Travel Family Spotlight: The Landin Family

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Travel Family Spotlight: The Landin Family

One of my favorite things about social media is meeting other families that love to travel and adventure. I like to dig in and find out what works for them and what draws their family to want to be "on the go" so we started a little series here on the blog where we spotlight other families who love to travel. We hope you will enjoy the next installment of the "Travel Family Spotlight" series. 

We started following the Landin Family on Instagram when we heard about their company Around the World Stories (audio stories written for kids between the ages of 5 and 12). This fun family of five travels around the world and creates audio stories to share with other families. We are fascinated by the Landin family's slow, deliberate style of travel and what they've learned about human kindness while traveling. We loved learning more about the Landin family through this interview and know you will too. You can also find them on Instagram at @aroundtheworldstories or on their Around the World Stories website.

1. Tell us about your family.
We’re a family of five - Matt, Tania, Maya (15), Mirabel (11) and Lacey (9). We also have Elsie (4), our sweet labradoodle pup who comes with us everywhere we go. Since June 2016, all six of us have been traveling full-time, mostly around Europe. We homeschool / worldschool our kids and work on the road. We create fun audio stories for kids about other countries around the world. You can find us on Instagram at @aroundtheworldstories.

2. Where do you live when you are not traveling? Has your family moved around at all?
We don’t have a home base right now. Wherever we are is our home. Even before we started full-time traveling, Matt’s former job with the State Department had us moving around every two or three years to a new country. Our favorite kind of travel now is slow-travel - we settle somewhere for two or even three months. We love to meet the locals, get to know our neighbors, visit local festivals and immerse ourselves in the culture.

3. How often do you travel with your family? Is it local travel or international? Where has been your favorite place your family has traveled so far?
Most of our travels have been international, but we recently also spent several months exploring the U.S. There are so many beautiful places in the world to visit! An absolute favorite place is hard to choose, but here’s what we came up with:

My favorite place (Tania): Bavaria, Germany

Matt: Praia das Maçãs, Portugal

Maya: Cornwall, England

Mirabel: Föhr, a tiny German island in the North Sea

Lacey: Efteling, the Netherlands

4. Why do you like to travel with your kids?
I think traveling with kids opens up the world for both them and us. It gives the kids such an incredible perspective on the world. Traveling teaches them to be flexible and to be open to other cultures and ways of life. Worldschooling also gives all of us so many opportunities to learn about history, culture, art and language. And for us, it’s honestly so much fun seeing the world through their eyes. Kids are so good at being present, noticing things we don’t and reminding us to find the fun in situations we might otherwise not.  

5. What are some unexpected things that you've encountered as you have been traveling with your family?
I think the most unexpected thing we’ve encountered is the kindness we’ve so often been shown. We met a biker on our recent bike trip in Germany who went an hour out of his way to help us get back on the right trail at night, a shop owner in Portugal brought us firewood from his own apartment because the shop was out of wood and a fellow traveler once paid for us to use the bathrooms because we hadn’t yet exchanged any money in Switzerland. A new neighbor in Austria left freshly picked raspberries on our door step, a family in Denmark let us in and made us tea while we waited out the rain, and countless others have stopped to help us find our way. It’s truly been one of the greatest gifts of traveling - meeting so many beautiful, good, kind people. I think when we are in the safety of our own town, we sometimes just don’t think about helping the new person, the vulnerable person, the traveler, the foreigner, but being shown that kindness has been a wonderful reminder.

6. What's the most memorable travel experience you've had with your family?
The time the monkeys in Gibraltar jumped on my back to open my backpack comes to mind. (He took my passport and ran off with it! Thankfully he dropped it once he found the apple I had.) The time Matt had to jump in a lake and swim across to chase after our pup because she just wouldn’t stop swimming after the ducks also made for a very memorable afternoon. (There were about 15 locals cheering him on by the end of the swim. One of them commented, “Now this show is worth paying my taxes!”) The flamenco show in Spain and having a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower were moments I will also always treasure.

7. What are the easiest and hardest parts about traveling with kids (for your family)?
Finding opportunities for learning is definitely the easiest part of traveling with kids, whether through art, history, food, or just walking around a small town. The hardest times are certainly the transition days. Packing up and racing to catch a train in the rain is never fun.

