Mary Heston, World TravelingMom

Mary Heston is a mom of four amazing kids who, over the past 20 years, have only asked “Are we there yet?” a couple of times. Getting there is part of the adventure. They have lived in 6 different US states and 2 countries. She was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show talking about connecting with your kids. Mary is the founder of Stayathomemom.com (although her friends like to joke that she is rarely at home). Traveling with kids has meant homeschooling along the way and a gratitude for growing Internet access around the world.


No Time for a Vacation? Take a Hike!

It is nice to dream about those long family vacations but we don’t always have the time (or the budget) for a major getaway. For our family, one of our favorite ways to get away from it all is to go on a family hike. We live in the Pacific Northwest and there are some fantastic hikes wherever you go. The trail system in Washington state is particularly well maintained, marked, and abundant.  Here are a few tips we have learned over the years to having a successful outing when you are hiking with kids. 1. Start Early Start...

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Comic Book Conventions: Superhero Family Travel

Planning a family vacation can be tough, especially when you have all ages in your crew.  A couple of years ago we started going to Comic Book Conventions (Comic-Cons) and have found a whole new kind of family travel. Before you say, “But I’m not a geek!” give me a minute to tell you that you are.  We all have a little bit of a geek in us – and if you are a parent you are already someone’s superhero. Comic-Cons are not just a comic book convention anymore.  Posters all over San Diego this summer described Comic-Con as...

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Disney Magic with Teens: It’s Possible

One of the great thing about Disneyland and Disney World is that the pictures can really say more than all the words you can think of. My first trip to Disneyland with the kids was in 1999. This first photo shows me holding my daughter Cecilia (age 3 at the time) alongside just a portion of the extended family who joined us that day. Flash forward to the spring of 2014. The big question in my mind was whether a trip to Disney with a teenager would be as magical as it was for that young girl in 1999....

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AllStar Vacations Lets Moms Take a Vacation, Too

What kid doesn’t love a vacation? I sure did. My favorite part was running out the front door and jumping in the backseat of the car. I loved knowing that Mom had taken care of all the details so all we had to do was have fun. More and more, when I talk to other moms these days and ask them about their vacations, they sigh an exhausted sigh and say, “I need a vacation from my vacation – it was exhausting.”  As moms, how do we go on vacation and get a chance to feel like we are...

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Overnight Travel with your Pets

Anyone who owns a pet will tell you that their little critter is a part of the family.  So for many people family travel obviously means that their pet is traveling with them.  My little Corgi goes wild every time he hears the keys jangle.  He runs to the kitchen door and wags his non-existent tale and looks at me like “I’m ready I’m ready Lets GO”.  He has traveled with us on cross country road trips and loves to travel almost as much as the rest of the family. Traveling with a pet can bring its own set of challenges.  It’s fun to bring your pet along but it is also important to think about their safety too when traveling in a car.  You can purchase a special seat belt for your pet.  This works great for smaller cars where there may not be room to load up their travel kennel.  We were traveling with two dogs on one trip and we were lucky to be going in a Suburban because the back cargo area was just the right size for two hard plastic travel kennels.  We ended up getting into an accident on that trip and the back window blew out.  If the dogs had been loose in the car they would have had glass shattered all over them or worse. Many of our trips with our...

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Half the Sky and International Travel with Kids

Kids all over the world are pretty much the same. They want to play, they want electronic toys and they want to learn. But, as my children discovered during our year of living in the Middle East, not all children—especially girls—get to realize their dreams. Traveling with your kids to International locations can open their world and their eyes to some of the luxuries we sometimes take for granted. We were on a farm in the Caribbean that was entirely off the grid. They did not have power or phones coming into the farm. The only power they had...

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South Dakota: Where Imagination Guides a Family Vacation

Great summer vacations start with planning. Where are we going to go? Where are we going to stay? For my kids one of their all time favorite trips was a road trip through South Dakota. Our first trip to South Dakota was going to be a quick drive through on our way to somewhere else. Fortunately, we had built in enough leeway to spend a little extra time along the way if we found something fun. We had no idea that we would use that time in South Dakota. We drove into Rapid City around noon and checked into...

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Devil's Tower: An Overlooked National Park

When planningyour summer road trip don’t overlook Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. It is one of my favorite side trips and possibly one of the most overlooked National Parks.  The first time I drove through Wyoming was in the summer of 1981 on a road trip with my my mom. Somehow, in a pre-Internet time, I knew that the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind had been filmed at Devil’s Tower. This was not a scheduled destination on our road trip but as I looked at the map I realized we were driving by this National Park on our way...

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What to Pack for Your Trip to Amsterdam

If you are planning a trip to Amsterdam, and you should, here is the perfect packing guide:Tennis shoesToothbrushEmpty suitcase Dubai has its shopping festival, NewYork City has Madison and Fifth Avenues but Amsterdam was the first city I have ever visited that made me want to go shopping. The narrow cobblestone streets filled with rows of unique shops, restaurants and town homes seemed more like a village than a large city. Street after street, shop after shop, there were exciting new discoveries around every corner. Staying at the Hotel Pulitzer was a real treat. It is one of those...

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From Idaho to the UAE

[HOLD FOR PHOTO] One young adults take on going to Middle School in the Middle East: Asalamalakum, isme Cecilia I’ve been really lucky to spend my middle school years in Baltimore Maryland, rural Idaho and the last year in the Middle East. It was a very interesting experience going to Secondary School in the United Arab Emirates or the UAE. Living in the Middle East I saw big differences in movies, video games, cellphones and social networking among kids. MOVIES Going to a movie theater in the UAE is very different than in America. We had heard that the more risque scenes in movies got edited out. I’d seen Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in the US. And when it was released in the UAE, I went with my family to see it in the theater there. It was interesting to see what scenes got cut. When you go to a movie theater, you buy your seat in the theater, not just the ticket, like you would if you were going to a Broadway show or the symphony. Going to see a movie there is like going to a group activity. People are talking the entire time, they don’t turn off their cellphones, they text and talk on them, even with other people in the same theater. VIDEO GAMES Just like movies, video games and websites are filtered. But it was hard to know the...

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