Just a year after her husband Matt passed away, Erin Ross’ daughter Maia, 10, came to her with a permission slip that changed their lives.
Maia said to me ‘Mummy, I understand that we might not be able to afford to do this, but the dance team is going to Orlando to dance at Disney World, do you think we can go?’ – I basically looked at the form, and I looked her in the eye, and said, ‘I am going to find a way to make this happen’,” Erin says. And she did.
At the time, Erin says she was just learning how to survive without her husband. But the trip gave the family something to focus on.
With dedicated fundraising, extra time at work, a few sacrifices and help from family, Erin, Maia and her younger brother Ryley, 7 all made it to Orlando.
Erin says her family’s mission when Matt became sick was “making memories”.
Now Matt has passed, that philosophy has not changed. The family has carried this philosophy into their daily lives and Erin has also incorporated it into her travel business.
She now specialises in making memories for other families.
Erin is passionate about helping families plan adventures that both that parents and the kids will remember fondly the rest of their lives.
“I love to work with people who want me to help them plan an awesome adventure,” she says.
Part of that adventure is allowing yourself to see the trip through the kids eyes. And Erin has a pretty unique way to get a kid’s perspective.
On her next trip around the world she’s letting her son Ryley take control of the Go Pro to so the family can share the adventure through the eyes of a nine-year-old.
“The kids notice things that I would just walk past, a building, a monument even a crazy sign,” Erin says.
“Maybe it’s just because I am busy planning where we are going to have lunch and planning how we are getting from here to there.
“It’s all things that I would normally wander past that the kids will notice. They notice all of those little things that are different from our own home country that, as an adult, we sometimes just don’t’ see.”
When they are old enough, Erin says it’s a good idea to get the kids involved with planning a trip.
She recently asked her daughter to plan five days in Paris and was stunned by the results.
“She’s had a thing about Paris since she was about three years old, she absolutely loves Paris,” Erin says.
“I’ve been in travel for nearly 20 years, but she has found things to do in Paris that I didn’t know existed.”
Erin incorporates both the kids and the adults view into her memorable trip planning at Travel With Kids. She takes away the stress of planning for adults and ensures the trips she organises have plenty to entertain and engage the little ones. She works closely with families to make sure the trips she plans meet their needs and expectations.
Erin says many families want to see everything all at once, but it’s a really good idea to slow down. You may not be able to get round everything on the first adventure because kids need downtime.
“That means longer stops in each location and hotels that are close to transport,” Erin says.
“Make sure you plan your days well and just be prepared that sometimes you can’t do everything.”
If you are going to a theme park, Erin suggests families plan out which rides or attractions are the ‘must do’s’ on everyone’s wish list and make sure you get those done first. Anything else you see or do along the way is a bonus.
Here’s a few more tips for planning travel with kids.
If you want to create a memorable trip with your family you can contact Erin at her Travel With Kids page here.
Erin’s tips for planning memorable holidays with kids
- Get kids involved in planning the trip
- Allow them to take a camera or Go Pro to film what they see
- Plan plenty of downtime
- Book accommodation close to public transport
- Plan your days well, especially at theme parks, an be prepared that you might not get to see / do everything in your first visit.