Family Traveler Spotlight is the section of our publication where we profile families who love taking their children along on their travel adventures. In this edition, we meet Jordan Rhodes of Glimpse Guides. She shares with us why The Connaught in London is the perfect place to spend Christmas, why Instagram is her favorite online travel resource and why travel is not the time to preach at your children about behavior.
Tell us about your family.
Noah and I have two kids – Scottie (Scotland) who is a girl and will be four in August, and Fourth (Noah IV) who is a boy and is two and a half. We also have baby three due in January!
Where do you live when you’re not traveling?
We live in Greenwich, CT, about 40 minutes northeast of New York City on the Long Island Sound.
Tell us about Glimpse Guides.
Glimpse Guides is unique because it provides extremely detailed luxury city guides for families traveling. I also provide travel tips, interview interesting people to go with each city guide, and I’m launching an app this month. It will feature the guides, photos and GPS-enabled maps, and all proceeds will go to charities chosen by the moms interviewed. London will launch first with all proceeds going to the English National Ballet as chosen by Town & Country UK editor, Alisa Swidler. Six weeks later Paris will launch, then Florence six weeks after that, and so on.
Why do you believe in traveling the world with your children?
I want my children to grow up exposed to other cultures so they always have an open mind about people. Traveling is one of the richest forms of education and I want them to see that people across the world live in different ways. I also think travel is good for the soul and I want them to always feel awed and inspired.
Luxury means different things to different people. How do you define luxury when it comes to traveling with your family?
For us it’s a 4- or 5-star resort, hotel or boutique hotel. Restaurants are harder to define, but to me it’s the places you would want to go without your kids too – the chic spots frequented by a fashionable crowd, or the places you have to book a month in advance. The restaurants that get lots of buzz because it’s a luxury to get a reservation. They don’t necessarily have to be Michelin-star meals, but they are stylish and exciting.
What’s the best travel experience your family has ever had?
One year for Christmas we spent several days at The Connaught in London. It was magical. There were horse and carriage rides on Christmas Day with hot chocolate, Santa Claus passing out presents at breakfast, milk and cookies and carrots that the kids got to leave outside their rooms for Santa and his reindeer, multi course lunches and dinners. It was truly special, and the hotel does it every year.
What’s your favorite family-friendly luxury hotel?
The White Elephant in Nantucket. They provide adventure guides for families, treasure hunts and wagons of toys for the beach. For babies they provide cribs, diaper genies, baby bathtubs, special baby bath products and sippy cups. They also have cottages and residences on site so that families can spread out. The hotel has thought of everything.
What three items do you never travel without?
I bring different things for different stages of their lives (iPads at this stage are key), but at every stage I always have a change of clothes for each kid – I don’t know HOW they manage to get so dirty, it’s unbelievable – also snacks in case we can’t get to any, and some kind of new toy or book they’ve never seen before. The key to travel is to make sure they never get bored.
What’s your favorite online travel resource?
Instagram! I get so much inspiration from following the journeys of others.
What’s the worst mistake you see other parents making when traveling?
For my Charleston guide I interviewed Mimi Van Wyck, and one thing she said was that travel is not the time to teach kids lessons, which I couldn’t agree with more. Have fun, let your kids be silly and explore. Show them how to be courteous to others but don’t focus on every little thing they do wrong. This way they will always love to travel. I also see parents trying to pack too much into one trip, or trying to take their kids to do things that are way over their heads. Fortunately, most large museums have activities for all ages now, but don’t take them on a three-hour tour and expect them to behave.
What’s on your travel bucket list?
The question is, what’s NOT on my bucket list?! I want to see everything with my family. I had a really amazing experience in Haiti several years ago and that’s one place I really want the kids to see – the beauty and poverty of that country really tugs at your heart and I hope it makes them want to help others. I’d also love to take them on an African Safari and see their faces when an animal is nearby. I would love to visit the pyramids before it gets too dangerous. The world is such a beautiful place and I hope we are lucky enough to explore it all.
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