I read a galley copy of The Family Traveler’s Handbook while on a plane from Denver to Washington, D.C. this fall. The author, my pal Mara Gorman, asked me to give it an early read to consider writing a blurb for the back cover. If my row-mates had glanced over at me while I was devouring the book, they may have seen me tear up a couple times. That’s because Mara’s poignant reflections about family travel — as well as those she gathered from other seasoned family travelers — got me thinking about the vacations I’ve taken with my own children over the years. They were happy emotional tears, for sure, as I conjured up silly travel memories — and I got excited about planning even more trips with my kids.
Because, trust me, once you read Mara’s book — chock full of inspirational, firsthand advice — you’ll want to book another vacation (or your first vacation) with your children, ASAP!
I’ve known Mara since she started blogging at The Mother of All Trips five years ago. But she actually became a “family traveler” when her son, Tommy, now 11, was just a year old. She and her husband packed up their possessions for 13 months on the road, which brought them to both U.S. coasts, as well as Europe — all with a toddler in tow.
Since then she’s taken both her sons (Tommy’s brother Teddy is 8) to countless museums, beaches, national parks and historic landmarks — because she knows how beneficial travel is for children. In her book she explains how travel not only exposes kids to different cultures, but it offers a meaningful way to families to spend time together (in our busy-busy, rush-rush world) and it can help you become a better parent. Really!
By no means does Mara sugarcoat family travel in The Family Traveler’s Handbook. She makes clear that vacationing with kids – whether they’re toddlers or teens – isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. But she also explains why introducing your children to exciting, enriching, educational experiences on the road is worth every delayed flight, traffic jam or disappointing hotel room.
Practical chapters include choosing the right destination for your family, flying and driving with kids, making the most of museums, safety issues, and multi-generational travel considerations. And peppered throughout, my favorite parts: the candid, firsthand tales of traveling with kids (not only the highest of highs, but the trials and tribulations, too).
With incredibly helpful tips, lists of website resources, and thoughtful reflections, Mara packs tons of advice into this handy primer for traveling with children. I heartily recommend The Family Traveler’s Handbook for any new parents who’d like to maintain – or start – a wanderlust lifestyle.
Purchase The Family Traveler’s Handbook for about $15 (paperback) on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Now through November 20, you can enter to win one of five signed copies of the books from Mara’s family travel blog.