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By Gia Miller

Photography by Justin Negard 

We’ve all heard the travel horror stories (and many of us have our own to share) – kids crying the entire fight, throwing tantrums in the middle of a museum, refusing to put their electronic device away for even just a few minutes, etc. But traveling with kids can be a good, perhaps even great, experience as well. We sat down with five local parents to get their thoughts and advice on seeing the country, and the world, with your kids.

The parents:

Beth Uretsky – Cross River parent of boys ages 21 and 15

Paula Peeler-Remy – Katonah parent of boys ages 11 and 9

Aaron Remy – Katonah/Washington state parent of an 8-year-old girl

Sam Karlin – Bedford parent of an 11-year-old boy

Lisa Squadron – Katonah parent of boys ages 14 and 11

Katonah Connect: How often do you travel with your kids, and where do you go?

Beth: One to two times a year. We like to explore, so once a year we try to go to another city. And we also go to Boston and down to Florida, South Carolina – all around. We also try to do long weekends. 

Aaron: I guess it depends on what you define as travel, but maybe once or twice a year. Because of COVID, I didn’t take my daughter with me as much. I could risk myself, but I didn’t want to risk her. (To Paula:) Was it last year that we went to Orlando?

Paula: Yeah, it was some time in the past year. But my boys and I do a lot of car traveling. Most of my family is in Maryland, so we drive to see them multiple times a year. We also drove to Washington state to stay with Aaron and his daughter. 

Sam: We travel once a month. Now that it’s winter, we like to go skiing. We’ll also go see friends and family, and I’ll take him with me on work trips, which are usually overnight and by car. And he does very well on planes. He’s a very good little traveler!

Lisa Squadron: We travel several times a year, usually over school vacations. A lot of our traveling is to see my family in Sweden, so my kids have been going there since they were little. We’ve done a bunch of European travel, but we also drive up to Canada and to Cape Cod. 

Katonah Connect: What’s the hardest part about traveling with kids?

Aaron: Probably affordability. 

Lisa: Well, besides the cost, the hardest part is that they’ve changed so much as they’ve gotten older.  Now, it’s making sure that they’re calm and at peace and everyone is okay with what we’re doing. 

Sam: Breaking routines. But we’re trying something new, and seeing something new creates a lasting valuable experience. These shared experiences have been very positive for him. 

Katonah Connect: According to The National Library of Medicine, children’s memories from before the age of seven are likely to fade. Some believe this means it’s not worth it to travel with young kids because they won’t remember these trips. Do you agree?

Lisa: No. Sometimes, the trip isn’t about the kids. My husband and I have never left our kids to travel on our own for more than a long weekend. We went to Europe for four weeks last summer, and we wouldn’t have left them home for that long. 

I also think there’s an experience aspect to it – whether or not they remember it, if they learn to travel when they’re young, it becomes a norm for them. Then, when they get older, it’s not so shocking to get on a plane. 

Paula: Yeah, I agree. It’s not always an option to leave them behind. 

Beth: I always thought it made sense to travel with them as young as possible, even as toddlers. Wherever we were, whether it was Philadelphia eating a Philly cheesesteak or in Lancaster with the Amish, I always wanted them to experience the culture and taste the food. 

Now, they can go into any restaurant and pretty much find one thing they like from each culture. They may not know the city, they may not know the language, but at least they know they’ll be able to eat somewhere and enjoy it. I want them to know that there’s something bigger out there. And now, my 21 year old feels like he can go see the world on his own. 

Sam: I think it’s a valuable experience for the adult and the child to share something together. It’s not always going to be the parent’s or child’s first choice, but I find that time together, and the connection, to be very valuable. My son traveled a lot when he was young, and, looking back, it was a very positive experience for him. 

Aaron: I took my little girl to Disney World when she was four, and I have absolutely no regrets. It was the 

perfect age because she was not old enough to realize it was fake and curated, and she loved it. 

Katonah Connect: Do you have any funny stories about traveling with your kids?

Beth: When my kids were about eight and 1½ , we went to Niagara Falls. We were on The Maid of the Mist, and I was holding my little one when, suddenly, he saw a big wave and got nervous. He raised his arm and knocked my $300 sunglasses off my head into Niagara Falls! I was like, “Goodbye!” 

