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Articles, Digital travel content, Apps, Columns, Books, Broadcasts; Leader in family travel for 20+ years; Columnist/Blogger Adventure Living; BellaOnline.com; Former USA TODAY travel editor/ digital producer
Highly respected family travel expert, Candyce H. Stapen has authored 30 travel guide books—including two for National Geographic– developed FamilyiTrips apps, written 2,500+ travel articles for a variety of outlets, appeared on the TODAY Show and other broadcasts to talk about travel.
Please follow her @familyitrips
Featured Articles, Videos, Blog Posts
City Getaway: Winston-Salem, NC
“Winston-Salem, NC, isn’t too big, it isn’t too small, it’s just right,” says Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, board president of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. We call it the Goldilocks approach to travel. Vacationers, fed up with roads that feel like parking lots, over-priced hotels, expensive-but-mediocre meals, and crowds everywhere, are looking for “secondary cities.”
Travel, Tips and Trips, November 19, 2015 Read More
Cruising Royal Caribbean’s mega-ship: At times, a little too mega
Waiting in line for our first time on the cruise ship’s bumper-car ride, I paused to look at a photo in my phone. The man behind me poked me in the ribs, saying, “You got to keep the queue moving.” Cruisers sometimes get testy on a big ship, and Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas — full capacity: 4,905 passengers — is among the biggest.
The Washington Post, September 10, 2015 Read More
Travel for Good: Voluntourism Adventures
Tag rhinos in South Africa, teach soccer in Romania and follow dolphins in Belize, whales in Mexico, giraffe in Kenya and seahorses in Cambodia. These are just some of the many volunteer projects that enable you to combine adventures with doing good. “Voluntourism” is trending.
Men’s Fitness, September 17, 2015 Read More
Bavaria is what you expect but also what you don’t, a combination that makes the region anchored by Munich especially interesting. Centuries-old castles, medieval villages with half-timbered houses, and rolling fields edged by snow-capped Alps remain staples, creating the spectacular scenery we expect.
MD Magazine, June 7, 2015 Read More
Tempting Tourist Towns
Many retirees who decide to live full time in tourist spots initially come for the spectacular mountains, beaches or lakes as well as easy access to skiing, fishing, boating and state and national parks. The nice surprise for permanent residents — the unexpected pleasures of the less visited months.
www.WheretoRetire.com, July/August 2015 Read More
Planning a trip to Miami Beach? Go north for a different vibe.
A Miami Beach vacation doesn’t have to be all about music blasting from outdoor bars. If, like us, you’re in search of an alternative to South Beach’s noise, $30 valet parking, packed sands and traffic, do what we do: Stay in North Beach.
The Washington Post, March 5, 2015 Read More
Tips for Traveling with your Dog
USA Today, June 20, 2013
Photo by H. Darr Beiser
Click here to read the article
Sol Searching: Luxury and Adventure Await at Mexico’s Riviera Maya and Cozumel
From atop the cliffside Castillo (castle), Tulum’s most important building, the crashing waves and the calls of the sea birds conjure visions of this once-vital Maya seaport. Tulum is one of the treasures of the Riviera Maya, a swath of about 85 miles along Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
MD Magazine, April 17, 2015 Read More
Okavango Delta, Botswana and Kenya Migration
Photos © A. Kempler
How to Explore Botswana’s Okavango Delta
Ears twitching and snouts semi-submerged in the water, the hippos, in chorus-line formation, stare back at us as the guide maneuvers our small boat through the grass-lined channels of the flooded Okavango Delta. A young bull elephant, his reflection caught in the silvery water, cools off by arcing his trunk and spraying his back and a crocodile suns on a sandbar.
MD Magazine, December 1, 2014 Read More
Dream Trips: Catching the Migration in Kenya
Two-by-two, the wildebeest come in a seemingly endless line of gray that cuts through the Masai Mara’s golden plains. The wildebeest and their migrating companions, the zebra, move toward the Mara River. Hundreds upon hundreds of animals mass on the savannah just above the river bank, braying as they push into already crowded circles.
