Travel Book Review: The Family Traveler’s Handbook
Traveling with kids can be daunting if you have never done it before. The planning, the packing, the car ride, the plane ride, the hotel…the list goes on and on. With a little know-how, traveling with your family can be one of the most joyous and memorable experiences ever. These days there is ample information available to help parents plan a family vacation, however I recommend real-world advice from parents who have been there and done that. One parent I trust is Mara Gorman. She is the author of a new guide called The Family Traveler’s Handbook. Mara has been traveling with her two sons since their infancy. She is no stranger to day, weekend and extended trips. She knows the ins and outs of vacation rentals vs. staying in a hotel and even when it is more economical to purchase an “all-inclusive package”.
Mara has also experienced some less than ideal situations on the road. Yes, sometimes it happens. Kids get sick. They need to nap. They don’t eat adult food. The sun doesn’t shine (ever) during the week long beach vacation you planned. She has plenty of solutions for those concerns too. When it comes to an expert, I definitely think she qualifies.
Mara is a fellow Vermonter. I recently sat down with her to ask her about traveling to the Green Mountain State with her children:
You are originally from Vermont. When you come “home” to vacation with your kids what are some of your favorite places to visit?
We have so many that it’s hard to list just a few! My family is from Central Vermont, so that tends to be where we spend a lot of time. In the summer, we really love to head over to Stowe to ride or hike on the rec. path there, eat at The Blue Donkey or Crop, and play mini golf. The zip line at Smuggs is awesome at any time of year, and we also love some of Vermont’s museums including the ECHO Center and the Montshire Museum of Science.
The Mad River Valley is our home base and in the summer my kids can’t get enough of swimming in the river (especially at the Lareaus swimming hole), visiting the Waitsfield Farmer’s Market, or hiking to Sunset Rock in Warren. In the winter we love to ski at Mad River Glen and snowshoe in Camel’s Hump State Forest. And in all seasons we love having dinner at Hostel Tevere or ice cream at the Sweet Spot (my boys swear it’s the best ice cream in the world).
We are heading into ski season in Vermont, what advice would you give to families planning a ski trip for the first time?
If you’ve never been to Vermont to ski, I’d say be prepared for any and all kinds of weather. There’s a saying that if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and I think that’s definitely true of Vermont winters. Make sure you have an appropriate vehicle and tires to get where you need to go and bring plenty of layers that you can add or take off as you need to.
I’d also recommend staying at a resort that caters to families like Okemo, Sugarbush, or Jay Peak. At Smuggler’s Notch, you don’t have to drive once you get there – on-demand shuttles will take you everywhere you need to go in the resort. The ski school is top notch. And there are tons of things to do other than skiing, from tubing to snowshoeing, to playing in their huge indoor FunZone (my kids loved the pingpong and giant inflatable slides).
And don’t forget to bring your camera – Vermont is gorgeous in the winter. You’ll definitely want to take lots of pictures.
Get a Copy of the Book Now
This book is part of a series DIY Travel Guides written by some of the most successful travel bloggers. You can purchase copy of The Family Traveler’s Handbook at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I think it would make an excellent holiday gift for the parents in your life that are looking to get out and explore this season!
What is covered in this book:
- The What and Why of Family Travel
- Before You Go: How to Plan Your Trip
- On the Road: Making the Most of Your Trip
- Special Considerations in Family Travel
Mara Gorman is an award-winning freelance writer and family travel blogger at The Mother of all Trips. The blog’s name was inspired by a 13-month adventure across 6 states, 3 countries, and 2 continents that she took with her husband and toddler. Since that first extended trip, Mara has logged thousands of miles of travel with her children across North America and Europe.
Mara’s lifestyle and travel articles have appeared in a variety of USA Today special-interest publications and on websites like AOL Travel. She is an avid skier, loves museums, and cultural travel, and has never met an ice cream that she didn’t like. She also believes in serving global causes, especially those that help women and children; this belief is exemplified by her role as a board member of the travel blogging fundraiser Passports with Purpose. Mara lives in Delaware with her husband and two school-age sons.