For October’s family travel snap we’re in conversation with Jess who, together with her brother Robert, regularly contributes to her family’s travel blog, Family Travel Times. Jess likes holidays with lots to do, and some of her favourites include seeing the sights in Vienna, cycling around Austrian lakes and going to Disney World in Florida.

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What’s the story behind this photo?

This photo was taken in the middle of our family’s stay on Crete. Our hotel looked out to a small island named Spinalonga, a former leper colony, which looked stunning from our viewpoint. We decided we needed to take a closer look. Here, we’re on the speedboat to Spinalonga: it was just me, Mum, Dad and my brother Robert getting splashed by the water and having an incredible time! The journey only took five minutes, but it was the most fun I’ve had in ages.

We chose this photo because it was a truly magical moment. We aren’t the kind of family who generally go to beautiful, sunny locations, nor do we usually go on very daring adventures. The boat ride was out of the ordinary and exciting, and we were laughing and screaming all the way.

We then explored the island – climbing up old buildings, visiting an old church and a haunting cemetery, and then relaxing in the shade under trees. We spent about an hour on the island in total, learning about its history under the Turks and the Greeks. It was picturesque, but simultaneously so strange to think of such a pretty place being almost a prison to those with leprosy.

Parents’ perspective

We knew a trip to Spinalonga would be fascinating but sad. The trip was only enhanced by how we got there and back. It was a real highlight of our stay: a place so full of history.

Jess’ tips for travelling to Spinalonga with kids:

1) Make sure that your kids know what a leper colony is, and pick up the booklet when you arrive. This tells you a basic history of the island and is full of lots of interesting facts about Spinalonga.

2) I would probably have liked to know a bit more information before we visited. A quick Google search would have made everything perfect!

3) Bring plenty of water with you, as it is very hot (even in the shade).

Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?

We’re off to Washington DC and Williamsburg. I’m really excited to see the White House and visit all of the museums as I’ve heard that they’re amazing.

Lastly, complete the sentence:

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

…take plenty of games! Our family loves board games (we take Articulate much too seriously) and we find that small card games or travel packs are the perfect way to pass the time if there are long waits or delays. We always bring Happy Families, Snap, Bananagrams and Word-A-Round with us.

London-based Jess and her family blog about ‘where we go and what we see’ at familytraveltimes.co.uk. You can follow her mum Sarah on Twitter @sarahjebner.

For inspiration on how to keep your young explorers entertained whilst on the road – or at home – check out our Lonely Planet Kids books and apps.