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". I decided to start a little series here on the blog where we spotlight other travel families. We hope you will enjoy the first installment of the "Travel Family Spotlight" series.
I "met" Lizzie Hinckley Davis via Instagram earlier this year and was drawn in by how effortlessly she appears to adventure all over the East Coast with her boys (ages 4 and 1). One weekend she is in Cape Cod, then New York City, then Tennessee, and then the next thing you know she is on a trans-Atlantic flight to London. Lizzie adventures non-stop with her kids around Manhattan and the East Coast and, honestly, I'm always a little bit jealous of all of the fun she is having. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know her a little bit better though our interview below.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
My husband and I are coming up on our 10 year anniversary. We have two young boys, James and Harrison, ages 4 and 1. Motherhood is my greatest joy and I love being a "Boy Mom." I am grateful that their desire to adventure, travel, and explore matches up with my own. They are my best travel buddies.
Where do you live? Have you moved around at all?
We live in Connecticut, in a quaint New England seaside town only 45 minutes from midtown Manhattan. We feel like this area really has it all. We have the city close enough to take advantage of the good but we skip the inconvenience of living in it. We take our kids to the Met Museum, Central Park, and can go to a Broadway show for date night. Then back here in Connecticut we have all the perks of the suburbs: great schools, community feel, clean, safe and a yard. We even have beaches that we frequent along the Long Island Sound. We feel like our kids are city kids (they know how to hail a taxi), beach kids (they feel at home in the sand), and suburb kids, which is a unique combination. Plus there are so many wonderful cities and places to explore within driving distance. We feel like we found the perfect place for us.
How often do you travel with your family? Is it local travel or international?
I have an insatiable desire to see and experience so many places so we try to travel as often as possible. We love to travel internationally when we can, but most of our travel is within driving distance. We feel like we can drive in any direction and find a new wonderful place to explore. We've done road trips to Boston, Maine, Vermont, Lake Winnipesaukee, Philadelphia, Martha's Vineyard, The Hamptons, Washington DC, and Rhode Island. Since being on the East Coast, we've also explored Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, The Caribbean, The Carolinas, and Canada, which are all short flights away. Our most recent trip as a family was to London! We try to get go West when we can too - we love California, Utah, and Mexico.
You do a lot of local adventures and activities with your kids 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?
We love to explore New York City and I am always amazed that even after 9 years of living out here I am still discovering new things to do and see. The city energizes me and keeps me coming back for more. I think one thing that continues to motivate me to get out and explore is seeing the city through my kids eyes. I've experienced NYC in many different ways - as a young professional, as a young couple, as a girls night out, etc. - but my favorite New York is with kids. Discovering the parks, playgrounds, activities, museums, and food through my kids eyes keeps it fresh and entertaining. Just walking down the street in New York City is exciting for kids: "truck! bus! taxi! bike! hot dog stand! tall building! pigeons!" they yell. It's joyful!
Why do you like to travel with your kids?
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.
What's a memorable travel experience you've had with your family?
One of our most memorable travel experiences as a family was on our recent trip to London. Since we were focused on kid friendly and Christmas activities, we found one unique activity we could all do and enjoy: ice skate on the mote at the Tower of London. Normally you can't even walk down into the mote so being able to ice skate on it was a real treat. The kids absolutely loved it as did we. The views of the Tower were so pretty. This experience was way more memorable than just taking the tour!
What are the easiest and hardest parts about traveling with young kids?
One of the easiest things about traveling with kids is that they typically adjust better than I do! I was worried about the actual travel and time difference when heading to London, but I had a much harder time than the kids. My 4 year old fell asleep before the plane took off and woke up after it landed. I almost felt bad for him since he had been so excited about riding on such a big airplane! But not bad enough to wake him up, of course. One of the hardest things about just adjusting expectations. For us we realized this in a big way on our second day in London. We were staying near Westminster Abbey, so I insisted we go inside since my husband had never seen it. Of course we wanted to read every plaque and listen to the audio guide. But the crowds were thick, the doors and hallways were not made for a double stroller, and every time our one year old cried it echoed through the whole place! We finally realized we had to bag it. It was after that experience that we talked about focusing on only kid friendly and Christmas activities from that point on. Once we made that adjustment to the itinerary (but mostly in our minds) the trip went really smoothly and we all had the best time.
What are your favorite travel resources?
I read lots of websites and blogs, follow NYC instagram accounts, etc. but the best recommendations always come from other moms who are out exploring the city with their kids. There is nothing like a mom-to-mom recommendation!
What are three items you never leave home without?
My calendar & notebook. I find that if I have a tangible notebook with me I'm more likely to write down my thoughts or experiences. And my calendar goes right along with that because you never know when you might need to plan another trip or fun activity!
Books for the kids. I always bring books for the kids and pull them out when we get caught in a long line, or when they lose interest at a museum. Books never fail me!
Water & snacks. Me and my little travelers are only about as good as how many snacks we have. If someone's hungry, no one is happy! #Hangry
What's your next travel adventure?
Our next travel adventure is the Turks and Caicos Islands! It will be our second time there with the kids, and we can't wait to go back to this family-friendly and sunny beach!
You can learn more about Lizzie and her family's travels on Instagram at @lizziehdavis.
**All pictures were taken by Lizzie Hinckley Davis and cannot be used without permission except photo at Metropolitan Museum of Art of Lizzie and boys is by Amanda Petersen @_amandapetersen**