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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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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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4 Things You Should Pack for Any Summer Travel Plans

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Summer is the perfect time to explore the world around you while enjoying the good weather. Summer is my favorite time of year because it’s the time I get to satiate my wanderlust. With summer finally here, like me, you may be making travel plans. But for you to have the best summer vacation, you need to have the right things in your travel bags. Nope, I don’t mean all those extra outfits you packed in your checked bag that you’ll absolutely never wear. I’m talking about these 4 things you should pack for any summer travel plans. Of course, travel activities and destinations may vary, but as long as they are during any summer season, you should add the following four things to your packing list. 

4 Things You Should Pack For Any Summer Travel

Shoulder bag or handbag

You can’t go on any summer trip without a handbag or shoulder bag. A bag not only helps you look stylish and adds to your look, but it also keeps all your stuff safe while you go about your activities during your vacation. I would be lost without my KAVU bag at Disney World. The type of handbag or shoulder bag to choose really depends on your style and what the functionality of the bag will be. There are different bag types and collections like STAUD bags to choose from. But the most important thing is that it’s durable enough to withstand the rigors of your travel, spacious enough to hold your phones and gadgets, and stylish enough to keep you looking chic. 

Cool fabrics

You want to enjoy the summer sun, but you want to do so while staying as cool as possible. So, regardless of what clothes you pack for your summer trip, make sure that they come in fabrics that can keep you as cool as possible. The best are natural, breathable and cotton. Synthetic fabrics will have you sweating your brains off and absolutely miserable.Some of the best summer fabrics that can prevent needless heat include cotton, linen, polyester, rayon, denim (especially for pants or shorts), nylon, and silk, to mention a few. These fabrics will help you avoid sweat patches that aren’t only uncomfortable but may also lead to minor skin issues like heat rash and other forms of sweat irritation. This may be the most important of the 4 things you should pack for any summer travel plans.

Light natural makeup

Many people like to give their skin a break during summer. But if you still prefer to rock some makeup, then it’s best to pack light, natural makeup for your trip. The last thing you want to hide is your skin under heavy layers of makeup, as that will only trap heat. Light and natural makeup is the way to go during the hot season. So keep your heavy foundation, dark shadows, heavy-black eyeliners, and dark lipstick makeup kit at home. Instead, pack some tinted balms, tinted moisturizers, BB Creams, pretty natural eyeshadows, and any other thing that’ll lighten your makeup routine.

Sunscreen and dry shampoo

No matter where you’re heading this summer, protecting your skin health should be one of your priorities. A bottle of good sunscreen will keep those harmful sun rays away from your skin during the day, so keep this in mind. And if you’re headed to destinations with coral reefs, a zinc-based sunscreen is a must. You should also add a bottle of dry shampoo to your packing list if you’re planning to spend most of your vacation time during various outdoor activities. This way, you can give your skin a clean boost when a full shower is impossible. 

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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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The Traveler's Code: Are you a Traveler or a Tourist? , travel, tourism

TEstimated reading time: 4 minutes

Ah, the eternal conundrum of travel – are you a free-spirited traveler or an itinerary-tethered tourist? Me, I like to immerse myself in the sights, sounds, culture and people of where I am traveling. I am a traveler. For me, it’s more than just a matter of labels; it’s a mindset that shapes the very fabric of your journey. Let’s embark on a quest to unravel the mysteries of the traveler-tourist duality and discover how your chosen path transforms the entire tapestry of your adventure. In the travelers code, are you a traveler or a tourist?

Decoding the Labels

First things first, what distinguishes a traveler from a tourist? Well, it’s not about the number of countries stamped in your passport or the hours spent wandering through historical landmarks. It’s a travel state of mind, a philosophy of exploration.

The Tourist:

Picture this – meticulously planned itineraries, guided tours, and a checklist of must-see attractions. Tourists crave the comfort of predictability, relying on familiar routines and iconic sights. They’re armed with guidebooks, maps, and perhaps a pocket translator, ensuring every moment is accounted for. My husband, the Big Guy, is most definitely a tourist. 

The Traveler:

Now, shift your focus to the wanderers, the drifters, the seekers of the offbeat. Travelers thrive on spontaneity, eschewing rigid plans for the thrill of the unknown. They savor the local flavors, embrace serendipitous encounters, and believe that the journey itself is the destination. I am definitely a traveler, and so are our girls, so we are super grateful that the Big Guy takes on the roll of the cruise director on our trips so that we can be more spontaneous. Its easy when we know that he always has our back.

