me wanting to ask everyone I met to please say “The Hopper” it was my litmus test, the more “Ha-Pah” it was the more I loved it.

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It was the first trip to Boston for the girls and I. We stayed at the Westin Waterfront Boston, which I would highly recommend because not only was it very clean it is conveniently within walking distance to the harbor, Faneuil Hall, The Freedom Trail, The Aquarium, Harbor Cruises, Boston Common and the Redline. It has amazing views of the Boston Skyline and the Harbor and let’s not forget about those “heavenly” beds that the Westin is famous for, which was like sleeping in a hug. The Westin Waterfront Boston also happens to not only house 3 great restaurants and a Starbucks and delicious room service, you are in walking distance to some of the greatest seafood in the country. They even helped me draft an itinerary specific to my children’s ages ahead of time. But more important than all of that, the staff and service is beyond anything I have ever experienced and I have stayed in some really upscale boutique hotels.

First, let me start by saying that this is NOT a sponsored post. I was not in Boston or the Westin Waterfront working with the hotel or the visitors bureau, the hole system is one of the most clean in town, thanks to the plumbers in vancouver that keep the maintenance going 24-7.  I was there with my family, tagging along on a conference with my husband. I was having an adventure with my girls in my new favorite city. I never thought any city could beat my love for New Orleans or my hometown of Chicago but I was WRONG!

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Being a blogger, I tweeted and Instagramed some of our trip to share with family and friends because I was so excited to be in Boston. This trip was almost 25 years in the making for me. I also tweeted before we left because I was sooooo excited to be finally going to Bean Town.  There started my relationship with the Westin Waterfront Boston, like most of my relationships these days. Twitter was my introduction.

When we arrived, there were some of my children’s favorite snacks waiting for us in the room with the breathtaking view after a 14-hour drive in the car… with kids. The only thing that could have made it better was a Jameson and Ginger for mommy and daddy. We were exhausted and starving, so this was a welcome and unexpected surprise.

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Oh wait let me back up, I forgot to tell you that the Saturday night we arrived in Boston, the Boston Westin Waterfront was hosting a Walking Dead Fan Convention. What? I can’t believe I didn’t know beforehand. I am a huge Walking Dead fan. I so would have gone zombie mom for it. Anyways, imagine my surprise when I walked into the Westin Waterfront looking like an unintentional walking dead in my traveling yoga pants and running shirt (because obviously I was working out in the car all the way there) and completely disheveled hair, no make-up wanting nothing more to get to my room (You know the feeling) when a very adorable, kind gentleman held the elevator for us, nodded and said have a good night. Turned out he was Jon Bernthal….effing SHANE from Walking Dead! WHAT?? He was not sporting the Shane haircut, but lighter hair, scruffilicious facial hair and its actually even more attractive in person than he ever appeared on the show. Of course, I saw him, thought he looked familiar but couldn’t place the face and as soon as the elevator doors shut, our bellman told us that there was a Walking Dead convention there all week and the place was crawling with Walking Dead cast. So, alas, no photo proof but the memory is mine forever.

Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston,

Anyways, needless to say our trip started out with a bang and only went up from there. Too much information to share in one post, so I will be sharing travel tips for Boston in a series that I will run on Wednesdays for the next few weeks.  But I can tell you this, growing up in the Chicago land area and traveling quite a bit in my life I can say that Boston had some of the kindest, most polite strangers I have ever met. It was apparent by strangers stopping during rush hour to point us in the right direction, explaining to us how the MBTA worked, chivalrous men giving us their seats on the subway/buses, hotel staff offering local restaurant favorites, one woman letting our child cut her in a very long line to the restroom so she wouldn’t pee on herself.

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I won’t even tell you about Firefighter Jeremy Marrache at the Cambridge Firehouse who not only saved the day at Harvard by giving one of the girls a Band-Aid for her booboo but actually took the time to give the kids a tour, let them on the fire truck, wear gear and demonstrated how to slide the poll simply because 4 little kids wanted to in the middle of a hot Wednesday. It was a day the kids will never forget. Thank you FFOP Jeremy Marrache!

