THE NEW VOYAGER – Travel guides for Kids

Brooklyn, Paris, Los Angeles or Lisbon.

If you are lucky enough to travel to any of theses places soon, or if you simply live there, then you are going to love “The New Voyager” travel guides for kids. Illustrated and designed for travelling as a family, they are definitively among our favorite travel guides.

Before having kids I used to plan all our trips. I researched through travel guides, magazines, internet and friends and we always had a map prepared with the best in town: restaurants, shops, museums, parks,.. Everything worth to see was accounted and planned somehow in my mind. We didn’t visited everything (we tend to be free souls once in the place), but somehow I knew that everything was possible and we had all the time of the world in our hands.

That didn’t work so well travelling with kids. While our first one was just a baby, he just fitted into the plan. I only had to find places where to feed him and change his diaper, easy-peasy, but at the moment he left the buggy chair and started to walk, everything became much more complicated.

Now we have discovered that although they love traveling, they prefer countryside rather than city escapes. (This is what happens when you have two boys that hate shopping and love climbing trees and running free).

We still have urban travels, though. Shorter ones as they are still little. Now I still plan (I cannot stop it), but more for the sake of knowing what there is, more than for visiting all around.

Now we select as a family where we want to go, we negotiate shopping time with playground afternoons and sometime we include mommy or daddy’s time on it. (This is a practice very useful and successful: an afternoon or a couple of hours alone for visiting a museum, going shopping or simply wandering around. One of us stays with the kids, while the other enjoys some free time. Magic!)

This is not giving in, it is simply accepting that everyone has to enjoy their time, to relax and to get to know the city in another way as we used before, as a local somehow. And if there are still pending things, we can always come back (or dream about it)

This is why I like “The New Voyager” travel guides: they are thought to live the city, they select several interesting things, but not all and you can carry them around in your backup. They even let you travel before, during and after your trip, is there anything more you can ask for?

Emma Swinscoe, a French journalist living now between France and the British countryside is the person behind “The New Voyager”. Her idea is to publish illustrated travel guides for adventurous kids and wandering grown-ups with an inquisitive mind.

Each one of the maps is hand-drawn especially for them and then painted by a local artist who presents a personal and unique vision of the city.

They select museums, parks, playgrounds, coffee shops, streets and any other spots that can interest a little explorer and his or her family. With playful illustration and simple texts, the maps can be as a support guide where the kids can select what they want to do and visit. They can even know something more about the city by exploring the illustrations before hand.

Something we have discovered in these 7 years travelling with kids is that the most successful days are those that they help to plan. If there is something coming that they have chosen, the day is somehow smoother: not so many tantrums and loose of patience. Those days are a kind of hit for them, because they tend to create expectations that are not always met and it is funny to see how they cope with them and how they explain and comment about them.

On top, every  “The New Voyager” guide has a side for drawing what they have like the most, other way to feel identify with the city and included in the journey. We have tried this before and they see it as a huge responsibility to choose the best of the days.

“The New Voyager” has guides of Brooklyn, Los Ángeles and Paris, but this Saturday, they launch their new Lisbon guide with a party in the capital of Fado.

If you are around, go and enjoy them in person.  Rafaela Teixera Rodrigues , the illustrator of this guide will organise a workshop for kids. What a wonderful plan!

I only have one thing to ask to  “The New Voyager”: more guides for continuing discovering as a family.

Any suggestion? I would ask for Copenhagen, as there is always new things to discover in the city I live. And what about you?