An Interview with Kristin

How long has Authentic Family Adventures been in business?

Authentic Family Adventures was founded by Kristin Kelly in 2007 after she had already been working in the travel industry for 18 years.

What services do you provide?

We specialize in helping busy, affluent parents who want to show their kids great travel adventures that go beyond amusement parks and typical all-inclusive vacations. We design
unforgettable vacations and travel experiences for families to learn and grow together through travel, creating memories that last a lifetime. Our personal relationships with the top travel companies we work with allow our clients to receive the very best service during their vacations.

Do you charge for your services and, if so, how much?

We listen carefully to your dreams for your vacation and then research the best arrangements to fulfill them. A fully customized vacation planned just for you involves a great deal of time to research and arrange, so we charge a planning fee to provide you with an exceptional experience. It is definitely money well spent.

What is the process for planning a custom-tailored itinerary

  1. We receive an inquiry by phone, e-mail or from the web site.
  2. We ask our clients to complete a questionnaire and schedule a complimentary consultation on our web site, which gives us a picture of what kind of travel they like. We want to know where they have traveled in the past, their favorite travel memories, resorts and destinations. We want to know what is drawing them to their chosen destination. This will help us shape their itinerary. We also ask them to read this interview with Authentic Family Adventures, so they will understand how we operate.
  3. Prior to our phone consultation the questionnaire needs to be completed in order to get the most out of our discussion. We can then go into further detail about the clients’ travel expectations.
  4. We take a trip planning deposit, then begin preparing an itinerary and, within a few days, will send a quote with a few options.
  5. We revise the itinerary based upon feedback from the client.
  6. When the client is fully satisfied, we collect the deposit amount and begin making the trip reservations.
  7. One day after confirmation, we send an e-mail containing our Frequently Asked Questions. This covers the most popular questions like required vaccinations, visa and passport requirements, and reading recommendations.
  8. At 90 days prior to travel, we process the final payment.
  9. When the travel documents are sent to us, we review the trip arrangements to make sure that everything is in order before setting up a meeting to go over all the details.
  10. A week before the client departs, we send an e-mail wishing a “bon voyage” and offering to answer any more questions.
  11. A week after the client returns home, we call to discuss the journey and make sure that everything went as planned.

How are you different from other leading travel advisors?

Most of the travel we sell, we can recommend from firsthand experiences because we visit the countries we sell to update our knowledge and expertise. We feel we can tell you the uniqueness of each product and match you to the one you will enjoy the most. We will exceed your expectations and give you the best value for your travel dollars.

What is the difference between booking with you or an online booking site?

Our expertise allows us to put together your entire vacation with flights, hotels, transfers, touring or cruising, rail travel, theater reservations, travel insurance, etc. for a truly concierge package.

Where does the time go? Hurry it’s slipping away!

Family Ski Vacation

Family Ski Vacation

Do you feel guilty for repeatedly putting off your family vacation? Do any of the below comments sound familiar?

  • My kids are too young, they won’t remember anything.
  • It’s too difficult to plan a vacation for my entire family
  • I’m too busy right now.

You are in good company.  Most families struggle with the same dilemmas. How do families like yours end up on fantastic vacations together? Often it just takes hearing a few stories of families who made the leap and were rewarded with a multitude of awesome benefits.

In fact, it doesn’t have to be a leap. While you could take an extended trip to the other side of the world, you can also take a long weekend trip close to home. Either way, each member of your family will benefit and you will be grateful you did.  Once you start adding travel to your list of priorities in life, you will want to experience the same joy and excitement over and over again. Remember you only live once.

Busy-ness zaps value from family connection; vacations repair that.

Let’s face it, you are busy.  Your day is full of deadlines, meetings, errands and appointments.  Whether it is work, school, household duties or extracurricular activities, your full days create stress.  You have a jam packed schedule. It’s a never-ending cycle.

Or is it? When you and your family members step away from the busy-ness of day-to-day life and the stress that goes with it, something amazing happens. Each of you begins to relax, slow down, and accept that during vacations there are no time commitments or ‘must dos’.  There is only a sense of wonder and excitement about doing what you want and not what you must. Simply select your activities as you go based on each family members preferences and moods.  Bask in each stress-free moment together, for one another, instead of for the next commitment on the calendar.

And with that, I would like to know where your next stamp in your AFA passport will be from?

What has been you favorite vacation with your family?  What was your favorite experience and what made your trip the most memorable? Comment here!

I look forward to seeing where you have been!  Remember there is no better way to learn about and understand the world we live in than to travel it, experience it, and love it.  Let me take the hassle out of planing your next vacation. Request your no-obligation consultation by sending me an email.

Pamplona’s Bulls, Festival & Food

Each July millions flock to Pamplona to celebrate the San Fermin Festival and the Running of the Bulls. Some are lured by the romance of Spain as written by Ernest Hemmingway, some for adrenaline of running with bulls, while others visit for the storied history of Pamplona. Whatever the reason they all experience a quaint medieval town turned into Spain’s biggest international party. Recently I was thrilled to craft a fabulous trip to this exciting event for a client like you, and given it’s such an incredible experience, am sharing what I learned here.

This nine-day celebration offers much more than the daily “Encierro” or Running of the Bulls. In fact, the entire celebration is honors the co-patron saint of Pamplona, Saint Fermin, and has been practiced annually since the 14th century.