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Yes, Boston and its people rocked my socks off. The awesome staff at the Westin Waterfront Boston who went above and beyond on the last night we were there. I tweeted a photo of my view from my bed where I was very sick with extreme dehydration from walking all day in the hot sun with only one Aquafina ( yes, poor choices were made, my friends), they surprised me by sending up room service with crackers, spring water, tea  and a note telling me to feel better. Now, THAT is good customer service. It was simply one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me without being asked to so. That made me a Westin Waterfront Boston fan forever and I can’t say enough good things about them, not in a lifetime of telling you how great they were.Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston,

There is lots more to tell and I will be sharing all my tips for traveling to Boston as a family in the coming weeks. And, don’t think I’m not working on the Big Guy to make the move to one of the cleanest, friendliest and most fun and entertaining cities I’ve ever been to with my family. Can’t wait for our next adventure.

If you haven’t taken your family to Boston, what are you waiting for?

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#DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, cinderella's castle

Wondering what Disney Creator Days is? If you’re an influencer, especially if you’re one who loves Disney, your dream collaboration is to partner with the Walt Disney Company. For years, the most coveted influencer invitation was to be invited to the annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, #DSMMC. This year that celebration is on hiatus. Enter Disney Creator Days. But what is it? It’s a new immersive influencer event. It’s not the same as Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

I’ve been very fortunate and been invited to Disney events and, for me, it felt like winning the lottery. We visit Disney World yearly so being invited to Disney hosted events is icing on the cake. Disney World is the first place we visited as a couple (on our honeymoon) and have continued to do so as a family for the past 20 years. 20-year anniversary coming at you this May.

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READ ALSO: Tips from Disney on how to get Invited to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

Growing up, my family loved Disney but visiting Walt Disney World was never an option for us. My mom stayed home with us and my father worked a blue collar job. They had 6 kids. Our vacations consisted of saving everything we could to visit grandparents in Tennessee and Mexico. I’m not complaining, we saw lots of states on our drives to these places (in fact, I’ve seen most of the United States and Mexico by car) but Florida was never “on the way.”

Every time I step foot on the grounds at WDW resorts, it feels special. I’m sure it has a lot to do with who I’m with but where I’m at makes it absolutely magical and has secured Walt Disney World as one of our favorite places to visit as a family. Disney is a feeling for me and I know I’m not the only one. Walt Disney World means dreams coming true, in so many different ways, for so many of its visitors.

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READ ALSO: Free Tips for Maximizing Your WDW Vacation

When I’ve been invited to Disney events, my whole family celebrates because, for us, it is a big deal. The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was particularly exciting for me as an influencer because not only was I invited, which is an honor in itself, I was able to bring my family along with me. While there, I heard some of the most talented people in my field speak. Not only did my family get to share this experience with me, but Disney also provided me with tools to grow my website and brand. And on top of all of that, I had the opportunity to meet and network with some of my fellow influencers and their families.

This year, when Disney announced that Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was going on a “hiatus” of course I was disappointed because last year’s event was so meaningful to me but, in our field, stopping, reassessing and changing to fit the evolution of social media is what has to be done to stay current. It’s doing what’s best in the long run.

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READ ALSO: Is Disney Vacation Club for You?

When I heard they were hosting an event called Disney Creator Days I had no idea what that was because it’s a brand new adventure but I was excited to find out more. There wasn’t a lot of information out there but there was a lot of speculation. I don’t like to gossip so I did what I always do, I went directly to the source. I asked my contacts at Disney.

#DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, mickey mouse, minnie mouse

What is Disney Creator Days?

Disney Creator Days is an invitation-only event being held at Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line in March.  It is a familiarization type experience for influencers to showcase these incredible Disney vacation experiences.   

Disney Creator Days is not the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

It is something completely new. From my research online, reading posts by those invited, Disney Creator Days is a week-long land and sea adventure that will be hosted by Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Lines. It’s a very small event for just a few select influencers and their families. It will be on March 5-11, 2019.

