Like anything else you do in life, travel has its bad days. And while I tend to lean into the positive when it comes to taking stock of my experiences, seeking out lessons and silver linings, there are times when an awful moment leaves an indelibly bad taste in one’s mouth. Here’s why it’s wise to take a step back and see the forest—or the destination—for the trees.
At the end of the 20th century and in the wake of the Rwandan Civil War, a country lay dying, and people the world over wondered how Rwanda would or could recover, let alone welcome tourists again. But Praveen Moman did the unthinkable: He founded a safari company and invited Westerners to come.
There are people who, if dropped in the middle of the woods, would see nothing but the glory of the forest, the colors in the foliage, and the beauty of the ground beneath their feet. Cheryl Strayed I am not.
When I was a kid, the idea of spending hours at a museum was enough for me to demand that someone “gag me with a spoon.” Yet, time and time again, I find myself offering the same “we should go to the museum” pleas to my own kids and then being surprised when their eyes glaze over. But after dozens of museum visits and a decreasing number of eye rolls, I think I’ve stumbled upon the secret.
National Geographic Traveler contributing editor Heather Greenwood Davis is the magazine’s family travel advocate, guru, and soothsayer. Here’s her latest advice.
On a family road trip through British Columbia this summer, I had no regrets about seeing it with the whole brood first, but I also made notes about how my husband and I will do it again when we come back one day, sans kids. Here’s B.C. two ways, so you can choose your own adventure.
Fear-packing is what happens in that last 24 hours before your departure—when your mind starts to play tricks on you. In my case, the fears usually surround what the kids might need. I must pack, I tell myself, to account for every possible mishap. Here’s what’s wrong with that approach, and how to make a course correction.
Recently, I convinced my mother and my first-born son Ethan to hop a plane with me to Mexico’s Riviera Maya. For them it was a quick getaway to a sunny destination after a winter we all wanted to forget. But I had ulterior motives. More than anyone else, these two people (my own mother and the child who made me one for the first time) have shaped who I am. And while I’ve spent time with each of them on their own, this was a prime opportunity to celebrate the complex and precious relationship we share.
I’ve heard the horror stories: Hours on end spent in a stuffy car desperately trying to get to some specific event (a wedding, a theme park) on time with a constant chorus of “Are we there yet?” emanating from the backseat. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are some key things you can do to make your next family road trip your best ever. Here are five to get you started.
My husband Ish and I thought we were adventurous people, but once our sons came into the picture, things felt a lot more risky. What if something happened to us out there? Or worse, what if some horrible parenting decision we made led to harm coming to one of our kids? Then we learned to let go–and it was the best thing for all of us.
A plethora of recently published articles have panned “voluntourism” as little more than salve for bleeding-heart rich folks. The problem is, it’s rarely that simple.
Of all the countries we’ve visited as a family, the hardest, by far, was China. As a family that believes there are things to be learned from everything in life, we try to turn even the most frustrating experiences into teachable moments. Here are the lessons we took away from this one.
African safaris are the things of bucket-list dreams. Who in their right mind would pass up the opportunity to watch animals in their natural habitat, roaming free as they were meant to? Who wouldn’t get excited about this chance of a lifetime?
It sounds like such a romantic notion: Leaving everything behind but the family you’ve created together and heading out to see the world. But the trip I took with my husband, Ish, and our two sons was more complicated than that, and, at the same time, simpler than we ever imagined.