Like many great ideas, the new family travel site Feather + Flip–officially launching their beta this fall–was born out of frustration. Founder (and mom) Henley Vazquez, who worked at the luxury travel site Indagare as well as Town & Country Travel magazine, was over the way family travel was being covered…and mostly ignored.
“There’s a growing feeling amongst parents that having children doesn’t mean handing in your passport. I wanted to build a website where time-crunched moms and dads could quickly find the right hotel and the right room at a good price,” says Vazquez, “plus easily figure out where to eat, what to do with the kids, and even find a babysitter to call.” A woman after our own hearts.
Below she tells us more about Feather + Flip, and lets us know where she’s going next and what she’s packing.
What can we expect from Feather + Flip?
We’ll be launching our beta this fall with hotel reviews, itineraries and online bookings. We’ve partnered with some great companies and will offer rates previously available only through a travel agent. Think of us as your well-traveled friend who will give you an honest assessment of a hotel and tell you how to get the best deal.
How much harder or easier is it traveling with kids than you thought?
It’s so much easier now that my kids are getting older (they are 4 and 7). We started flying with both of them while they were infants, and I think the first trip is always the most stressful. Like anyone, I’ve had tough moments of screaming kids on a plane or middle-of-the-night fevers in a foreign country, but I’ve always felt like it was worth the inconvenience to show the world to my babies.
Global Entry has also made our lives infinitely easier, especially since my husband can’t always travel with us, so I’m often solo-parenting on planes. The long wait at immigration coincides with the official end of my patience.
I’m still waiting on the day when both kids will go to the bathroom by themselves. Cramming everyone into an airport stall remains one of my least favorite things ever. But in general, I love traveling with the kids.
What are your favorite family destinations?
It’s impossible to choose! For beach destinations, I love Tulum, St. Barth’s and Ibiza. Ignore what you read in the press – they are all super low-key, relaxed, bohemian retreats where your kids are welcome everywhere and can run around naked on beaches.
Closer to home, Martha’s Vineyard and Shelter Island are little slices of heaven.
Cities seem to be universally interesting with kids, but I was especially surprised when we went to Hong Kong last spring. I could have spent a week there and found something different to explore every day. It was great for kids. London is also endlessly awesome thanks to kid-appealing museums and sights like the Tower of London (honestly, I like the gory stories as much as my kids do), easy day trips and lots of parks. Ditto Barcelona, where the groovy Gaudi architecture is as magical to a 3-year-old as it is to us adults.
What’s your favorite family activity here in your hometown?
Governor’s Island is such a treat during the summer. I love taking the ferry over and exploring on bikes or just playing in the lawns or seeing the art projects. It feels eons away from city life.
In Manhattan, the Highline is great. We love to start at the northern part and end in the Meatpacking District so the kids can snack on sausages and play ping-pong at the Standard Biergarten while we have a beer.
A little farther away, Storm King is one of my favorite day trips. The sculptures are amazing. Bring a picnic plus a stroller if your kids are young and get tired of walking.
When it’s cold or rainy, we have so many museums to visit but my new obsession is the Museum of Math. We took the kids recently and couldn’t get them to leave. Eataly is around the corner and great for lunch afterwards.
What she’s packing:
-A change of clothes, top to bottom, for the plane. Someone’s always spilling, vomiting or peeing on themselves.
-Every electronic device I own, loaded with movies, tv shows and games, and a big collection of adaptors for foreign plugs.
-Snacks and water.
-Children’s Dramamine. These chewable tablets are remarkably hard to find in a regular drugstore but most airports carry them.
-Night-Night, my 4-year-old’s half-destroyed duck-headed lovey.
-A change of clothes, because somebody usually spills or pees on me as well.
-A book so I can read when the kids have possession of my iPad.
-My laptop. Every trip has something worth scouting, so I’m always writing. Even my kids know how to do a hotel tour these days.
-An itinerary, printed as well as in my email. I hate arriving and not knowing what to do next so I always have my travel details and confirmations in the itinerary as well as good restaurants nearby and something fun to do with the kids that day.
-Cheap jewelry so it’s easy to get a little dressed up without the worry of losing anything good.