The Mindset Manifesto

1. Seek or Snap:

  • Tourist: Armed with selfie sticks and posed grins, tourists aim for the perfect shot, a visual checklist of conquests. For them, memories are captured in pixels, curated for the envy of social media followers.
  • Traveler: The traveler’s lens captures moments, not postcards. It’s about experiencing the golden hour in a bustling market, feeling the pulse of a city, and letting the essence of a place seep into the soul. The camera is a companion, not a barrier.

2. Path vs. Purpose:

  • Tourist: Following the well-trodden path, tourists stick to the tried-and-tested routes. Their purpose is to cover ground efficiently, ticking off landmarks like items on a shopping list.
  • Traveler: The road less taken beckons the traveler. It’s about embracing detours, getting lost, and stumbling upon hidden gems. The purpose is not just to see but to absorb, to connect with the heartbeat of a locale.

3. Cuisine Conundrum:

  • Tourist: Safe bets and familiar chains dominate the tourist’s culinary journey. They’re more likely to stick to what they know, reluctant to venture into the uncharted territory of local delicacies.
  • Traveler: Food is a gateway to culture for the discerning traveler. From street stalls to hole-in-the-wall eateries, they crave authenticity, savoring the flavors that define a region. Culinary exploration is an adventure in itself.

The Transformative Power of Choice

Now that we’ve dissected the traveler-tourist spectrum, how does this choice shape your travel experience? Let’s delve into the profound impact of embracing one persona over the other.

1. Depth of Connection:

  • Tourist: Surface-level interactions characterize the tourist experience. Engagements with locals are transactional – guided tours, brief exchanges, and fleeting moments devoid of depth.
  • Traveler: The traveler fosters meaningful connections. Conversations with locals become narratives, and chance encounters evolve into shared stories. It’s not just about observing; it’s about becoming a part of the tapestry.

2. Memorabilia vs. Memories:

  • Tourist: Fridge magnets, keychains, and souvenirs encapsulate the tourist’s journey. These mementos are tangible reminders of places visited, but often lack the emotional resonance of true memories.
  • Traveler: Memories are the traveler’s most cherished souvenirs. Each experience etches itself into the traveler’s consciousness – the laughter shared with locals, the challenges overcome, and the unexpected beauty discovered off the beaten path.

3. Flexibility and Adaptability:

  • Tourist: Rigidity defines the tourist’s schedule. Unexpected closures, weather disruptions, or spontaneous invitations can derail the planned agenda, causing frustration.
  • Traveler: Flexibility is the traveler’s ally. Adapting to unforeseen circumstances is not a setback but an opportunity for adventure. The ability to pivot seamlessly adds an element of thrill to the journey.

Embracing the Hybrid: Travelist

In the grand tapestry of travel, is there room for a harmonious blend of both worlds? Indeed, enter the ‘travelist’ – a savvy explorer who combines the structure of a tourist with the spirit of a traveler.

A travelist plans with purpose, choosing destinations that resonate with personal interests but allows for serendipity. They appreciate the convenience of guided tours while relishing the freedom to wander off course. The travelist savors local delicacies but doesn’t shy away from the occasional familiar comfort.

Closing Thoughts: Choose Your Adventure

As you stand at the crossroads of traveler and tourist, remember – there’s no right or wrong way to explore. The essence lies in the journey itself, shaped by the choices you make and the mindset you carry. Whether you’re a meticulous tourist, a free-spirited traveler, or a harmonious travelist, the world awaits your unique perspective.

What’s your travel philosophy? Are you set on a predefined course or ready to let the wind guide you? As you embark on your next adventure, remember – the magic is not just in the destination; it’s in the transformative dance between the traveler and the world.

More Travel posts:

Things to do in Banff with Teens

Top hings to do in Boston

Things to do in New Orleans

Why Every Family should GoRVing

If you enjoyed this post, please like, comment and subscribe! XOXO

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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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Boston harbor, Faneuil hall, freedpm trail, historical Boston, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts

I’ve made a short list of things to do in Boston when traveling with children.

When my family was in Boston,Massachusetts we saw and did a lot of wonderful things.Honestly, too many things to mention in one post but I would like to mention some of our favorites.

