I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with travel writer Eric Stoen of the award-winning travel blog, TravelBabbo, to discuss kids, travel, and why you should take your little ones everywhere. Eric has traveled all over the world with his kids and shares his expert family travel advice here. He also discusses why kid-friendly destinations can be found anywhere.
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself, your family, and your award-winning blog.
A: Hi Patty! I’m Eric. I live in California with my wife, three kids (8, 11 and 12), and a lot of pets! I started my website Travel Babbo four years ago to inspire others to travel with their kids. It’s a pure travel blog – everything is based on our personal travel experiences, and I only recommend hotels/destinations/activities that we’ve tried and loved. I’m @travelbabbo on all social platforms.
Q: You’ve been to 90+ countries and don’t shy away from traveling with your kids. How has travel changed for you throughout the course of your life? What’s it like traveling with three kids?
A: I’ve gone through what’s probably a natural progression – traveling with my parents growing up, then studying in Europe and backpacking around the continent, then meeting up with friends various places, then traveling with my wife, and finally with my kids. No offense to any of my friends, but I love my family travels better than anything else! It’s so much fun thinking through ways to make my favorite destinations all about my kids so that they create their own memories, and tailoring our travels to my kids’ interests.
Traveling with three kids isn’t easy. Right now they’re fighting a lot. But it’s an amazing world, and we still want to explore it with the kids, and they get a lot out of our trips, so it’s still worth it. Just not always fun!
Q: Tell me about your trip with Our Whole Village. What surprised you most? Which activities are you and your daughter still talking about? Why?
A: I traveled to Brazil and the Amazon rainforest with my 8-year-old daughter. It was an absolutely amazing trip, full of adventure. I loved both being on the boat and the excursions off the boat. Everything was extraordinarily well planned for kids. My daughter still talks about the other kids on the boat, having a stick bug crawling on her face (on purpose), and fishing for piranhas. When I think back I remember the unplugging (no internet for five days was enjoyable!) and the stunning nature.
Q: Would you recommend this type of trip to other families?
A: This remains my favorite trip I’ve ever taken. It was a unique adventure in a stunning part of the world where we barely saw anyone else for a week. I’d recommend this to anyone with kids 7 and over since smaller legs will have a harder time on the hikes. I’d go back and do it again in a heartbeat!
Q: What advice do you have for other parents who may be interested in travel adventures with little ones but don’t know where to start?
A: There are kids everywhere in the world, so every destination can be kid-friendly. I’d start with your travel wish list – where do the parents want to go? Then list out the things that your kids love. Beaches? Drawing? New foods? Big cities? And try to combine those lists, realizing that kids will take something new from every trip. Travel is such a great way of discovering passions! And I highly recommend planning most things in advance your first couple trips to minimize the chances of something going wrong. Have your hotels and airport transportation booked. Choose direct flights over connecting flights. Make the travel portion a non-event so that you can simply enjoy your destination.
Q: How have you seen your little ones grow and develop while traveling? Do you think they’re becoming good global citizens?
A: My kids are who they are because of travel. Every trip, every activity, and every cultural interaction has impacted them. They’ve become foodies, and are all excellent, adventurous cooks, incorporating tastes they’ve discovered around the world. My kids can sketch well because of art classes they’ve taken. They know geography. They know history. If they hear about an incident somewhere, they likely can associate it to a personal experience, or someone they’ve met. They’re amazing global citizens. They see how the world could be better. And hopefully, in their lives, they’re able to move it in that direction.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to touch on?
A: Take your kids everywhere! It’s an amazing world, and there are all sorts of benefits to traveling that you’ll see after the fact that you could never have predicted. For any given trip, if we try to guess what the highlight will be, we’re wrong. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. For what the average family spends for a week at Disneyland, they could be showing their kids the world.