8. What are some of your favorite travel resources?
I can’t imagine pre-Internet travels anymore. My favorite resources are often reading reviews from other travelers. Whether it be for a guest house, a class one of my kids is thinking of taking, an event or a restaurant, the reviews always give us a feel for what we’re getting into. Airbnbs have also completely changed travel for us. We can stay in small towns with a yard, castles, apartments in the city, a treehouse or anything in between.

9. What advice would you give to other families who want to start traveling as a family and aren’t sure how?
My biggest advice to anyone would be to stay flexible. Sticking to a rigid schedule or waiting for that perfect age is going to put too much pressure on everyone. I’d even go as far as saying don’t plan too much. Choose a couple of major stops you want to make and then leave time to enjoy the small things. Just walking around a new town, finding a fun cafe or ice cream stand, watching the locals and exploring is how many incredible travel moments come about.

10. Have you had any barriers to traveling as a family, and how have you dealt with those? (i.e. work schedules, finances, school, etc.)
It’s certainly been tougher than we’d expected keeping a good work schedule. We often can’t find Internet or even a quiet place to work. On some days, work has to go out the window; but at the same time, it just has to get done. We’ve recorded stories in bathrooms, cars, basements, a castle and a tent. It’s definitely not easy, but it’s so rewarding when it works out.

11. What are three items you never leave home without?
1. Phone - for taking pictures, for a GPS and also as a way to communicate with each other if separated. (We learned this one the hard way in Paris).
2. Our Kindle
3. A good small backpack for day trips

12. Where are you headed next? 
We’re headed to Bavaria next. We’re excited to hike the same mountain we talk about in our first story about Germany. It’s one of my absolute favorite spots in the world.


Don't forget to follow the Landin family on Instagram at @aroundtheworldstories or on their Around the World Stories website.

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Travel Family Question: Why Travel with Kids?

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Travel Family Question: Why Travel with Kids?

When we began spotlighting travel families one of the questions we asked everyone was “Why do you like to travel/explore with your kids?"

A lot of people don’t love to travel with their kids, so we wanted to revisit some of the things our travel families said about this topic in their interviews. In this post we share quotes from eight travel families. Maybe their thoughts will motivate you to want to travel more with your family!

1. @macs_explore (The McEvoy’s)
We love exposing our kids to different areas of the country and world, because we feel like that is truly how they gain an education about the world around them. Our kids know a lot about different plant and animal species since we spend so much time outdoors and they are are also quite savvy with many outdoor survival skills. We also want our kids to see that most of the world doesn't live like us in the States, so it's very important to us to travel to third world countries as their eyes and hearts are opened to different cultures and ways of life. We try to find small ways to serve in the countries we travel to, which make for the longest lasting impact on our kids. They still talk about the time we went to an orphanage in Costa Rica to play with the kids and give them clothes and toys!

2. @littlekidnyc (Little Kid Big City)
I’ve always been a city explorer – way before our son was born. I would tear open an issue of Time Out New York with as much enthusiasm as a present on Christmas morning. To my delight – our son is just as much of an explorer as me. He loves experiencing new things, seeing the city, and learning about our world (often asking me to take him to see things!). My utmost joy comes from watching his reactions, and discoveries. Experiencing the city again through a child’s eyes may be the best gift of all.

3. @capitol.momma (Alexis Aschenbach)
They love it and I love watching them experience new things. It's the best to see the world through their eyes with such wonder and excitement. Plus it's a great learning opportunity for them. Especially in the D.C. area, we have so many historical sites and museums to explore and I try not to take that for granted.

4. @flightsfromhome.slc (Emily Holt)
Traveling with Jade has definitely changed things. The pace of travel is much slower, and we overall have to be more flexible to account for things that might come up. But really, this has actually been a welcomed changed. It's nice to be forced to spend a little less time go-go-going on vacation. Plus, it's truly nice to just unwind as a family for a week or two and just enjoy each other's company.

5. @talkwordytome (Kim Christenson)
I love traveling with my kids because they love it. They get so excited about taking off and experiencing new things. Watching them do that is so satisfying. Adventuring together binds us as a family and adds a depth of joy and fulfillment to our relationships.

