Our 3 Best Kept Family Travel Secrets!

January 14, 2010

Ireland ancient celtic Kilfenora statue head no nose

Do you have a nose for sniffing out the best travel secrets in both well worn tourist areas as well as off the beaten track? Friends  have always told me I have a talent for this and it certainly is a passion of mine as I want to see every area like an insider and not just on the ordinary tourists circuit.

No worries if this doesn't happen to be your strong suit because the ever growing community of travel bloggers  are here to help, thanks to a meme that Katie from Tripbase started. She tagged 5 bloggers in November to start things off with their 3 travel secrets:

Carrie, My Several Worlds Erica, Travel Blissful, Beth, Wanderlust and Lipstick, Nora, The Professional Hobo, and Liz, Travelogged.

It's been making the rounds ever since and you might have seen them on  Miss Expatica,  from Caitlin at Roaming Tales,  Audrey and Daniel at Uncornered Market , Jodi from Legal Nomads, Sherry from Ottsworld,  Nicole from Livingston, I Presume, Bernard and Danielle from Border Jumpers, Lola from Geotraveler’s Niche, Heather from Heather on Her Travels and many more! Here is a list of who has been tagged so far.

Well into our 4th year of travel, 32 countries and over 175,000 miles traveled, (most overland) thus far on our world tour and we have found sooo many travel secrets, that it is achingly hard to narrow it down to just 3, but we'll give it our best shot. Extended family travel is our specialty, but these secrets will work just as well for singles,  couples or a combination like multi-generational. 

We were very flattered to be considered a "travel guru" in this weeks UK Guardian' s Sunday article "The Travel Guru's Guide to 2010" thanks to Benji Lanyado. and I named a good travel secret in Tuscany there, but I will focus on 3 new ones here.


Galicia, beautiful beach, child runing on beach, Spain
Galicia in Summer!

It astounds me that this stunning and pristine area, perhaps the prettiest in all of Europe, is empty even in the summer high season! It is truly  breathtaking and not to be missed, but few see it except those that make the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. As great as the pilgrimage experience is, Galicia is a large area and all of it is spectacular and even most pilgrims see little of it. The food is also delicious and we highly recommend this restaurant.



Sahara camel trek, Morocco with kids

Best People and Place To Do Sahara Camel Trek

If you want a stunning and authentic  experience in the Sahara, then Les Nomades are the people to pick. I did a LOT of research on this before going, including talking to experts, who had lived in and knew the area well, and that more than paid off in our experience. If you are a twentysomething single, you might think getting food poisoning or bed bugs is part of the fun (we read about such things happening there with lesser outfits), but when you travel as a family with a young child, you want your exotic travel to be safe, educational, authentic, unique and without problems. You couldn't be in better hands than with Alessandra, who was simply extraordinary. She, her Berber husband and their family made this experience one of the highlights of our open ended world tour and I can't recommend them high enough.We were so impressed with the deep Sahara experience  that we think this should be on everyone's bucket list.


pool, vacation, Bordeaux, tropical, vineyards, digital nomad, camping

Best and Cheapest Way To See Europe

Most American's miss this secret, but it's not a secret to most Europeans or  travelers from Australia, New Zealand or even people from Korean and China that we have met.Yet, we almost never see American's so this bears repeating. There is not a city or sight in Europe that doesn't have a campsite nearby and almost all have cottages to rent as well as places for RV's and tents. They are often spectacular resorts perfect for families at very low prices. Above you can see DaVinci working on his laptop at our campsite in Bordeaux between the water park and pool that was surrounded by the world's best vineyards, near a lake & a very short bike ride away from St. Emilion. Dubrovnik, Barcelona, Venice, Florence & Tuscany are just a few of our many favorites. Sometimes the price is as low as 11 dollars a night for total luxury!


