Why you should travel with your children

I have recently learnt that traveling with kids, particularly young kids, is never easy. As parents, we need to re-think how we travel, and a lot of it is letting go of our own expectations of ‘the perfect trip.’ Instead of expecting perfection, we should just be as well prepared as possible and know that any hiccups will only add to the stories you will remember at the end of a trip.

So how does travel help our children?

Travel breaks down barriers and enhances connection. Travel also shows your children that though we all look different, we are the same. It is a great opportunity to teach our children about diversity in the world and interact and even make friends with children that come from different cultures, places and experiences. Travel is also an opportunity to leave behind the technology that feeds out childrens’ hands nowadays and reconnect with life, family and the world. If you keep technology and the news of the day to a minimum and enjoy each other’s company and conversation, you can teach your kids that the best things in life are free.

Travel broadens our perspective and enhances developmental milestones. Whether you travel to the next town or around the world, moving out of a comfort zone or everyday routine will enhance your family’s understanding of our world and the lives of our fellow citizens. Travel helps children experience a wide repertoire of sights, smells, sounds, colors, faces and languages from an early age. Travel opens up endless possibilities in their tiny minds and they become open and used to trying new things.

Travel builds character and helps kids become more adaptable and flexible kids. Traveling with young children exposes them to a new ‘normal.’ It allows them to be more adaptable to changing situations and be more flexible in their habits. They are used to sleeping in their beds, sleeping in prams, sleeping on an airplane seat, sleeping in a crowded shopping mall or outside, under a blanket. It also provides an opportunity to model what matters most – delayed flights, weather changes, poor service or a rocky road help all of us learn to live in the moment, share resources, manage unexpected consequences and see the bright side of the occasional travel mishap.

Travel is inspiring and educational. Travel with young kids means exposing them and making them interested in geography, world maps and airplanes early on. They start to form a better understanding of their environment and the knowledge that it’s a big world out there. They are interested in learning capitals of the different countries they visit, and being able to look for it on a map.

Travel helps ignite children’s imagination. Travel encourages children to engage in creative play – skills that they develop during childhood. Feed your children’s natural curiosity through travel. Do they yearn to learn more about art, history or science? Whether you opt for magnificent museums, nature’s classroom or immersive experiences, expand their knowledge (and your own) by exploring new ideas and destinations together.

Where to stay cool this summer

No doubt that summer heat has sunk in… and for those of us living in spots around the country with hot hot temps (like NYC) so where can we go to cool off this summer both near and far?

NYC
Central Park, N.Y – Who says you can’t keep cool in the city? Park yourself alongside the Bethesda Fountain in Central park or take to the Lake in a rented rowboat from Loeb’s boathouse.
Rockaway Beach – Take the subway, a beach shuttle bus or the ferry to the free, Queens beach that is filled with plenty of affordable food trucks as well as great bars and shops.
Robert H. Treman State Park- Take a dip in the stream-fed pool beneath the 115-foot Lucifer Falls, at Robert H. Treman State Park in the Finger Lakes

Missouri – Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park – Play in the shallows of the East Fork of the Black River or shoot through “Mother Nature’s hydraulics” in the natural swimming holes at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in Middle Brook, Missouri.

Pennsylvania – Ohiopyle State Park – Cool off on the natural waterslides, courtesy of Mother Nature, the Youghiogheny River Gorge and thousands of years of erosion.

CT – Brownstone Park – This adventure center in Portland, Connecticut, provides an adrenaline-pumping plunge into the water from a zip line. Spend the rest of the day rock climbing, cliff jumping, swimming, kayaking and more

Texas – Blue Hole Regional Park – Picture yourself plunging into Blue Hole from a rope swing… This good ol’ fashioned Texas swimming hole became a 126-acre regional park in 2005.

NJ – Delaware River – Flowing for 330 miles from New York through Pennsylvania, families typically float down the Delaware River from Frenchtown, N.J., where they rent tubes, canoes, kayaks or rafts.

California Coast – The entire coastline is booming in the summer months as temps reach a nice high in the day but cool off at night. Consider SD which has a combination of breezy beaches like La Jolla Shores and buzzing nightlife. Or stay in west LA and checkout Malibu’s cliff-side beaches like Point Dune, known for it’s gorgeous tide pools.

Hawaii – From Maui to Kauai to O’ahu, Hawaii boasts plenty of beautiful beaches but there are also hiking trails to explore. Once you reach the end of the trail, take a dip in one of the cool, refreshing swimming holes before heading back down the mountain.

Brokenspoke, NC

Charlotte is a Southern jewel whose one-of-a-kind attractions and unique beauty shine brightly. Home to a friendly, diverse and creative class of people, and constantly developing areas, tastes, sites and sounds, make this thriving city a place to visit. On this trip I visited the “Southend’ area. The Charlotte Rail Trail is popular with runners and cyclists and a walk along it will bring you to an array of entertainment options – a vibrant nightlife, craft breweries and laid-back pubs, plus buzzy restaurants serving elevated American and global cuisines.

