Travel Fun for the Family: A Kid, A Grownup & A Travel Bug by Janice Davis
Janice Davis admits she’s no travel expert — just a mom who loves to travel with her kids — but her book, A Kid, A Grownup & A Travel Bug is nonetheless a warmhearted and practical guide into making the most of traveling with kids, with a hefty dose of information for almost any type of traveler.
"A Kid, A Grown Up & A Travel Bug focuses on one-to-one travel with a child, and was a result of my taking an impromptu trip with my daughter when she was six years old. On this trip I realized that one-on-one travel with a child was such an amazing bonding experience that I wanted to share the idea," Davis explains on her website.
Divided into two parts, the second edition of this book explains the how and the why of travel with kids, including topics like the value of travel and organizing the best possible trip.
Among the helpful tips, Davis sprinkles stories from her own family’s travels as well as cute pictures of her children in various locations. Although her kids are now grown, A Kid, A Grownup & A Travel Bug contains several years’ worth of accumulated travel experience, sure to provide an entertaining read and a few helpful tips for anyone interested in taking their kids along for the next trip.
An excerpt from the book: Reserving Ahead – Or Not (Hotels)
Now that my kids are no longer very young, when the whole family is together on long vacations we sometimes “wing it” and find our hotel when we arrive at our destination. This enables us to pick and choose what we like, in a building we find charming, on a street that’s convenient and pretty.
Since your one-on-one trip will be only for a few days, however, it’s not wise to waste precious time by having to wander around looking for a place to stay, so booking in advance in that case becomes wiser.
You can be sure that you will be booked into a large hotel, which either means it will be lovely but much more expensive than necessary, or, too often on the more “reasonably” priced packages, it will be characterless or (worse!) not centrally located.
The way to go for your small family unit is a small family-run hotel, more accurately known as a bed-and-breakfast (England), pensione (Italy), albergo (Italy or Spain) or auberge (France), or whatever this translates into the language of the country to which you’re headed.
While this type of accommodation is cropping up here and there in some American cities (there [are] about four or five that I know of in my area of Brooklyn), they are far from the norm. In the U.S. we associate the term “Bed and Breakfast” with Victorian houses in the mountains or small beach towns, not urban environments.
While their reasonable room rates might be what draws you to them originally, you’ll find that frugality is far from the only reason to stay in such a place.
For one thing, you will in the great majority of cases be staying in a house, integral to the city, with a few hundred years of its own history, as opposed to the new construction of the box-like rooms of a modern hotel.
The other wonderful thing about a B&B is that, as part of the (relatively minimal) cost of your room, your breakfast is included. I don’t say that this is “wonderful” because of the few pennies you save on not having to buy your own morning coffee, but because breakfast is provided in a breakfast room, where you are surrounded by almost-always friendly fellow-travelers.
While you don’t want to be in the constant company of an organized group, that’s not to say that you don’t ever want the company of other people at all – breakfast at a B&B is a chance to exchange stories and experiences with other families having their own adventures, parallel to yours.
A simple breakfast becomes another chance to underscore the idea that people from all corners of the globe see our world as a wonderful place that’s theirs to explore, getting to know each other in the process.
How will you know how to recognize this type of accommodation? For one thing as you read down the guidebook listings you might look for the above terminology (‘auberge’ or ‘pensione’ instead of ‘hotel’), as well as the number of rooms (obviously if the number of rooms is 140 you can assume it is not a small B&B).
If a hotel has no stars at all, that is significant to note – avoid these, unless you are able to make the stretch that falling plaster, mildewed carpet and questionably washed sheets with holes in them further reflect that “sense of history” we were just discussing…
Another aspect of one-star hotels that is very common and taken for granted in much of the world, but that Americans are often taken a-back by, is that the toilet and shower may be down the hall from your room and therefore shared by the guests from several other rooms. This might have a negative connotation to Americans simply because it’s not something we ever see at home in a hotel we’d consider decent.
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