It sounds like it’s going to be awesome and include everything you could ever need for the ultimate Walt Disney World vacation.

  • 4 Days at Walt Disney World including park hopper passes and media Fast Passes.
  • 3 Night stay at a Walt Disney World Resort
  • 3 Night cruise with Disney Cruise Line
  • All Flights and Transportation
  • Unlimited internet both on land and sea
  • Most meals
  • Exclusive access, first-looks, events, one-of-a-kind special experiences, and surprises.
  • All of the above 100% paid for by Disney.

It seems to me that the key difference between the Disney Creator Days and Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is that Disney Creator Days is to showcase the Disney vacation experience.

#DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation

Whereas when at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, influencers attend a conference to grow their brand but are allowed time and encouraged to experience the Disney magic with their families in the parks. The focus is different for each event.

Another key difference, when you attend #DSMMC you pay a very reduced rate for the experience including the conference, lodging and parks. Disney Creator Days is 100% paid for by Disney. Either way, totally worth it.

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READ ALSO: Tips to Rock Your Disney World Vacation

Last difference, when you attend #DSMMC there are no clearly defined sharing obligations. Most influencers in attendance share a lot while we are there because the nuggets of wisdom are so great. Why wouldn’t we? Also, we’re are Walt Disney World and who doesn’t love to share family and travel adventures? So when you attend #DSMMC sharing is encouraged. When you attend Disney Creator Days there is a clearly defined expectation to create unique and engaging content about The Walt Disney Company and the experience itself before, during and after on all channels. Each influencer is expected to use their voice to provide a unique and honest perspective on the event. This is typical expectations of any press event with any company.

#DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, castaway cay

The next question on everyone’s mind is how do I get invited to Disney Creator Days?

As I mentioned earlier, those invited were hand selected. Here are the tips that I have gathered over the years from Disney on how to be considered for any Disney press event.

Go to conferences where Disney will be at and connect/network with Disney PR. Write strong, engaging content about Disney and send the links to the WDW PR department.

Qualities that Disney looks for in the influencers they work with?

It really depends on the initiative that they have going on. But it is helpful if bloggers have an up-to-date blog, have great social reach and engagement across the different social platforms, Disney-friendly content on social and their blogs, and a good Travel section.

How does Disney choose who to partner with for press events? Do bloggers need a certain amount of traffic to be invited to hosted events? How important is the audience fit?

Disney does not host very many influencer events so they have to be super selective with invitations. A lot of it is based on a variety of things such as brand fit, reach, audience, specialty, engagement, niche, diversity, quality of followers and whatever product Disney is promoting, etc.

#DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, space mountainThere you have it, everything I know about Disney Creator Days.

 

Disney Creator Days sounds absolutely amazing and I’m thrilled for everyone who got the invite. I can’t wait to follow along on the inaugural event. Who knows, if they continue this event, maybe one of these days I’ll get some pixie dust. Either way, my love for family travel and Walt Disney World will keep my family coming back year after year. See ya real soon!

 

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Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

If you want to take your children or teens someplace that will leave them speechless, visit Banff, Alberta. If you’re a parent, you already know how rare that can be. Children and teenagers are always in a hurry to get to the next place, the next thing and are easily bored and not afraid to tell you. If you prefer not to be serenaded by choruses of, “Are we there yet?” and “I’m bored” then Banff is for you.

I’m a talker who is easily bored and when I found myself standing at the mouth of Lake Louise, I had no words. I’m a city girl.  Grew up in Chicago. Love the city. I feed off of the hustle and bustle of people in a hurry. Kinetic energy gives me life. Standing in the stillness surrounded by all of that natural beauty, embracing the quiet is an inexplicable kind of breathtaking.

READ ALSO: Things to Do In Portland Maine with Kids and Teens

In my opinion, Banff is one of the most stunningly beautiful places on earth. The moment that I set eyes on Moraine Lake, I knew that I needed to share this place with my girls and the Big Guy. It’s a gift I want to give them.

