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 Robin Hutson of Luxe Recess. She shares with us why she believes that travel is the next-most important investment after education, why hotels need to think beyond chicken fingers and mac and cheese when it comes to kid’s food, and why families shouldn’t squeeze too many activities into any single trip.
Tell us about your family.
We have two children. My daughter is 10, and my son is 4.
Where do you live when you’re not traveling?
We live in the Boston area.
Tell us about Luxe Recess.
My passion has been hotels since I was a little girl, and with Luxe Recess, I help families choose the right accommodations on their family vacations. Those who like Luxe Recess the most care very much where they stay, consider themselves foodies, enjoy the planning stage of a trip. Readers say we make them feel like they are there, and I want to ensure people enjoy every penny of their vacation budget.
Why do you believe in traveling the world with your children?
I don’t think there is anything more critical for a family to invest in after education. There’s an obvious educational value of travel to museums and historic sites.
But the really important lessons from travel, to me, are more nuanced. It is critical for my husband and me that we raise children with a larger worldview than that which they see in their home life and that they develop the skills to connect with anyone they meet throughout their lives.
Travel of any kind is a privilege, and we discuss ways in which travel can foster awareness, gratitude, and ultimately connection—deeper connection as a family as well as with new people we meet.
Additionally, we love the ways we can foster better emotional development in our children when we remove ourselves from our daily grind at home. I interviewed one of the country’s leading anxiety experts who explained that children most at risk for developing anxiety (which, in turn, leads to depression in adult life) is to promote problem solving skills, a sense of autonomy, and comfort with the unknown.
Our traveling leaves plenty of opportunities to encourage the development of these skills in my kids. We do our best to model a go-with-the-flow attitude when our schedules change, we ask our children to take equal share in transporting our things and planning our days, and we encourage them to speak for themselves to as many adults as possible.
Luxury means different things to different people. How do you define luxury when it comes to traveling with your family?
Like with many other parents, luxury begins with a truly great cup of French-pressed coffee in the morning.
What’s the best travel experience your family has ever had?
One of my most favorite memories is a spontaneous adventure on our way to Disney World. We had flown into Tampa on our way to see the grandparents in Sarasota, so we were driving East to Orlando.
I was very pregnant with my second child during an unusual April heat wave, and it was in the 90’s and miserably humid. We aren’t much for fast food, so we left the interstate and followed a parallel road in hopes of finding a healthier option.
We were in Plantville, a city I had recognized where most Florida strawberries are grown. We found a Mexican outdoor restaurant whose signs were all in Spanish. Women were preparing for evening meals to serve the area farm workers so no customers were there yet. I waddled up to the window with my daughter, and we ordered some tacos and devoured their homemade tortillas.
I studied Italian, not Spanish, so I struggled to place our orders and show our gratitude for such a delicious homemade meal. This meal revealed everything wonderful about travel to me: it was unplanned, it felt a little adventurous, it was educational (in humanizing those providing our food supply), we were outside of our normal, and we savored something authentic.
When we seek them, little adventures can be found anywhere.
What’s your favorite family-friendly luxury hotel?
I usually am in love with whatever hotel I just wrote about, since I put so many hours of writing, photo editing and designing into my features. I like to find the flavor of each hotel I visit, everything from the service philosophy of the staff, the hotel guests they attract, the ways they define their guests’ experiences with activities and meals, their room details, I notice everything.
But any hotel that offers healthy fruits and vegetables to my children instead of chicken fingers and Mac ‘n Cheese is my favorite.
What’s your favorite online travel resource?
I love the Kayak explore feature to see what long-term airfares look like around the world in such a visual way.
What’s the worst mistake you see other parents making when traveling?
I see parents trying to squeeze in too much in their vacations. Packed days and fast moving itineraries don’t provide the downtime a family needed to rejuvenate and connect in some deeper way.
Sure, it is incredible to share a once-in-a-lifetime experience with our kids as we take in the view of the Grand Canyon or go on safari, but I think it is equally important to enjoy and connect in those mundane moments on a vacation that offer no distractions of home, and we can just be. Families need both.
What’s on your travel bucket list?
I’m dying to replicate the journey through the best family-friendly castle hotels in Ireland that we just published by Jody Halstead. India and Dubai I’ve longed to see, too. As for hotels on my own bucket list: The Greenbrier, Cliveden and Chewton Glen, Domaine Les Crayères, all of the One & Only properties I haven’t seen yet. I am eager to see the new renovations of some of my past favorites: The Ritz and Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, the Lanesborough in London, and the new oceanfront infinity pool at the One and Only Ocean Club.
Interested in having your family featured in Family Traveler Spotlight? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org