Crayfish, platter, foodie, food, party, Sweden, tradition

Just for fun and for foodies, I'll add 3 restaurants that we loved! The best real Mexican food in Europe  is Zorba's in Santorini with a spectacular caldera view. The best chicken that DaVinci ever ate was at the gorgeous La Dame d’Aquitain in a thirteen century crypt in the heart of Dijon, France in the Burgundy wine region. For the best scrumptious traditional Czech food in Prague, check out the “Three Little Violins”.

Thanks so much Nora for tagging me, it's been a fun opportunity and hopefully a help to others! Don't forget that the total list of Top Bloggers' Best Kept Travel Secrets will be gathered into a special blog post and published by Tripbase !

Now, I "tag" these 5 travel bloggers to name their 3 best travel secrets! I'm pleased that these terrific folks that I have known since our travels began are still available for this meme.

Wendy Perrin from the Perrin Post

Sheila from  Family Travel

Matt from Where The Hell is Matt

Leif from  Killing Batteries

Stacy from Rambling Traveler

What are YOUR secret tips? Feel free to leave them in the comments! Have you been tagged yet?

♥ Photo Friday

« previous | | next »


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Our 3 Best Kept Family Travel Secrets!:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Leif Pettersen

Oh the pressure!


I always thought it was a bit of a secret how you manage to make long-term travel work with a child. I guess the real secret is slow travel.


@Leif- Ha! See, that's why I love're funny & smart!

@Lise Soo true! Slow travel IS the easiest & cheapest way by far, to travel as a family.


If you have children, especially small children, go to the Caribbean in September. It's the slow season, and you will almost be guaranteed privacy at many places you will visit. We spent two weeks in Grand Cayman this summer, staying at a home on the beach. We went to Pirates Caves, hiked the Mastic Trail, ate at a very elegant restaurant on the beach, and did many more things, absolutely alone. We went to a gorgeous botanical gardens and saw only four people the entire two hours we were there. It can get rainy, but with mostly sunny skies, plenty of gorgeous beaches that will be your private playground, how can you go wrong?

Nora - The Professional Hobo

These are great tips! Then again, I knew you'd have more than a few awesome secrets up your sleeve....
And congrats on the mention in the Guardian!

Sandra Foyt

My best family travel tactic is to engage the kids in the planning. We do this by including destinations want see, even if it's the "world's largest Dunkin Donuts" in Prague. Whatever it takes to get them excited about the trip, that' my motto!


Galicia, Asturias, Castilla-Leon are all pretty amazing. Traveling down the border of Spain and Portugal will surprise you in many ways, beautiful villages, amazing views, friendly people,honnest food,.....

When you are camping in Western Australia you just have to camp at Parry Beach. This campground has no hot water and no power but it is a wonderful place. It is about 25 km from Denmark and driving up there you can take turnoffs to spectacular beaches (greenspool wow!). The campground is cared for by retired people, very friendly and helpful. It is a wooded campground next to the beach and costs about 7 aus dollars a night.
At the east coast you cannot miss cape hillsborough, it is a small national park by a beautiful bay with a "resort" (camping with some cabins and a pool. Kangaroos on the beach, huge turtles you can spot, wonderful walks with even better views and tons of colorful butterflies. It is a great place to spend some time with kids.

Another tip, travel to Patagonia in winter!! We were at the perito moreno glacier in winter and had the place to ourselves. We were lucky to be part of a bigger almost solely argentinian crowd when "la ruptura" started. Also the torres del paine national park in Chile is magical in winter. The only people we saw where 2 national geographic photographers and the parkguard. Our kids were 3 and 6 then and loved it!!! The people from whom we rented our 4WD thought it was strange to travel in winter as in summer it was so nice and warm. But I can only say that being there almost alone in this huge park was incredible!!




@Christina-That's a great idea! We might do a dip to the Caribbean this year as we plan to be in Miami in September to see some relatives. I've been to most of the islands there, but my family hasn't.

@Nora- Aw thanks! Twas a thrill to be in the Guardian & called a "travel guru". Ha! Funny where a traveling life can lead one, eh?

@Sandra- That's a great one & so important! Getting kids engaged & excited about the travel opportunity makes all the difference. Kid's books about the place works so well for us even to prepare a 5 year old to grasp the concept of round the world travel.