I won’t lie, I drug my kids all over Bean town. It was like Disney World to me. There was just so much to see and I only had 6 days to see it. This trip has made me realize that I like about 7 to immerse myself in a city and the key to any great trip is to talk to the locals. They live there and they know the best places to go, see, do and eat (Boston foodie post coming soon)

Things to do in Boston when traveling with kids

The Boston Children’s Museum located at 308 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

Boston Children's Museum, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts

This was one of my children’s favorite places. It is enormous, we were lucky enough to be spending that day with friends and it was a welcome break from the hot June Day. Quick fact: The Boston Children’s Museum is the second oldest children’s museums in the world. It was founded in 1913 by a group of visionary educators. For over 100 years it has been engaging children in joyful discovery experiences that instill an appreciation of our world, develop foundational skills, and spark a lifelong love of learning.

Boston Children's Museum, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts
It is huge and three floors of solid fun. If you want to tire your little ones out while stimulating their brains and hearing their non-stop giggles, you will love this place as much as we did. The Museum’s exhibits emphasize hands-on engagement and learning through experience, employing play as a tool to spark the inherent creativity, curiosity, and imagination of children. Designed for children and families, Museum exhibits focus on science, culture, environmental awareness, health & fitness, and the arts. My girls’ favorite exhibits were Arthur’s world and the art room. We could have stayed there for days but closing time was at 5 pm.

Boston Children's Museum, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Harbor Cruise New England Aquarium Whale Watch Cruise at 1 Long Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

whale, Boston harbor cruises, whale watching, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts

I was so excited to do the whale watch, probably more so than the kids. It was the one thing, aside from walking the Freedom trail that had me acting all squee-like.
The BHC hi-speed catamaran provided a fast, comfortable way for about 400 passengers to see, what I consider to be, the ocean’s most magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, up close and personal. The “in their natural habitat” was the most important part to me because no matter how badly I’ve been wanting to see these amazing creatures, ethically, I refuse to see them in captivity.
In 3 hours (yes, believe me the Gilligan island song played non-stop in my mind), BHC gets you to and from your destination; Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary, a rich feeding ground for whales and dolphins. There is a NEAQ-trained naturalist on board to point out which kind of whale you are seeing and give you some background on each one. This was very helpful to us and educational to the children, especially since we were on board with a large group of field trip children.

If you’ve never been on a whale watching tour, be prepared for breathtaking views all around. It’s like flying without all of that pesky altitude and seeing a whale beside your boat for the first time feels a little like seeing a baby be born. It will stop you in your tracks in amazement. While on our tour we spotted a finback, a humpback and a couple minke whales. It is something we will never forget. Also, if you go on the tour and don’t get to see any whales, no worries, BHC guarantees their whale watching tours and you will be issued a ticket to return for another cruise. For me, the BHC Whale watching cruise is something everyone should try, at least once, though I fully intend to go again on our next visit.

Faneuil Hall located at 1 Faneuil Hall Square, Boston, MA 02109

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Faneiul Hall Marketplace is located in downtown Boston in walking distance from the harbor. In 1742 our nation’s fathers proclaimed it “The Cradle of Liberty” today, it is a buzzing marketplace with over 70 retailers and 160,000 square feet of space on Boston’s iconic festival marketplace. The kids loved it.
Faneuil Hall’s cobblestone streets are filled with music, laughter and people of all ages shopping and watching as street performers and musicians dazzled the crowds. Our girls thought the caricature and balloon artists located directly outside Faneuil hall were the best. There is definitely something for everyone.

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You can enjoy unique, locally loved, and nationally recognized shops while indulging in the a variety of cuisines at the many restaurants, pubs (Cheers was one of our favorites) and the world-famous Quincy Market.

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You can also start walking the Freedom Trail, right from here!

What are your favorite things to do in Boston?


Disclosure: I was provided tickets to Boston’s Children Museum and the BHC Whale Watching Tour but every single one of my opinions about these two places were my own. Stay tuned for Part 2 of things to do in Boston coming next week.

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sunrise, travel, traveling alone, traveling without kids

Leaving my children behind when I travel is the hardest thing I do. I travel and I love it. I travel a lot with my kids and the Big Guy. I traveled a lot before I had children. I was born with an insatiable wanderlust and it always begs for more. I don’t se it ever being satisfied. There is an ever growing bucket list of travel destinations because any place can be an adventure if you’re open to it.

