Family Traveler Spotlight: Marina Villatoro of Travel Experta

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 Marina Villatoro of Travel Experta. She shares with us why her family loves vacation rentals, why a kitchen is a must and why families should never do any excursion before 10 am.

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In Madrid eating churros and chocolate. Photo: Marina Villatoro

Tell us about your family.
Our family consists of me, Marina, aged 44, my husband Federico, aged 39, our son Brandon aged 12, and our son Keanu, aged 6.

Where do you live when you’re not traveling?
We live in Antigua, Guatemala.

What type of work do you and your partner do?
I run websites online, one is for travel and the other I teach day trading to beginners.

Tell us about Travel Experta.
Travel Experta is my main site that focuses on inspiring families to travel to unique places around the world.

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Family day. Photo: Marina Villatoro

Why do you believe in traveling the world with your children?
I believe with every fiber of my being that traveling bonds families. There is a connection, a bond, that is built during these moments that are cherished forever. You do NOT have to travel far or to exotic places, simply doing a small staycation or going out to a fun new restaurant, activity near by where you are with your family is enough.

Luxury means different things to different people. How do you define luxury when it comes to traveling with your family?
I like my luxury as in super comfy beds, clean, plenty of pillows, private baths with hot showers and living rooms separate from the bedroom. So that we can enjoy down time. And an extra bonus if we have a small kitchen. Kids get hungry at the most random times and having a place to warm up some stuff is a huge luxury for me.

What’s the best travel experience your family has ever had?
Spain – we stayed in vacation rentals for the 6 weeks we were there and that was amazing. It was literally homes away from home.

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Beach time and meditation. Photo: Marina Villatoro

What’s your favorite family-friendly luxury hotel?
We love vacation rentals. For the moment we have a favorite beach house in Guatemala which has a private pool, a super comfy lounge area with hammocks, and a lovely kitchen. It’s right on the beach but is a totally private home.

What three items do you never travel without?
Ear plugs, toiletry bag and my computer bag.

What’s your favorite online travel resource?
I like Tripadvisor whenever I’m going to a new place to see the top things to do in each place.

What’s the worst mistake you see other parents making when traveling?
Making their days too jam packed. Adults can do that, and not always, but with kids I recommend to do one main thing, or 2 small activities, one in the late morning. Followed by lunch, chill out time and then in the late afternoon before dinner. Don’t do anything too early. We normally do tours around 10 am, that doesn’t stress anyone out or rush us.

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Fun in South Carolina. Photo: Marina Villatoro

What’s on your travel bucket list?
Everywhere! But for now, since we also just added a new addition to our family — a puppy — so our travel is taking on a whole new outlook. we are totally focusing on pet friendly travel now. Very exciting.

Read more from Marina at Travel Experta, and be sure to follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

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