Spotlight: Priya of Outside Suburbia

Family Traveler Spotlight is the section of our magazine where we profile families who love taking their children along on their travel adventures. In this edition, we meet Priya of Outside Suburbia. She shares with us why we should travel for travel’s sake, why we shouldn’t be afraid to take our kids to fine dining restaurants, and why nail polish remover is a must when packing for a vacation.
Priya of Outside Suburbia explains why we shouldn't be afraid to take our kids to fine dining restaurants, and why packing nail polish remover is a must.

Outside Suburbia - Feature
Photo: Outside Suburbia

Tell us about your family.
We are a family of four: me, my husband Vinod, and our 16-year-old daughter Sneha and 12-year-old son Dharin.

Where do you live when you’re not traveling?
We live in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas.

Tell us about Outside Suburbia.
My website is a collection of travelogues, trip, hotel/resort ideas and few weekend trips. The goal is to travel for travel’s sake; not wait on a big trip, but sneak in a trip in the form of a themed restaurant that whisks you away to a faraway land, or just go exploring your city when you can. There are museums, parks, and sports arenas in almost every city. I hope to inspire families to travel with kids no matter the age to make lasting memories.

Outside Suburbia - Sunflowers
Photo: Outside Suburbia

Why do you believe in traveling the world with your children?
I think exposing children to the world outside the suburbs is key to having an enriched childhood. Life is pretty routine with school, music lessons, baseball tournaments, friends from very similar backgrounds etc. There is so much that books teach you but to experience something – visiting a museum, marveling at architecture, learning a few phrases in a new language, trying a new dish or just being in nature – teaches kids so much more. We were in Barcelona last summer and visited the Sagrada Familia, this school year my daughter is working on an essay for school – she has this stack of books on Gaudi she has been pouring through, that is return on investment right there!

Outside Suburbia - Scotland
Photo: Outside Suburbia

Luxury means different things to different people. How do you define luxury when it comes to traveling with your family?
Luxury to me is not A-lister resorts and private jets; it’s the smaller stuff, the experiences shared. It is a glass of rosé after a day of exploring, and a good night’s sleep on a comfy bed that leaves you energized for the next day. It is a private car hired to drive us on the Amalfi coast rather than trying to do it ourselves (we rarely do group tours – I hate being hurried and I’m always the last one on the bus). It is splurging on a meal at Eden Roc mesmerized by the Mediterranean ocean view. It is a spa treatment for the family by the beach. We work hard and we travel well; we save where we need to so we can splurge without guilt.

Outside Suburbia - Plane
Photo: Outside Suburbia

What’s the best travel experience your family has ever had?
We loved our Bora Bora trip that we went on last December, it is my son’s favorite trip. He loved the clear blue, not too deep waters, the service and the people at the resort we were at, he enjoyed paddle boarding. We had the entire little island of Motu Tapu to ourselves one afternoon, and saw reef sharks and stingrays right by our feet. On the other hand my daughter still talks about the Scotland trip we went on, she wants to go study there for a semester at some point. She loved the friendly Scottish people, green spaces, running into Harry Potter-themed characters at Alnwick castle and looking for Nessie in Loch Ness. Me and my husband loved our trip to Switzerland, kids were little then and probably don’t remember much of it, but we loved taking them on the different trains and trying fondue for the first time.

Outside Suburbia - Paddleboard
Photo: Outside Suburbia

What’s your favorite family-friendly luxury hotel?
I don’t think I have a favorite – we really loved the Hilton in Bora Bora but not all Hiltons are the same. We have stayed at a few Hyatt Regency resorts that we really enjoyed. We love the Taj and Oberoi group of hotels in India. The best one we have stayed in so far was at Grand Hotel National Luzern. We didn’t know much about the hotel other than its beautiful location right on the lake with sweeping Alpine mountain views and that they will accommodate our two kids and provide us with a rollaway bed. Once we got there the hotel swept us away. It looked like a French chateaux with Italian renaissance details. Service was top notch. But that is not what the kids remember, they still remember the little hot chocolate mugs and stuffed sheep they were given at check-in.

What 3 items do you never travel without?
Hmm – that is an easy one: camera, hat, and nail polish remover. Why nail polish remover? Because I have this thing about chipped nail polish – it’s either bare nails or pretty polished ones! And my daughter insists on wearing black nail polish and I hate it when we are on a trip and it starts wearing off. So I carry the polish remover so I can clean it up and apply a fresh coat.

What’s your favorite online travel resource?
I loved reading travel blogs, it like getting advice from a friend right – I like to read Travel Babbo, LandLopers, Wandering Carol, The World Is a Book, and there are so many more. I also like researching Lonely Planet, Frommers

Outside Suburbia - Table
Photo: Outside Suburbia

What’s the worst mistake you see other parents making when traveling?
I think not taking kids along on trips. So many parents ship kids off to grandparents’ while they go on a trip. I totally get that parents need some time alone with each other too – raising kids is exhausting – but taking the kids along may be on a yearly trip should be on every family’s list. Whether it’s a big or small trip, the bonding outside of the normal routine is so precious. Same goes for not taking kids to fancy restaurants for the fear of them not behaving. If you don’t expose the kids to situations, they will never learn! We always check with the establishment first to make sure it is ok if we bring the kids along, and no one has ever said no so far. Somehow I also hate those leashes that some people use. They make the kiddos looks like little puppies. Then again, if the kid keeps wandering away, there’s not much you can do. My husband thinks I need one of those leashes, by the way! Most of the time I’m the one wandering away or in front of a painting while the rest of them have moved on.

What’s on your travel bucket list?
My travel bucket list is endless. And it’s grown trifold after getting on Instagram! We have not been to Greece, so a Greek salad in Greece is high on the list. Exploring Asia is another big one – would love to go visit Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Japan, China… North India. A safari in Kenya and Tanzania for next year is in the works. We have Milan and Vienna planned for this winter. Hope to visit New Zealand and South America at some point in the near future. Ohhh a month in Tuscany and Provence each is on the wishlist… I might have to wait till I retire for that one!

Read more from Priya at Outside Suburbia, and be sure to follow her family’s adventures on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

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