One question our Guest Services department hears a lot is, “How do I know if my kids are ready for a trip to Europe?” (or Costa Rica, or New Zealand, or Peru…)

A recent chat I had with my son illustrates why we think it’s never too soon to introduce kids to the big, wide world out there.

Jack, now 11, has been traveling abroad with us since he was an infant. (In his first passport photo, aged 11 months, he’s wearing a Winnie the Pooh sleeper.) On our recent camping trip to California’s Kern River, I seized just the right father-son moment to ask him which trips he remembers most fondly and why. With little or no prompting, he obliged me with a short list of his All-Time Top 5. 

5. When Jack was just seven, we scouted our soon-to-be New Zealand Family Journey. He and his little brother were thrilled to swim with the world’s smallest dolphins, climb on an actual glacier, watch sheepdogs in action, and spot Tawaki penguins on the beach.

Tawaki penguin

4. On our Costa Rica Family Journey in ’07, we joined four other families (nine kids in all). Ziplining through the rainforest canopy, river rafting, and kayaking scored big points with Jack, second only to the wildlife (both cool and creepy) we encountered at every turn.

Zip lining in Costa Rica

3. Our head guide, Sergio, captivated the kids – and the adults – on our Amalfi Coast Family Journey in ’06. Jack recounted in detail not only our excursion to Capri and walking the rim of Mount Vesuvius, but also our boat trip to Ischia where we cruised through a rocky inlet to see bathers basking in the volcanic island’s natural hot springs.

Boat tour in Amalfi

2. Happily, the camping trip we were currently on rated high on Jack’s list. Between rafting sessions, he and a friend learned to fly fish and build a campfire for the first time.


1. Topping Jack’s list of memorable travels: last spring’s Family Journey to Peru. The images of mountain biking, river rafting on the Urubamba, and exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu are all still crystal-clear in his mind.
Mountain biking in Peru

So why all the reminiscing, you might ask? Just to prove my point that kids can and do soak up every incredible travel adventure that comes their way. And the learning that takes place on a Family Journey is the icing on the cake.

If you have a childhood passport stamp (and a story that’s indelibly etched in your mind), please share it with me at And if you’d like more information about any of our Family Journeys, please click here.