Blogger Jamie Pearson and her family make a furry friend in Chiang Mai.
Travel ain’t what it used to be – gone are the days when families with young children were banished to theme park destinations and buffet restaurants. Today, a whole new range of kid-friendly travel options are available and knowledgeable trendsetters like Jamie Pearson, who runs the popular blog Travel Savvy Mom, are there to help guide fellow parents along the path less travelled with tots in tow. Inspired to create her blog thanks to a daunting travel moment when her young daughter vomited in a hotel dining room, the mom of two is dedicated to assisting others cope with the bumps that can oftentimes arise when on the road with young children. Pearson recently took the time to share with us her recommendations for kid-friendly accommodation, her fellow blogger inspirations and her tips for the best family vacations.
What would be your single biggest piece of advice to young families thinking about embarking upon extended travel?
Choose places that are pedestrian-friendly with lots of outdoor spaces
Build your trip around medium-sized destinations. Big cities like Paris, Hong Kong, New York, and Rome are undeniably exciting, but they can be draining too because everything is a struggle, from crossing the street to finding a table in a restaurant. Most of my family’s best travel memories were made in medium-sized cities like Chiang Mai, Bath, and Sarlat. Choose places that are pedestrian-friendly with lots of outdoor spaces, and your kids will naturally take to them like ducks to water.
What do you think is the biggest misconception out there about travelling with kids?
That it’s not worthwhile because they won’t remember it. Even though my kids don’t remember every detail of traveling through Andalusia, the fact that they’ve spent two weeks traveling around the south of Spain (and eating octopus!) is part of their self-image. I think it’s self-fulfilling too — because they believe they are adventurers, they are.
Jamie Pearson gets up close and personal with the wildlife while in Thailand.
You seem to have a very interactive and supportive community for your blog. What’s been the most touching comment you’ve received?
I regularly get comments that say, “Thank you so much for this post, it is EXACTLY what I was looking for.” I cherish these comments because so often blogging can feel like standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon shouting advice into the abyss.
Which hotels would you recommend as providing the best family-friendly experiences?
At the high end, the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons. For boutique properties, I usually love Kimpton hotels for their irreverence and laid-back luxury. For budget travellers, Homewood Suites often checks all my boxes. It depends a lot on the destination, of course.
How would you say family travel has evolved over the past few years?
No destinations are off limits any more
No destinations are off limits any more, which is great! If you want to take your kids to an ice hotel in Quebec instead of Disney World, nobody bats an eye. Families are so much more well-travelled than they were even a few years ago. It’s fun to see the world open up to kids and kids open up to the world.
How do your kids feel about getting to help Mom out with her work?
Pearson with her kids in London.
Well, of course they roll their eyes when I ask them to pose for pictures, but I’ve occasionally overheard them prefacing a comment to their friends with the phrase, “Since my mom’s a travel writer…” so I know how they really feel.
Which fellow family travel bloggers do you most admire?
When I’m planning a trip of my own, I always check in with The Vacation Gals, Ciao Bambino, WanderMom, Mother of All Trips, Delicious Baby, We Just Got Back, and Wendy Perrin of Conde Nast Traveler. Those are my go-to moms when I need advice.
For more advice and helpful tips, follow Jamie on Twitter @TravelSavvyMom