Tag: Family Travel

Not Your Usual Spring-Break-in-Florida Story

This essay from the NYT, about Alessandra Stanley’s mother-daughter vacation, is causing a stir—no huge surprise, I suppose, when it starts with a line like this: “One of the good things about divorce is that you get to see less of your children.” Stanley and her daughter spent a less-than-idyllic spring break at a super-luxury resort on a private island near South Beach. Here’s a taste:

I imagined sunrise walks on the beach, giggly mother-daughter spa treatments and intimate candlelit meals during which Emma would lean in and at long last tell me what college was like besides “fine.”

I failed to anticipate that exam-rattled 18-year-olds sleep long past noon and then stay up all night (I get up around 6 and am asleep easily before 10). Nor had I known that embedded in the ethos of this particular private island is a class system that places short-term guests below the salt.

Refreshingly honest? Privileged and self-indulgent? The Times commenters are weighing in bare-knuckled. (Via Ta-Nehisi Coates)


An Argument Against the Summer Vacation

At Front Porch Republic, Jason Peters goes there:

There’s no paucity of smiling children, or of aching muscles after you’ve rough-housed the kids and cousins in the lake or pool, but then you can almost see the seeds of greater expectations germinating in the soils of their little brains. The danger is that they’ll grow up to live for their two weeks’ worth of vacation each year and hate the other fifty. And that is no way to live a life.

In fine, there is the sense that you have fully arrived: at long last you are all consumer, endlessly provided for and endlessly entertained. But if, deep down, you have reconciled yourself to your condition, which is not to play but to work, you know that without work you cannot fully inhabit your humanity. Or: all play and no work makes daddy a dull boy.

(Via Andrew Sullivan)


What Does ‘Travel Games’ Mean to You?

I had a strange experience yesterday morning. I saw a headline in my feed reader—The Ten Best Travel Games, from The Independent—and I clicked, expecting a nostalgic list of childhood car trip time-killers. You know, low-tech classics like “I Spy.” Instead, I got a slideshow of modern, high-tech options: iPhone apps and, of all things, an electronic Rubik’s Cube.

I can’t be the only one who still thinks “I Spy” when I hear “travel games,” can I? Or has everyone else embraced in-car gaming and iPads for every passenger? What do you think of when you hear the words “travel games”?


Long-Term Family Travel and the ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Effect

While we were quiet on the publishing front, the Christian Science Monitor ran a seven-part series on the boom in career breaks and families traveling long-term—a boom inspired, writer Eilene Zimmerman contends, by Elizabeth Gilbert’s omnipotent memoir, Eat, Pray, Love.

Whatever the inspiration behind the rush, one takeaway seems clear: Long-term travel is moving towards the mainstream. Cheers to that.


The Family Jewels

A Himalayan trek took an unlikely turn, leaving Abbie Kozolchyk in the hands of a Nepali goldsmith, his wife and their son

See the full audio slideshow: »


The Power of Personal Landmarks

Forget grand historical monuments for a moment. Chris Epting celebrates the unheralded places meaningful to each of us.

See the full audio slideshow: »


Riding The Little Engine That Could

Riding The Little Engine That Could Illustration: Bill Russell

What if travel writer Paul Theroux had been aboard the train journey that became a classic children's book? Jim Benning imagines the account.

Read More »


Feliz Cumpleaños, Dora the Explorer

Our favorite cartoon vagabond, Dora Marquez, is turning 10 this month. A fine Los Angeles Times story pays tribute to Dora and notes her global reach:

The animated series is now broadcast in more than 100 countries—it’s the No. 1-rated preschool show in many of them, including France—and dubbed in 30 languages, such as Russian, Mandarin and German, with Dora mostly teaching English (in some cases Spanish).

We love Dora the Explorer—so much so that we once named her one of our top 10 greatest fictional travelers. Here’s what we wrote about Dora then, which is equally true today:

Kids need travel role models as much as adults, and the animated Latina vagabond Dora the Explorer is an exemplary role model. With her trademark purple backpack, wash-and-wear bob (perfect for the tropics) and monkey sidekick, Boots (Sancho Panza to her Don Quixote), Dora wanders a lush countryside, navigating around strawberry mountains and chocolate lakes, embarking on all manner of quests. Along the way, she consults her trusty map, breaks out handy Spanish phrases, asks viewers for help and sings out, “Come on, vámonos!” The message to kids is clear: The world is yours for the exploring, and with a little effort and help from your friends, you can surmount any obstacles that get in your way.


Confessions of a White Woman in India

Sharell Cook lives in Mumbai and is married to an Indian man. She shares the raw details of her life and her travels in India in an essay in Open.

How foreigners are regarded in India is a curious matter. Our white skin, and the belief that we have power and money, unwittingly elevates us to the top of the social hierarchy. Doors will open for me in India, while at the same time remaining closed for many Indians. Shop assistants will beckon for my attention,while ignoring other potential customers. Everyone wants to have a foreigner for a friend. I’ve lost count of how many times my neighbours have knocked on my door, asking me to meet every relative who visits them. They’re not interested in my husband, though.


The Leap at Crater Lake

The Leap at Crater Lake Photo by Dustin Eward

Amy Eward's infertility strained her marriage and left her reeling. During a trip to Oregon, she made a bold move to try to regain control.

Read More »


The Frugal Traveler: A Househusband in Italy

Matt Gross is in Italy, where his role in the family household apparently makes for a great punchline.


Cosette and Me: A Dog and Traveler Love Story

dog travel Photo by Allison Otto

Allison Otto longed for the perfect travel companion. She just never thought hers would be so hairy.

See the full audio slideshow: »


Arthur Frommer on Mexico, Travel and ‘Irrational Fear’

Here’s some more good news for Mexico’s embattled tourism industry: Arthur Frommer has added his voice to the “No really, Mexico is safe for travelers” contingent. In a recent blog post, Frommer admits that hearing about his daughter’s planned trip to Mexico gave him a moment of fear and worry—but he goes on to explain why that fear was largely irrational, noting that she “returned singing the praises of Mexican vacationing and stressing the relative calm of the country.”

Of course, there could be more at work here than just knee-jerk concern about Mexico. After all, don’t parents—even guidebook-publishing parents of grown children—always worry when their kids travel overseas? As Rick Steves noted in our interview with him awhile back, “It’s natural for a parent to be nervous ... I just have to always reason with myself and think, I was 18 and my parents were freaking out and I was capable at the time.”


Should Airlines Change the ‘Lap Child’ Policy?

Beth Blair of The Vacation Gals thinks so. Her call for a ban is pretty convincing.


Anthony Bourdain on Dora the Explorer

In a blog post “for Parents of Small Children Only and Otherwise Incomprehensible if Not Offensive to Others,” the “No Reservations” host holds forth on various children’s TV shows, which he watches with his 2-year-old daughter. Among the highlights: his take on one of our top fictional travelers, Dora the Explorer.

All parents must, sooner or later, come to terms with DORA THE EXPLORER and her alleged “cousin,” DIEGO. I’ve always found their relationship suspicious at best. And who is this kid, Diego, anyway? Where are his parents? How does he get to run around unsupervised in the jungle? And isn’t he too young to have a driver’s license? If not—then he’s certainly too goddamn old to be hanging out with Dora!! I do like the “Rescue Pack” song, however. And my daughter’s affection for these kissin’ cousins is unwavering. So much so that I brought her to see Dora “Live” at Radio City—which is to throw oneself into a Skittle scented mosh pit filled with thousands and thousands of screaming kids and their mothers. At every appearance of the rascally fox, “Swiper”, the walls shake like a high-pitched Nuremberg rally of sticky children, screaming “SWIPER NO SWIPING” in unison—as avidly as any cries of “Duce!” or worse. But…there’s no arguing with true love. All kids love Dora and Diego—and the sooner we resign ourselves to that, the easier it’ll go for us.

Too true. Plus, I can imagine Dora one day growing up to host a travel show of her own. No, she probably wouldn’t wear Ramones T-shirts like Bourdain. But given her appreciation for the Central American tropics, I can imagine her, like Bourdain, really digging, say, Vietnam.


The End-of-Summer Roadtrip Rehab

The End-of-Summer Roadtrip Rehab Photo by Sean Loyless via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Sean Loyless via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Yep, it’s getting to be that time of year again. Wired’s Brad Moon cleans out the family car after a summer of road tripping, and makes a list of banned substances for future treks. Among the contraband? “Those grabby pincer things they sell at all souvenir shops.”


David Sedaris on Australia: ‘It’s Canada in a Thong’

That line is one of the comedic high points in a rather moving story about Australia, kookaburras and family by David Sedaris in the latest New Yorker.


Sorry for the Dirty Looks, Traveling Moms and Dads

Here’s one that will likely ring true for most traveling parents: In the New York Times, Judith Warner’s latest post addresses “the petty humiliations of motherhood.” She writes:

You know what I mean: the nasty little looks, tones of voice, gestures, subtle and not-so-subtle criticism and even insults that so often seem to come the way of mothers. Harsh words delivered in all apparent innocence, innocuous-seeming observations made in a tone that cuts to the bone, odd little interactions, generally, that manage to make a mother feel condemned in the court of world opinion.

I did indeed know what she was talking about—I’ve certainly shot my fair share of icy “You’re a terrible mother” stares at the parents of seat-kicking toddlers on airplanes. Warner’s post was a healthy reminder to rein those urges in.


Flying as an Unaccompanied Minor: ‘It was Great!’

Flying as an Unaccompanied Minor: ‘It was Great!’ Photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr (Creative Commons)

What a relief, after last week’s two incidents of unaccompanied minors being put on the wrong flights (and the resulting catastrophizing about the “risky proposition” of letting kids fly alone at all), to read something positive about the UM program.

Read More »


World Hum Travel Movie Club: ‘Away We Go’

World Hum Travel Movie Club: ‘Away We Go’ Publicity still via IGN

Eva Holland and Eli Ellison debate the summer's hippest road trip flick

Read More »