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By National Geographic | Discover the world with your kids
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. But as winter continues its march (at least where I live in New York City), I’ve been dreaming up a few travel goals for 2014. Some are places, some are new services, all are experiences that will make this year of travel the best one yet.
Homes Away From …Travel (Canada)
Before my kids came along, my husband Ish and I thought we were adventurous people. We weren’t about to do anything crazy like scale cliffs, bike-ride into oncoming road traffic, or bungee jump, but we were usually willing to try new things and experience life as it came at us.
Having children …Kids
Last summer I brought a wisp of my childhood to our dinner table, a game called Geography that my family played when I was growing up.
Each person would name a place starting with the last letter of the preceding destination: me, SwedeN; my mother, NormandY; my sister, YellowstonE; and so on. …New York State
Could your next layover be the highlight of your trip? At more and more airports, a long layover can open a window into local culture–whether you choose to venture into the city or simply roam the terminals. When time is of the essence, we suggest a surgical-strike approach. While some airports …Middle East Travel
Catch the scenic ferry ride from Pier 33 to Alcatraz Island, or “the Rock.” The fearsome federal penitentiary on the island housed America’s most notorious criminals from 1934 to 1963, including Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly.
The two-and-a-half-hour tour includes the five-by-nine-foot cells in …San Francisco Bay Area
There are few places that evoke romance more than Napa Valley. Spectacular scenery, romantic inns, excellent dining, and, of course, plenty of wine combine to create something nearing the ultimate couples retreat.
But, as I recently discovered, this viticultural wonderland doubles as an ideal escape …Foodies
An alternative approach to raising kids
THE MODERN FAMILY
Pick up any parenting book and you’re unlikely to find a chapter titled “How to Spend a Year in a Truck With Your Kids in Africa.” But that’s just what the Carroll family did with their boys, eight-year-old Xaver and five-year-old Felix. …Family
Reader Question (this time, from Traveler Associate Editor Amy Alipio): How do you best photograph kids on location? I find it impossible to get all my children in the shot, in focus, and not making goofy faces.
My Answer: Getting really great photos of your kids — especially when traveling — can be …Kids
With its towering yet climbable temples, beguiling and accessible caves, and inclusive indigenous festivals, the Maya world is an inviting region where families can play and learn. Following are some of the most enticing experiences.—By Michael Shapiro
Visit the Maya metropolis of Tikal.
The single …Central America Travel
When planning this year’s trip to Spain, I faced a dilemma. Flights were not only expensive, but the connections between the U.S. and Ibiza were so bad that our choices included either very long layovers or switching airlines to make it to the islands within a 24-hour period.
Switching airlines …Europe Travel
The American family vacation needs an overhaul.
Once the best opportunity for enrichment and education as well as much needed R&R, today it’s often a dysfunctional, unhealthy, sense-dulling waste of time and money, typically enabled and abetted by an unimaginative travel industry.
Don’t believe me? …Travel (Canada)
The capital of the United Kingdom and its most populous city, London is a cultural, political, and financial hub. The city is preparing to host the Summer Olympics in 2012. An extensive public transportation system makes it easy to get around. Visit the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Also be …England
From the May 2012 issue of National Geographic Traveler
Imperial splendor, religion, and Renaissance art give Rome deep and enduring meaning to adults. The very same things can speak to children (bambini in Italian) who find hidden treasures throughout the city.
Going Down in Time
Escape underground …Rome
“The best part of being in Athens is the ability to explore across centuries,” says Eleni Vainas, a Greek-American poet, animator, and longtime resident of the capital of Greece. “Walking around Athens is a living history lesson. Modern is juxtaposed with ancient, and art is featured throughout the …Living History
You’ve never heard of my favorite place in Spain. It’s not stylish Barcelona, foodie San Sebastian, or picturesque Mallorca. But La Coruña is just as unique.
I’ve been returning to the small capital city of Galicia — the northwestern corner of Spain that sits atop Portugal like a cap — for 12 years …Spain
South Africa has received its fair share of ink in recent years due to Nelson Mandela’s health, the Oscar Pistorius murder case, and the 2010 World Cup. It’s also grabbed the attention of more and more travelers, making what’s happening there that much more newsworthy.
As a result of the increase in …South Africa
Will she eat the kiwi and banana I left behind for snacks? Will he remember to pack the sun hat I put under the changing table? And the pink sippy cup, not the blue one? Should I even be going in the first place? My head was filled with anxious “mom” questions. This was my first time traveling away …Babies
If you’re thinking about going to Africa for your next big family vacation, chances are you’re dreaming about seeing lions, elephants, and giraffes. Rightfully so. Going on a safari is undoubtedly one of the continent’s greatest draws, and countries like Kenya and Tanzania offer world-class tour …Africa
The biggest lesson that traveling has taught me is that the best trips are either the ones you make yourself at home — or ones that make you extremely uncomfortable because they involve taking big risks. My parents took some big risks taking me to Cuba and the Amazon when I was really young. I’ve …Asia Travel
This year, my wife and I will be marking our 20th wedding anniversary – a fact to which our kids excitingly wanted to know, “where are we going to celebrate?”
Becoming an expert on family travel has pretty much mandated that we vacation with the children at every opportunity. Not that I’m …Botswana
Say what you will about Europe in the summer. Sure, there are longer lines, sweatier tourists, and pricier flights, but there’s also gelato on sunny piazzas, warm evening walks through historic sites, and, most important, no school.
My husband is from Spain, so summer break quickly became our time …Europe
Of all the countries we’ve visited as a family, the hardest, by far, was China.
A series of missteps on my part meant that, after a 13-hour flight, we found ourselves in a very non-touristy part of Beijing, at a “hotel” that was more like a businessman’s rental apartment. Within a few hours, we were …Asia
Having recently played “tourist” in my own hometown (see previous post), I felt inspired to explore more of New York from an out-of-towner’s perspective. I’ve already done the Circle Line cruise, all the major museums, a city bus tour, and even a bike trip through Harlem, so I was looking for a new …New York
Here they are — ten kid-friendly things you can do in and around Independence Hall:
1. Ponder whether the sun carved into the back of General George Washington’s chair inside Independence Hall is rising or setting (Benjamin Franklin wondered as much during the Constitutional Convention in …Philadelphia
Having a birthday in late February has its advantages. If President’s Day falls late enough on the calendar, our kids’ winter recess from school just might overlap nicely with my “big day” — which means there’d be a chance I’d get the gift of travel as a present.
This year, however, there’d be no …Kids
I can remember New Year’s Eve, 1977 like it was yesterday. My family and I were aboard the Stella Solaris on a two-week Caribbean cruise and I was having the time of my life. Fast forward 36 years, and I found myself back on a ship celebrating the holidays with my parents. Only this time, I have my …Caribbean Travel
African safaris are the things of bucket-list dreams. Who in their right mind would pass up the opportunity to watch animals in their natural habitat, roaming free as they were meant to? Who wouldn’t get excited about this chance of a lifetime?
Of course, they liked the idea of a safari. I’d …Kids
My daughter Mackenzie just turned 7. At her birthday party at the Playseum, she stood in front of a child’s version of a world map—no country names, just illustrations of objects like whales and palm trees and pandas. I watched, astonished, as she pointed out dozens of places—Paris, Antarctica, …Passports
It sounds like such a romantic notion: Leaving everything behind but the family you’ve created together and heading out to see the world.
And in many ways, the trip I took with my husband, Ish, and our two sons, Ethan (then 8) and Cameron (then 6), was exactly that.
And in so many ways it wasn’t.