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Bitten by the wanderlust bug, Amber Kolo, husband Jamie and their three girls share an infectious love of travel. Captivated by Italy, this family recently returned from a late European summer sojourn through Milan, Portofino and the Cinque Terre region where they completely immersed themselves in exploring the places and culture of this incredible destination. We spoke with Amber about their inspiring adventure and she shared her top tips for travelling with young kids in tow!
Tell us who’s in your family?
Jamie is my incredibly patient and loving husband and our three girls Navo 7, Bali 5 and Lula 2. We also have a white English Bull Terrier (Terry) who is 9 years old.
You’ve got an insatiable addiction to travel. Tell us about what inspired your recent trip to Italy and where you ventured?
Travel is literally all we think about, every single day. We’re always dreaming and planning. Our trip to Italy was a part of a month long journey around Europe to celebrate my mum’s 60th birthday. My father passed away in January and it really put into perspective just how short life really is, so this trip, we did for my mum.
It was our first time to Milan which was so incredible - it was the week before Fashion Week and the fashion and creativity is insane, so is the architecture. We then ventured onto Santa Margherita & Portofino and onto the Cinque Terre before heading to the incredible city of Rome.
Can you share one special memory or place that really blew your mind?
Italy is where my husband’s family are from and we just adore it. Santa Margherita is just the cutest little Italian town and only an hour’s walk to the stunning village of Portofino. We did this walk with my three girls and my sister’s two girls (all under 7) and took a refreshing dip in the crystal clear Mediterranean waters on the way at the adorable Paraggi. I loved seeing the girls faces as we first came around the pathway on the hill and looked over Portofino. I couldn't take enough photos, I just wanted to capture every single detail.
Monterosso is the most Northern town in the Cinque Terre in Italy. Although it can get pretty touristy in the hotter months, it was absolutely perfect when we were there in September. In all my travels, I have never seen sand that literally sparkles. The water is the clearest, deep blue water - just incredible. We hired a cabana and chairs and the girls just played in the sparkly sand for hours. I may have had a sneaky cocktail or two on the beach.
Top Tips for Travelling with kids?
We usually head out on full day missions when we travel, so we always pack enough food, water and warm / cool clothes for the day as it allows us to keep the kids happy which means we can stay out longer; we usually end up in the most amazing places as we aren't limited by hungry or cold children.
My other big tip is to explain everything to them. Their minds are like sponges, they absolutely love learning about where they are and what they're doing. Our girls are also far more likely to not complain about walking 10km if they know they're about to see something that they've learnt all about - its the excitement factor.
Any family-friendly gems we should know about?
Next time we will definitely hire a boat to explore all of the little coves and inlets and get a totally different perspective and be able to discover places that you cannot see from the villages. The smaller towns were definitely more family friendly and easier to get more spacious accommodation for a family of 5, it was also easier for the kids to meet other kids in the smaller towns. Even though the kids couldn't understand each other, they understood the universal language of kindness and play.