Before I had my girls, I had specifically chosen a career path that would allow me the freedom to travel the world. I wanted to see the whole thing; every nook and cranny and hidden treasure of a culture. I still do; now, I just want to do it with my family.

Right now, as I type this, I’m watching the sun come up from 13000 feet. The view is spectacular. I only wish my daughters were here to see it with me. But they were left behind on this trip. Sometimes, we moms have to travel the road less traveled alone and that’s good because it allows us to grow and be better for our children.

I’m headed to New York City this morning. It’s my first trip there, which is ironic because this was the place I’d decided to call home so many years ago. But it wasn’t meant to be. Before my life plan could come together, I met the man I would marry and life took us in other directions, as life often does.

Still, here I am, like Icarus flying too close to the sun, heading for the missed opportunity trying my best to keep my hubris in check. I’m headed to BlogHer 2015. I haven’t been in a couple years but it seems kismet that I would find myself headed to my original destination with a plethora of opportunities before me on this sunny July morning.

We just returned from a family road trip on the east coast in Ogunquit, Maine. It was magical and more relaxing than any vacation I’ve ever had. My girls are turning into quite the junior travelers. I can see in them that the wanderlust is strong and that makes me happy. They are miniature foodies with an insatiable desire to know all the places of the world; to speak the language, eat the food and live amongst the people. This is my legacy.

Of course, this is the part I hate… Leaving them behind when I go on my travels. Since becoming a mother, the world is so much more wonderful and exciting through their eyes. Everything is new and wondrous to them and in so, born again in mine.

When I leave on a trip, we all feel a little sad about the separation. They miss me and I miss them but while I’m in Manhattan hugging necks and chasing dreams they will be with me like a couple tiny handprints on my heart. I hate to leave them but there is something absolutely magical about knowing that I get to return home to all that love.

What is your favorite travel destination to visit without children?

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Road trip Essentials when Traveling with Teens, 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

Traveling with teens this summer? Making one last road trip for Labor Day? What are your road trip essentials when traveling with teens? I’ve been really laser-focused on the fact that we only have a few more precious summers left with the girls living at home. If we’re being honest, I’d like to just hide them inside the house and keep them all to myself for the next few years but alas, being a mom means raising good human beings that can go out into the world and thrive, do all the good human things. It’s my duty as a mom to help make the world a little less crappy by populating it with awesome little people.

Firstly, don’t be afraid to travel with your teens. Traveling with teens on road trips is a lot less painful than you might imagine and certainly less suicide-thought inducing as traveling with toddlers in Christmas traffic. Holy shit, I’ll never do that again. Well, maybe one of these days with grandkids but the same rules don’t apply when you didn’t birth them yourself, right?

READ ALSO: The TRUTH about Parenting Teenagers

My point is that teenagers are pretty awesome. They’re funny, full of personality and they can pump gas and go buy snacks. I’ve grown to love long road trips, especially in an RV, because being trapped in the car with your husband and kids for 18 hours really does say I love you. But more importantly than that, spending that kind of time traveling to new places, talking to fill the space and being in such close proximity to one another really is a recipe for making memories, inside jokes and bonding.

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You may find yourself exhausted and tired of being trapped in a car or traffic or even a little frustrated while it’s happening but you will always make the most beautiful, subtle and nostalgic memories that you could ever imagine. Trust me. You want to do this before they go off to college.

Road Trip Essentials when Traveling with Teens

A Clean Car

Make sure the car is clean, free from clutter and the heat/ air is charged and working. Don’t find this shit out the wrong way.

Carpool Karaoke Mic

We received the Carpool karaoke mic for review purposes and it has been so much fun. My girls love to sing in the car, so do the Big Guy and I so this was the perfect addition to our road trip essentials.

Apple Music

We could not survive a road trip without all of our favorite music and playlists. No matter the genre or your mood, you can always find what you’re looking for to serenade you in the soundtrack to your life.

Hand Sanitizer

This is a no-brainer. Messes happen. Germs happen. Things get sticky when you’re eating and driving or karaoking in the back seat. No one wants to eat chips with gas pumping hands. Be safe, bring the sanitizer.

All the Snacks

We usually hit up the local supermarket or Walmart and get a good assortment of fresh fruit and already washed and cut veggies to snack on in the car. But a few other favorites are coconut and chocolate Lar Bars, wasabi and Himalayan sea salt dark chocolate almonds, Bubly preferably in Blackberry, San Pellegrino, toasted coconut Oikos and Cheese sticks to name a few.

Bluetooth headphones for everyone

Sometimes you, they, he just wants to tune out the other people in the car and listen to some tunes they want to listen to. You can only listen to Baby Shark and laugh as a family so many times before someone goes bat shit crazy and drives the car into a guard rail.


An Ipad for Streaming movies on Hulu, Netflix, prime and watching Youtube is a necessity. But if your teen is extra to the extreme, bring along all the Tarte makeup and be entertained while they film their own make-up tutorials or Tik Tok themselves silly. Truly, it’s entertaining for the entire family. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Electronic chargers, Sneaker boxes

There is nothing so somber and woeful as a teen without charged electronic devices. They are great until you cut them off cold turkey from their electronics. For my girls, it’s not even being on the devices so much as it is having the security of the option to do so.

Pillows and fuzzy blankets

We all need and like to be comfortable when on a long road trip. For all the time spent bonding, we are, for all intent and purposes, in very close proximity to one another and sometimes you just need your space so the least you can do is be comfortable as to alieve any unnecessary aggravation and a nap and rest seems to do the job on many levels.


Carry some cash and make sure that you’ve got a card “for emergencies”. Nothing ruins a road trip faster than being broke.

Games that prompt conversation Get to know your kids on the road

We have several games like would you rather, have you ever, conversation starters that really let you get to know your children and vice versa.

READ ALSO: Growing up too fast

We really do have so few summers with our children. When they are little days and hours seem to go on forever. We linger there wishing it to go faster and then before we know it, hours fade into days and time speeds up so fast that just as we are beginning to really know and like our children, they leave us. Make the moments count. They won’t all be winners and every moment won’t be special but together really is better than apart.

What’s at the top of your list of road trip essentials when traveling with teens?

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Planning a Trip Your Teens Won't Whine About

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Hey Mamas (and Papas!), remember those pre-teen years when vacations meant building sandcastles and begging for ice cream? Those glorious spring breaks where everyone went with the flow? Sure, you had to carry an ass ton of extras to keep them entertained but in the end, it was absolutely worth it. Yeah, those days are officially over. Now, we’re facing a new foe: the dreaded planning a trip your teens won’t whine about and you might actually enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE traveling with my teens (it’s my favorite thing to do) but life would be easier without the “cool, bruh.” 

The mere mention of a family trip can be met with eye rolls, dramatic sighs, and monosyllabic responses.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It happens to the best of us. My girls even refer to me as “cool” on occasion and I get all the eye rolls. Planning a trip that appeals to both your inner wanderlust and your teen’s ever-evolving interests can feel like navigating a minefield. But fear not, fellow travelers!  This mama is here to equip you with secret weapons to conquer the Teen Travel Whine and plan a trip EVERYONE will love. Yes, even that youngest, most entitled and champion “cool, bruh” one. 

Embrace the Collaboration (Without Losing Control)

First things first, ditch the “Surprise! We’re going to Disney!” tactic. Just kidding. Maybe for typical teens but my girls are die-hard Disney teens. We go every year and every year it’s.the.best.time.ever! Teens crave a sense of ownership, so ditch the dictator routine and turn trip planning into a collaborative mission. Dust off that dusty world map (or whip out your phone) and gather your little squad. Get their travel vibes flowing by browsing travel blogs, Instagram accounts, and travel magazines together.

Pro Tip: Let them dream big! Even if a trip to the Maldives is out of budget, exploring their wildest travel desires can spark inspiration for more realistic options.