The Opening Ceremonies or Txupinazo (pronounced “choo-pin-ah-zoh”) kick off the Festival on July 6th. As early as 10:00am crowds begin filling into the Plaza Contistorial where, at 12 noon, the official start of the Fiesta is marked by a local dignitary shouting “People of Pamplona, Long live San Fermin”. Rockets are then launched as thousands of bottles of champagne are uncorked and sprayed on the crowd. The white attire on each member of the crowd is shortly covered in champagne, sangria, and mustard as tradition goes. Being in that crowd can be dangerous, so I encourage my clients enjoy his unbelievable event from a balcony above (where you can also enjoy champagne and tapas without wearing them).

As the sun rises on July 7th, runners assemble for the inaugural run and are ready at 8:00am. Traditional attire for the San Fermin Festival is white pants and a white shirt with the customary red scarf (Pañuelico) and red waistband. As a rocket fires the bulls are released from their corral and the thunderous sound of bull hooves on cobblestone streets blends with the roar of the crows. Runners take off along the route and excitement ensues. The run lasts only three to six minutes, culminating in the Plaza de Toros. Whether you decide to run with the bulls or watch the excitement from a balcony you will witness a tradition like no other in the world.

Can you believe this is only day 2? What an adventure and you’re just getting started. Each day the Running of the Bulls is followed by the Gigantes (Giants) y Cabezudos (Big Heads) parade. The giants are over 150 years old, some taller than 13.5 feet. They are carried by a dancer who is hidden under the wooden platform that supports their giant. It is amazing to watch them twirl to the traditional music.

Now you must really consider a nap in the afternoon so you are recharged to partake in the nightly activities.

The nightly bullfights begin at 6pm and are not for the faint of heart. This is the real thing; they can be graphic and bloody. After the bullfights each evening, you want to see Toro De Fuego, a re-enactment of a famous traditional fiesta that included tying flaming material to the horns of a real bull and letting it run loose. In this re-enactment, fake bulls tout innocent sparklers. Speaking of sparklers, your evening finale is the nightly fireworks display.

Cuisine is always key to your cultural experience as well. Now let’s finish with the wonderful food and dining experiences you can expect during your visit. Foodies will love to learn that the Spanish have 5 meal times each day. In fact, if you don’t plan, you may find eating establishments closed right at the moment you are most hungry.

  • Desayuno is around 8 or 9 AM and will be a light croissant or churos.
  • Almurezo is from 10 AM to 1 PM.   It is morning tapas or Pintxos and it is customary to order wine.
  • Comida is officially from 1-3 PM, and it is the biggest meal of the day so eat up!
  • Merienda runs from 6-7 PM, and is once again light tapas or bocadillo (sandwiches).
  • Cena or “dinner” starts around 9PM!  So you can see why planning is so important!

Pamplona has fantastic restaurants that serve traditional cuisine. Reservations are a must at any of the nicer restaurants. Remember how many people have descended on Pamplona. And they are all hungry, just like you.

Wow! I hope you enjoyed a visit to Pamplona in July for San Fermin Fiesta.

And with that, you have earned a Spain stamp in your AFA passport!

Have you been to Spain or Pamplona? What was your favorite experience and what made your trip the most memorable? Comment here if you have been!

I look forward to seeing you earn your stamps!  Remember there is no better way to learn about and understand the world we live in than to travel it, experience it, and love it.  Let me take the hassle out of planning your next vacation. Request your no-obligation consultation by visiting our website www.authenticfamilyadventures.com.

Adios

Thanks to our trusted partners in Pamplona – Running of the Bulls Travel.

An Adventure into Experiential Travel

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THANK YOU for reading my blog!

My name is Kristin Kelly, it’s a pleasure to meet you.

Authentic Family Adventures (AFA) is my business and your passport to unforgettable travel experiences.

In fact, at the bottom of this page, you’ll be able to obtain your first AFA passport stamp!  Don’t jump ahead because you don’t want to miss a sneak peek at what is coming up in my blog series.

Does the travel you are familiar with involve visiting the hotel pool and perhaps a local museum? Well I will suggest you become more than just a tourist – be an experiential traveler.

Experiential travel is a different kind of animal – it invites you to savor the colorful culture of a local people, landscape, and cuisine.

You can use experiential travel to:

  • disconnect from your day-to-day busy life, and reconnect with your family,
  • exchange lackluster screen time for real, hands-on activities,
  • visit destinations you already know but experience them in a new way, and
  • create unforgettable memories with your children while fostering enriching learning experiences.

Does this sound appealing?   I will be sharing insights on many intriguing and exotic destinations in the U.S. and around the world.  Also, you can observe family travel experiences from planning to execution and everything in between as I document many of my own journeys.

Oh, and a little more about me.  I have been a travel consultant for 28 years, creating enticing itineraries for all kinds of families in all kinds of places.  After all these years I am still very passionate about crafting unique vacations for families.

I saved the best for last.  I am the proud mamma of a wonderful 5 year old boy, Connor, who already has the ‘travel bug’ YEAH!!!  As a family we love traveling and exploring together.

And with that, your chance to stamp your AFA passport has arrived!

Here’s how: Comment on this post with your favorite leisure travel experience to date and why it is so memorable.

I look forward to seeing you earn your stamps!  If you have questions you can reach me by sending an email to kristin@authenticfamilyadventures.com

Remember there is no better way to learn about and understand the world we live in than to travel it, experience it, and love it.