Some families plan family vacations around a trip to Disney World, while others opt for the Grand Canyon. But writer Nevin Martell’s family was far more likely to go land diving on Pentecost Island, or owl hunting in the Azores. In his forthcoming book, Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations, Martell catalogs his family’s misadventures exploring the world, complete with near death experiences and culinary catastrophes. Naturally, we had to ask the author for his travel tips, including what to pack and what not to do—read on for those, and pick up the book for more breezy, hilarious anecdotes.
Now that you've got a family of your own, how do you pick travel destinations?
I want to make sure that family excursions include something for everyone. At the same time, I want the itinerary to do some things that make each of us step out of our natural comfort zones. For example, I took my wife on a hike to the top of an active crater in Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park, which was definitely like an episode of Fear Factor for her. On another occasion, she took me zip-lining, which helped me face my dislike of heights.