A lot of people have asked in wonder how and why we take our kids on bigger trips but I feel like it's often easier to take them than leave them! Leaving them means worrying and scheduling babysitters and rides and meals. And when we bring them, we don’t feel a rush to get back home and “save” them. When we leave them, we’re always saying things like, “Oh Ellie would love this!” or “I wish Camden could see that.”

With that said, I strongly believe in getting away without kids regularly. In my book, traveling together has marriage-saving power. 

6. @smithsholidayroad (Bron Leeks)
I love the family connection time away from routine. I love that kids open our eyes to so much difference and can often be the icebreakers in meeting new people. I guess I like the escape it can create and the challenging situations you can discover.

7. @lizziehdavis (Lizzie Hinckley Davis)
Traveling with kids is often a lot of work.  But I love to do it because they are only little once.  I can travel the world my whole life but I only get to introduce it to their little personalities for a short time.  On our recent trip to London, we decided to focus on only two things: Kid Friendly and Christmas activities.  Our itinerary was very different than if just my husband and I had come alone, but doing these new activities showed me a whole different side of London that I would never have known about without kids.  Having our kids with us changed the trip but it changed it for the better.

8. @3kidstravel (Elise Caffee)
We sometimes travel with our kids and sometimes without but, honestly, we prefer to take them with us. We love exploring new and familiar cities from a child’s perspective and we love that our children help us slow down our pace and truly experience where we are visiting. When we travel without our kids we go at an exhausting pace, but with them we are forced to slow down and take in everything around us. We also like helping our kids learn about new cultures, countries, food, etc. Lastly, we especially appreciate the family bonding that results from traveling together and getting put into new and sometimes uncomfortable situations. We grow as a family as we have these experiences together.

Do any of these comments resonate with you? We'd love to know why YOU travel with your family, or why you'd like to travel more with your family? Let us know in the comments.

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8 Reasons Why Our Kids Love Nantucket, MA

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8 Reasons Why Our Kids Love Nantucket, MA

Nantucket Island is the place I dream about from my childhood as being the perfect beach vacation spot. I hoped my kids would love it as much as I did when we took them this summer, and, not surprisingly, they did. Since I hadn't been to Nantucket in over twenty years, it was fun to explore the island again through their eyes and pretend I was a kid again. There are a lot of things to love about Nantucket, but if you were to ask my kids this is probably what they would remember:

1. The Ferry Ride. We chose to take the high-speed ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket and it was the perfect 1 hour adventure. We got a snack on board and played games and watched the water splash against the windows. Because the ferry went really fast and was a little bumpy, we only stayed inside and didn't explore the boat much (other than a few potty trips). We loved the ferry because it had an easy boarding process, felt like we were on a ride at Disneyland, and it dropped us off right in downtown Nantucket so we could begin our adventures.

2. Bike Rides. Nantucket Island is covered in bike paths and instead of renting a car we opted to only use bikes the entire time we were on the island (we did use Lyft and Uber a few times too). We rented from Easy Riders Bicycles and the process was very easy. They had kids' bikes for the older girls and a bike seat for our younger daughter. We picked our bikes online, confirmed them over the phone, and they dropped off the bikes at our rental house with locks and helmets and picked up the bikes on our last day. We biked to the beach, to get groceries, to the lighthouse, and we even figured out how to ride a bike while holding an umbrella stroller plus beach gear (not an easy feat). Every night before bed we'd ride bikes to the Sankaty Head Lighthouse to catch fireflies and watch the sunset. 

3. The Food. We'd heard all about the food on Nantucket before we got there and couldn't wait to eat out. Of course, we stopped at the famed Juice Bar daily for ice cream and Aunt Leah's Fudge for candy. We also picked up Steamboat Pizza slices to take the beach several days and we grabbed sandwiches from Claudette's in Sconset. We ate a few meals at our rental house to keep costs lower but one night we went out to B-ACK Yard BBQ with the kids. They had a great kid's menu and the servers were really attentive and you could tell they enjoyed kids. For an adults-only activity we ate dinner at The Chanticleer in Sconset and the food was delicious and the ambiance was perfect. There were so many restaurants we wish we could've tried, but our visit was too short.

