City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Successful Summer Travel with Kids

Travel Reporter Nadine Bubeck shares her 7 secrets to traveling with children

As a travel reporter, I’m often asked how I handle vacationing with my children. Some call me crazy considering I’ve been doing massive trips with my kids ever since they were babies, and sometimes, rolling solo without my husband.

I remember the first time I really hit the road with my three sons, all five and under, endeavoring a road-trip up the coast of California.  It was an aggressive one, starting in SoCal, working my way through Central Cali, driving Highway One through Big Sur, pit-stopping in Santa Cruz and then experiencing San Francisco. My husband stayed home to work while I, feeling fiercely brave, formed and executed a strict itinerary. We stayed at luxe hotels and RV resorts, did numerous activities, and lugged our bags from one place to the next. It was incredible. It was special. And we’ve been on the road and jet-setting ever since.

Are these trips hard? Kind of. Do I get tired? Totally. But is it rewarding and memorable? Absolutely. The best gift we can give our children and ourselves is experience.

I’ve picked up some travel tricks that might help your next family adventure. Here are my seven sacred secrets for successful summer travels.

1. Don’t surrender going luxe.

Sure, it’s fun to rough it, but truth be told you deserve a nice summer vacation. One option: opt for an all-inclusive property where you don’t have to nickel and dime. The kids will get a kick out of ordering food galore, and you won’t be slammed with the bill at checkout. Plus, such properties have kid’s clubs where you can ditch the littles for some adult QT. In addition, all-inclusive resorts offer spacious accommodations for families.

Some of my favorites include and Grand Velas.

2. Book a professional photographer.

While I’m sure you’ll be snapping IG pics non-stop, vacation is a perfect opportunity to snag a holiday card picture. Vacations allow for dreamy backdrops: the beach, mountains, lake, and skylines. How to find a fab photographer? Simple. Do your due diligence via Instagram. Reputable photographers have a great feed and often respond to direct messages. Plus, you can get a sense of their photography style.

3. Plan a flexible itinerary.

I’m a firm believer in an itinerary; in fact, I put a ton of TLC into building travel plans. My biggest rule of thumb: ONE big activity per day; back-to-back activities will burn everyone out. Research the best family-friendly things to do at your destination and strategically plot accordingly. Allow for flexibility and exploration- sometimes the best days are spent skipping rocks. Talk to locals at the downtown coffee shop and ask their preferred hot spots. And as for dining, make reservations ahead of time; you can always cancel. Finally, if you have more than one child, do something with each of them individually – they’ll appreciate the one-on-one, and so will you. It can be as simple as getting ice cream or taking a walk on the beach.

4. Research the property and destination.

Make sure you know what you’re getting prior to booking. Research resorts that cater to kids… many have babysitting services available so you can ditch ‘em for a few hours (did someone say spa?). Is there a pool? On-site laundry? Have all your questions answered ahead of time. And as for the destination itself, know before you go. What is the area known for- boating, fishing, excursions, etc? I highly recommend visiting national parks with kids; some of my favorites include Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier National Park. Also, many ski mountains turn into a summer wonderland offering mountainous roller coasters, gondola rides and more. For example, I love the Whitefish Mountain Resort packed with rides, zipline, and scenic lifts.

5. Get the kids involved.

Before you depart, read up on the destination so the kids understand where they’re going. Order old-fashion paper maps and let them highlight your road-trip route. There are many travel journals geared to kids- it’s a pure way to document your trip. And get them a camera (no, not an iPhone). Teach them to point and shoot, and then get their photos developed upon your return.

6. Beat the boring car blues.

I get DVDs from the library and play movies the whole carful can listen to. It’s a great time to knock off those favorite films you grew up with. I also recommend apps like GyPSy Guide. The narrated driving tour app uses your location to automatically play entertaining and educational commentary about your location (and they have many locations available). Spotify also has kid-friendly podcasts and books on tape.

7. When all else fails, find a playground.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a new place, Googled a playground, and became mom of the year by finding a hot spot for my kids. Plus, I can plant myself on a bench and watch them discover new swings and slides.

Final thoughts:

Embrace your inner child and show your babies you can disconnect. Surrender your regular routine; instill in your family flexibility and a love for travel. Remember, a family vacay isn’t a honeymoon, so reframe your perspective. Such a trip serves a beautiful purpose: enjoying uninterrupted family time for fun and bonding.

  • Nadine Bubeck
  • The Westin Reserva Conchal
  • The Westin Reserva Conchal
  • The Westin Reserva Conchal