This week, we’re so excited to have expert advice from travel aficionado and Travel Channel mainstay, Samantha Brown. She’s been traveling around the world for the Travel Channel for the past 12 years, and has visited more than 49 countries in her travels. As a new mom of six-month old twins, Samantha has partnered with Embassy Suites Hotels and the Association of Children’s Museums to encourage families to learn and explore cities this summer. As part of Embassy Suites pledge to help families get 300% more enjoyment out of their vacations, they’re offering surprise museum perks and VIP status for families staying at Embassy Suites during More-days. When you stay at an Embassy Suites property in 18 cities across the country including Orlando, Washington DC, and San Diego.
Samantha just beamed when sharing her joy as a new mom and the exciting challenges and adventures traveling as a new family will bring. This road warrior and expert traveler shares her tips for travel and what it’s like being a new mom, ready to embark on raising a #welltraveledfamily:
Q: What does being well-traveled mean to your family?
I would say taking advantage of every opportunity near and far. I think it’s not necessarily going 10,000 miles, it’s going 100 miles and really taking advantage of what’s near and understanding that every day can be a travel experience. It’s more of a state of mind.
Q: How does your family make travel a priority?
For us, it’s slightly different because I travel for a living. I travel up to 230 days out of the year. I won’t be doing that with kids anymore, but we went through a very arduous nanny interview process and the second question was “Do you like to travel?” We grilled them, my husband and I. “Tell us about a travel experience, where would you like to go, what country have you always dreamed of going?” We just found out what their attitudes were about travel because they’re going to be with us. We’ll be taking the kids whenever we can. We need to have a nanny that finds travel as exciting and as eye-opening as we do so she can pass that onto the kids when I’m working. I want [my kids] to be there and be a part of my traveling life.
Q: What advice would you have for parents looking to travel more with their family?
Think local, act local. If you just go to your own state’s tourism board and website, you will be amazed at what you can do. Start out small, start with half day trips then overnight trips, and go from there. It doesn’t have to be this big trip. That’s a big reason I think people get intimidated–by thinking that travel means getting on a plane and flying 3,000 miles–it really doesn’t. It’s every day. We meet different people from different countries every day. We just need to open ourselves up to those experiences and realize that they are truly right next door.
Q: What are your top 3 must have items when you’re heading on vacation?
My comfort items when I travel are: earplugs, they block out the extra noise, you can hear your own children of course, but it just creates a more peaceful existence. I always bring peanut butter. It’s a survival food. And I always travel with a set of pinkie balls. Pinkie balls are these pink, hard rubber balls you can get at the toy store and I actually use them to work out the knots and the kinks that I get after long red-eye flights and being on my feet all day. I put them on the floor, and lay down on them on my back. I push up with my feet and put all my weight onto those pinkie balls and roll down my back. It makes you feel like you had a $200 massage and it’s only $2.50 so I think that’s a great piece of advice for moms who are just exhausted at the end of the day. What I realized it that not only are you holding a baby, but you’re holding three other bags and then your back hurts, your arms hurt, and it’s nice just to have something that gives you a little relief at the end of the day.
Q: What is the most unique thing you’ve experience during your travels as a family?
Just for me, the joy of having a family. I have wanted one for so long. Traveling can actually be lonely, you’re at hotels alone all of the time. There’s nothing like coming home after a day of working and opening that hotel room door and seeing my babies. Soon they’ll be children and they’ll be all over the place but right now we’re at that place and it’s just wonderful. It’s just something I’ve dreamed of, I’ve envisioned going down to the pool with them and playing in the pool and all of these things that I’ve seen other people have that now I have. It’s something that I’ve dreamed of so long that I now have, I’m not alone.
Q: Where is next on your family’s travel bucket list?
We are going to either Spain or Morocco. I’m doing a Travel Channel show and those are the locations. That reminds me, I have to get their little passports!
Samantha Brown has spent the last 12 years living out of a suitcase traveling to 49 countries, 220 cities and staying in countless hotels. No stranger to jetlag, she’s helped people create the ultimate to-do lists to experience people and culture in another part of our own country and the world. Viewers follow Samantha and her travel advice not only because of her experience and knowledge but most importantly her warmth and approachability. Her motto is “If I can do it, you can do it” and with her you can.
Welcome to the latest Friday blog post Q&A series called #WellTraveledFamily Friday. Each week on Fridays, we’ll interview thought leaders, family travel experts and everyday families that are blazing trails and are living examples of raising confident, more culturally aware and confident families through travel. These inspirational families inspire us to travel and explore the world with our kids, and I hope that they will inspire you to do the same.