Archive for March, 2013

March 20, 2013

3 Ways My Family Has Bonded by Traveling Together

Family trekking

It is incredible what a simple change of location can do.  In each new place you travel with your family, you get the opportunity to see the same people, but with a totally fresh perspective.  While traveling can be intimidating at times, it can also offer once in a life time experiences you will never forget and forge strong bonds between the people you go with.

1.) Getting lost and finding a new destination:

In the days before GPS units and smart phones, road trips meant leafing through road maps and atlases — and if you made a wrong turn, a lot of potential confusion.  When my family went on a long trip up to Maine, we became extremely lost in a seemingly totally unpopulated area late in the evening.  As the night wore on, we finally realized where we were — several hours in the wrong direction from where we had started.

This tends to be the kind of mistake that can put a damper on a road-trip; fortunately, we had a flexible schedule and chose to make the most of it.  We decided it would be better to change our plans on the fly and keep on driving through the night to Acadia National Park, which is the first place the sunrise is visible from in the country during parts of the year.  Because of a wrong turn somewhere we never quite figured out, I got to stand on the top of Cadillac Mountain with my family at dawn.  After a dreary night of driving, and more than a little bickering about whether or not to get a hotel, everything worked out.  Bundled up in kids robes to protect us against the morning nip, my family was the first in the United States to see the sunrise; and that is truly a family experience we will never forget.

2.) Exploring our family history:

Visiting your grandparents’ house is one thing.  Visiting your great-great-great-grandparents’ house is a whole different ball game.  After spending part of a summer with my parents and siblings, tracing our history and heritage, I had visited 3 different states and as many countries.  There are few things that will bond a family like seeing where your ancestors lived centuries ago and making the same journeys they made while migrating.  Although on our trip we traveled by car and plane, rather than by foot and boat like my ancestors, retracing these steps and snapshots of our own lineage was a powerful experience.  The climax of my trip was when my whole family made it to the little stone house my ancestors abandoned when they left for America during the Spanish Civil War.  Looking back so far through our family’s generations, we had the unique opportunity to view our shared history that had tied us together through countless years.

3.) Togetherness:

With each sibling in my family of six living several states away from the next, opportunities to all come together have become few and far between.  When the whole family does get together, the logistics of getting everyone to our parents’ home — and where we will sleep once we are there— seem to get more and more confusing each time.  As a result, my family has turned to travel for family reunions. From spending a week of June in Jackson Hole to camping in the Vermont mountains, every time my family goes on a vacation, we try to go somewhere totally new, where none of us have ever been before.  Through these experiences we have all seen each other at our best and worst.  To this date, I don’t think we have had a family vacation that doesn’t leave each of us with a powerful memory about everyone else on the trip.

Traveling with your family takes you to new parts of the world, and as a result, offers new opportunities and adventures.  If you want to find ways to bond with your family, the excitement, learning and discovery that come from traveling with your family can be the perfect solution.


About our guest blogger, Ryan:

Ryan has just started blogging and enjoys writing about family travel, the wilderness, punk music, and mountain biking.  When not helping families find new ways to travel and places to see, he can be found camping or riding his bike.



March 12, 2013

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Alaska (and a Cool Slideshow!)

Click to see our Alaska slideshow

I feel like I’m doing the great state of Alaska a disservice by limiting this list to five reasons, but “7,000,000 Reasons to Visit Alaska” would have been a bit excessive.

Alaska is by far the largest American state, and there is a LOT more to this place than snow and whale blubber.

1.) Great Outdoors/Final Frontier. If you’re a nature lover, Alaska is where you want to be. It’s an unspoiled wilderness boasting secluded bays and coves; lush temperate rain forest; mountains; caves and rocky islands; glowing blue glaciers; quaint fishing towns… not to mention abundant wildlife, like eagles, brown and black bears, humpback and orca whales, sea lions, seals, moose, caribou, deer, elk, otters, etc.

2.) An Active Family’s Dream-Come-True. For the outdoorsy, adventurous family looking for some fun bonding time, it doesn’t get any better than Alaska. You’ll cruise in style around floating chunks of ice in the Inside Passage, stopping throughout to explore via kayak or skiff, swim and snorkel, hike forest trails and enormous glaciers, fly over an icefield by helicopter and even ride a real dogsled.

3.) Rich History and Native Culture. Alaska is brimming with fascinating history and unique culture. The place hearkens back to an exciting time in American history, when ambitious people ventured west to the great frontier in search of gold and great fortunes. And your family will get a taste of some of Alaska’s indigenous culture, visiting the authentic native Tlingit village of Klawock and learning about the traditional art of carving colorful totem poles.

4.) Pleasant, Refreshing Summer Climate. The summers in Southeast Alaska are typically pretty mild, with temperatures often in the high-50s to mid-60s. It can be very nice to get away from the heat and humidity of your home city and enjoy the comfort of a mild coastal climate with crisp, clean air and ocean breezes.

5.) David Jaffe – Mentor, Expert and Outdoorsman. With Thomson, your family will have the privilege of traveling alongside an expert mentor, our friend David Jaffe. He’s a rugged adventurer and veteran outdoorsman with a contagious love of travel and cultures. David has a long, impressive list of accomplishments, from extensive marine and avian research to experience as a research consultant for the Nature Conservancy and as a biological research technician at Yosemite National Park. He’s been a TFA mentor since 1998 and is excellent with children. With David onboard, your kids will be constantly enthralled and intrigued.

Bonus: The Special Privilege of a Smaller Ship and Secluded Spots! I couldn’t resist; I just had to mention the perks of traveling on the M/V Wilderness Discoverer. This is a comfortable 76-passenger ship with a friendly, knowledgeable crew. Her size allows for some extra special experiences, since we have the opportunity to navigate and drop anchor in secluded, pristine coves that large cruise ships aren’t even allowed to enter! The Wilderness Discoverer really makes for a wonderfully intimate adventure!



March 7, 2013

Gray Whales in Baja – Our Video Contest Winner!

Check out the video here!

Congratulations to Remy for winning our most recent video contest! We had some really outstanding entries this time around, but we selected this exciting footage for the way it showcases some of the close-up interaction families get to have with the gray whales on our February departures to Baja. It also brilliantly captures the magical atmosphere of family fun on all of our adventures!

Great job, Remy! And to all our traveling families, keep the videos coming!



March 5, 2013

Have Baby, Will travel

Ready to hit the road....

We have some very special friends in Costa Rica, and we are so thrilled their family has just grown by one. When we sent them a gift card we figured they’d go for a play pen, baby clothes, maybe even diapers….. But nooooo! We should have known a travel accessory would be the top pick for an adventurous family. Enjoy their thank you note.

Hola TFA!

I’m sorry it has taken so long for me (& Alexa) to send this email…

When we received your really nice gift card,  Alexa & I went shopping together, and she decided to invest on her very first travel bag. (Picture attached!)

She’s got lots of travel dreams for her future, and will start with a short trip to San Jose this upcoming week… so she is now all set with a her own cute travel bag to fit all of her little outfits and toys.

Muchas gracias to all of our friends at Thomson Family Adventures…  now while Diego and I surf the madness of our sleepless nights, our little Alexa will keep on dreaming about new and exciting adventures to take her bag along.

PURA VIDA,

Alexa, Diego & Sole