4. Beaches. There are so many beaches to choose from in Nantucket. We only made it to three beaches, but they were each wonderful in their own way. Our first stop was Sconset Beach because it was close to our rental home. The beach is quiet and relaxing and not very crowded. We saw a seal in the water, which was pretty exciting. There is a nice, new ADA accessible playground near the beach and bathrooms a few minutes away in Sconset Village. When we got hungry at the beach we grabbed sandwiches in the Sconset Market and Claudette's. Our second stop was Children's Beach because we heard a lot about it. This beach is right in Downtown Nantucket and close walking distance from everything in town. The beach doesn't have very many waves because it is in the harbor. There is a big playground by the beach, a grassy area for picnicking, a snack shack, and places for kids to catch crabs. During the summer months the park also hosts a variety of games and activities. Our last beach stop was Jetties Beach. To get to this beach you can take a shuttle from downtown, ride your bike, or walk. We walked, but it was a little far for little legs. The waves at Jetties are small and calm so it is almost like swimming in a pool and there is a sandbar that our kids swam out to and played at for hours. We also loved that they had a place to rent beach equipment and had changing rooms, showers, and a snack bar. There was also a little playground near the beach. I tried to ask my kids which of the beaches was their favorite, but they couldn't pick. I know we missed several other great beaches -- so, we've got a few to try next time!

5. Lighthouses. Lighthouses are a quintessential symbol of Nantucket. Nantucket has three lighthouses. We managed to visit two of them. Sankaty Lighthouse is on the Eastern Shore of Nantucket (it was a 5 minute walk from our rental home) and it used to be much closer to the edge of cliff but was moved because of erosion. It is a beautiful lighthouse and we loved watching it shine every night, Brant Point Lighthouse is one of the most popular lighthouses on the island and the one you see as your ferry comes and leaves Nantucket. It is customary to throw two pennies in the water when leaving the Nantucket Harbor, one for luck and one to ensure a return trip. The last lighthouse is the Great Point Lighthouse located on the Northeast tip of the island. The area is only accessible by a 4-wheel drive vehicle or a 7 mile hike in sand.

6. The People. We can not express enough how much we enjoyed getting to know the people of Nantucket. Most of our conversations were with small shop owners, restaurant servers, and taxi drivers and they helped us get to the know the island better. We also loved how much everyone enjoyed our kids. Nantucket can see a bit intimidating when you arrive (it is a little high brow) and I was a little nervous about how my kids would fare but families with kids were treated very kindly and accommodated. For a few brief scary moments we lost our six-year old when we were wandering around town and we had so many people offering help to find her -- luckily a nice elderly couple found her immediately and kept her safe til we could get to her.

7. The Wave. Most people don't take cars to Nantucket. It is pricey and the traffic is pretty horrible. However, we were able to get all over the island thanks to The Wave, which provides seasonal island-wide bus service. Children 6 and under are free on the bus and adults are either $1 or $2 depending on the loop you take or you can get a multi-ride pass. The bus was our favorite way to get around the island, particularly because we stayed in Sconset seven miles from downtown. There is something about kids and buses too, they acted like it was a ride at Disneyland. And, we loved meeting other families on the bus and usually we'd see those same families on the beach. The bus rides provided a great opportunity for our kids to make friends and for the adults to relax and avoid having to drive in Nantucket traffic.

8. The Scenery. I can't say enough about the beauty of Nantucket. My kids commented regularly how gorgeous the houses and flowers are. But, I will say the scenery is what made me love Nantucket the most. I love the architecture, gardens, flowers, ocean views, smells, rolling hills, cliffs, bike trails, etc. In my dreams I live on Nantucket. And, I kinda feel like when you are somewhere that beautiful and your kids are whining or complaining it doesn't seem that bad, because you are in paradise. 

Have you been to Nantucket? Did you take kids? What was your favorite part? We'd love to hear from you.

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Travel Family Spotlight: The McEvoy's

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Travel Family Spotlight: The McEvoy's

One of my favorite things about social media is meeting other families that love to travel and adventure. I like to dig in and find out what works for them and what draws their family to want to be "on the go" so we started a little series here on the blog where we spotlight other families who love to travel. We hope you will enjoy the next installment of the "Travel Family Spotlight" series.

The McEvoy family inspires me to get outdoors with my family and go on an adventure. They crave beautiful landscapes and unique experiences and have traveled the world to to find them. The McEvoy's also hope to teach their children that they can do hard things, to love and respect the planet, learn about new cultures, and help them see that life isn't just meant for adventure but you are meant to make a difference along the way. We loved learning more about the McEvoy family through this interview and know you will too. You can also find them on Instagram at @macs_explore or on their Adventure Together website.

