Traveling Mom Spotlight: Candace From Family Travelz

Let’s start with you introducing yourself and your family:)

I am a mom to two human kids and two fur babies. My kids are Alexander, age 8, and Estelle, age 5. I didn’t leave the US, with exception to Canada because it was about an hour from where I grew up, until I met my husband and moved to NYC. There, it was easy to find great travel deals because it is a major international hub. Once we started, we couldn’t stop.

Our bucket lists got bigger and bigger and we travelled as much as we could. Once we were ready to settle down with kids, we knew that would change. While it did change, we have made it a point to make travel and adventure important in their lives. We do a lot of small, domestic road trips, but love international travel. We love visiting all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Our son’s first out of state trip was to the Finger Lakes of New York when he was just seven months old. His first international trip was to Cancun, Mexico at 15 months. Before his second birthday we also visited Toronto, Canada and Cozumel, Mexico. My daughter made her first trip to Mexico (Puerto Vallarta) at 13 months in 2015. Other places we’ve traveled include: Pittsburgh, PA (2014) , Chicago, IL (2016), Indianapolis, IN (2016), Disney/Orlando (2016), Jamaica (2017), Portland, OR (2017), Disney/Orlando (2018), Colombia (2018), Costa Rica (2018), Cancun, Mexico (2019), Keuka Lake, NY (2019) and Myrtle Beach, SC (2020).

Your Instagram account shows a lot of gorgeous Florida travel. Can you give us your top 3 favorite things to do in Florida and why?

  1. We love to visit the white, sandy beaches on the gulf side of Florida.
  2. With our kids, a visit to Disney World is a must. There is also LegoLand, Universal Orlando and Sea World if Disney is not your thing.
  3. Eating local food is something we love! Fresh fish tastes better when it’s straight from the ocean!

Since having children, has travel changed for you?

Yes and no. The places we go are not really different, but the places we stay alone vs. with kids usually is. Our activities are different, but that will change as our children get older and can do more.

We try to find a place that caters to both adults and children. A great kid’s program is key when doing an all-inclusive. Our kids love the activities and mom and dad can get a little time to ourselves. Us adults also try to travel without the kids at least 1-2 times per year. 

This is always a difficult question.. What has been your favorite country to visit with your children. What made it so great?

This is a really difficult question since we’ve enjoyed everywhere we have visited and each country has it’s own unique cultures and characteristics. I would have to say visiting Colombia with the kids was my favorite for a few reasons.

First, we visited my husband’s family there, so my kids got to meet several family members they wouldn’t had we not gone. We also really like how kid-friendly it is. They love children and our so accommodating. On more than one occasion my daughter, who was three at the time, fell asleep at dinner. The staff went out of their way to make her a bed from chairs and even gave us tablecloths to use as a blanket. 

The benefits that travel has on children are amazing. How do you think your children have benefited from travel?

The biggest takeaway is them seeing their sense of adventure. Their willingness to try something new, which doesn’t happen as frequently when we’re home. Also, teaching them how people live in other parts of the world and our differences and similarities really teaches them how to appreciate diversity, whether we’re at home or traveling.

I always like to give moms that are reading this an insight to what travel with kids is really like. Can you tell us what school will look like for your kids while you travel? (homeschool, distance ed, traditional school, etc.)

We are currently staying home while the kids are in school and only travelling when the kids have a break. 

What are the top must have experiences for moms and kids traveling together in the Cost Rica?

There is so much to do in Costa Rica. While I know we haven’t done everything, my top experiences are:   

– A visit to Manuel Antonio to see the monkeys. A guided tour is highly recommended. You can also visit a beach there, but you have to be careful of strong currents.     
– A mangrove monkey boat tour. This tour was a favorite for the kids as they were able to feed the monkeys who came directly onto our boat. It will also give you an opportunity to cruise around and learn about the flora and fauna of the area and possibly see some sloths. 
– Visit the hot springs. Even better if you stay at a hotel with a hot spring pool!

What are your top travel tips for traveling in the U.S. with little ones?

Check the weather and make sure you’re planning your trip during the appropriate season. You may be able to find better deals during the off season, but there is risk involved.

The first time we went to Disney was in October of 2016, and we were evacuated from the park because of Hurricane Matthew. The next day we were locked down in the hotel. Yes, we got better rates, but we missed an entire park day.

Also, choose a destination that both parents and kids can enjoy. There are so many great places to go. Make sure there are activities for all. It’s a vacation and an experience that should be enjoyable for all. 

Living a life of travel is so exhilarating! How often do you and your family get to travel?

We try to travel at least 4-6 times per year. This includes some long weekends and we try to do at least one or two internationals trips per year. 

What is your and your families favorite thing to do while traveling and why?

We love visiting pools and beaches. I personally love trying foods native to the area we are visiting and the kids are starting to enjoy that aspect of our travels as well. 

As a mom traveler, what are 3 things you could never travel without?

Wet/sanitizing wipes, activities/books/crayons, and lots of snacks.

What is your greatest pieces of advice for a mom who wants to embark on a life of travel with her kids, but is worried about making it work?

It is hard sometimes, but the memories are something you’ll have forever. Start small with domestic/weekend trips and work your way up to something bigger. Once you get more comfortable traveling with the kids, you can go on longer, more exotic trips.

Thanks Candace!
You can keep up with Candace and her family on her Instagram accounts
Instagram: @familytravelz
Instagram: @travelwithcandace

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