Family Travel Planning for 2019 with #emeraldcitylife

florence with kids on a family trip to Italy
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Thank you 2018, you taught us to be grateful and savor our days a little more.  Do you take a bit of time to think about the year that just passed before starting to plan the next year’s adventures?  I’m currently in the process of travel planning for 2019 and so far I’m almost certain we’ll be headed to Japan, Hawaii, Palm Springs and somewhere near North Carolina.  I’m trying to read as much as a I can about other families’ favorite recent travels and searching hashtags on Instagram to help me plan and I thought I’d share some of the places we really loved visiting in the past year just in case you need some inspiration for 2019 too.  If you have posts on favorite places from last year on your blog, feel free to add them in the comments-I’d love to hear where you and your family have visited.  I find it incredibly inspirational when families share their travel adventures and I’ve booked many trips based on tips from other travelers.

Visting Kittyhawk from Seattle with kids to see where the Wright brothers first flew in a replica of their airplane


Last year we learned the hard way about finding out nearly 24 hours before we left on a trip that we forgot to renew our kids’ passports.  It is not impossible to get passports in 24 hours but no one needs that kind of stress.  I also found out the hard way what happens when you forget your computer in your hotel safe and thankfully I had a quick-thinking friend who helped me as I figured things out.

When you forget your laptop in the hotel safe

When you realize your passport is expired the day before a trip

View at Waimea Canyon on Kauai from a scenic Viewpoint using Moon Guides on our trip with kids to Kauai in Feburary Kauai is a beautiful place to travel with family

Kauai in February

I won a photo contest at Seattle Center last year that gave me two tickets anywhere Alaska Airlines flew so we ended up being able to visit Kauai for mid-winter break.  Kauai is EXTREMELY popular during this time and we ran into more than a handful of people we knew from Seattle while we were there.  We were based in Poipu and that turned out to be a great dry area to be in during February as other parts of the island became very wet while we were there.  Having a car was a big help for our adventures too. I wrote a few posts that might help with your trip-planning if you are headed to Kauai with your kids.  Have you been to Kauai?

Kauai in February

7 days in Kauai

Italy in April

City Trails by Lonely Planet is a great book to help you if you have summer trips to Rome planned with kids

It feels like everyone I know is planning a trip to Italy!  I’ve seen some excellent flights to Europe from Seattle (like direct flights from Seattle to London!) recently and last year my husband had a conference in Carlsbad so we were able to find a great deal to Italy from California.  It was our first time in Italy and it was the kids’ first time in Italy too. April seemed like a great time to visit because it wasn’t very busy and it wasn’t very hot.  I’ve heard that you usually have to book attractions in Italy far in advance but because we were visiting during a low time we were able to get entry into all the places we wanted to visit even though we only booked a few weeks or even days before.  Originally we were going to travel by train everywhere but ended up renting car so we could drive through Tuscany.  Having Google Translate and using our smartphones was incredibly helpful.  I’ve included posts from Italy below if you’re planning a family trip to Italy in 2019.

A chocolate factory in Carlsbad you want to know about

Legoland with nearly 10 year old boys

Planning a family Trip to Italy

10 nights in Italy with kids

a family trip to Italy with a stop in Venice to see the hands in the water Eating out in Italy with kids on a family trip Using Google Translate in Italy to instantly translate Italian into English using a smartphone

Mom 2.0 in Pasadena and blogging conferences for 2019

I went to Mom 2.0 last year and it was an over-the-top experience and I waited too long to decide about going this year so I’m now on the waitlist for this April’s Mom 2.0 in Houston.  I managed to pair the trip to the conference in Pasadena with a trip with one of my besties-I asked for tips on where to visit from other bloggers and we ended up having a fun and kid-free time together in Costa Mesa, California.  We made up for the solo trip later in the summer when we took a trip with all of our kids to Great Wolf Lodge.  I’ve also signed up to go to Alt Summit this year.  It’s a longer conference than I was expecting but it is also the first blogging conference I ever went to years ago and I wanted to do something inspiring in 2019 for myself.  Of course I’m pretty nervous about going, but I’m also excited to hang out in Palm Springs.  Have you ever been to a blogging conference?  Do you have one to recommend?