Lisa: We traveled to Tokyo to visit my cousin. He met us at the airport, and we took the subway together to our Airbnb. As we got off the train, there was a rather large gap between the door and the platform, and my little one got nervous. He basically karate chopped my arm, which knocked my wallet right onto the tracks. And I was like, “Great, now I have nothing!” Thankfully, my cousin and his wife got a station guard – he had a long pole with a little claw thing at the end. He reached down, got my wallet and said, “There you go!” Apparently, this happens a lot! 

Paula: Last spring, we were supposed to fly to Washington State. We left the house at four o’clock in the morning, showed up at Newark and learned our flight was canceled! The next flight they could get us on was three days away. We were planning on eloping, but I hadn’t told the kids. The whole trip ended up falling apart. I was crying to the ticket agent, and she said there was nothing she could do, then she motioned to the large line of people behind me. So, I called Aaron, crying.

Aaron: It was four in the morning for me, and I was still asleep. I just said, “Cancel the trip. We’ll get married eventually.” 

 

Katonah Connect: Any future travel plans?

Lisa: The list is long! There are a few places my 11 year old wants to go, though. He’s dying to see Paris, and he really wants to go to Antarctica. So that’s up there, along with Machu Picchu.

Sam: I’d really like to take my son back to the Southwest desert. We had a wonderful trip to Utah, and as he gets older, there are more things we want to do there. I think one of the best parts of travel is returning to places at different stages of your life. 

Aaron: We’d really like to get to Bali this summer. And I want to go for a while, maybe three weeks, to make it worth our while. I’ve been to a lot of different regions of Asia, and Bali’s a nice blend of lots of different cultures and religions; and it has cheap accommodations. It’s just getting there that’s expensive. 

Beth: Being Jewish, I really want to bring my kids to Israel. Last month, I learned that my nephew is having his Bar Mitzvah there around March 2026. So, I’m pre, pre, pre starting to plan. 

Katonah Connect: What are your best travel tips when traveling with kids?

Beth: One weekend, when my kids were much younger, we went to Baltimore. By the second day, my older one had a 101 fever, so what do you do? Find the 24-hour CVS and go see a doctor. You just have to roll with it. I’ve always just dealt with things wherever we were. You have to adapt. 

Paula: We’re more on the adventurous side. So, whatever we choose to do, we just take them there, hope for the best and they usually end up liking it. 

When we went to the science museum in Seattle, I expected it to be a bit more involved than it was. I thought my kids would like certain things a lot more, like a planetarium show. But, surprisingly, the fun house mirrors were the greatest thing ever. We spent half an hour in those! 

Aaron: My daughter’s pretty easy going. She’s very open-minded. If I show her something that I’m interested in, she is generally pretty receptive to my opinion. She might not particularly find it interesting herself, but I think she can understand why I appreciate it. We took her to a Phish concert several years ago; she was eight, and she wasn’t super into music. But she said it was a lot better than she expected; she said the parking lot was like a carnival! 

Lisa: You have to tailor the trips to the kids. It’s a lesson I learned trying to drag my children to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam when they were little; they had a full-on meltdown. 

We also usually stay in Airbnb’s, which I have found extraordinarily helpful, particularly when jet lag is involved. You can get up at 3:00 a.m. and make breakfast. Also, when we went to London, I gave them a printout packet to mark what they wanted to do. The more they get to choose what we’re doing, the more successful it is. 

Beth: Absolutely. It’s like “speak now or forever hold your peace.” I won’t go anywhere with them overnight without figuring out where we’re going to go. It’s pencil, not pen – everybody has a say. 

Sam: I try not to be too heavy-handed about what matters. I think kids are actually very good at absorbing new things on their own, so trying to force-feed that can actually be counterproductive. For me, the most fun part of traveling is trying to learn something new and trying to find something unexpected. We’ve generally been very successful with that. 

Katonah Connect: Thank you, everyone, for sharing your thoughts and tips. 

If youd like to join a parenting discussion, send us an email at info@katonahconnect.com. 

This article was published in the March/April 2023 print edition of Katonah Connect.

Ava Fleisher
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Ava Fleisher is Connect To's star intern and a local high school student. When she’s not writing, you can find her spending time outdoors, reading, or volunteering in her community. When she grows up, she would like to pursue a career in journalism and travel the world.