As the warm weather approaches, families start thinking about summer getaways and planning their perfect holiday. To get help with trip planning and logistics, we spoke with Karen Tatum, Family Travel Agent and Owner of Tatum’s Tailored Trips. Karen works with busy families who want to learn about and explore the world by travelling together.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do in the travel industry?  I am a mom of two kids and I love to travel with my family. I also love the work that goes into planning trips. I am passionate about making parents’ lives a little less stressful and a little more joy filled and so I’m thrilled to be a Family Travel Agent. I take the stress out of travelling with kids while creating experiences that are fun and educational for your whole family. And to get a little deeper, at the heart of why I do this work is that I want to see more love and connections in the world. I believe that travelling, visiting other cultures, and getting to know people (even just a little) who have very different lives from us is an important part of creating connections and understanding within the world. And this is especially true for our children. When children see more and hear more stories they become more empathetic and generous people, and that’s how we change the world. I echo the sentiments in this YouTube video.

1) With summer holidays coming up, when is the best time for a family to book a vacation?  Summer vacation is BIG in the travel industry. If you have some specific hopes for your vacation during this peak time of the year, the best time to book is as soon as possible. The best availability and the most perks are available well in advance (flight schedules come out about 330 days prior to departure). If you want to book a vacation for this summer then the time to get all the details finalized is right now.

2) What are the top three destinations for a family friendly destination in the summer months?

If you’re craving a break from busy-ness and noise, Haida Gwaii will give you the silence you’re longing for. A 180-mile-long archipelago off the coast of British Columbia is the ultimate getaway for nature lovers. May-September is the summer season, with more tourist services available, and a greater chance of seeing spectacular wildlife like the orca migration.

Hawaii is a winning destination year round with very consistent weather. Maybe you’ve heard of the big city hustle and bustle found at Waikiki on Oahu, or the laid back surf town vibe of Kihei on Maui – but maybe it’s time to explore some of the lesser known Islands. On the Big Island of Hawaii “you can travel through ten of the world’s 14 different climate zones on Hawaii ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra”. And then there’s still Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai—the possibilities are endless. There are many different experiences available from adventure to romance, and luxury to rugged.

For us lucky locals in the Lower Mainland, an Alaska Cruise is a great option for families wanting to get away without having to fly as there are itineraries that begin and end in Vancouver. The opportunities to explore the port towns in Alaska range from a low key shopping trip or leisurely walk, to dog sled exhibitions and zipline adventures. For young families my top pick for your Alaskan Cruise is Disney Cruise Line. Disney has the market nailed when it comes to satisfying families’ cruise vacation desires. You can watch a video here to find out what Disney Cruise will be offering in Summer of 2018. If you’re wanting a Disney Cruise please plan well in advance as these ships regularly sell out and the price increases the closer you are to departure.

3) What are the benefits of booking the type of packages you offer rather than booking everything independently?
Imagine this … you want to go on vacation somewhere hot because you just can’t stand the rain anymore, but you’re totally overwhelmed by the number of choices and don’t want to wade through the thousands of reviews on Trip Advisor and don’t even know if those reviews can be trusted. Or, you arrive for the flight you booked to get to your cruise departure city and discover the flight has been delayed and the ship will be leaving without you … what do you do? Or maybe you arrive at your hotel and discover there is no reservation in your name and the hotel is full. You could either spend the time, energy, anxiety, and money to deal with all these situations OR you could hire a Travel Agent who will help you avoid many of these scenarios and/or work to take care of you when the unexpected does happen.  What many people don’t realize is hiring a Travel Agent usually saves you money, always saves you time and hassle, and often times gets you more free upgrades and other perks. So even if you’re travelling on a budget, using a Travel Agent is a smart, savvy move.

4) Are there any hidden gems out there for those who are the more adventurous types? Is there a destination you would recommend for people who want to experience a little local flair (and avoid the touristy areas)?  There are a couple of great adventures tucked away within out wonderful country of Canada and since it’s Canada’s 150th Birthday this year, it makes good sense to highlight them. What about a fully customizable 14 day Western Canada self-drive adventure? The base package includes accommodations and activities in some of our most beautiful destinations like Whistler, Banff, Jasper, Kelowna, and Vancouver. Your route is planned, your accommodations and most exciting activities are booked—all you have to do is grab your family and hop in to your car for an epic road trip. Have you even considered exploring the Yukon? You might not know that there are frequent, short and inexpensive direct flights from YVR. The Yukon offers the unique history of the Klondike Gold Rush, rich First Nations art and culture, and the chance to experience sunlight all night long! Add to that pristine wilderness and the northern lights—you’ve got a really special destination to experience.

For more information on booking with Karen visit her website www.tatumstailoredtrips.com . Both Elise and Karen are proud sponsors in the Tri Cities Mom’s Group.

Real Estate Market Update  May is generally considered the peak market for both buyers and sellers. If you’re considering buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to make your move now! Otherwise, you may be surprised by a summer market slowdown. Things cool down mid-June due to the kids being out of school and summer holidays starting up for everyone. While the market does pick up again in the fall, why not get things going when buyers and sellers abound and there are tons of properties to choose from? Find your dream home now, and enjoy it all summer long! Talk to Elise if you have any questions about current market conditions

Urban Mommas Soccer-Member of the Month-Leanna Hall

What motivated you to join the Urban Momma’s soccer team? Did you have any reservations starting out at soccer again as an adult? I was motivated to join the league because at the time (was it already a year ago?!) I had a 7 year old and a 1 year old and knew it was time for me to get back out there for myself! I’d put myself last for so long I was desperately in need of something for me! For fun and fitness (:

What has been your experience playing on the team so far? Have you learned anything about yourself?It’s been a great experience being on the team. I hadn’t played since I was in primary school. I’m wildly out of shape and the oldest member of the team (45 in a few months!) but there is so much encouragement from all of our team. I have never felt bad about my ability. In fact, the girls on the team are sure to praise you when you have a great game and that is the best!

3) What advice would you give to new players just starting out who may want to join a team but who feel nervous about taking the leap?  Advice? Well, just do it! I was nervous but forced myself to make the leap and I’m so glad I did! It’s been a great experience.

4) How do you find the balance between being a mom and taking time for yourself, whether it be soccer or other hobbies? It is so tough to find balance – I don’t feel like I do manage it LOL! I try though. Soccer definitely helps

Featured Client Testimonials

Elise came highly recommended to us through a friend who has worked with her for many years on several sale and purchases. Elise is amazing! She is extremely personable, down to earth, understanding, smart, patient, and just very easy to talk to. This was our first sale and she was so easygoing and walked us through the whole process. She is very knowledgeable of the current real-estate market and worked so hard to get us top dollar for our townhome. I would recommend Elise’s services in a heartbeat!.”
Anne Oughtred & Tyler Therman