Location, Location, Location:

Now, the fun part! Once you have a general idea of what kind of trip your teen is digging (beach bumming, city exploration, adventure junkie, etc.), start brainstorming destinations that cater to both your interests. Here are some Teen-Approved Hotspots:

  • Adventure Awaits! For the thrill-seekers, consider national parks like Yosemite or Yellowstone, where hiking, camping, and white-water rafting will have them screaming with excitement (in a good way!). If international travel is on the agenda, Costa Rica offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. Ziplining through rainforests, horseback riding on volcanic beaches, and learning to surf – enough adrenaline to keep those teenage spirits soaring.
  • City Slickers Unite! Let your teen unleash their inner urban explorer in a vibrant city like New Orleans, overflowing with live music, historic sites, and mouthwatering food (beignets, anyone?). London, with its iconic landmarks, museums galore, and a thriving theater scene, is another fantastic option. Explore hidden alleyways, catch a West End show, and maybe even take a day trip to explore the magic of Harry Potter Studios.
  • Beach Bums Welcome! Who doesn’t love a relaxing beach getaway? But ditch the all-inclusive resorts and opt for a location with some personality. Tulum, Mexico, offers stunning beaches, ancient Mayan ruins to explore, and a bohemian vibe your teen will love. The Outer Banks in North Carolina boasts beautiful beaches, charming towns, and even wild horses to keep everyone entertained.

Activities: It’s All About the Experiences

Okay, you’ve nailed the destination. Now, let’s make sure there’s enough action to keep everyone from getting bored (especially those with short attention spans cough teenagers cough).

Pro Tip:  Remember, vacations are about creating lasting memories, so prioritize experiences over souvenirs.

Here are some ideas to keep your teens engaged:

  • Food Tours: Turn mealtimes into mini-adventures with a food tour that explores the local cuisine. From chowing down on tacos in Mexico City to sampling dim sum in Hong Kong, these tours offer a delicious way to experience a new culture.
  • Get Creative: Does your teen have an artistic soul? Seek out workshops or classes that allow them to learn a new skill like pottery making, glass blowing, or graffiti art. This is a fantastic way to create a unique souvenir and a fun memory.
  • Volunteer for a Cause: Looking for a way to give back on your trip? Look into volunteer opportunities with local organizations. This could be anything from helping to build a school in a developing country to working at an animal shelter. Not only is it a rewarding experience, but it allows your teen to connect with the local community on a deeper level.

Don’t Forget the “Me Time” Factor

Remember, a vacation is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable for EVERYONE, including yourself!

Pro Tip: Factor in “me-time” for everyone. Let your teens explore their own interests for a few hours, whether it’s browsing vintage shops or catching a movie. You can head to a museum, get a massage, or simply relax on a beach lounger with a good book.

This isn’t about abandoning your teens on a deserted island (tempting as it may sound sometimes!), but rather creating opportunities for everyone to recharge and pursue their individual interests.

Here are some ideas to create that “me-time” magic:

  • Teen Time: Negotiate a few hours where your teens can explore the city (or beach, or wherever you are) on their own. This could involve browsing vintage shops, catching a local band’s gig, or simply hanging out with friends they may have made on the trip.
  • Adult Adventures: Schedule an activity just for you! Whether it’s a solo museum visit, a relaxing spa treatment, or enjoying a quiet coffee at a local cafe, this dedicated “me-time” allows you to unwind and recharge.

Embrace the Unexpected

Travel is all about creating memories, and sometimes the best ones are the ones you don’t plan. Leave some room for spontaneity on your trip!

Here are some ways to embrace the unexpected:

  • Get Lost (Safely): Instead of sticking rigidly to your itinerary, allow some time to wander and explore. You might stumble upon a hidden gem of a restaurant, a charming local market, or a quirky street performance – these unexpected finds can become the highlights of your trip.
  • Be Open to New Experiences: Don’t shy away from trying something new, even if it’s outside your comfort zone. Whether it’s trying a local dish you can’t pronounce, taking a salsa dancing lesson, or going on a spontaneous hike, embracing new experiences can create lasting memories and stories to tell for years to come.
  • Go with the Flow: Things don’t always go according to plan, especially when traveling. Flights might get delayed, museums might be closed, or the weather might not cooperate. Instead of getting stressed, take a deep breath and roll with the punches. These unexpected hiccups can actually lead to some hilarious stories down the road.

**Remember, Mamas (and Papas, too), a successful family vacation isn’t about achieving Instagram-perfect moments. It’s about creating shared experiences, fostering connection, and making memories that will last a lifetime.  So ditch the stress, embrace the chaos, and get ready to have the best family vacation ever!

Bonus Tip:  Don’t forget to document your adventures! Encourage your teens to take photos, capture videos, and jot down their thoughts in a travel journal.  These little mementos will be precious treasures you can all look back on and reminisce about long after the tan lines fade.

Now, go forth and plan that epic trip your whole family (even the teens!) will be raving about!**

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