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At one time, our guest worked in healthcare, but was (not so secretly) addicted to travel. He’s been to over 100 countries and seven continents. What sets him apart from many of the travelers I know is his approach; his uncanny way to make you laugh and be completely envious of him experiencing incredible locations with his kids. While many parents like taking breaks from their kids and heading overseas without them. Their family is not like that. Starting at age four, each of his kids got to pick any destination in the world every year for a one-on-one trip, and his kids weren’t shy about picking crazy destinations – trips have included Australia (ages 4 and 6), Hong Kong (5), Belize (4), Easter Island (6), Iguazu Falls (6), Bali (9 and 10), Japan (7 and 8), the Maldives (9), and Antarctica (8) and that was just when they were ages 4-8.
In 2012 he was lucky enough to win Conde Nast Traveler Magazine’s Photo of the Year contest out of 21,000+ entrants. The magazine planned an amazing two weeks in Florence for them. The first two days there three different people called him Babbo – Italian for Dad or Daddy. The kids started using it and it stuck – they haven’t called him Dad since they returned from that trip. The funny thing is that Babbo only means Dad in certain parts of Italy. In other areas it means Idiot. Today I am excited to have a conversation with the Family Travel influencer who literally has the registered trademark to Take Your Kids Everywhere, Eric Stoen of Travel Babbo, Welcome to Ordinary Sherpa.
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- Eric will go wherever the kids want to go or return to. There are many things that make a location returnable, it’s whatever speaks to our hearts. For us we visit Italy specifically Florence and Tuscany or the Greek Isle of Naxos. So much so that locals know our names in several of the locations.
- Let the kids have a stake in planning. Look for kid-friendly tours. They are simplified and the content is perfect for parents too.
- Parent first, then traveler, then a photographer and travel writer. He didn’t want travel to become not fun for the kids ot getting paid to do things that weren’t kid-friendly.
- I’m not afraid to show my kids faces, but seeing those accounts didn’t inspire me. Most times I shared photos of my kids often walking away because that’s naturally where I was and they weren’t interested in posing.
- Even if a place looks cool online doesn’t mean it’s a great kid-friendly place. Capture what’s authentic and find the details that speak to you.
- Eric is not willing to disrupt their vacation for work. his followers deserve better and he wanted to maintain an organic nature of photography – not sponsored, posed photos.
- He set a boundary that he didn’t accept free travel. He wasn’t going to travel without his family unless he was getting paid.
- Networking is everything and meeting people in person is a game changer. Travel writers and adventure brands are fun to be around. Go to events and meet people face-to-face. For Eric, while he was new and uncomfortable at ITB Berlin, Geeking out with new destinations was a trip and he often meets people that he’d like to hang out and travel with.
- What’s your intro? Have 20 seconds that describes why are you unique? Why would someone work with you? What is your attitude on travel? What is your perspective on ___? Your intro is what makes you memorable.
- Travel is cumulative. Explore with your kids as early as you can because good things will come of it.