Eric Stoen is recognized as one of the most influential travelers on family travel by the travel world. He literally loves to take his kids into adventurous places. Leaving his full-time job in 2014, Eric Stoen started his family travel blog ‘Travel Babbo’ to inspire more people. The word ‘Babbo’ that means ‘Daddy’ in Italian comes from their memorable Florence travel. His photographs and writings were honored by various awards till then.
|Hobbies / Interests||Photography|
|Number of Countries Visited||? 97|
|Social Media Accounts||Web/travelbabbo.com|
What was your inspiration to become a traveler? And how did you decide to start this journey with your family?
My wife and I had traveled a lot with our families growing up. At university, we both studied abroad, and we traveled together when we were dating and then after we got married. So there was no possibility that we would stop traveling after having kids. We kept booking flights, choosing new destinations, and returning to favorite places, with one, two, or three kids with us.
How would you describe your journey to 97 countries so far?
I traveled to a few countries as a child, then visited a lot more when I was studying in Europe. After graduation, I tried to see five new countries a year, and managed that for several years. Now I may travel to one new country in a year or I might see a lot more than that. It’s just a matter of what travel opportunities present themselves. Last year my new countries were Qatar, Laos, South Korea, Lebanon, and the Faroe Islands – random! It’s amazing to see the world, and it’s even more fun when I get to return to my favorite places and see them through my kids’ eyes.
How did you manage to finance all your trips that too with your family?
We use frequent flier miles to help with plane tickets, and we simply save money for travel. It’s our highest budget priority. It also helps that as a travel writer I am often able to get better rates from hotels and resorts.
Which countries have been your best and worst experiences/memories that you can’t forget with your kids?
Best: kayaking in Antarctica and Greenland; hiking in the Faroe Islands and Chile; horseback riding in Iceland; falconry in Ireland and the UAE; excellent cooking classes in Morocco, Turkey, Italy, France, Taiwan and Hungary; and art classes in the UK and Italy.
Worst: getting stuck on narrow one-way roads through small towns in Greece, Italy, and Portugal, and having to run through A LOT of airports around the world in order to get to our connecting flights.
What are the common challenges you face while traveling with children?
Hot days are always challenging – no one wants to be outside, and there’s only so much to do in a hotel room. And the kids don’t always agree on our destinations, so no matter how great a trip is, there’s usually one person who would rather be somewhere else!
What would be your bit of advice for families who will go on a journey with their kids for the first time? What they should be careful? How should they be planning their trips?
- Pick a destination that everyone wants to go to.
- Book flights, hotels, and airport transportation in advance.
- Don’t overplan! Let your kids choose your activities, but don’t schedule more than one major thing every day. Leave yourselves time to explore and have spontaneous experiences.
Your first destination with your family:
Top 5 countries to travel with family and kids:
Greece, Italy, France, Faroe Islands, New Zealand
Which camera do you use for your instagram pictures
iPhone 11 Pro and Canon 6D Mark II
The most important items that you always bring while traveling with your family
Children’s medications, a Frisbee, a small towel, and blue painters tape.
How long are your trips on an average?
Two to three weeks.
The most favourite cuisines of your kids from your journeys:
Greek, Italian, Indian, Thai
The best hotels that you stayed:
My favorite hotels in the world are:
- Six Senses Laamu (Maldives),
- The Peninsula (Bangkok),
- Al Ponte Antico (Venice),
- Mashpi Lodge (Ecuador),
- Taj Mahal Palace (Mumbai),
- Four Seasons (Orlando),
- Park Hyatt (Tokyo),
- Giraffe Manor (Kenya).
How many countries do you visit in a year?
This year, zero, thanks to America’s poor handling of COVID, but typically I will travel to 10 or so countries a year.
Where is next?
I have a lot of places on my travel wish list, like Georgia, Uzbekistan, Namibia, and Iran, but I currently don’t have any trips booked. I will hope for the best in 2021!