There are certain things in life that have to be seen with your own eyes, felt with your heart and experienced to be believed. Banff is one of those places. You have to stand there and soak it in to believe this kind of beauty exists. I don’t want to oversell it, but then again I don’t think that is possible.

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Boston with Your Tweens and Teenagers

Nestled in the Rocky Mountains in the province of Alberta, Canada, Banff has mountains, rivers, valleys and glaciers. If your family loves exploring new places and going on adventures while being 100 %present, this is the perfect family vacation for the teenager or child who can’t sit still.

Things to do in Banff with Teenagers

Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

Moraine Lake

This might be my favorite spot in all of Banff. I may or may not have requested upon returning that my ashes be scattered there one day. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of all of that beautiful? Moraine Lake’s blue waters are surrounded by towering mountains, including 11,500-foot Mount Temple, the third highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Located a 15-minute drive from the quieter more serene Lake Louise, popular Moraine Lake, can be crowded in summer. My suggestion, arrive early to enjoy canoeing and hiking before the crowds arrive.

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Lake Louise

Lake Louise, located within Banff National Park, is absolutely stunning. The emerald green lake is spectacular and the region has a range of hikes from easy lakeside strolls to more difficult ascents. The town of Banff is located 35 miles from the lake, so you will not be immersed in the crowds. The Lake Louise region has a sightseeing gondola and horseback riding.

Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka, the largest lake in Banff National Park, provides classic Canadian Rockies scenery. As the park’s only lake to allow motorized boating, Minnewanka is popular and crowded. Make reservations and arrive early to take a 1, 2, or 3-hour cruise around the lake. Lake Minnewanka is located a 20-minute drive from the town of Banff.

Banff Hot Springs

After a day of adventure seeking with your teens, what’s more relaxing than winding down in the Hot Springs? A natural hot spring provides an invigorating mixture of minerals to soothe your family’s sore muscles after a day of hiking, skiing or mountain biking. The Hot Springs are open seven days a week and well into the evening.

Banff Hiking

With more than 1,000 miles of trail, Banff National Parks offers path options for every level hiker. For an easy hike, try the Tunnel Mountain trail. Accessible from the town of Banff, the 1.4-mile trail leads to the mountain’s summit, with great views of the Bow Valley. Both Emerald Lake and Lake Louise offer additional easy family hikes with little elevation gain but with gorgeous scenery. In July and August wildflowers lace the Garden Path Trail, at Sunshine Village ski area.

Several outfitters offer guided hikes within the park, including the Mountain Heritage Guide Program at the Chateau Lake Louise.

Ice Climbing Banff’s Frozen Waterfalls

If your teen really wants to explore Banff like an adventurer, using an ice ax to climb a frozen waterfall is about the most exciting way to do that. Get yourself a guide for this excursion this winter and impress your teens with your adventurous spirit. You’d be hard pressed to find a cooler way to explore Banff’s creeks and canyon.

Climb Banff’s Majestic Walls

Banff has more than just fresh powder and raging rivers to offer. Being in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff has numerous cliffs and crags to rock climb. Hire a guide to bring you along on a multi-pitch trek in Bow Valley or the Ghost River area. Whether you are looking for traditional top roping or pushing your limits with sport climbing, your teens will be safe as you explore. Banff boasts some of the best limestone formations that give you the most accessible and remote areas of Alberta to enjoy.

Ski the “Big Three”

Skiing is a year-round possibility in Banff. I was there in August and it snowed. The big three resorts to go to are Sunshine Village, Mount Norquay, and the Lake Louise Ski Resort. These three mountains, give you access to 8,000+ acres, 26 chair lifts, and 30+ feet of annual snow fall. There is something for everyone, whether your teens are first timer skiers/ snowboarders or black diamond ready or simply want to take in the majestic mountains, Banff is an excellent choice.

