Tag Archives: new york city

Is “Family Friendly” a Luxury?

I spend a lot of time traveling with my family. Sometimes it’s a work gig they get to tag along for. Other times it’s a getaway. We’ve stayed in many a budget bungalow where the only stars you could find were on the free HBO. Most of the time the destination determined the digs. More often than not though, the biggest factor in choosing where we stayed was budget.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a fancy hotel. When you’re used to having to tuck everyone else in the joint in, read them a story, fetch endless glasses of water and chase off monsters from closets and corners, turn-down service is a welcome novelty. But as much as I like the luxury hotel experience it didn’t really fit into my family travel plans. Until, Omni.

My philosophy is, if you’re going to splurge on a topnotch hotel -with your family in tow- the hotel should be just as much of a destination as your actual destination is. Omni hotels have a knack for doing just that. From their Kid’s Fantasy suites, to Camp Omni, their Sensational Kids program to Teen Connect Omni makes your family a part of their family, ensuring that fun is had by ALL.

Being that my kids range in age from 18 to 6, making sure everyone has a blast is a tall order. Omni Hotels go out of their way to make sure that job is easier for me. My 13 year old daughter got to interview some of the staff at the Omni Berkshire this past Fall and put in her two cents about what tween/teens like at a hotel, as part of her participation in the Family Travel Conference. I was privileged to be hosted at the Berkshire during BlogHer 2012 last weekend. I got to see, first hand, some of the things she was excited about. With their new Teen Ambassador, David Strebel, on board to help take the program over the top, my family can’t wait to go back again, and again. Omni adds so much more to your family’s trip, it’s like destination in itself. An added luxury that is priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: Omni Berkshire New York hosted two of the three nights I stayed in conjunction with my trip to BlogHer 2012. AS ALWAYS, all opinions are my own. I have stayed at several Omni properties, own my own dime, and highly recommend them for families who travel.

 

Family Travel Conference: Inspiration in The Big Apple

Two weeks ago I was honored to be in attendance at the inaugural Family Travel Conference, hosted at the both elegant and homey, Omni Berkshire Place in NYC. This wonderful, inspiring conference was the brain child of  gifted and brilliant minds behind Traveling Moms, Family Travel Forum, Taking The Kids and Travel Media Showcase and brought together a bevy of passionate travel writers. 

The mix of writers for spanned the spectrum of journalistic outlets from traditional media, to National Geographic Intelligent Travel: Traveling Family, to book authors, bloggers and travel industry insiders. It not only made for interesting dynamic, but truly valuable insights, advice and guidance. For example, did you know that there are two schools of thought with regard to lead-ins when you are publishing a video you’ve created?

  • One camp suggests that you be sure to start every video by introducing yourself;  “Hi, DiPaola Momma of Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom here…”
  • The other asserts that you should never do that, that viewers are much more interested in the destination than the person sharing. Certainly a “nugget” I’d never thought about.

Beyond videos, the following advice was offered with regard to content:

  • Keep It Short. Not something I’m adept at, as I am sure you may have noticed.
  • SEO. It is certainly your friend, but don’t kill yourself trying to optimize it, content is always king. 
  • Use Bullets. This is for those easily distracted by shiny objects.. ME!
  • Photos. The eye tends to wander if it’s all text. Use photos to break up the text and keep the reader engaged. Like so…
              Now I have your attention again.. right?                 See, it works!

Even as great as the great tips and guidance were, they did not stand alone as what made this an amazing conference for me. The Family Travel Conference was truly about family. I was encouraged to bring along one of the Lil Nuggets, I choose our tween daughter. She would go on to interview the Executive Chef of Virgils BBQ (of both NYC and Atlantis Resorts) and the Omni Berkshire’s Director of Dirt (Director of Housekeeping). The minute she stepped in front of the camera, she came out of her shell. The introverted 12 year old who was mortified when I took the mic -which promptly screeched with feedback- to introduce myself, became this whole new person. Since then, we’ve been working together (I know, OMG huh?!) on editing her video, which I’ll post here soon.

The conference also reaffirmed something for me. Having such a big family -who has yet to hit the lotto- you’d think that travel would be a luxury for us.

It. Is. Not. Nor should it be for any of you.

Travel is part of the fabric that weaves my family together. Traveling allows us to connect in ways that sitting in front of a movie screen or playing the latest video game never could. In an economy, where many families are struggling, there is still a place for travel. It doesn’t have to be a trip to Tuscany or 5 Star Cruise, it can be as simple as being a tourist in your home town. Take yourself out of the everyday. Step away from routines, do something new, explore together, and what you’ll find is that you’ve come full circle back to the reasons that being a part of a family is a true gift.

Thank you Family Travel Conference founders, sponsors and attendees!