Christine documents her family travels at My Traveling Kids. She’s a pro at planning trips that the whole family (not just the kids!) can enjoy, and showcases some pretty amazing destinations on her blog.
Where are you from, and where do you currently live?
I was born and raised in New York, but I’ve been living in New Hampshire for about 20 years. I love New England!
As someone who was enamored with travel from a young age, I think your daughters are so lucky! Do your girls get as excited for each new trip as you do?
My girls love to travel and get so excited about all of our trips. I love when they talk about trips we took years ago that they found memorable. I think it’s made them more confident, adventurous, and curious. I think there’s nothing better than seeing the world through the eyes of your kids. Although they always joke that they’re deprived because they’ve never been to Disney…lol.
What kind of travel preferences are they developing?
My youngest daughter has realized she isn’t a huge fan of big cities. She prefers the countryside and small towns. My older daughter loves art and finds the beauty in architecture and local music. They both have discovered they like to try new foods. They’ve had pig’s ear, octopus, puffin, alligator, and raw oysters. They drew the line at blood sausage…lol.
Any tips for planning and executing a family trip so that both kids and adults have a great time?
I think the key is getting everyone involved with the planning. Have your kids look through travel books, Instagram, and Pinterest to see what things there are to do there. Then let everyone give input on what they want to do.
Compromise is important too. Maybe after going to visit an art museum you head to the zoo. When choosing restaurants, make sure there are meals on the menus your kids will eat and that it’s not too stuffy of a place. When my girls were young, I would wrap small gifts (coloring books, small crafts, and activity packs) and give it to them if they started getting antsy at dinners. That way, they could play and my husband and I could sit and enjoy our wine.
Finally, don’t underestimate your kids when exposing them to culture. Find ways to expose them to history while making it fun. For example, when we were in Portugal I wanted to go to a castle. I knew my daughters might find that boring, so I came up with the idea that they could pretend they were princesses that lived there and they were giving us a tour. They had so much fun they asked if we could go to more castles. Just remember it’s all about being together making memories.
Have you been exploring more locally since COVID? Can you recommend some favorite spots near where you live?
We are lucky to live 45 minutes from Boston and an hour from the coast of Maine. We’ve been spending lots of time outdoors. Portland, Maine is a fun city. I’ve also spent lots of time in Kennebunkport, Maine. My husband and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary there! Our favorite place is Ossipee Lake, where we have a home. We spent 6 months there during the pandemic while the girls were doing remote learning. It’s in the White Mountains, where there’s tons to do…hiking, swimming, kayaking, biking, so much more.
Have you always been passionate about travel, or was there a particular trip that gave you the travel bug?
My family is Portuguese, so growing up, I spent some summers with family in Portugal. I loved exploring new places and trying new activities so that’s what started the travel bug. I have always been interested in other cultures. I went to Portuguese school for years and then took Italian for 6 years through middle school/high school. But it wasn’t until I got married that I started going to new places and we’ve gone somewhere new every year since.
What do you enjoy most about traveling?
I love the unknown. I love finding hidden places for us to go that is not your usual tourist trap. I love to immerse myself in the food, the art, the music, the people…now I’m getting depressed…I miss travel!!!
What was your most memorable trip?
Iceland was one of our favorite family trips. We had so many cool adventures…touching icebergs that washed up on the beach, hiking to find hidden hot springs, riding Icelandic horses, walking behind waterfalls, and driving the Golden Circle.
Our most romantic vacation was to Italy before we had kids. We did Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Siena, San Gimignano, and Venice. Aaahhhh…drinking chianti in the Tuscan countryside…Heaven!
What did you do before starting your blog/ what’s your day job?
I was an 8th grade language arts teacher before I had my kiddos.
What spurred you to start a travel blog?
I always had friends asking me to help plan their trips and asking for recommendations and they started telling me I really should do something involving travel. I decided to take a leap about 5 years ago and I’m so glad I did.
How has COVID-19 changed your blog and business?
It has changed it so much, but I’m making the best of it and trying to focus on new things. I’ve been doing lots of product reviews and that has helped keep me sane during this pandemic. I’ve been focusing on the importance of wellness and have done articles about staycations, travel bucket lists, and how to do certain things during COVID-19 (like hiking, going to the beach, and going to drive-ins).
What trip are you dreaming of taking when travel is back to normal?
Where do I start?? I want to go everywhere!! Croatia is the #1 place I want to go. I’d love to take my kids to Italy because I think they’d love Venice. I want to see the Northern Lights. I want to listen to bagpipes in Scotland. I really just want to spend the afternoon in a piazza in Europe drinking a glass of red wine while people watching…and not needing a mask!
Do you have a preference for big cities, tropical beaches, or outdoorsy destinations?
I love Europe, especially small towns. I like the towns where everyone knows one another, there’s old churches, cobblestone streets, and laundry drying from clotheslines. Does it get any better than that?
Has your blog opened up opportunities in other spheres?
I wrote for Huffington Post (travel section) for a while and have contributed articles to Thrive Global. I’ve had so many amazing experiences being hosted by hotels and attractions. We’ve done so many things we may not have ever done like feeding grapes out of our hands to black bears, swimming with dolphins and sea lions, flying hawks in a forest of an Irish castle, glamping, and dog sledding.
Any advice for aspiring travel bloggers?
If you are only doing this for money, it will be a long and frustrating process. Appreciate all the fun adventures you’ll have and all the amazing places you’ll go. Take risks and get to know the locals. Finally, connect with other bloggers…comment on Instagram, ask questions when you need advice, and be supportive. Also, last year I started going to travel writer conferences and it has helped me make some great friendships with other bloggers.
For many travel bloggers, Instagram has really overtaken the traditional blog as their main platform. Do you feel that one is more successful than the other for you?
I love Instagram and try to post often. It’s a great way to get people to head over to your blog. I’ve been doing lots of Instagram Stories because it lets people see another side of you that doesn’t have to do with travel. I show our everyday life because it helps people relate to you more.
What do you think of the debate in travel blogging centered around so many creators making beautiful, but (maybe) overly idealized travel content?
I think if you’re honest about locations, people will respect you for that. For example, you can take some amazing pictures at the Blue Lagoon, but you may want to include some pictures of the crowds. You also have to keep an open mind when you look through social media that things may not always be as ideal as they appear. Sometimes it’s a nice escape to look through people’s accounts and just appreciate the beauty instead of judging them.
What are your travel plans and goals for the next couple of years?
I’m hoping this spring I will be able to travel to NYC, Vermont, and Maine to complete the trips I had to cancel at the start of the pandemic. I’m also hoping to hop on a plane to see my dad who lives in Florida…I miss him so much. Then, it’s back to checking off some destinations off our travel bucket list. My girls will be off to college in 4 and 6 years and there are lots of places I want to fit in before they go!
Write your own question! Anything you wish I’d asked or you’ve been thinking about lately?
As soon as this pandemic is over, start traveling…anywhere. You can go one town over or across the globe. I think it was something a lot of people took for granted until it was gone. It’s the best way to make memories with you’ll see yourself in whole new light. So, pack your bags!!!