Family Travel BoutiqueFamily Travel Boutique

Category : My Family Travels

By Kimberly Milnes

Flathead Lake Lodge – A Little Slice of Heaven

 

        I was lucky to be invited to be a part of the Travel Agent Council for the Family Travel Association and join them at Flathead Lake Lodge in Montana over Memorial Day weekend.  I have to say I did not know what to expect. When they said, Dude Ranch I had a different picture in my head. I knew there would be horses, but not sure what else. Needless to say I was surprised and delighted with all we discovered.

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By Kimberly Milnes

Want To Stay In a Pineapple By The Sea?

 

I am a BIG fan of the Karisma resorts in Mexico and Jamaica.  Karisma resorts include the El Dorado Resorts which are adult only and the Azul Resorts which are for everyone.   These are truly luxury all inclusive resorts.  So when they announced that they were going to be creating the Nickelodeon Resort in Punta Cana I was all in.

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By Kimberly Milnes

You Only Have 18 Summers!!

Colin 4 Months Old on the Tender to Grand Cayman

“One day…we’re going to take the kids to Hawaii!” “We really want to travel over to Europe, but we’re waiting until the kids are older;” “We really want to go out West and see the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, but our summers are just too busy”. Do any of those statements sound familiar to you? When I had my boys I knew that I did not want to stop traveling. I wanted to show them the world. I decided I was going to bite the bullet and figure out how to make it happen. Heck, it is the inspiration that pushed me to start Family Travel Boutique. I wanted other families to know it can be done with a little help and planning.

The average American family doesn’t think they spend enough time together (guilty). Between school, work, sports, and extracurricular activities it’s no surprise that we are all feeling disconnected and burned out. The best way to reconnect with your loved ones is to get away. No distractions and no excuses: just you and your kids (or Grand-kids) spending “quality time”, enjoying each other’s company and maybe even experiencing an unfamiliar culture together. Don’t let “Next Year, maybe” turn into the year after that…and so forth…until you “blink” and are sitting at their high school graduation wondering what the hell happened!

Travel is proven to be a wonderful learning tool for children. Seeing how people live in other countries can open their minds and hearts and expand their imagination exponentially.

The Boys in Cancun

Here are a few things that travel can provide for your family:

It can create lasting relationships…both between your own family members and people you meet while on the road. These folks that you run into along the way give you a glimpse of what life is like outside your regular circle of friends and can give you a fresh perspective on how other cultures live.  I see the friends my boys have made through out our travels. They have met kids from other countries and cultures.  It has opened them up to be comfortable meeting new people.

You can learn another language…There is something very exciting about being able to throw around a few words of French, knowing how to say hello and thank you in Spanish, or ordering off of a menu written totally in Italian…and hoping you don’t end up with something inedible! And…knowing that if you do accidentally order goat’s testicles, that your whole family will still be laughing about it 20 years from now!

Cooper 1 1/2 in Mexico

It gives you and your kids perspective…Meeting folks from other cultures will teach you that the way you look at the world (maybe through the distorted lens of our mass media) is not the way everybody does and that you could be dead wrong about some things!  My boys have seen that not every kid has an Xbox or a cell phone.  One of my reasons to travel is to show my kids how other people live as well to hopefully instill in them some gratitude for all that they do have.

Are you reading this and thinking “Boy…I’ve always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean with my kids?” If you want to do it now, you’ve probably always wanted to.  You’ve imagined it, daydreamed about it, envisioned it.  Guess what? Now’s the time to—DO IT!!   I have several vacations on my desk right now for folks just like you, who want to finally take their kids to Europe or maybe to see the Grand Canyon.

Where you have dreamed you can go!  Remember…you only have 18 summers!!

