Holly Wakefield and her husband, Micah, have lived in San Antonio for over 14 years. They created their website, Family Life and Travel, to share their family’s travel adventures. Along with their three children, the Wakefields are self-admitted travel junkies. They’re always planning their next big getaway! In addition to their website, they have a blog where they write reviews of the places they visit, and they are contributors to Islands.com.
What are your secrets to happy, fun, and easy family travel?
LOTS of planning ahead! 🙂 I am a big planner and list maker – lists, lists, lists! My husband and I spend hours and hours for months before a family trip looking at every detail. This is fun to us; we’re weird like that. We sit on the couch with our own laptops at night messaging each other details about locations we are traveling to and talking about what we find. My kids are very involved too. They love to travel. We work together to pick our family travel locations. For some families it may be mountains or maybe theme parks, but we’re in love with beautiful beaches!
Which travel blogs are best for families to follow?
I don’t actually follow any specific travel blogs. I get most of my inspiration from Islands magazines and their website. Islands magazines have been decorating our coffee table for years. My girls page through them slowly like most kids look through toy catalogs, pointing out their favorite spots. One way to find great travel blogs is by using StumbleUpon (either their website or the iPad app) in the Travel category. We come across a lot of unique blogs or photos of amazing places around the world to go to.
Can families travel to the Caribbean without breaking the bank? What are your favorite family-friend locations in the Caribbean?
I definitely think families can travel to the Caribbean without breaking the bank. We have done it numerous times! I know some might look at our pictures and destinations and assume we have a huge travel budget, but that is a far cry from the truth. We sacrifice a lot to make our traveling possible. Find the things your family enjoys doing the most and make a way for it to happen. Traveling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Airline miles are crucial – save, save, save!
Cruising is another budget friendly way for families to travel and definitely the cheapest way to get to out-of-the-way islands. The nice thing about cruising is it’s completely all-inclusive: you have your travel covered to several locations, lodging, way too much food, and plenty of activities and entertainment to keep the kids busy. Royal Caribbean is currently our favorite family cruise line. Holland America is also nice, but much more low key.
As far as a favorite Caribbean location, that would be hard to answer. They are all so beautiful and different in their own ways. We’ve been to Cozumel three times (flights to Cancun are much cheaper than other Caribbean locations from San Antonio), so obviously that’s a destination that holds a special place in our hearts. Most islands have plenty of resorts and lodging options to fit anyone’s traveling budget. These small islands’ whole economy is dependent upon travelers/vacationers so it’s important for them to be as accommodating as possible.
One of our favorite resources for exploring possible places to stay is AirBnB. You can find places to stay that suit any price range. Also, keep an eye on major deals from sites like Travelzoo or Vacationstogo.com; sometimes not being picky or being flexible with the dates can lead to an affordable, yet amazing, travel experience.
What destinations will your family explore in the coming year?
We have a trip planned to St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands) this fall and we’re already counting down the days for it to get here! 🙂 As far as next year, the destinations are all still out on the table. We haven’t been to Jamaica yet so it is currently getting a lot of attention, but no definite plans yet… We’ll see.
What are your tricks for getting gorgeous vacation photos like the ones on your blog?
Lots of practice. Expensive gear is overrated; spend some time getting to know the equipment you have. I have an old Nikon D40, no special lenses. I do need to upgrade my equipment eventually but, hey, that’s the price of a vacation, so I’ll make do with what I have for now. Try to remove clutter from your background (extra people, etc.), try different angles, and shoot away!