Brokenspoke is a warm hearted distillery and brewery, serving up great light bites and beverages to spark the soul in you. Handcrafted spirits and premium beers pair well with their Charcuterie Board – (the wonderful in house) Chef Shiki’s Choice of Hand Sliced Artisanal Meats and Cheeses, Served with our House-pickled Cauliflower, Mild Cherry Peppers, House-made Rúa Whiskey Mustard, One of our House-made Salamander Vodka Jams, House-made Organic Granola, Figs, Dried Cranberries, and Toasted French Baguette Points.

Another favorite? Their Crab Cakes – Three Scratch-made Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes Cooked to a Perfect Golden Brown in Fresh Organic Lemon Juice and our Old Bay Infused Oil Served with our Wonderful House-made Cajun Remoulade. Try any cocktail with their RUA Whiskey or BAN Vodka to finish off you’re evening- and you’re set!

San Diego

The sunny city that I cant quite compare to anywhere else – San Diego really does have it all from sports and shopping to surfing and sensational dining. On my recent trip with family, I made a point of hitting up a few new spots that have been on the ‘must do’ list for a while.

The nightlife hotspot – King and Queens Cantina
If you are looking for a dinner spot with friends or family that packs a punch in music, vibe and cuisine – look no further. King and Queen Cantina brings a Latin flavor to San Diego’s Little Italy with colorful skull décor and a Dia de Los Muertos theme all year long. Seat yourselves at the downstairs bar or follow mood lighting upstairs outdoor bar where you can take to the San Diego skyline as you sip hand-crafted cocktails at this modern Mexican cantina. Creative owner and founder Jorge Cueva brings the ‘Mexican Cantine’ style and hisipanic popular menu from Orange County’s hotspot Tempo Urban Kitchen to create an eclectic menu from sushi to tacos as well as popular Latin dishes combined with inspiration from around the world. My choices include the sHISHITO PEPPERS (Soy glazed, malted salt, lime crema) the NO TORTILLA TACOS (Stuffed tempura jalapeno, spicy tuna, cheese, spicy aioli, pear and cucumber slaw, radish, cilantro, wrapped in jicama tortilla) and the DIABLO ROLL (Avocado, cucumber, crab meat, and shrimp tempura, wrapped in seaweed and rice, topped with spicy tuna and crispy onions.) Pair these with their famous Margarita Flight or a couple Modelas – and your set for a unforgettable night.

The ambient spot – Havana 1920
Havana 1920 brings Hemingway’s Cuba to life with authentic Cuban dishes, drinks and entertainment. Located just south of Market Street in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, you will find an atmospheric hideaway and hotspot serving up a most entertaining evening. Start your night with an aged rum, overlooking the street scenery from the upstairs balcony – and dig into their CEVICHE TROPICAL (shrimp, grilled pineapple, jalapeño, cucumber, tomato, onion, and cilantro.) For mains dig into the classic SANDWICH CUBANO (Cuban Sandwich Slices of slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban Bread) or a BISTEC HAVANA 24 (Angus skirt steak topped with our own chimichurri served with grilled Cuban bread, plantains and a side Caribbean avocado salad.) Once your done, head downstairs for a nightcap and soak up the buzzing scenery.

The brunch spot – The Mission
The Mission is a casual, local eatery with a brunch choice for everyone. Their concept specializes in simple, healthy, tasty food with a whimsical edge and a focus on artful presentation at an affordable price. By focusing on the use of simple and fresh ingredients, this vibrant urban bistro promotes living in an increasingly health-conscious world – which includes everything from classic pancakes and sandwiches to modern Chino-Latino cuisine! A few of my favorites include the SOY CHORIZO BURRITO (Black beans, crispy rosemary potatoes, scrambled eggs, jack cheese, cilantro, scallions, tomatoes and chipotle crema in a large whole wheat tortilla) and the ZEN BREAKFAST (Scrambled egg whites, braised tofu, brown rice, grilled zucchini & squash with tomato & onion garnish) but if you want to indulge there are every kind of pancake imaginable from blueberry to banana. This concept in healthy dining, combined with pleasant surroundings, is The Mission’s specialty and has made The Mission a huge favorite among local San Diegans and travelers from around the world.

The happening hotel – The Kimpton Solamar
This hotel boasts both a great location and great presentation- explore, indulge and recharge right in the center of the Gas Lamp District. This Kimpton offers an all-inclusive vibe with rich décor. Our regal-meets-vibrant, urban refuge provides modern comfort, a rooftop pool oasis, dazzling dining destinations, genuinely engaged service, plus a central location ideal for exploring some of the city’s latest dining trends and sizzling nightlife options. Of course, being a Kimpton, expect all the generous quirks – like happy of complimentary wine for guests at night, cold brew at 6am in the lobby and dog cookies for traveling fidos. By far, one of my favorite spots to stay in SD.

The activity- The San Diego Zoo
This is a great activity for all ages, aside of beaching it and shopping. Set in Balboa Park, The San Diego Zoo houses was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats. Walk around the park, jump on the Skyfari aerial tram or hop on a guided bus tour of the entire zoo – and experience live talks, feedings, and demonstrations. Meet over 4,000 rare and endangered animals, and over 650 unique species from all over the world in this 100-acre site.. You’ll get up close to koalas as well as gorillas, elephants, crocodiles and more in exhibits from the African Rocks to the Australian Outback!