By Kimberly Milnes

The Big Lesson I Learned In Montana

   

Cooper on a Kayak for the first time

     When I started my travel business I had to decide what kind of travel I was going to specialize in selling. I knew I did not want to do weddings. 🙂  But being a mom of 2 young boys and knowing how important travel was to my family specializing in Family Travel just made sense.  I had already seen so many of my mommy friends putting aside their love of travel when they had kids.  Not going on vacation year after year,  continuing to say when the kids are older we will travel more. They are afraid to travel, thinking it will be too stressful, not knowing where to go and more.  So it has been my continuing mission to help families get away, to be able to relax and more importantly reconnect.  I have seen how travel has affected my family and my kids. It is why I am so passionate about helping families. I want to spread the gospel and inspire others to take the plunge.

Colin learning to ride a horse

 So when the Family Travel Association invited me to be a part of their Travel Agent Advisory Council and head to Montana I was all in. First, I LOVE everything the FTA is doing to inspire and promote family travel.  Their mission statement is: To inspire families to travel – and to travel more – while advocating for travel as an essential part of every child’s education.  I could not agree more.  Personally, I do take my kids out of school to go on vacation.  Firstly, because I do not want to travel with all the crowds of “school break” travel, but as well because I know they are learning and having experiences that will shape them and how they see the world while we travel. This trip was a GREAT example of the boys learning and having new experiences. This was the first time for them to ride a horse, to kayak/canoe, as well, to visit Montana and a National Park.  I know there is educational value and LIFE value in all of these experiences.  Also, I know this trip is one they will always remember. Before we even left Montana, they were already planning our return.

The Fort

Really, I think the most important take away from this trip was that they got to hang, be kids and make new friends.  The first day we were there the boys started building a fort by the lake. My boys LOVE to build forts. But the fort came to symbolize even more over the few days we were there.  All the kids worked together to add to it and make improvements everyday. They made plans to meet at the fort at 7am, YES 7am to start the day.  They rode bikes around the resort, went swimming together and eat together and just hung out.  I did not hear the constant “can I borrow your phone, there is no wifi, he won’t share the ipad” and I LOVED it.

Kids returning from a boat trip around the lake

End to a beautiful day at Flathead Lake Lodge

     I think the biggest lesson I learned on this trip was to “just be”.   That we don’t have to be go, go, go on vacation.  We can take time to learn, explore and grow.  I was able to put away my helicopter mom.  I saw the boys just having so much fun. It really did bring me so much joy to be able to give them this experience.  I can’t wait to be able to give them more adventures and to open their world to more experiences.  We will continue to go to Disney and the All Inclusive resorts, but we will also take them to places that are beyond our borders and our own comfort zones.  That is what travel should be about.  It is through travel that we can better see our own small part of the world, but more importantly to see that there is an even bigger world out there with different cultures, languages and people.

 

My hope for you is that you will take the first step.  It can be doing a small road trip new place in your state, then maybe to the other coast and when you are ready to Europe and beyond.  

By Kimberly Milnes

Lake Placid – A Gold Medal Family Vacation

Since our boys were in summer school this year we needed to stay close to home.  But still wanting to get away, we decided to hit the road and take a long weekend up in Lake Placid. We had never been this far north, so we were excited to check out a new destination close to home.

We packed up the car and headed North up Interstate 87. Once you exit off of 87 you begin to drive the 28 beautiful and scenic miles in to Lake Placid.  I would suggest making sure to drive in during the daylight hours to be able to really take in all the beauty.  There are many areas along the road to stop for photos, check out the river that runs along the highway or even take a little hike to stretch your legs.

Lake Placid is an idyllic small town, which is actually on Mirror Lake.  The downtown area is full of wonderful local shops and restaurants. The kids favorite was the candy store, A Pinch or a Pound. I found some amazing olive oil and specialty salts at Saratoga Olive Oil. As well, you can check out the Olympic Center “Home of the Miracle on Ice” and the  Lake Placid Olympic Museum. The Olympic center also offers you an opportunity to see Olympic figure skating hopefuls and past Olympians perform every Saturday night during the summer.

 

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Flathead Lake Lodge – A Little Slice of Heaven
Want To Stay In a Pineapple By The Sea?
You Only Have 18 Summers!!
The Big Lesson I Learned In Montana
Lake Placid – A Gold Medal Family Vacation