1. Tell us about your family.
We are the McEvoys--Eric, Christina, Austin (12), and Carson (9) and you can find us on Instagram as @macs_explore. We love outdoor adventures and traveling, and if we can combine both, than we've hit the jackpot! We try to do a little of everything in every season--mountain biking, kayaking, camping, skiing, paddle boarding, and of course, lots of hiking. We also live very "normal" lives. My husband and I both work, and our kids go to school so our outdoor adventures and travels fit in on weekends and school holidays most of the time.

2. Where do you live? Has your family moved around at all?
We currently reside in Boise, Idaho and love living in the Pacific Northwest. We chose this location because it was close to Utah, where we have a lot of family (plus we are obsessed with Southern Utah!), but also because we are close to Oregon, Washington, and Montana. There is so much to see and do just in those states alone that it would take a lifetime to see it all. We have grown to LOVE Idaho too though, there are so many secret gems all over the state! People call Idaho, "America's Best Kept Secret" and it really is true!

Since 2000, we have lived in Utah, Ohio, and California, but Idaho the longest.

3. How often do you travel with your family? Is it local travel or international? Where has been your favorite place your family has traveled?
We travel as often as we can afford (and take time off from work), however at the moment, most of our travels are within the West Coast states. We do leave the country at least once a year, but wish it was more often! Our favorite places we've traveled so far would be Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Alberta, Canada. We are currently on working on plans to travel full-time in a year, we are really excited about it!

4. You do a lot of outdoor adventures and activities with your kids and husband. What are your favorite activities to do together? What has been your most adventurous trip as a family?
Our favorite outdoor activities are probably skiing, hiking, and paddle boarding. One of our most adventurous trips was kayaking around the San Juan Islands last summer. We had some wild weather (to be expected in the PNW), but we saw so many whales, bald eagles and seals, making it all the more memorable! We camped right on the water each night and enjoyed some hot springs after each day. It was heaven!

5. Why do you like to travel with your kids?
We love exposing our kids to different areas of the country and world, because we feel like that is truly how they gain an education about the world around them. Our kids know a lot about different plant and animal species since we spend so much time outdoors and they are are also quite savvy with many outdoor survival skills. We also want our kids to see that most of the world doesn't live like us in the States, so it's very important to us to travel to third world countries as their eyes and hearts are opened to different cultures and ways of life. We try to find small ways to serve in the countries we travel to, which make for the longest lasting impact on our kids. They still talk about the time we went to an orphanage in Costa Rica to play with the kids and give them clothes and toys!

6. What's a memorable travel experience you've had with your family?
There are so many memorable travel moments (as mentioned above), but one of our favorites was our hike to Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park. It was a really tough, long hike and the weather was temperamental, but so many life lessons were learned on that hike such as not giving up, focusing on the journey and not the destination, working together as a team, and realizing our potential. Our kids still talk about that hike. It was one for the books.

7. What are the easiest and hardest parts about traveling with kids?
The hardest part about traveling for us is we often do hard things (or try new things), and that isn't always easy on our kids. One of our kids is more timid and cautious by nature, so it can require some gentle coaxing and reassurance to get him to try some thing he hasn't done before (like rappelling off a 100 ft waterfall!). Our family vacations are rarely relaxing or easy, they usually require a lot of physical exertion, patience, and testing our limits. But the reward is more than worth it. Our kids astound us with what they are capable of.

The easiest part of traveling with our kids is we are at a good stage where we don't have to deal with car seats, naps, temper tantrums and early bedtimes! Our boys are great travelers--they adjust well in a new place/culture, they will eat pretty much anything, and they love to learn about the places we go.

8. What are your favorite travel resources?
Lonely Planet Kids has been a great resource for us, especially as we focus on outdoor travel. We get a lot of great ideas on Instagram from other like-minded families too! We love the community on Instagram of others sharing tips and ideas. The possibilities are endless!

9. What tips do you have for families who want to do adventure travel, but aren't sure where to start or might be a little afraid?
Adventure travel can be intimidating, especially with little ones. Our #1 tip would be to start with small adventures (we call them micro adventures) and build from there. For example, a short, local hike is a great way to build your kids' endurance and confidence. Gradually add in trying new things such as paddle boarding, or snow shoeing and always make it fun for them! When the parents have fun, the kids usually have fun! Sounds like a no-brainer, but so many parents stress about every little thing and that wears off on the kids. Relax, don't worry so much, and enjoy the time you have together.

