The summer has officially started, here in Europe: school holidays are kicking in and family travel plans are now taking shape and becoming a reality. A family traveller I love and follow with great interest is Virginie, the author of the fantastic travel blog ‘Travel with my kids’.
I first met Virginie online and soon discovered we had more than blogging in common. While originally from Paris, Virginie now lives in my gorgeous hometown or Rome and happens to live in the very same area I grew up in: on a city of almost 4 million people, that is quite a coincidence!
Making the most of this connection, we decided we should meet in person and during my last trip to Rome we shared a delicious bottle of wine, travel stories and blogging advice. As a mother who travelled extensively and who has been blogging for years in both English and French, it is no surprise that I found my evening with Virginie fun and interesting so I asked her if I could interview her as part of my series about inspirational family travel bloggers. She agreed and here is her interview: I hope you enjoy it!
[box] Introducing: Travel with my kids
- Your name: Virginie
- Your blog name and link: Travel with my kids
- Can you give us a short description of your blog: ‘Travel with my kids’ is a blog devoted to family trips and traveling with kids. It provides family travel guides for various destinations (round-up from families experiences) and shares travelings tips with kids.
You can follow Virginie on many social media platforms including:
Tell us about your family: how many of you and how old are your children?
We are a French family of five. Our three kids are two boys (10 and 18 years old) and one girl (15 years old).
Where is home and where are you right now?
Home is Paris! But we are (happily) living in Rome since four years.
How did you come up with the idea of a travel blog and when did you start writing?
As a globetrotting mom of 3, I started blogging in French six years ago, then in English a few months ago. I started first because the print guides I used to travel, before the kids, were no more a good fit for us. It had been time-consuming to collect all the answers I was looking for when I planned our trip to Yucatan (Mexico), so I thought it was a pity to throw everything in the garbage: why not share it? After this first step, I started to interview traveling families: which activities or visits the kids really loved, family rooms and accommodations, kid-friendly restaurants, what the kids liked less…
So it’s not only about my own travel experiences but about sharing family experiences, as much as possible.
What is your favourite kind of travel: independent, all-inclusive resort, cruise, a mix of all? What do you like about it?
We have always been independent travelers. First of all, I enjoy planning a trip, I consider planning as a part of it! Then, I like to be ‘immersed’ in a place: to eat local food, to hear an unknown language, to be able to leave or to stay more if I want to, to change our plans because it’s sunny or rainy, to deal with what is unexpected… to sum up, organization but with possible improvisation!
How do you decide on a destination? If you have older kids: have you ever had an epic fight over where to go?
No epic fights about traveling, there are so many subjects already! We like a lot to talk about which destination each of us would like to go to, and let the kids say what they are dreaming of, explaining why we dream to go here or there, making some bucket lists… At the end, we mix the time we’ve got, the money we’ve got, eventually the weather conditions, and we pick a destination!
You visited many countries: do you have a favourite so far? And your kids?
About distant travels, our trip to Japan was really awesome. Everything was fascinating, especially this mix between tradition and ultra-modernity. But may be my kids would pick Yucatan (in Mexico). They absolutely loved the gorgeous beaches, the fascinating Mayan culture, the temples where we were almost alone beside iguanas, the small villages, the mexican food, the “pinata’s” shops, the scenic “cenote”… Closer in Europe, we are really found of Greece and Italy.
Do you have a dream destination you haven’t managed to go to yet?
Yes I do, and it’s Russia, most of all to take the Transsiberian train from Moscow to Beijing. But I’m not sure that the kids would enjoyed to be squeezed in a train for almost one week! That’s part of the reasons I’m still post-poning this travel, that I may do later with my husband.
Many people are afraid of travelling 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?
I try to please everybody, including myself, wich often means not everybody at the same time! Not to be frustrated, I would not give up a church or a museum visit, but I’ll also take the kids to the beach or the swimming pool. Try not to schedule too many things, and to stay at least two nights in the same place: slow travel is much better with kids in tow! Travelling with kids may be less restful than being on vacation, but being far awar from the everyday’s routine and obligations can bring great satisfactions!
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?
My rule (with or without kid) is to take only what I can carry myself. So, obviously, never a huge suitcase! I’m quite a good space-saver (with medicines, or heavy travel guides from wich I cut off some pages). Oh, and I always ask for samples (face cream) when I buy something in a pharmacy. But I would never leave home without a book!
I am sure you have some great stories from you travels: share one with us!
Here is a nice mishap that ended very well. During our family trip in Los Angeles, we planned to visit “Death Valley” and to spend one night there. To be organised, I had booked in the only one hotel for miles around… but in the evening we discovered that my booking was for the next month! Mission impossible: to find a room (for five), that very evening. We finally left in the night towards the only accommodation ready to welcome us: on the bumpy and dusty path, bushes rolling in front of the headlights… till the mobile home that awaits us.
For any restaurant, we found hamburgers at the corner gas station –no need to say that the children were delighted. It was funny and we had the most beautiful surprise when we wake up and stepped outside: we were surrounded by a breathtaking wild landscape, not a home for miles around, just in front of a canyon bathed in the golden morning light … Or how, when traveling, a problematic situation can turn into a wonderful moment!