Travel | Amy Tara Koch
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We decided to go to Sweden by default. In late September, I still had not planned anything for winter break. A swift online search revealed that all of the predictable spots-skiing in Colorado, Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico-had been already booked by parents more conscientious than me....

A cruise can be an incredible family vacation. The appeal of visiting multiple destinations and unpacking just once is undeniable. But, for many, the mega ship cocktail -endless crowds, bland buffets, forgettable port towns, pools that could double as water parks— is not. That’s why the...

Tulum? Maui? Tokyo? This was my hot list a few weeks ago when I blinked and realized that winter break was breathing down my neck. And, I had planned zilch. Within an hour, I discovered that “sure thing” destinations -ski resorts with perma-powder, foolproof...

Travel is a learning experience. To illuminate this point, I create worksheets for my children to fill out prior to most trips. The sheets entail research--what is special about this place? What are some cultural differences? What type of food is eaten here? What can...

After conducting a few interviews this week, I had an epiphany: I've been wasting a lot of money on travel. It's not that I had crap experiences. Au contraire. It's that I haven't been doing enough homework on how to best use awards dollars to...

How to eat your way around St. Louis Chef Rick Lewis of Southern and Mike "Pappy" Emerson of Pappy's Smokehouse, both located in St. Louis, talk about their restaurants' specialties. (Amy Tara Koch / Chicago Tribune) Amy Tara Koch for the Chicago Tribune Some cities reveal their charm effortlessly. Walk...

For parents, back-to-school means back to the drawing board. To plan winter break. With the economy boosted, families are using school vacations as an opportunity to criss cross the globe.  And, they are booking travel earlier and earlier. If you want to use airline miles...

The San Juan Islands were not on my radar until last March. Not even a peripheral blip. But, an engaging call from a publicist piqued my interest and suddenly a family trip to the Pacific Northwest fell into place. The San Juans were a perfect...

To me, a trip is very much about where I will lay my head.  Hotels are a major part of the travel experience. Without a comfortable (veering luxurious), recently renovated, de-shag carpetized hotel/inn, the destination won’t work. Translation:  no skanky bedspreads, no lumpy mattresses, no...

I almost never deviate from carry-on luggage. Black dress, black pants, a few shirts and two pairs of shoes. But, last month, I did. And, boy did I regret it. While packing for a nine day odyssey from the Rhone to Paris, I allowed visions...