Slightly embarrassing confession of a professional travel writer- My husband and children just received their first passports two months ago. Yes, we travel constantly (at least a dozen times a year) and yes, I spend my days urging folks to take their kids on adventures but up until this summer, life has kept ours on the North American continent.
Us hanging out in North America like we usually do…
It isn’t like their lives have been completely devoid of international travel. My kids have spent a couple weeks in Canada (if you drive into Canada with minors, they don’t need a passport) and my husband popped over the southern border to Mexico for some fun in his younger years. But as far as most international traveling families go, we are pretty pathetic. It isn’t for lack of trying. My husband and I tried to go on grand European and Australian vacations as a couple but health problems and one nightmare of a pregnancy caused those plans to change. Then there was grad school and infancy (anyone who has multiple infants understand the true meaning of the words “survival mode”) and three moves which made life just a tad nutty. Finally, we are stable, the kids are almost six, and we ARE NEVER MOVING AGAIN which means we can fulfill one of my greatest dreams, international travel as a family.
Me, daydreaming about international family travel….
This August my family is embarking on what is sure to be one of our grandest adventures to date, a trip to Peru with Adventures by Disney. I am so excited I am can barely stand it. Peru, home to Macchu Picchu, the ruins I vowed to visit from the moment I first saw them on the cover of National Geographic decades ago. Home to wooly alpacas and brightly colored textiles woven into masterpieces from their wool by Inca natives. Yes, that Peru will be our home for six glorious days.
[picture of my family in Peru, to be inserted]
Clever caption below glorious picture of us not in North America…
Didn’t know Disney had a tour company? Either did I until about 18 months ago. The first images that popped into my head when I heard about Adventures by Disney were those of Donald-Duck-hat-wearing families in matchy matchy “Earnshaw Family Reunion 2012” t-shirts being lead around famous landmarks by Mickey Mouse- not exactly what I want for my family when we climb up to the ruins of Machu Picchu. Luckily, I have been assured that image couldn’t be further from reality. The reason why people book with Adventures by Disney is because they trust the Disney brand and know that the same high quality, enthusiasm, and attention to detail that we have all come to expect from Disney Parks will be offered on their tours.
Sweet family in matchy, matchy shirts. Cute for Disneyland. Not so cute for touring foreign lands.
So where exactly does Adventures by Disney go? Well, pretty much everywhere! Have you ever dreamed of taking your family on a South African safari, tour of China, Tuscan getaway, or an Australian odyssey? Disney takes families to all these places, weaving in experiences with native culture while sampling local food and offering plenty of adventure for everyone in the group. Or so I am told. A couple travel writer friends of mine who have been on Adventures by Disney trips speak incredibly high of their experiences and rank these trip at the top of their own numerous vacation experiences. Their endorsement and my knowledge of the Disney brand is enough to get me excited but I will wait until my family takes our trip before fully ringing those endorsement bells.
Macchu Picchu people!!!!! Photo by Flickr user einalem.
To be completely honest, I have a mixture of excitement and nerves swirling inside of me when I think about our big trip next month. My kids are great travelers and I have no doubt they will do great with the travel (even that long flight to South America) but heading someplace so different from home with my children does give me the jitters. Peru has always ranked towards the top of my own travel wish list but we have never been this far away from home. One thing I know for sure is I would probably be much more nervous if we were doing this alone. I take great comfort in knowing that Disney will be leading the way on this journey and trust that they will make our first journey to another continent an incredible experience.
Disclosure: My family will be visiting Peru with Adventures by Disney as part of a media tour. Our tour and a portion of the airfare will be provided by Disney but all opinions will be provided by yours truly.