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Banff Trail Rides

Biking Banff will give you the ultimate Canadian choose-your-own adventure with all the scenic views and the opportunity to stop at will and take it all in. The best time for cycling through Banff is May through October for milder temperatures.

Banff Horseback Riding

Trail rides are a fun way to take in the scenery for those who prefer horses to hikes. Horses carry riders 2,000 feet up the mountain to the 7,000-foot-high tea house. After a break, you mount up and head back down. More experienced riders can sign on for longer expeditions that takes you through the forest, up mountain trails, to the banks of a waterfall and then high above the tree line for a panoramic view.

Banff Gondola

An eight-minute, enclosed gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain gifts you with panoramic views. At the summit, stroll the Banff Skywalk or try the more difficult South East Ridge Trail hike depending on your family’s skill level.

Snowshoe through the Rocky Mountains

If you want to take your teens on the ultimate backcountry adventure, snowshoeing might be for you. Depending on how outdoorsy you and your teens are and your skill levels, you can choose a half-day to multiple day excursions. These adventures could include climbing the Continental divide, snowshoeing across frozen lakes or seeing Banff from a mountain peak. Possibilities for thrills is endless.

Rafting the Chinook River

Rafting is something that I’ve always wanted to do and that I think my teens would really enjoy. Banff offers several different rafting routes to choose from. Two of the most thrilling river rides are Horseshoe Canyon and Kicking Horse River. These rides will leave you exhilarated and soaked after a day on the rapids. On Horseshoe Canyon, you even have the option of cliff jumping if the rapids are not too fierce. Some excursions offer a BBQ lunch and professional photos of your family in the rapids!

Canoe or Kayak the Bow River

The Bow River is almost magical, born from snowmelt from the peaks of the Canadian Rockies. It winds through Banff flowing south. You can rent a boat and go exploring alone or hire a local guide.

Columbia Icefields

On this adventure, you and your teens will board giant buses with tires the size of adults that can handle moving through the ice on the Athabasca Glacier. You are left atop a glacier where you can stand on ice created by snow that fell 400 years ago. Holy wow! Your children of all ages will love this. Imagine a snowball fight made of centuries-old snowflakes. The Columbia Icefields cover nearly 200 square miles, the Athabasca Glacier is one of the most easily accessible. Tours take place mid-April to mid-October. Reservations are recommended.

Icefields Parkway

This is where you can really get some quiet time, save for some gasps of OMG! Stretching for about 143 miles between Lake Louise and the town of Jasper, the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) delivers breathtaking scenery. You’ll pass forests, river valleys, mountains with peaks reaching 10,000 feet and Peyto Lake, the bluest in the Canadian Rockies. This bluer than blue color is a result of fine particles of ground rock scattering the sun’s rays. Bighorn sheep, elk, mountain goats and ravens can often be seen along this drive.

Sunshine Meadows Gondola

Kids, teenagers and adults will love this scenic summer gondola ride up the Rocky Mountains in Canada’s oldest national park, Banff. Begin your adventure by hopping inside an eight-person gondola at the base of Sunshine Village and enjoy a 20-minute scenic mountain ride. At the top, you will arrive at Sunshine Village.

A short walk from the gondola, visitors can hop on a four-person chairlift to reach the top of the mountain. This brings you to the magnificent viewpoint at the top of the mountain. There is a short, gravel walking trail to reach an elevated viewpoint. As you walk along the trail, you will enter the Canadian Provence of British Columbia and then cross back over into Alberta. The kids will think that’s cool.

Take your time and enjoy the breathtaking mountain and lake views from the summit and take tons of photos. Though I literally took thousands and it still wasn’t enough. Photos cannot accurately capture the magic that is Banff. These views have to be seen to be believed. Several hiking trails begin at the top of the mountain and head back to the village or you can take the chairlift and gondola back down the mountain. It’s up to you.

These are just a few of the things that you can do with tweens and teenagers in Banff. The possibilities are endless. The adventure begins with you and the feeling of experiencing it all together as a family will last a lifetime.

What’s your favorite place to travel as a family and why?

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