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 Emma of Luxe Family Travel. She shares with us why she believes traveling the world teaches children more than anything they learn in the classroom, how her family turned a trip to Italy into a real-life history lesson, and why kids should learn “flying manners” just like they would restaurant manners.
Tell us about your family.
It’s me, my husband Tom, our 16-year-old daughter Maddison, our 14-year-old daughter Chloe, our 9-year-old son Jay, and our 4-year-old son Luca.
Where do you live when you’re not traveling?
We live on the beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in Australia.
Tell us about Luxe Family Travel.
We saw a gap in the market where there is barely any information for families traveling the world in luxury like we do, so we wanted to share our experiences with other families to inspire them to do the same. There were many websites and magazines out there for families traveling on a budget, but we believe that if you are fortunate enough to live a great lifestyle, traveling doesn’t have to stop when children come along. You just take them with you! The children learn so many valuable life lessons when traveling, and the memories we make as a family are incredible.
Why do you believe in traveling the world with your children?
We know that the things our children see, hear, smell and experience when traveling the world teaches them far more than anything they learn in the classroom. Two years ago, we even took the children out of school for three weeks so they could have a real-life history lesson visiting sites like The Colosseum, Pompeii and the Roman Catacombs. We have taken care of orphaned and rescued elephants in Thailand, we have taken school supplies and handed them out to children near Cambodia, we have visited our World Vision sponsor child in her village and been to her school with stationery supplies, we have taken the children on a two week World War I tour of the Western Front visiting all the major battlefields and cemeteries, and we have even been through a cyclone in Fiji!
Luxury means different things to different people. How do you define luxury when it comes to traveling with your family?
When I leave a resort having had a luxury experience, a lot of little elements have come together seamlessly. The main factor is if the children were well looked after so my husband and I could have a break and some “me” time. Of course when the children are busy, the rest needs to be top-notch for it to be luxurious: the food needs to be great, the rooms need to be clean with good amenities and luxuriously furnished, the beds need to be incredibly comfortable, the champagne needs to be cold and the little touches need to warm your heart. Some examples of this are at breakfast if staff greet you by name or bring you your favorite freshly squeezed juice before you order because they remembered from yesterday, or if you forget your sunglasses on the beach your butler personally delivers them to your room for you, they somehow knew who they belonged to, or when you head towards a sun lounge on the beach and the beach staff see you coming and get to it before you bringing fresh towels, iced water and sunscreen for you to use.
What’s the best travel experience your family has ever had?
Our recent month-long trip to the Maldives was definitely the best travel experience we have had as a family. The Maldives catered to every age group of our children perfectly and it was so incredibly relaxing for my husband and I that it has unexpectedly gone to the top of the list as our favorite place in the world. I’m already planning a return visit.
What’s your favorite family-friendly luxury hotel?
The Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru was incredible: beautifully luxurious, but at the same time it catered to children so well. Every meal for the children arrived on fun divided plastic plates and each drink came with a lid and a straw. At the buffet breakfasts, children-sized plates were next to the adult ones and in the suites there were tiny child-size bathrobes, slippers and a welcome plate of treats with their names written in chocolate!
What 3 items do you never travel without?
Laptop, children’s paracetamol* (just in case!) and my iPhone – it takes fantastic photos so I don’t always need to get out my DSLR. Plus it has kids apps and TV shows loaded onto it, so if we are stuck in an airport queue or checking out, I can hand it to the children so they remain quiet and still.
*The British equivalent of Tylenol
What’s your favorite online travel resource?
I don’t go anywhere without thorough research on TripAdvisor. It’s the first place I go when I hear about a new resort and carefully read each review and in turn I always add a review when I’ve finished my stay somewhere to help others out.
What’s the worst mistake you see other parents making when traveling?
Being ill-prepared. When I travel with the children, I try to think of anything that could happen and bring a solution with me. For example, I bring a bag with band aids, insect bite cream, ibuprofen (suitable for each child’s age), antihistamine and I load up each child’s iPad with new and relevant apps and movies. We fly business class, and every flight we have had at least one passenger commend our children on their behavior. A few times we have had the person in front get up to disembark and say “Oh wow, I didn’t realize I had a child behind me on that flight! Well done!”. Parents need to teach their children to have “flying manners” just like they would “restaurant manners”. We make sure our children speak in quiet voices, ask for things they need from flight attendants with manners and go to sleep when we say they need to and we board a flight completely prepared with everything our children might need over the next 10 hours right next to me in my hand luggage.
What’s on your travel bucket list?
Being from Australia, we spend our Christmases on the beach under the hot summer sun, so a white Christmas is top of the list, probably in Whistler. Next down the list is Bora Bora and Moorea. I need to see that incredible water color with my own eyes, and I’ve already sorted out which are the best family-friendly resorts there!
Read more from Emma at Luxe Family Travel, and be sure to follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Interested in having your family featured in Family Traveler Spotlight? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org