MD Magazine, December 1, 2014 Read More
Hotel fees catch travelers off guard
WUSA-TV, DC’s CBS affiliate, July 11, 2014
Hotel Décor In The Home
The robes are just the beginning. Savvy hotel guests know to take home their favorite lodging’s feathery down pillows, the silky 600-thread-count sheets, the tea-scented candles and especially the plush pillow-top or thick foam mattress that created a cocoon for sleeping.
Global Traveler, July 1, 2015 Read More
Hotel Update: Marriott
At the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE, a bellman shadows a svelte guest after she steals his all-access key card, while another luggage unloader trails a suspicious duffle. When the duo discover a heist at an on-property art show, they take out the bad guys with a fun mash-up of dance moves plus martial arts kicks and blocks.
Global Traveler, July 1, 2015 Read More
Travel with Pets and Red Roof Inn
Often, the dog gets left behind on a family road trip. That’s because many hotels don’t permit pets and a majority of those that do, charge fees and accept only small dogs. But at Red Roof Inn one family pet of any size stays for free.
www.BellaOnline.com, April 17, 2015 Read More
Beach and Nature Vacation, Kiawah Island, SC
Make your family beach vacation more than just sun and sand by selecting a destination that enables you to explore the natural environment. In Kiawah Island, South Carolina, you can add kayak outings in search of ibis, pond explorations to peer at turtles and alligator safaris that get you safely close to the toothy critters.
www.BellaOnline.com, March 4, 2015 Read More
American Craft Council and SOFA Shows
Some craft and art shows are worth traveling to, especially the American Craft Council (ACC) shows, hosted in Baltimore, Atlanta, St. Paul and San Francisco, as well as Sculptural Objects and Fine Arts (SOFA) yearly show in Chicago. At these events, you can find high-quality handmade objects. Even if you can’t buy, go ahead and browse.
www.BellaOnline.com, February 22, 2015 Read More
Best Caribbean Beaches
The Caribbean is known for its glorious beaches and some of the region’s best fringe Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and Aruba. Follow this guide to some top spots. Grace Bay Beach–12 miles of white sands—is the big draw on Providenciales, affectionately called “Provo,” the main tourist island of the Turks and Caicos chain.
www.BellaOnline.com, February 21, 2015 Read More
Touring President Lincoln’s Washington, D.C.
This Presidents’ Weekend and through spring, take part in special events and exhibits throughout Washington, D.C., including an historic all-night vigil, to mark the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, who died in the District, April 15, 1865.
www.BellaOnline.com, February 9, 2015 Read More
Share a meal when traveling?
MealSharing.com, a new website service, connects travelers with locals who, in their own homes, cook meals for visitors, often for a small fee to cover the cost of the food.
www.BellaOnline.com, January 27, 2015 Read More
Washington, D.C.’s, Other Air and Space Museum
If your visit to the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum in downtown Washington, D.C., got you excited about airplanes, then be sure to visit its companion facility, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center located near Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, VA.
www.BellaOnline.com, January 14,2015 Read More
San Juan: Trendy Santurce Near Condado Resorts
Santurce, an up-and-coming neighborhood in San Juan, draws locals in their twenties and thirties, and increasingly, millennial travelers who like the still-rough-around-the edges vibe as well as the bars, restaurants and burgeoning art scene.
www.BellaOnline.com, January 4,2015 Read More
Historic Homes and Art in Winston-Salem, NC
The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, art trail weaves together a tale of tobacco, textiles and three historic houses: Reynolda, the former manor of R. J. Reynolds; the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), once the residence of textile industrialist James Hanes, and Graylyn, the estate built by tobacco executive Bowman Gray.
www.BellaOnline.com, December 8, 2014 Read More
Tucson, AZ, Highlights
Tucson gives you mountain views, desert landscapes, sunny skies and upscale resorts. An extra bonus: you can learn about Cold War secrets. On your visit, don’t miss the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Titan Missile Museum, or a stay at The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa.
www.BellaOnline.com, November 20, 2014 Read More
Laughs at Sea: Cruise Ship Comedy Clubs for summer family travel
For many cruise passengers, one of the best parts of their voyage isn’t the elaborate buffets, the casino bets or the booze. It’s the belly laughs. These days, several major lines are showcasing more humor by way of their comedy clubs. Forget about the stuff-food-in-your-face jokes; the performers and the material are better than ever.