10. What are three items you never leave home without?
Our camera gear (a DSLR, GoPro, tripod, extra batteries, etc), good shoes, and our Hydro Flask water bottles. :)

11. How can you afford to travel and do all of the amazing adventures you do?
We don't go on luxurious vacations where we stay at 5-Star hotels and resorts and splurge on amazing food. We tend to save our money for experiences and adventures such as canyoneering, horseback riding, etc. We often choose to stay in Airbnb's because we can find something great in our price range, have a kitchen to cook in (which saves us a lot of money by not eating out a lot), and we can "live like a local". We also do a lot of camping if we are traveling within driving distance and that always saves us money on accommodations and transportation and it's always an adventure!

For us, it always boils down to prioritizing our spending when we have extra money. We don't buy fancy cars or a nicer house and we don't eat out a lot when we are at home. We save every bit we can and put it towards our travels and adventures and invest in good outdoor gear that will last us a long time.

12. What's your next travel adventure?
We have a fun summer ahead with lots of shorter trips over long weekends to places like the Tetons, the Sawtooths, Bend Oregon, and possibly Aspen, Colorado but our big trip is to Iceland in early September for two weeks. We are so excited about that and have some amazing adventures planned!

13. Anything else you want to tell us or want us to include?
We have a blog called http://adventuretogether.com/ that we launched recently with our good friends, the Vons. It's been a lot of work and we still have content to add, but we have some big things planned for it. We also have a community page that we started on Instagram called @goadventuretogether (which is tied to our blog), where we feature others outdoor adventures and tips. It's been a lot of fun!


Don't forget to follow the McEvoy's on Instagram at @macs_explore or on their Adventure Together website.

 

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Travel Family Spotlight: Lil Kid Big City

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Travel Family Spotlight: Lil Kid Big City

One of my favorite things about social media is meeting other families that love to travel and adventure. I like to dig in and find out what works for them and what draws their family to want to be "on the go" so we started a little series here on the blog where we spotlight other families who love to travel. We hope you will enjoy the next installment of the "Travel Family Spotlight" series.

Beth Beckam loves everything about New York City and she and her son spend their days "exploring NYC and beyond, one playground at a time". She is the creator and face behind the Instagram account @littlekidnyc (although you mostly see her 4-year-old son in front of the camera!) and its accompanying website.  She started "Lil Kid Big City" as a way to showcase her love affair with New York City through the eyes of a toddler. We know you'll love her perspective on adventuring with her son and living life to the fullest!

1. Tell us about your family.
Hello! We are a family of 4 fun loving New Yorkers – My husband and myself, our 4-year-old son, and a mini dachshund named Hot Dog, with a not so mini personality! She is our first baby and absolutely considered a member of our family.

2. Where do you live now? Have you always lived there? Where do you consider "home"?
While we are currently (and will forever be) New Yorkers we originally hail from Wisconsin. My husband and I both are originally from Wisconsin (however we didn’t meet there – another story in itself!). We currently live in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan. We've lived in Lower Manhattan for 15 years, and have seen the area change drastically. When I first moved down here it was a desolate area - with no grocery, very few restaurants and residents. We've had the incredible opportunity to watch the neighborhood drastically change and grow - now home to many families, schools, movie theaters, and things to do (and even soon to be Whole Foods!) it is most definitely “home.” Couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

3. How often do you travel with your family? Is it local travel or international?
We travel as often as possible (and as financially feasible!). We love exploring a new city, location, country or town. To me, traveling is everything. It is a cultural experience, an opening to a new way of thinking, and a better learning experience than any school setting.

4. What would you say your typical week looks like?
I recently left a long career in fashion to concentrate on writing and photography full time. I went from long days at an office to working at home and exploring. While my days do feel busier than ever – I have never been happier. I love spending more time with our son, seeing him grow and exploring our city together. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I didn’t like working for the weekend. Everyday can be a weekend.

