The school year has started for a lot of families and we’re all getting into the routine of things. But before you put away those bathing suits, don’t forget about the long list of holidays to come before the year comes to an end, which makes for a great excuse to plan at least one last family vacation.
If you are like me and prefer to escape the cold then run head-on into it, then Aruba is the perfect family escape.
Every time I visit a new destination in France I think that I have seen the one that beats them all, until I visit another. I’m learning that it’s difficult to compare regions with each other because they are all so different and each have something beautiful to offer. I am also learning that it is incredibly easy to make room in my heart for many parts of France.
What I most loved about the Rhone Valley, besides its fabulous wine, is the sweetness of its fruits and the smell of lavender and herbs in the summer breeze. If you are a food lover this area along with cities like Avignon and Lyon are an absolute must visit.
The roads were bumpy and winding as we made our way deeper to the countryside of Guatemala. Our CoEd tour group and sponsoring Rotary board members were on our way to visit a sponsored school.
I could hear the sounds of cheering and music as our van approached. Children, big and small, as well as teachers and administrators, lined up outside to greet us. Handmade banners and signs waved, welcoming and thanking the CoEd staff and sponsors for their contribution to their school and to each student they have helped to continue their education.
I’ve written about road tripping often on my site because it is one of the most fun and money-saving ways for our family to travel. (You can read my post on Planning a Summer Road Trip for more on the logistics involved).
To some people who see the happy faces of my kids when we travel, it would seem like we’ve got this road tripping with kids thing down packed. And for the most part we do, but it wasn’t always easy. According to the Liberty Mutual Insurance New Beginnings Report, more than half of Americans are planning a road trip before Labor Day, and a third of those are headed to a new destination this summer.
There are so many fun ways to experience a winery. Tasting the wine, is of course, top of the list. But how about a bit of easy bike riding through the vineyards as well?
Now, before the shock of “drinking and riding” hits you, let me know that the riding is on an electric bike (minimal effort) through the mainly dirt roads of the beautiful Mont-Ventoux valley with a wonderful guide and some, very light tastings of the best TerraVentoux wine.
I have been traveling with my children since they were in diapers and drinking out of bottles. One of my favorite moments in travel was hiking along the Black Hills of South Dakota with a moody tween, a feisty 2 year old, and a 1 year old who refused to wear pants and thus, hiked in diapers – because I learned earlier on to pick my battles.
And over the years that is exactly what I have done when traveling with the kids. Of course, this is also done with the overall understanding that there are no-go zones when it comes to behavior, but the occasional sibling argument, refusal to go on yet another hike, the request to stay in and order pizza, the choice of airplane seat (most of the time), etc.; these things I have learned to stop, breathe, and just let go.
People often ask me what kind of phone coverage I use when I travel and because of how I travel, using my phone plan’s international service is actually the best option for me.
This isn’t the case for everyone. A lot of travelers prefer to use international sim cards or even calling cards, in some cases.
But my “normal” life comes with a phone plan that includes 4 other people – i.e., my family, and some of those plans that include “free international service” have limitations, as well as spotty service here at home – which isn’t fair to my husband and teen.
Last year, when I visited Paris on vacation with my family, it rained every single day we were here…except for the day we were heading home.
Despite this, my family and I had the best time. We visited the Louvre, climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Champs Élysées. We toured Sacre Coeur and Montmartre. We visited cafes and brasseries, stayed in a fabulous HomeAway apartment and sailed the Seine. It was magical and fun, rain and all.
I didn’t expect was that I would have the opportunity to return so soon.
As another holiday weekend approaches, kicking-off a series of summer festivities enjoyed by travelers near and far, my family and I are planning in two ways: either staying close to home and celebrating in our small New Jersey suburb or by traveling to smaller towns with less crowds but big festivities as well.
Over the years, and I can’t blame my kids for this because it started to happen before they came along, I have lost an interest in traveling to be among the crowd just to watch the fireworks, or the parades, or the ball drop at the beginning of the year. And as our family grew larger, I find myself with almost a zero interest to even try.
Last I visited Steamboat Resort, it was winter and cold, perfect for skiing (my family did) and snowshoeing (my husband and I did), and horseback riding through a wintery aspen forest (I did). You can read all about it on my article in Huffington Post Travel.