Even though I call Arizona home, I never waste an opportunity to take my family to the water. And there’s never been a better time of year than now, in the final, fiery throes of summer.
It’s time to think cold thoughts. Cold, as in get me out of this heat! Cold, as in snow.
It’s the middle of summer, and chances are you’re indoors right now, a refugee from the unbearable heat. Maybe you’re imagining a cool family vacation.
Maybe you laughed when I said Santa Fe was hot last week. That’s not hot! Betcha you wouldn’t go somewhere like Scottsdale in August.
Oh, but I would.
What can I say about Santa Fe? It’s a hot destination, especially this time of year when the average daytime highs are in the mid-80s.
But I’m not talking about the temperatures or even the fiery-hot cuisine. (Beware of the salsa!) Santa Fe is now an all-around great place to be for other reasons, especially if you’re traveling with your family.
If you’re traveling for the first time with your kids this summer, I have a little advice for you: Don’t panic! Parents make mistakes when they travel, and I know because I’ve been one of them. But I can help.
I would love to share an anecdote about the worst moment I ever experienced while traveling with my family. It would involve sugared-up toddlers, full diapers, angry hotel guests, crying infants, and some kind of sweet liquid spilled on a computer keyboard. But that scene has repeated itself so many times that I wouldn’t know which example to choose.
So let me just say this: You will survive, fellow parent. You’ll live to travel another day. If you can limit your kids’ sugar intake, plan age-appropriate activities, and remember not to push them too hard, you might even enjoy it.
Because I spent 16 years at National Geographic, people often ask me: What’s the best camera for a family vacation?
Then I have to deliver the good news and the bad news. The bad news? I wasn’t a photographer for the Society. (That’s what everyone in the building calls it, as if it’s some kind of secret society.) I wasn’t even at the Yellow Book (more NatGeo-speak for National Geographic Magazine). I was just the reader advocate for National Geographic Traveler.
The good news is: I didn’t waste any opportunity to learn from the photographers I met. And I met plenty of them. They taught me a lot about photography and then sent me on my way to document the last 17 years of family travel.
What are your favorite summer vacation memories? Riding horses in Wyoming? Browsing the farmers market in Montreal? Running through the ocean surf in Sarasota?
This week, I want to share some of my favorite memories from 17 years on the road with my family.
It’s summer. Whether you’re staying home or traveling a long distance for vacation, there’s no better time for an adventure. And, although my children will be embarrassed by my show-and-tell, I’m here to encourage you to do it.
I’m as averse to unsolicited parenting advice as the next dad. But when the advice comes from the road — which is to say, the lessons learned from more than two years of nonstop travel — it feels a little different.
The road, an inanimate thing, won’t get its feelings hurt if I reject its lessons. Instead, I’ll just have to learn them for myself each time I travel.
If you can answer “yes” to the eternal question, “Are we there yet?” then you probably need a survival manual for the first day of vacation. The 24 hours after you arrive are among the busiest and most stressful — the unpacking and settling in, the arguing, and the inevitable chaos.