5. You do a lot of local adventures and activities with your son around the NYC area. How do you find all of the fun activities you plan? What motivates you to get out so much and explore where you live?
I had the misfortune in my life to have several family members pass while I was young. Life is such a blessing – and we never know what the future could bring. My motivation is simple - to live each day to the fullest, to surround yourself with loved ones, and to experience and see as much as possible.

There’s no better place to do this than New York City. I am completely and totally driven by the energy and beauty of our incredible city. The cultures and people of this city are everything. We’re so lucky to live in such an amazing city. I couldn’t imagine not taking part of this energy.

We have often been asked how we find activities.  As I have been living (and exploring!) in the city so long – much of the annual events and activities are committed to memory. Years ago, I compiled a picture book of the city – and walked every single city block from lower Manhattan to 100th street. It took an entire summer – but I learned so much about our city, the neighborhoods, restaurants, architecture, and history. So much so that the city feels quite small to me now. In addition to all my city knowledge, I do also spend a bit of time Googling current events, joining mailing lists, and the usual roster of city experience websites, always trying to stay on top of the latest art opening, and special events.

All of this is what inspired us to start our website. Our friends and followers trusted our research, our city knowledge, and were looking for a curated list of activities. Lil Kid Big City was born.

6. Why do you like to travel and adventure around NYC with your son?
I’ve always been a city explorer – way before our son was born. I would tear open an issue of Time Out New York with as much enthusiasm as a present on Christmas morning. To my delight – our son is just as much of an explorer as me. He loves experiencing new things, seeing the city, and learning about our world (often asking me to take him to see things!). My utmost joy comes from watching his reactions, and discoveries. Experiencing the city again through a child’s eyes may be the best gift of all.

7. What's a memorable travel experience you've had with your family?
My husband and I recently celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary in Las Vegas, with a vow renewal ceremony. We were originally married there, by Elvis, and hired the same Elvis to perform the ceremony. It was so special to have our son there by our side (Vegas can be fantastic for kids!). Now our little guy is the biggest Elvis fan, and is so excited to see Graceland next month.

 

8. What's the easiest and hardest parts about traveling with young kids?
Now at age 4 – traveling with our son is a breeze. A loaded iPad, a plethora of "dollar store" toys and small books and games make the time fly by. The challenges always come from the things you can't control – delays, unexpected travel changes and weather. Pack for the worst, hope for the best – you'll always be okay (just be sure you have a great back-up battery and used the bathroom before leaving!

9. What are your favorite travel resources?
I love to search and discover a city before traveling – often making our own itineraries way before leaving. I cross reference many different platforms and sites in doing this – everything from local bloggers, travel websites, tourism boards, Instagram, and more...

10. What are three items you never leave home without?
Back-up cell phone battery (I have a mega one that would last about a week if needed – its heavy and big, but I love the peace of mind!), iPad (a must now these days, no?), and a supply of snacks. You never know when you may be delayed, or need to fill a hunger pain.

11. What advice would you give to someone who wants to explore where they live with their kids but is nervous or isn't sure how to get started?
No need to be nervous! I find that fear comes from not being prepared. Do a little research (Where to? Opening hours? How to get there?) and pack smart so you feel comfortable for anything (diapers, snacks, wipes, change of clothes, etc.) Once I feel confident in these things I feel like I could take on anything.

Regarding getting started – the amazing internet resources today make it so easy. A quick Google will usually yield many choices – but I urge you to find the resource that calls to you personally. There are many company sites with journalist approach to activities with a basic synopsis, and many sites that offer opinions and first-hand experiences. There are (very!) large sites that seem to list everything – which is great for an explorer! But this may be overwhelming for someone looking for a quick activity and a small sampling. Search for what calls to you. You’ll get more out of it, find yourself inspired, and (most likely!) enjoy your experience even more.

12. What's your next travel adventure?
Memphis and Nashville next month! Our son has been asking to see Elvis’s home. My husband and I have been before – but are excited to share the experience with him. In addition to this we have arranged for our son to be the Honorary Duck Master at the Peabody Hotel! Nashville is a quick drive away! We’re exciting to visit this fun music city again. We have a very exciting stop to make while we are there. We recently wrote a children’s travel book on NYC and are working with an illustrator who lives there. We will be visiting her and her studio while in town. More to come on this soon!

Dont't forget to follow Beth on Instagram at @littlekidnyc and on her website Lil Kid Big City.

 

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