I spent this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina attending the Family Travel for Real Life conference. Family Travel for Real Life (or #FT4RL as you may have seen on Twitter) is a conference founded by Dia at The Deal Mommy to promote diverse perspectives in the family travel and miles and points spheres. The mission statement of FT4RL is that:
Travel with kids is not only possible, but necessary. By sharing the world with our children, we expand both their minds and our own, creating a lifetime’s worth of wonder that can come no other way.
Dia recruited me as a speaker to talk about one of the toughest nuts in the family travel world to crack: Disney. I am a self-admitted Disney geek and was so honored to be included among the many impressive travelers, bloggers, and miles and points gurus who were speaking and in attendance. My family gets so much more out of our travels to Disney destinations by planning and researching ways to avoid the hassles that trouble others (like long lines and high prices). While it is difficult to do Disney as cheap as some other destinations, there are many ways to hack a Disney trip.
The conference was capably live-blogged by Dan over at Points With A Crew, who travels successfully with a family of 8. If you want to learn more about the specifics from my Disney presentation as well as tips from the other speakers, his posts provide a detailed recap:
- Bonnie the Frugal Travel Lawyer on “The New Frontier”
- Leslie from Trips with Tykes on Mastering the International House of Mickey
- Jason Steele on the Current State and Sweet Spots in the Miles and Points World
- Kenny from Miles4More on National Parks and Off the Beaten Path Family Destinations
- Shawn from Miles to Memories on Immersive travel: Family Adventures, Educational Experiences, and Ways to Give Back
But the conference was about more than just the practical. The takeaway for me from FT4RL was just how diverse family travel experiences can be and how rewarding all of those experiences are for our children. We jumped from Disney to discount airlines to roadschooling and voluntourism to finding creative award redemptions for a family of four to manufactured spending madness.
I leave Family Travel for Real Life with a diversity of perspectives and with some inspiring ideas for incorporating little pieces of everyone’s expertise into my own future family travels. I’ve learned that there is simply no right or wrong way to travel with your family. The key is just to do it. And if you have the time and the inclination: do it better, do it smarter, do it cheaper, and do it more.