Interview with Traveling Parents: Bel
Today, we start our new series: “Interviews with Traveling Parents” which presents portraits of various family travelers. They will share with us their favorite destinations, travel mistakes, tips and more.
Our first family traveler is Bel, who was born and raised in Mexico but moved to the USA when she was 9 years old. She now lives with her family in Utah. Bel has two daughters (11 and 4 yrs old) and an 8 yr old son. You can find more of her family travel adventures at www.amorfortravel.com.
How old was your child, when you started to travel with him/her?
My oldest daughter was 1 year old when we visited Italy.
What countries did you visit with your kids?
Italy, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, England, France, Switzerland, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, Peru, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Greece and Bahamas.
What is your most favorite country you’ve visited so far with your family and why?
We loved visiting Iceland. There is so much natural beauty coupled with a diverse landscape. It was also a great place for our kids to explore freely without having to worry about ruining something. Being able to find hidden hot springs to dip into was an added bonus as well.
What is your favorite kid-friendly place/attraction you visited so far? What did you like about it?
We took a one day private cruise through the Exumas Island in the Bahamas. Aside from gorgeous turquoise waters we got to visit an iguana island, pig beach, snorkel with schools of fish, see sharks, hold a giant star fish and eat a private lunch in a dreamy remote island. It proved to be a wonderful day for the whole family.
What was your most challenging family trip and why?
Our most challenging trip was to Paris. Seems like a random place to struggle but at that time our son, who was only a year old, became ill and was very fussy. We had opted to use the subway system as a form of transportation, but with 6 bags of luggage, a stroller, camera bag and 2 little ones and random elevators it turned into a struggle to move everything up and down many stairs. We missed our boat river cruise we had been very excited for, and in the end, things just seemed to go in a weird way during our time there.
What are your tips for keeping all of your family members interested and happy during a family trip?
My husband and I do our best to incorporate things our children would enjoy, especially if our schedules are packed with sightseeing. We have visited zoos, gardens, theme parks and aquariums throughout the world. We are aware that our children would not do well in structured activities such as long tours and visiting museums so we tend to not schedule anything like that. As they get older we continue to adjust our itineraries to their needs and attention spans.
What are your tips for making a family travel easier, more enjoyable?
I think the biggest advice I can give is to be flexible and willing to move things around in your itinerary. There are many times we have had to change our plans as travel with kiddos definitely makes any task take longer than with adults only. Plus, when you add jet-lag to the little ones, they can be tired and moody. We have found that planning fewer activities in the first day or two can help them adjust to the time change. Lastly, be sure to bring a medicine kit so that if something comes up you have a trusted known remedy at hand.
What are the biggest travel mistakes you’ve learned from?
As mentioned before, we opt to rent cars now, which allows us to more easily move our luggage and gives us freedom to come and go as needed if we have to modify our itinerary with kiddos. Also we have at times overlooked bringing plenty of snacks and water to our adventures which can make for cranky kids.
What do you think your kids gain from traveling?
I think there is great value and importance in having our children see and travel the world with us. I believe it’s an invaluable experience for them to appreciate different cultures, understand how vast and diverse the world truly is, and comprehend that what ever happens in their everyday life, it is only a small scope of what surrounds us. Through traveling the globe, they can grow up with an understanding and acceptance for other races and cultures. They can be kinder and wiser individuals while appreciating the things they have which can easily be taken for granted. It is my wish that the wonderful memories and flashbacks of the beautiful places they visited during their childhood will forever be engraved in their minds and they can pass on those experiences to their children someday.
What is your next family destination?
In the next few weeks we will be visiting Seattle, WA and Vancouver, Canada, followed by our very first family cruise.
If you want to be featured and tell us about your family travel, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.