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 Natalie Kaminski of travel tech start-up goBaby. She shares with us why flying non-stop is a must, how Airbnb is often a better choice than hotels for traveling families, and why parents should rent baby gear instead of lugging their stuff along on a trip.
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Tell us about your family.
My name is Natalie Kaminski, I am 36 years old. My husband is Igor Kaminski, 40 years old. Our daughters are Nika (10 years old) and Tali (almost 3 years old)
Where do you live when you’re not traveling?
We live in Kensington, Brooklyn, NY.
What type of work do you and your partner do?
My husband is an IT Engineer, and I run a startup, goBaby – a marketplace for peer-to-peer baby gear rentals.
Tell us about goBaby.
goBaby offers traveling families an easy way to rent strollers, car seats and other items they need for their children during trips from a community rental marketplace of local parents. For local parents goBaby is a simple way to make some additional cash by renting unused equipment to traveling parents to better their vacation experience.
Why do you believe in traveling the world with your children?
Traveling as a family allows us to really spend time together, focusing on each other while enjoying new experiences. Bringing children along provides invaluable educational opportunity by exposing them to different places, people, and cultures, which in turn expands their horizons and makes them more open-minded and curious individuals.
Luxury means different things to different people. How do you define luxury when it comes to traveling with your family?
Whenever possible, we prefer to fly non-stop, and pay a little extra for the “premium economy” seats. These few extra inches make a huge difference, especially with kids who want to get up and move around a lot. Since Airbnb became widely popular, we stopped staying at hotels, because we enjoy the extra space of renting an entire apartment/house and having a fully stocked kitchen. Living in New York, we are very spoiled when it comes to restaurant choices. There are so many great places here at all budget levels. You don’t have to pay a lot to have a great and healthy dinner out. This is not the case in many other places we visit during our travels. So, having a kitchen in our rented place is super important.
Finally, I really dislike packing and carrying all this luggage that is necessary to bring along, especially when traveling with children.
What’s the best travel experience your family has ever had?
We had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica in 2013, where we stayed in 4 different locations, including a jungle lodge and a boutique hotel overlooking an active volcano, but since this was before our youngest daughter was born, I won’t be using that trip as an example.
In April 2016, we spent a week in London while visiting our friends, who moved there for work about 3 years ago. This was our second visit to London, so instead of spending our days hitting all the touristy attractions, we decided to spend that week as locals. We stayed in Muswell Hill, a family-friendly suburb north of London, we shopped in local grocery stores and farmer’s markets, walked the streets visiting small shops and cafes, took a day-trip to Windsor Castle, visited the National Gallery, rode the London Eye, and had high tea at The Wellington. It was a wonderful, low-key vacation, relaxing, yet filled with excitement for adults and kids alike.
What’s your favorite family-friendly luxury hotel?
Back in 2008, when our older daughter was 2, we spent a week in an all-inclusive resort, Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda. It was a very nice experience. The resort was nearly empty despite it being a prime season (early December). The food was plentiful and tasty. Our room had a large balcony with a hot tub, overlooking the ocean. The resort had a nice playground and plenty of activities for the kids. The night entertainment was decent. So, overall, it was a very nice trip.
What three items do you never travel without?
My three must-haves are:
– Phone charger
– 2 copies of passports for the entire family (one in the luggage, one in the carry-on)
– Water bottle
What’s your favorite online travel resource?
My go-to site list is this:
kayak.com – for flights
Airbnb.com – lodging
gobaby.co – baby gear (items like stroller, high-chair, carseat)
tripadvisor.com – reviews about attractions and things to-do
uber – getting around
What’s the worst mistake you see other parents making when traveling?
Most parents either overpack or don’t bring the necessary items thinking that they can get away without that high-chair. In the end, their vacations get affected by either lugging stuff around while trying to not lose their children, or getting by without the necessities that make life easier.
To solve this problem, I founded goBaby, a peer to peer marketplace for baby gear rentals. Parents can travel light while still having access to all the necessary equipment on demand.
What’s on your travel bucket list?
I would love to drive through Europe. This would take 3-4 weeks, so requires some planning and time off from work, but one day we will rent an RV large enough to be comfortable for the family. I definitely would want to focus on Italy, Spain and Portugal first.
Another place I would love to visit is Australia and New Zealand. This would have to wait until we can afford that first class airplane ticket though 🙂
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