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 Chrystal Anderson of Travel By Chrystal. She shares with us how travel teaches her son important lessons about diversity, how the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman gets it right for families, and how to manage children’s need for routine while traveling.
Tell us about your family.
My husband and I have been married for nearly a decade, and we have a wonderful 3-year old son.
Where do you live when you’re not traveling?
We make our home in Southern New Jersey.
Tell us about Travel By Chrystal.
My website, Travel By Chrystal, chronicles all of my traveling experiences. I like to share lots of photos and tips that I feel would be helpful to travelers visiting those destinations. I have a positive outlook on life and travel, so the tone of my blog is optimistic and appreciative of all the beauty that surrounds us. l like to encourage my readers to take some moments during the trip to savor the scenery, the atmosphere, and the time they have with the people they love. I show them how to achieve those things, wherever they may be.
Why do you believe in traveling the world with your children?
It’s crucial to me that my son understands that the world is filled with diverse people and ways of living. I have noticed that most of us want the same things: love, family, and the ability to care for our loved ones. It’s important to my husband and I that my son has a sense of responsibility for his fellow man. It is also essential that he becomes a good steward over this amazing planet, and we believe that his experiences abroad over the years will strengthen those feelings.
Luxury means different things to different people. How do you define luxury when it comes to traveling with your family?
No matter where we are, luxury to me means having the best of everything at our disposal to create incredible, unique experiences for our family. It means I can slow down and give my husband and son my undivided attention while savoring an awesome experience. Free from the constraints of our normally busy schedules, we share moments where we’re truly present with one another, set in destinations that are simply unforgettable. My memories of those trips are the most vivid, as they give me the opportunity to fully relax, appreciate colors and textures, and truly enjoy the feelings of love and connection with my family in those moments.
What’s the best travel experience your family has ever had?
We have a large extended family, and we rented a large shore house one Thanksgiving. The house had eight bedrooms, and every amenity you could want. We had a fantastic time, relaxing and cooking together. Thanksgiving Day was amazing! Our son was about 9 months old at the time, and he had a great time with his cousins. Everything went off without a hitch. Our family members still talk about that trip to this day.
What’s your favorite family-friendly luxury hotel?
I adore the Caribbean and the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, is a gorgeous resort that is perfect for families. Set along world-famous Seven Mile Beach, this resort provides incredible luxury and opportunities for romance for parents, and fun activities for children, including Starfish Cay (a water playground), and Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Program. The service is impeccable, as the staff is thoughtful and anticipates your needs. Not to mention that the beautiful white sand on that beach is perfect for building fantastic sand castles!
What three items do you never travel without?
Of course, I can never travel anywhere without my camera. I have a Canon DSL that takes excellent photos. My son is a very picky eater, so I pack his favorite snacks. I have a “thing” for dresses. They’re easier to pack, and much more comfortable than pants or shorts, in my opinion. I wear them every chance I get during a warm-weather trip.
What’s your favorite online travel resource?
I always refer to Oyster.com when selecting a resort to visit. They provide unretouched photos of the resort rooms, amenities, and grounds. The site helps me manage my expectations of a place before we arrive.
What’s the worst mistake you see other parents making when traveling?
I see parents trying to cram every second of the trip with activities. Children are bound to become exhausted and cranky if they don’t have any downtime. Children thrive on routine, and traveling takes that routine away from them. They need some time to adjust, so it’s important to slow down the pace of the trip. Parents should also shift their expectations for the vacation. They’ll likely not see every single thing on their list, and may have to change plans at the last minute during the course of the trip. With that in mind, choose the top three things you must see or experience, and consider adding any remaining sights if your family is feeling up to it. Build in some time each day for little ones to take a nap and decompress. It’s okay to retreat to the room for a few hours during the day to rest. We normally don’t have that opportunity during our normal, busy lives, so take the time to snuggle, read a book together, and relax.
What’s on your travel bucket list?
We’re planning a trip to Rome and Tuscany next year. We also dream of visiting New Zealand, the Maldives, and Africa for a safari. Once our son is a bit older, we would also like to enjoy a river cruise through France from Paris, or from Vienna to Prague.
Interested in having your family featured in Family Traveler Spotlight? Email us at email@example.com
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