@Nika- Thanks for the great tips! We traveled all the way up Portugal slowly when we went to Galicia and then slowly across Northern Spain, & did really enjoy all of that.

We really look forward to our travels in Australia and Patagonia. Off season is alwas a great idea, as long as it's not too cold and rainy.

Dominique King

How did you manage to keep it to just three :lol:
We loved the Basque area and the food, too!

I did this meme a while back, sharing my three favorite metro Detroit sites That was the way I chose to make the task more manageable.

It's a fun meme and gets you thinking, doesn't it?


What great information! I don't think I could ever pick just three, but I love how you slipped a "bonus" foodie tip in there too. Thanks!


Fun tips. Can't wait to try the Sahara camel trek myself.


Last summer I visited Portugal's Peneda-Geres national park which is on its northern border with Spain. It was gorgeous though quite cool for June. I really wish we would have had time to venture further north into Galicia - looks beautiful.

Sarah Lavender Smith

Two tips and a Thank You:

1. New Zealand is already quite "discovered" and crowded during the December through January holiday season, but you can see a gorgeous undiscovered, uncrowded slice of the country by going to the West Coast region. It's remote and often rainy -- but worth it. We have details, recommendations and tips at

2. Argentina in Autumn (which is Spring down there)! We got good off-season rates and embraced the spectacular area in the Patagonia Lake District last October. I'd love to go back. We have a lot of posts about it if you want details but this one is a good starting point:

And finally, thank you for your previous recommendation for Cinque Terre in Italy; we plan to go there now!

Sarah "One family, one year, many places, no regrets"


Dominique- It IS hard just to pick 3! Loved yours too!

Kymri-Thanks! Yes, I DID have to sneak that bonus in for foodies, didn't I ? ;)

Lola- Thanks! Do'll LOVE it! Ohhh & such a light & perfect place for endless gorgeous photos!!

Keith-Sounds great, we loved Portugal too. There is always next time, right? ;)

Sarah-Thanks, glad we could help and inspire! Great ideas. Cinque Terre is such a summer location, I can't imagine it in the cold and rain of Italian winters, but it will still be beautiful.

I love off season, but only when it's not cold or rainy as I find that puts a damper (literally) on family travel.

I love Italy and northern Europe, but I lived a year in Italy long ago and endured that long, cold, dark, rainy, winter. Thus we decided to spend our winters in the warmest, sunniest spot in Europe! LOL

Call me a spoiled Californian, but I don't even like the few rare cloudy day here & just don't enjoy travel very much slushing about in miserable weather.

I love snow too, but I just don't want to live in it as it wears me down.

If it gets too cold & rainy in Italy, head south to Spain or Portugal as it will be pretty miserable up north weather-wise until almost May!


Great secrets! We are always amazed when people are so surprised that we are traveling to Europe with our whole family...they always ask how we can afford it, but there are definitely ways to see Europe on the cheap!

Katie, Tripbase

Excellent secrets, and a bonus one too!

Thanks for sharing!

Can you please send me your email?


All Inclusive

Always love reading what you have to say. Thanks for the post as usual.

Outrigger Vacations

Love #1 hope to try it this year. Thank you for sharing.


What a terrific list! I especially like your bonus secret. Good idea!


Loved the food secrets. There's a lot to do in Europe and for less if you know where to go.

Abandon the Cube

Thanks for this list of secrets! Good stuff to know, especially the campsite information...although they can be difficult to reach without your own transportation.


hi. Im trying to budget my travel to europe and i really want to camp as much as possible.

is there a book or a website that can help me find campsites? i plan on renting a car in each country.
How would i find them?
Im planning to go to greece, turkey, spain, hungary, swiss...

Your advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Hi Natalie,

Did you see our post on best books for camping?

See all my posts about camping in Europe and I usually list where we stay and we've camped in all the places you named.

You might also look into a long time rental of a car..could be cheaper to do just one.

Happy planning!

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner