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Family travel snap: Katja Gaskell from Globetotting

By Imogen Hall   24 February 2016 1:47pm Europe/London

Our family travel snap this month takes you on a very snowy adventure to Canada with Katja Gaskell and her eight-year-old son. Mum-of-three Katja is co-founder of globetotting.com, a site dedicated to helping you discover the best family adventures.


What’s the story behind this photo?

This photo was taken outside the entrance to Carnaval de Québec, the biggest winter festival in the world. We were in Québec City for a long weekend to experience the festival and, as it turned out, -28°C temperatures! My son and I have never been anywhere quite so cold as Québec in the winter but we soon worked out how to beat the freeze and had a fantastic time .

The festival is essentially a large fairground filled with winter sports, ice sculptures and rides, including a huge human football table and giant bowling where you roll down the slope in a large inflatable ball, trying to knock down oversized pins. We went on a horse-drawn sleigh ride, tried our hand at dog sledding, slid down a hill on giant inflatable tubes and ate lots of maple taffy.

We travel a lot as a family but this was the first trip that I had taken solo with my son, the eldest of three, and it was wonderful to spend some time just the two of us. It was also a completely unique experience for us – we live in Mexico City where we are used to balmy temperatures and sunny days.

Kid’s perspective

From my eight-year-old: ‘I remember ice tubing and making my own maple taffy; they gave us the stick, poured the maple taffy on the snow and then I rolled the stick over the taffy to make my own maple taffy lollipop. The weather was very cold; it was the coldest experience ever.’

Katja’s tips for visiting Québec City with kids

If you are visiting during winter, come prepared. Québec is the only city I have ever visited where it’s not only normal, but necessary, to wander the streets in ski clothes.

1) Bring thermals, good boots, hats and even ski goggles.

2) Follow the lead of experienced locals and use hand and feet warmers.

3) Take regular breaks indoors to warm up.

Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?

We’re taking a 10-day road trip in Mexico. We’ll start in Campeche, the only walled city in the country, and then drive to Mérida via Celestun, home to hundreds of pink flamingos. From Mérida we plan to head down the Riviera Maya and spend a few days at the beach in Akumal, swimming with turtles and building sandcastles.

Lastly, complete the sentence:

When we shut the front door ready to go and travel as a family, we always…

…make sure we have passports, activity books and snacks! And electronics. As much as I like to pretend that we get by on our travels with books, stickers and biscuits, we always fall back on the iPad.

Katja and her co-founder Victoria are Lonely Planet Pathfinders. You can follow them on Twitter @globetotting.