7 Reasons to Skip Iceland

You may be feeling left out because all the cool people you know are posting National Geographic shots from Icelandic waterfalls.   Good for them. Don’t be sad that you are not going, too.  Let me explain why, in 7 reasons.   It costs the earth If I am going to spend $500 on a hotel room, it needs to at least pretend to be the Four Seasons.  Not, as I recently experienced, a blah guesthouse with shared bathroom in a nondescript, frozen Icelandic outpost.  There are much cheaper ways to feel bitter and taken for granted, if you’re into…

On Family Vacations, Build Boredom into the Itinerary

Rain slashes the windows and the cloudy French sky is heavy with foggy mist.  Our planned horseback ride through the Dordogne countryside is out of the question today, so my two daughters and I are cuddled up in our little 3 bedroom camping chalet near Sarlat la Caneda, each to her own quietude. One girl is facetiming with a friend in California, the other is cozied up in her bed, listening to an audiobook and drawing.  I am enjoying an unexpected pause in our nonstop 6 Week Single Mom European Adventure.  We could be busy exploring myriad castles, prehistoric cave…

Where to Stay on the Costa Brava, with Kids

The Costa Brava is a glorious morsel of Spanish coastline, stretching 85 miles from the French border down almost to Barcelona. Dotted with tiny, picturesque fishing villages, quiet calas, and peaceful, rocky coves, it is an ideal Spanish family travel destination.  However, the most beautiful and interesting section is the 35 miles between Begur and Tossa de Mar.  All of my recommended family beaches are here, as well as the gorgeous seaside village of Tossa de Mar. Book your hotel or Airbnb within this stretch.  I made the mistake of staying way up in San Pedro Pescador, which is close to…

Staying Sane While Single Mom Traveling with Kids

It’s the end of week two of my six week Europe trip, and I started going a little nuts today.  I realized I hadn’t had an adult conversation in days, except for hijacking my daughter’s facetime session with her friend in Melbourne so I could talk her mom, who is a dear friend of mine.  We couldn’t really talk, because both of our daughters were squashed against us, trying to get into the video.  It’s been a little lonely. Texting, calling, sexting needs to happen when you are traveling as a solo mom for 6 weeks.  Like, seriously.  You will…

Best Costa Brava Beaches for Families 

(Cala Sa Tuna, Begur) The Costa Brava stretches for 85 miles along Spain’s north eastern coast, all the way to the French border.  Yes, its beautful, but there are a few spots that are exceptional for a family beach day. There is an algorithm for the ideal family beach.  It must have access to a clean bathroom, and gorgeous beachside restaurant or tasty snack cafe.   Quiet protected coves are great, with some shady options (just say no to roasting your kids in the baking mid day Mediterranean sun, even if the Spaniards do it). Also, it needs reasonable parking,…

Barcelona is a Disappointment for Families. But the Eating is Good!

This blog shares the good, bad, and ugly of travel with kids, so I’m going to write my unvarnished opinion of Barcelona as a family destination. I moved to Granada, Spain as a 17 year old, and have fond memories of visiting Barcelona on weekends.  I wanted to share Barcelona’s highlights with my kids: the famous paseo of La Rambla, stunning Gaudi Park, and the quirky Sagrada Familia Cathedral. The past two days disappointed. 17 years ago, La Rambla was a charming, flower filled market with interesting wares, brightly colored birds, and fascinating street performers.  Now, it is lined with…

How to Pack for a 6 Week, 5 Country Adventure with Kids

There are two forms of travel:  “First Class”, or “With Children”. Watching harried parents placate exhausted kids while they wait at the baggage carousel after an 11 hour flight will make you question ever travelling with offspring. There are ways to make traveling with kids easier though.  Whether I’m sending the kids to grandma’s house for the weekend, or packing up for a 6 week European summer vacation, each person is allotted 1 carry on roller and 1 backpack.  Nothing is checked in, ever. Checking in luggage is a hassle.  Not only do you have to wait in long bag-drop…