Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Interview with Frommer's Travel Editor Cate Latting...

I'm excited the Gulliver's Travels movie is coming out on April 19th! 
You can enter to win the DVD here.


Also a reminder to check out the Lilliput Guidebook which contains fun facts, tips and visuals ultimately preparing tiny travelers to immerse themselves into the rich Lilliput culture as seen within Gulliver's Travel's!

I was excited to get the opportunity to interview Cate Latting Frommer's Travel Editor and creator of the guidebook!  Cate has been a Frommer's travel editor for seven years. When not writing about her beloved Lilliput, Cate edits guides to New Orleans, Florida, Texas,Florence & Tuscany, Barcelona, New Mexico, Hawaii, Venice, New York, and Washington, D.C., as well as the bestselling Frommer's 500 Places to Take You Kids Before They Grow Up.  She is Frommer's Traveling with Kids expert and has recently appeared on CNN to give the inside scoop on Key Biscayne and Key West.

About Frommer's®


The market leader in travel guides, Frommer's publishes more than 400 travel products, including guides, ebooks, and apps. Travelers  count on Frommer's for savvy trip-planning, sightseeing advice, detailed maps, accurate prices,  and candid reviews of hotels and restaurants in every price range. Frommers.com is a comprehensive, opinionated travel resource featuring more than 3,500 world destinations. For more information, visit 
frommers.com.


Here are the interview questions and answers:


1. Tell us more about how the 'Lilliput Guidebook' got started. What was the inspiration?


Because Frommer’s was featured in Gulliver’s Travels, we thought it would be fun to celebrate the April 19th Blu-ray and DVD release with an official Frommer’s guidebook to Lilliput.  Though I approached the writing as I would any Frommer’s guide, it was fun and inspiring to write about a non-existent place.
  
2. What's your favorite thing about the people of Lilliput?

Their loyalty, kindness, and bravery.

3. What do you love about Gulliver's Travels?

I love the film’s no-holds-barred commitment to having an old fashioned good time. It’s a great popcorn movie that the whole family can watch together. It’s a fun romp with humor, action, adventure, and love.  Certainly, there’s something in the film for everyone in the family. 

4. Do you have any fun DVD party suggestions for entertaining the kids over the holidays?

Aside from kids tying each other down and pretending to be Gulliver and the Liliiputians, followed by a screening of the movie, I’d say you can make a party out of pretty much any kids movie. Kids (most likely little girls) can put on matching outfits (preferably white dresses with blue satin sashes), sing songs, put on puppet shows and pretend to be the Von Trapp children from The Sound of Music. Before watching the movie, have a dinner of schnitzel with noodle! 
Boys can head to the back yard or park and have foot races, pretending to be Lightening McQueen and his competitors from Cars.Race backwards and pretend to be Mater.  Get dressed up, have a tea party, and float to the ceiling laughing.  Or go outside and fly a kite.  Head back indoors and watch Mary Poppins. 

5. Tell us about your favorite Easter/Spring travel memories.

My family spent a number of Easter holidays and Spring Breaks skiing in Colorado. It’s a great time of year to hit the slopes.  The days have warmed up quite a bit, but there’s still snow on the ground. I remember plenty of sunny days skiing in t-shirts and ski pants. If we were there on Easter Sunday, we’d always hit the slopes first thing in the morning, when lots of other people were spending time at church or with family. We’d head home mid-day to have some down-time together and a big Easter dinner, right about the time the masses were heading to the mountain.

6. What, according to you, are the best Easter/Egg Hunt events in USA for parents to travel with their kids to?

New York City does a wonderful egg hunt in Central Park. There’s also a fabulous Easter Parade in NYC that runs down Fifth Avenue. You’ll see great outfits, really incredible hats, and experience a pervasive spirit of springtime in the city. It can really put a smile on your face and  be a great excuse to introduce the kids to the Big Apple. Of course there’s also the White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, D.C. Though it’s extremely crowded, it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind experience, and a great way for kids to see the nation’s capital during a beautiful time of year. 
Any day is a great day for a parade in New Orleans, so why would Easter be any different? The Big Easy has a number of Easter parades in the French Quarter, as well as egg hunts and time with the Easter Bunny in New Orleans City Park. It’s a wonderful family time in New Orleans. The Miami Zoo has a fun Egg Safari, which includes eggs hunts, the Easter bunny, and other special activities for kids 12 and under. In San Francisco, the Union Street Spring Celebration and Easter Parade brings out families for a day of eclectic fun. With an Easter Bonnet Contest, plenty of kids’  rides and activities, and, of course, a parade, this is a delightful event for locals and visitors alike.

7. Are there any other cost-effective solutions that can be found locally to make the Easter holidays special?

Most cities offer some sort of free organized Easter event, most commonly an Easter egg hunt in a city park. Parents should check with their local Parks and Recreation department to find out when and where they can find a hunt near home. There’s also nothing much cheaper or closer to home than hiding eggs in your own backyard (or neighborhood park, if you live in an apartment building). And just a few dollars can buy you a carton of eggs and a dying kit, if DIY Easter egg dying is something you want to do with your kids.
  
8. Any tips on traveling with kids during this time of the year? How old should parents wait for their kids before planning Easter travels with them? 

Spring Break/Easter travel can be teeming with crowds and kids, so it’s best to prepare yourself for long lines, loud flights, and busy restaurants. Planning ahead can be your best weapon against a bumpy vacation. Leave extra time for getting through airport security, be strategic about times to visit attractions (for example, if most travelers head to the zoo in the afternoon, be the first in line in the morning), and make restaurant reservations in advance.  
There’s no set age when kids are ready to travel. 
Every parent knows their own child’s limitations and what his/her boundaries are. I know some great 2-yr. old travelers and some terrible 8-yr. old travelers. Parents should be realistic with their expectations. Don’t expect a 2-yr. old to want to walk around the Magic Kingdom all day without any meltdowns. And don’t expect your average teenager to spend all day looking at Egyptian artifacts or Native American pottery. Let kids choose at least one activity each day.  It makes them feel important and often their ideas turn out to be some of the best ones. 

9. Where's the best place to travel if you want to take your dog with you?

Austin, Texas is exceedingly dog friendly. The laid back vibe and prominence of park space and outdoor patio dining makes for a very welcoming dog scene. Likewise, Los Angeles, with all its beaches for running and canyons for hiking, makes for a great dog friendly destination.
As long as Rover can fit in a carrier under the airplane seat in front of you, or, if he’s larger, you’re willing to fly him cargo underneath the plane, you can take your pooch with you almost anywhere. 
Before you show up at the airport with your dog in tow, check with your individual airline to inquire about restrictions, fees, and reservations. Many hotels are also dog-friendly these days, some going so far as to have doggy spas and canine day camps. Call ahead to your hotel to ask about their pet policies.

10. In your travels where have you found the best restaurants?

In the U.S., Los Angeles has excellent restaurants.  They’ve got any kind of food you can imagine and at all price points. Outside the U.S. I’m partial to Spain, Barcelona in particular. I love the tapas (small plates) way of dining.  It’s perfect for trying lots of different foods and not overdoing it on any one thing. What’s also fun about tapas in Barcelona is that each restaurant/bar seems to have its own specialty, so it’s really an opportunity to sample the best of everything all around town. 

11. Where is the friendliest place you have visited?

I’m always amazed at how friendly New Yorkers are. They have a reputation for being grumpy, but I challenge anyone to ask a local on a street corner for directions in the city and find a New Yorker not willing to help them out.  Southerners are also an incredibly friendly lot. Anywhere you go in Georgia or the Carolinas you’ll be met with genuinely friendly people. 

12. For a romantic get away without the kids where is the best place to travel to?

I recently went to Montreal, which is a fabulous place for a romantic getaway. It’s got that European feel, but it’s right here in North America. The museums, architecture, shopping, and restaurants are first rate. Because it’s a big city, there’s something for every budget.

Thank you so much Cate for the awesome interview and all the great ideas!