“Back in the day, being labeled a ‘cruise ship comedian’ certainly carried a negative connotation, as it was believed that performing on a cruise ship meant it was either the beginning or the end of your career,” says Mark Tamis, Carnival Cruise Line’s senior vice president of guest operations. “That is certainly not the case these days.
Cruise Critic, August, 2014. Read More
Best new products for summer family travel The right gear and gadgets go a long way toward making a family vacation successful. These new products make traveling easier for families by doing away with such common “trip-ups” as bored kids, lost dogs, cramped tents, too much to carry and not enough luggage.
USA Today, June 2014. Read More
Family Cruising Basics Two million kids younger than 15 sailed the high seas in 2013 on lines that are members of the Cruise Lines International Association Industry.
Cruise Critic, May 14, 2014. Read More
10 Tips for Cruising with Teens Why cruises work well for teens and how to plan the best voyage for your family, as well as some rules you might want to consider for smooth sailing.
Cruise Critic, June 2014 Read More
Get Patrick Henry to take a Selfie. The bewigged gentleman wearing spectacles leans over his demitasse at Charlton’s Coffeehouse in Williamsburg, the capital of the colonies, points to a visitor’s cellphone, raises his eyebrows and declares, “That looks like the work of the devil, madam.”
MapQuest, June 12, 2014 Read more
Use Photos to engage with Locals on Trips How to teach your kids to give back and engage with locals while traveling?
When visiting poor areas in developing countries, we take Polaroid photos of willing people and give the images to them as gifts. Even in the digital age, many people in rural areas do not have photos of themselves.
www.bellaonline.com Read more
Book: An Explorer’s Guide to Virginia
Lush vineyards, exciting cities, deep history, space-age science – VA has lots to offer. (Countryman Press)
Stapen has taken her love and experience of travel writing and combined it with her entrepreneurial spirit to launch FamilyiTrips, a series of user-friendly and informative family travel apps. Stapen wrote DC With Kids, and noted journalist Deb Geigis Berry wrote Boston With Kids and NYC Family Guide.
DC With Kids, a seven+ weeks iTunes Hot List Pick. Written and created by Candyce Stapen. Click here to find out some fun facts.
New York Times Review
The apps, which landed on iTunes’s hot list last month, allow users to nimbly explore listings, including shops, hotels and restaurants. But they also offer filters through which to explore the cities: by budget, by activities that are “like a local,” and by attractions according to age group.
Read the review
Huffington Post, 12/24/2012
DC With Kids: This app from www.FamilyiTrips.com is a gem for locals and visitors to D.C. alike. A mere $3.99 gets you access to over 250 ideas for activities for children in the D.C. area and free updates whenever new activities are added. You can search for things to do by age (young children, grade schoolers, and teens) or by using a number of other categories including the “Top 11,” seasonal events, seasonal happenings, and free activities. The app offers practical advice, such as where to find family-friendly places to eat near attractions. This is a good choice to help find attractions on the go. If your holiday travel includes Boston or New York City, you can find similar apps for those cities here.
Chicago Tribune Review
“Why it’s great: It’s loaded with info. By selecting favorites, you can create custom itineraries.” May 6, 2012
Read the review
Travelingmom.com says FamilyiTrips apps worth the cost
“After having taken these apps out for a test run I can tell you that these apps are 100% worth their cost. If you are traveling to DC or Boston I highly recommend you get these apps.”
Read the DC With Kids app review
Read the Boston With Kids app review
Read more DC with Kids reviews and more. Rated
Boston with Kids, a two times iTunes Hot List Pick. Written by Deb Geigis Berry, a noted family travel expert.
Boston Globe praises FamilyiTrips
“Each colorful, nicely illustrated app has more than 250 entries that include top picks, outdoor activities, and freebies, along with places to eat, sleep, and shop. Or find an activity for a specific age group: young kids, grade-schoolers, or teens. Discover everything from science workshops to puppet shows, moonlight tours, museum sleep- overs, or animal adventures.”
