Tell us a little bit about your tribe and your holiday style.
We are a family of 4, Ariana, Norman, Little Miss 6, and Master 3. Little Miss was born in in the Andes and we envisaged ourselves splitting our time between our home in Cusco and Norman’s family in Granada, Nicaragua. Little Miss, and parenting, was a surprise to us – to say that we were unprepared is an understatement! We spent a lot of time on planes in her first 2 years as we continued to hold onto the idea of living overseas. By the time she was 2.5 we had a permanent home in Australia. The arrival of our son not long after meant we were grounded for a short while. For the moment our travels are interspersed with long periods of stability, where we thrive on having a home and a big garden.
Our holiday style is overwhelmingly independent! Even when we were a footloose and fancy free couple, we didn’t fit one category or another – we weren’t backpackers or flash packers… but independent – doing whatever felt right – including some luxury stays we could ill afford!
In a nutshell -we enjoy independent travel with some comfort thrown in. We like small, family style hotels that are comfortable and clean. We mostly pay for private transport because it is much less stressful and you can do your own thing – though it tends to be expensive. We don’t like resorts or tours; and sometimes we stay in boutique 5 star places, or in others, rustic homestays – it’s all about the experience and what feels right to us.
What has been your favourite family holiday and why did you love it?
We went to Bali for 3 weeks in 2016 and were initially very reluctant due to the bad press Bali gets… (In Australia). Given we like to get off the beaten track Bali seemed a little too normal (it seems like “everyone” in Australia goes to Bali!) Well, weren’t we wrong! We did a lot of research and ended up in some fantastic places where there were very few tourists. We loved the stunning scenery and the friendly Balinese.
As we have lived & travelled in Latin America for 15 years, we were also a little hesitant to travel outside our comfort zone. It was good for us to stretch ourselves, by not being able to speak the language or know what was going on made us a bit less adventurous than we might have been in our planning. Next time we will use Bali as a stepping off point for other Indonesian islands and get our adventure mojo back. (Given that the kids will be bigger too, will make it easier.)
What 3 destinations are top of your family travel bucket list?
It’s difficult because there is the ‘achievable’ bucket list which is places that we are likely to make happen; and then there is the ‘dream’ bucket list! We are already classifying things according to places which will be better when the kids are a bit bigger. (Like a white Christmas; a Ski Trip or doing some longer multi day hikes in Tasmania and New Zealand.)
The achievable bucket list for this year includes
- Australia Zoo and North Queensland/ Great Barrier Reef
- Bali and other Indonesian Islands
If we visit family in Latin America year we will include:
- A road trip to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon; plus a Sierra to Sea day – if at all possible!
- Arenal and some of Costa Rica.
Since joining Instagram 6 months ago we’ve tremendously enjoyed meeting other travelling families and due to their posts also added Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Cambodia to the list!
If you had to pick one travel item that makes travelling with kids easier, what would it be?
A decent size pram that lies down to sleep – and or/ can be filled with paraphernalia. Followed in close second by an ergo Baby Baby carrier. We are VERY fond of our Deuter Trekking Backpack but it takes up a lot of space (if you are not carrying it) whereas the Ergo can be folded up into a small space and whipped out whenever necessary.
What’s your best piece of family travel advice that you can share with the Our Tribe Travels community? Go with the flow; don’t have too high expectations. Program in rest time, or time that is 100% kid focused – this especially includes swimming pools and playgrounds. Even when we are travelling we do maintain some kind of routine, including a siesta in the hotel around lunchtime. With routine, getting to bed at a reasonable time we seem to *mostly* avoid tantrums and melt-downs.
We are particularly happy to share Peru, Nicaragua, Bali and Western Australia travel tips!
Ariana Svenson and Norman Vega launched World of Travels with Kids. Follow their blog, instagram and Facebook pages in the links below: