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Martha Gellhorn, a war correspondent and Ernest Hemingway’s third wife, was also a travel writer who once noted that “my definition of what makes a journey wholly or partially horrible is boredom.”
Among the travelers who’d strongly agree with Gellhorn’s words are multitudes of children who grimly realize that their family vacations are riddled with “in-between moments.” Sitting in the backseat of a car during heavy beach traffic. Being dragged on what feel like pointless walks through a destination’s neighborhoods. Killing time in a hotel room before bed. Moments that won’t be remembered fondly, or at all, because they were boring. Transforming these potentially dull moments into fun ones is an ongoing challenge for family travelers. Here are a few ideas on how to stop vacation boredom before it starts. Read more
Up until recently, had you told me that longtime Italy pasta maker Giovanni Rana was serving up fresh artisanal-filled pasta in New York City (which they’ve been doing quietly in Chelsea Market since last November) my reaction would have been “so what?” as I had pretty much had my fill of artisanal-filled everything. That is, until this past Sunday, when the artisans filling some of that pasta at Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina were me and my three children. Read more
After crafting my list of 10 travel accessories too tiny not to pack it naturally became harder to come up with additional things worth listing. But once I looked through the lens of traveling with a family, specifically my own, I realized there were four obvious things that families should never leave home without before hitting the road.
Cash gift cards
Not a day goes by when one of my kids isn’t pressuring me to buy them something, Read more
Being a kid can be rough, but being the adults traveling with tykes can be difficult as well. Coordinating activities for youngsters of varying ages is a challenge (little Tommy wants to visit the petting zoo, while teen Tammy would rather go shopping), as is attempting to stay on a budget. For parents planning a trip for the whole clan, we have good news (and bad news).
After recently sharing my thoughts about the ten types of travelers who annoy my family, several ShermansTravel readers, travel colleagues, and friends responded in kind about the travelers who annoyed them. And in the spirit of continued sharing, I’ve excerpted my five favorite examples here. Read more
Offering healthier items on children’s menus will be a priority this year for restaurants nationwide, according to the National Restaurant Association, which begs the question, why now? Why are restaurants suddenly waking up to the nutritional needs of kids?
Travelers with kids have a fundamental thing in common with travelers who don’t have kids, which is that both groups do things on the road that annoy me and my family. I can’t speak for other vacationing parents, but I’m certain they’re familiar with some of the people described here.
1. The person who reclines his or her seat into my kid
I don’t have an issue with people who recline their airplane seat, but before violently rocking it back, check if there’s a child behind you. If there is, recline gradually. If you’re the child’s parent, be proactive and ask that passenger in front of your child to let you know if and when they intend to recline their seat.
Last week my family and I spent more than 15 hours on a round-trip Amtrak journey, our first major train ride together. Thanks to some simple planning, an above-average performance by Amtrak, and a little bit of luck, we had a pleasurable experience – one you and your brood can replicate if you keep the following tips in mind.
Pack light…and narrow
Amtrak permits two carry-on bags per passenger, and our party of five managed to limit our packing to eight pieces – three wheelie bags for our clothes and a backpack for each of us. We pack similarly for air and car travel, but in this case we used extra-narrow wheelie bags – enabling us to more easily navigate the train aisles and shove the bags into the overhead racks. The backpacks also left the grown-ups and my daughters free hands to grab hold of my son at crowded moments. Read more
If you don’t know what Bulgaria, London, Milwaukee, Montana, and New Zealand have in common, it’s my pleasure to remind you that they’re all places some of my well-traveled colleagues identified as worthy family vacation destinations for 2012.
Given that a new year is upon us and my friends are still well traveled, I called on them again to identify destinations that family travelers might want to add to their short lists in 2013.
Kangaroo Island: Yes, Things Are Hopping There
If Hobbit tourism catches on the way John E. DiScala (aka the very frequent flier better known as Johnny Jet) predicted last year, the New Zealand town of Matamata will still be a destination to watch for 2013. If Tolkien travel is not your family’s thing, but you’re still intrigued by the Southern Hemisphere, DiScala has another nomination for you: Kangaroo Island. “It’s in south Australia, just a 15 minute flight from Adelaide,” he points out, “and it’s known as Australia’s ‘zoo without fences.’” As you might expect, you’ll get an eyeful of kangaroos and wallabies there, as well as koalas, seals, and the whimsical-looking echidnas (spiny anteaters). DiScala also says the island’s Southern Ocean Lodge is one of the world’s best places to stay.
Perhaps the best news is that Kangaroo Island is not yet on the radar of U.S. family travelers. “I was there in October, so no U.S. families were traveling,” DiScala says, “but they will be there, as it’s just now getting known. It’s the new Tasmania.” Read more
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