Vienna ist für kinder! Vienna, Austria boasts castles, boat rides, music history, gorgeous Hapsburg-yellow buildings, and fantastic parks. We lived in the 19th district of Vienna for six months in 2008 with two young kids and we fell in love. Many activities and museums are designed specifically für kinder (for children) and others are just naturally fun für kinder. Here are a few of our favorite hidden family hotspots. Read more
Manhattan can be an expensive and intimidating destination for anyone. It’s a great place to travel as a family but it’s challenging to get past the big tourist destinations and into the real city. Here’s a few of our recent finds to get you started! The Tenement Museum is a fantastic window into the history of New York City and into America in general. It should not be missed but you must get your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Visits to the museum are by guided tour and there are several unique packages to choose from. Most of the tours take place at 97 Orchard Street, a renovated tenement building with a basement and 5 floors, each housing a different window into history. The building once housed 2 shops and about 22 apartments, each only 325 sq ft and without plumbing or electricity. During a 70 year period centered on about the turn of the last century, approximately 7000 individuals and 30 different businesses were housed in this one building.
We took their newest tour, the “Shop Life” tour, on the bottom level and enjoyed an overview of life as a new immigrant to New York with emphasis on the wave of German immigrants from about 1860-1880. We learned through old photos, newspaper clippings, an interactive card game, visiting rooms, holding artifacts, and a high-tech smart board (you may be impressed by the high tech smart board but your child will likely be a lot less impressed as there are many in school classrooms across the country). The 90-minute experience gave us all a multi-faceted vision of what life was really like for the proprietors, John and his wife Caroline, as well as glimpses into the other businesses that once occupied the building including a kosher butcher, an undergarment factory, and an auction house. The finale was a video of a nearby contemporary local storeowner and wrapped up the tour with thoughtful style and a new perspective on modern NYC life. The tours are billed for kids aged 8 and up because they do involve listening, sitting, and not touching. There are also food-sampling tours, live actress Read more
Our affordable London hotel (lower left) was under the Eye!
It wasn’t that long ago when finding a hotel meant pulling out my Lonely Planet Guide and telling the taxi/rickshaw/tuk tuk driver to take me to whichever guesthouse was recommended. Many other travelers used the same method and inevitably places became too popular and overcrowded. Sometimes I found lodging by word-of-mouth and by getting advice from other travelers, but often these recommendations were based on the very same guidebooks. Sometimes lodging solicited me. I remember coming out of immigration at the Kathmandu airport and being accosted by a sea of people offering beds in their various guesthouses and feeling overwhelmed by it all; the sights, the sounds, the hustle, the bustle. But that was in the 80’s, when international phone calls were only for periodically checking in with worried relatives at home and incoming mail was so slow it had to be sent general delivery weeks in advance. Read more
We’re interested in what readers have taken from our book. What has worked and what hasn’t? So we’re hosting a little contest. Please tell us if you used an idea from the book or if you have something new to add. To enter, just submit a comment on this post describing your experience, tweet your experience, or post in on your Facebook page and share it with ours (full details below). One winner will be selected at random from all thoughtful book reports. The winner will be selected on May 15th and will receive a Family on the Loose travel bag full of our favorite fun travel stuff – mini books, a blank journal, wrapped surprise presents, mini art supplies, paper maps, map dots, and more …take the whole bag on your next plane, train, or auto trip! Read more
About a month ago, I was bored and waiting for my daughter to finish up at the physical therapist. I downloaded the new Dwellable app (Sync!) and started looking for a getaway cabin (Search!). Now I’m in a hot tub (Soak!) at the River Chalet, writing a review of this fun new app.
I love this app. Why? First off, it’s beautiful. It’s simply pleasing to look at all the lovely, crisp, square pictures of all the fun places you can go. Second, it’s fast. Unlike other phone apps where I can doze off while waiting for something to load, Dwellable zips along. It’s so fast, I can actually start searching for house rentals in line at the grocery store. It’s easy. Third, I can get things done while I’m waiting around for my kids. This is actually my fourth Dwellable house rental project and at no time was I tied to the slow computer in my living room. Fourth, staying in a house while traveling with kids can be easier and cheaper than staying in a hotel. Playing around on Dwellable helps make it happen. Read more
Colonial Williamsburg has to be America’s quintessential educational family travel destination. It’s like Disney for the NPR-crowd. Kids have fun and think they are on vacation. Almost accidentally, they learn about American history by watching and interacting with characters in costume. We had a great time but found it challenging to get our arms around the entire experience. There is too much to do in a short visit and yet I’m not sure parents or kids are likely to enjoy more than a few days at a time. Based on our recent visit, here are a few insider tips to help your family have a blast.
Colonial Williamsburg might also be one of the most photogenic places on Earth. We hope you enjoy a small sample of the five zillion photos we took while visiting. Read more
Planning a visit to Seattle? Or do you live in Seattle and want to enjoy a downtown day with your kids? Our awesome photo scavenger hunt will keep your kids walking, happy, and engaged! Actually adults like it too. It’s just plain fun and helps anyone enjoy the details of our fabulous city.
The area covered by our scavenger hunt is the downtown core. Walk on 1st Avenue between Pike’s Place and Pioneer Square. As a round trip, you will want to come back along 3rd with short detours to see the library and the opera hall. End up at Westlake Center and take the monorail to Seattle Center. You’ll capture all the pictures within this route. You can get off at Seattle Center (no photos there – makes for a long day) or buy a round trip ticket in advance and just enjoy the ride. Read more
We had a lot of fun picking out favorite local family-friendly destinations in all directions for a recent post on Technorati.
We could only describe a few in the article. There are so many great Seattle-based getaways that kids love: Winthrop, Roslyn, Victoria B.C., Hurricane Ridge, Neah Bay, Bremerton, Mt. Rainier, Tacoma, and more. We plan to hit the road ourselves this spring to discover new local adventures. Add your favorites to our comments section.