“This is my new favorite app. As a family that travels a lot, we’re constantly getting pamphlets, guides, and whatever we can to help us, but nothing has been as helpful, thorough, or fun as Boston with Kids. My kids love it for the fun, whimsical illustrations, and my wife and I are still learning just how in depth it is and how much there is to do. We highly recommend.”
Read the Boston with Kids reviews and more. Rated
NYC Family Guide, Written by Deb Geigis Berry
Lots of great info for kids of any age. I really love that this app gives lots of great suggestions for tots through teens. No one is left out. I particularly appreciate that there are so many food choices. We sometimes feel overwhelmed when visiting NYC because of the number of places to eat. Finding the best ones for us is a lot easier now.
by Aunt Di bethesda – version 1.0 – Sep 19,2012
Best NYC Guide for Families! If you are going to be in New York City, then this app is just as important as a subway card. It is a great guide for families with kids of all ages. It includes comprehensive information about the major attractions as well as lots of really great things to see and do beyond the typical tourist stuff in town.
- Five-time winner, Society of American Travel Writers’ Lowell Thomas Journalism Award
- Society of American Travel Journalists Award for Best Travel Industry Website, 2013
- Caribbean Travel Writer of the Year, North America, 2004
- Travel Journalist Guild president, 2006-2008
• An Explorer’s Guide to Virginia (Countryman Press, 2011)
• Fun with the Family: Virginia, 8th ed. (Globe Pequot, 2010)
• National Geographic Guide to the Caribbean Family Vacations (National Geographic)
• National Geographic Guide to Family Adventure Vacations, Wildlife Encounters, Cultural Explorations and Learning Escapes In the U.S. and Canada (National Geographic)
Former USA TODAY travel editor & producer; USA TODAY; USA TODAY.com; USA WEEKEND; Cruise Critic.com; Family Vacation Critic.com; National Geographic Traveler, Budget Travel.com; Family Fun; Washingtonian; Caribbean Travel and Life; Redbook; Parents; Better Homes & Gardens; MSNBC.com; New York Post; Boston Herald; Condé Nast Traveler; Miami Herald; Family Travel Network.com; Washington Times; Expedia.com; Postcards; Away.com; Caribbean World U.K.; Where to Retire and more.
Candyce’s Blog Travel Tips and Trips
Terrorism and Travel: How to Stay Safe
Who Gets the Most Vacation Time and Who Takes the Least?
Candyce H. Stapen Ally Bank’s family travel expert
Select Articles & Blogs
The Tour of Washington D.C.’s Political Thrillers
All in the Family
Photo: Alissa Kempler
Advice for going on Safari
Photo: Candyce Stapen
Say aloha to authentic Hawaii
The Best of Aruba
Aruba is a good choice for a summer visit to the Caribbean. Like Bonaire and Curaçao, Aruba is situated below the “hurricane belt” in the Southern Caribbean. As a result, big storms remain unlikely, although possible. Here’s a guide to some of the best of Aruba.
Three Great East Coast Boardwalks
Summer is prime time for boardwalk lovers. Our favorite East Coast boardwalks are in Virginia Beach, Virginia; Rehoboth, Delaware; and in North Beach in Miami Beach, Florida. Each of these three seaside paths charms with its own special character.
Fredericksburg, VA, More than the Civil War
Two reasons to visit Fredericksburg, VA, besides its historic battlefields: award-winning bourbon from the A. Smith Bowman Distillery plus dinner and an overnight at the historic Kenmore Inn. Fredericksburg, VA, is 60 miles south of Washington, D.C.
Profile: Tucson, AZ
Laughs at Sea: Cruise Ship Comedy Clubs
15 Water Parks to Make a Splash at Near Washington
Florida’s Best Beaches
Washington, DC Convention & Visitors BureauFun for Kids in DC
Click image to view video
DC With Kids App
DC With Kids, FamilyiTrips.com
Click image to view video
“A classy series with encyclopedic coverage.”
–National Geographic Traveler