Birthplace of Flight in May

On our trip to Italy we saw where Leonardo Da Vinci might have taken some flights with his flying machine idea and we ended up stopping by Kittyhawk in May when we visited the hubby after a work conference.  I just realized that we don’t have up posts for most of this trip, but Duck donuts in Duck was definitely a highlight!

Learning about the Wright brothers and flying at Kittyhawk where it all started 

Pacific City Oregon in June

Hanging out on the Cape Kiwanda Sand Dune on our trip to Pacific City Oregon on the Oregon Coast where we stayed at the Headlands Lodge with our kids A review of the Headlands Coastal Lodge and Spa on the Oregon Coast by a family of 4 who stayed in a two bedroom cottage

Headlands Lodge in Pacific City almost looks like Cannon Beach and because I saw the big Haystack Rock I assumed it was Cannon Beach when we were invited to visit and we figured out on the way that it was actually about an hour or so more south of where I thought it would be.  I’m so glad we found Pacific City-this is a really amazing place to stay on the Oregon Coast.  The Headlands Lodge is so comfortable and the ginormous dune steps away from the lodge is where my family wants to go back and hang out again next year.  They have some kind of sand boarding that we all really want to try and I want to have a beach fire this time-we had to cancel because it was a little too stormy on our trip.  We have also stayed at Cannon Beach and that is closer to Seattle if you don’t have time to go all the way to Pacific City (but you should.  It’s truly an incredible place.)

Can we talk about the perfect rooms at Headlands Coastal Lodge?

Predator Ridge Resort in Vernon BC is a great road trip by Tesla from Seattle for an outdoor family vacation

Predator Ridge Resort in Vernon in August

I’ve also been meaning to visit Vernon forever and we found out in August that it’s really easy to get there with an electric car or Tesla now that there are more Superchargers on the route from Seattle.  We were hosted at the Predator Ridge Resort and it was absolutely relaxing.  The kids took a golf lesson from a pro, they swam in the pool and we all rode bikes through beautiful scenery.  We want to revisit to see the new Okanagan Rail Trail where even more biking has opened up.  This was a place we could definitely go back with family and friends.  I want to see how many people we can get on the Kraken-a giant paddle board you can rent there-next time!

Predator Ridge Resort is a place that we’ll revist

San Francisco and a safari

Flamingos at Night at Safari West Glamping at Safari West in Santa Rosa with a family of 4-inside a tent Up close with a giraffe at Safari West in California where we went glamping and had an awesome family-friendly Safari tour

San Francisco is also a totally underrated family trip from Seattle.  I don’t hear about it nearly enough as a family travel destination and it’s so close and flights are reasonable.  We even managed to use some Air Canada points and Alaska Air points to book our flights in late summer and we found lodging outside of San Francisco in Marin County.  With a rental car this is an easy way to do a San Francisco trip and where we booked our hotel, we had places to walk to and we could have even taken a ferry into the city as well.  The hubby and I even went on a solo trip to San Francisco after our trip with kids and I got to explore the city a bit on my own too!  The highlight of our adventure with the kids to San Francisco though was a stop at Safari West in Santa Rosa.  I can’t believe there is a place like this so close to home and it was an unforgettable experience for sure.

San Francisco with kids

Glamping on a Safari in Santa Rosa with kids

Candytopia by yourself in San Francisco

Our favorite “local” stays of 2018

We also stayed at quite a few local places.  The kids and I went on a Tacoma Staycation that I wrote up for Seattle Refined.We had a fabulous trip with my parents at the Hyatt in Bellevue where their Eques restaurant has pancakes that I dream about every weekend.  We took a trip to Vancouver Island where we revisited the Tigh Na Mara with friends and survived the thick smoke of local fires then hung out in one of our favorite places in the world on Valdes with family.  We found a perfect Vancouver hotel at Christmas and cozied up at a friends’ cabin for an annual trip to Whistler.

Breakfast in the Lounge at Parq Marriott in Vancouver with kids Spring Clothes from Osh Kosh bring the fun at the playground near Science World in Vancouver

It always feels like a blur when we think about the year we just had and I know I’ll have to go back and edit this list with places we’ve missed.  But even as we’ve said goodbye to 2018 a few days ago, I’m so thankful for all of our adventures and I’m excited to keep exploring in the coming year.



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