This month, for my interview series with inspirational globetrotting parents, I am delighted to meet Natalie, the author of family travel blog ‘The Educational Tourist’.
I first noticed Natalie’s writing because of her title: as you know, I believe travel has an incredible educational value for both adults and kids so, when I came across her blog, I knew I had found someone with the same outlook as me. It is my pleasure to share our chat.
I hope you enjoy it!
Introducing, the Educational Tourist. Can you please briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Your name: Natalie Tanner
Your blog name and link:The Educational Tourist
What is your blog about? Writing travel guides to make travel educational and memorable for kids and teaching families how to make multigenerational travel fun and easy!
Make sure you follow Natalie on her social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, twitter, and Pinterest
Tell us about your family: how many of you and how old are your children?
My two kiddos are 9 and 11 – one still in elementary school and one that just ventured into middle school. We stay busy with band and baseball and love to watch movies as a family when we aren’t traveling.
Where is home and where are you right now?
We have moved around a lot with my husband’s job – Houston, Denver, Dallas, Tulsa, but now call Austin, Texas home. This city is proudly weird and we are having fun exploring it.
How did you come up with the idea of a travel blog and when did you start writing?
When I felt like the kids were old enough for a big trip abroad, I wanted to make it both educational and memorable. I have heard too many sad stories about people traveling on whirlwind tours and having the “it is Tuesday, so this must be Germany” or “yet another church” type of memories. So, using skills I had as a 15 year elementary teaching vet, I wrote kid friendly history, art, and mythology travel guides for my own children. It was SUCH a hit and the kids had a wonderful time learning and exploring. My friends thought it was the greatest thing ever and encouraged me to publish it. I was approached by friends who were interested in other destinations and the travel blog – and 12 more destination titles for kids, grew out of that!
What is your favorite kind of travel: independent, all-inclusive resort, cruise, a mix of all?What do you like about it?
Our favorite type of travel is independent. I like to do a lot of research on our destination to make sure we don’t miss out on something out of the ordinary. Then, we pick and choose based on what we find!
How do you decide on a destination? If you have older kids: have you ever had an epic fight over where to go?
Deciding on a destination is so much of the fun part! We have a list of things we want to see (which is a very, very long list! LOL) and just make a choice based on the wishes of the group – sometimes that includes grandmother and/or aunt. We love multi-generational travel! We have never had an epic fight over where to go, thankfully. We all realize the world is a very big place and destinations will be there next year or the next year or the next year. Wonderful experiences are to be had wherever you go!
You visited many countries: do you have a favorite so far? And your kids?
That is always a funny question because the answer changes after every single trip! We love Rome, Morocco, and Istanbul…that is as narrow as I can answer what is our favorite destination! The kids – one loves Morocco and the other chose the underground city in Turkey.
Do you have a dream destination you haven’t managed to go to yet?
Iran is a top destination choice. Such colorful buildings and history – we would LOVE to see it! Also, we want to take a long train ride across Canada. Those are places we hope to visit sometime soon!
Many people are afraid of traveling with children: safety concerns, fear of the holiday being a lot like hard work: what is your best advice to make a family holiday a success?
My travel blog and travel guides were born out of worries just like these. The key to a wonderful vacation with the kids is preparation. Bored kids complain so the key is to engage them. Read books about the destination before you go. Talk about the history of the area and tell the stories of leaders and artists and mythology. Kids are naturally curious and love these types of stories. My travel guides are full of this type of information. I wrote a post about it, too.
What kind of packer are you: carry-on only or everything but the kitchen sink? Is there one item you never leave home, no matter where you go or how long for?
Pack light, pack light, pack light: If it isn’t the mantra for family travel it should be! When the kiddos were young we had to pack light so dad could handle all the luggage himself so I had 2 hands-free – one for each kid. Now that the kids are big enough to manage their own luggage we still travel with the same amount of luggage. The more free hands you have the easier it is to move around.
I am sure you have some great stories from your travels: share one with us!
There is no such thing as travel without mishaps or issues but thankfully the more I travel the better I get at avoiding big problems!! Once upon a time, a very long time ago before the kids I was traveling with a friend, my MIL, and my niece. We were using a family Eurorail pass that needed to be validated before entering the train. We arrived at the train station early but forgot to validate the ticket. Realizing this while sitting on the train, I grabbed the ticket and left the train to validate it. Just as I was inserting the ticket into the box for validation I heard the train doors close…that was a heart stopping sound! There I stood on the platform with the train tickets for all 4 of us though the other 3 passengers were on the train along with all the luggage. This was in the days before cell phones, too! I ran to the train flinging myself upon the door and the open button praying it would open and it did!!! Such a VERY close call. We started laughing as soon as my heart started beating again and still laugh about it today.
The Educational Tourist can be found at: