Meet: Kevin Wagar, Travel Blogger and Adventurer - The Expedition
Wagar familt in Petra, Jordan

Meet: Kevin Wagar, Travel Blogger and Adventurer

Some families take a leisurely approach to travel, leaving their days open and relaxed. Kevin Wagar’s clan does it a little differently. 

“We like to tackle each new place like we may never have the chance to visit it again,” says the Canadian dad behind the popular family-travel blog wanderingwagars.com. “Whether on local experiences here in Ontario or on our travels throughout the world, we hit the ground running and don’t stop until we’ve seen as much of a destination as possible.”

The family’s most recent big trip—to Egypt, just as the pandemic was shutting down the world earlier this year—“was chaos from beginning to end,” Kevin said. The Wagars managed to squeeze in Cairo, Siwa, the pyramids, an Aswan Nile cruise and other epic sites before catching one of the last flights out of the country in March. 

“I’ll never say Egypt was the easiest country in the world for travel, but it was fascinating,” says Kevin. His sons, ages 9 and 7, read the Percy Jackson series before the trip, which added to the experience, 

We chatted with Wagar about how he and his wife, Christina, prep the kids when things get stressful on the road—like evacuating during a typhoon—his tips for packing light and the secret spots to seek out in Ontario. 

When things get tense on the road…

we’re honest with the kids about what is happening and explain why we’re a little stressed out right now. We tell them “If you have questions, ask us, but watch as much cartoons as you like right now.” We had to evacuate during a typhoon once. Kids can sense when you’re stressed. They’re going to sense you’re kind of wigging out and they’re going to want to know why. If you’re a no-screen family, I’d maybe just order room service with lots of dessert and let them do what they want to do. The last thing you want is your kids to be stressed out, too. Simplify everything. Speak to them like they’re part of the situation, because they are. 

Growing up in Canada…

I have childhood memories of road trips along the East Coast of Canada and to Florida. My dad was a musician and we would often travel with him as his band moved from festival to festival. My wife grew up in the Philippines and traveled extensively with her family.

Our first trip as parents…

was when my wife and I took our two-month-old to New York City to visit family. But it didn’t stop there. By the time he was six months old, our first son had traveled through much of Ontario and visited Portugal and Mexico, too. 

We never leave for a trip without…

my camera equipment—I’m all about the memories. But there are a few other things that we always take along with us, too. To keep things light, we bring packable down jackets to deal with the cold and quick-dry towels that we can take with us anywhere. And, of course, lots and lots of snacks.

I try to remind myself…

to plan our travels at a pace the kids can handle. If my wife, Christina, and I are traveling alone, we can cover a lot of ground in a short time. When we travel with our kids, we have to slow that pace down enough to give them a chance to absorb all of the things they’re experiencing.

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The biggest rewards in our family travels come…

in watching the boys grow and gain confidence from every new experience they have—from overcoming a fear of open water to learning how to strike up conversations with strangers. Travel has enabled our children to gain confidence in both themselves and their abilities.

The more we travel as a family…

the more the idea of lightweight and portable comes into play. We no longer travel with everything but the kitchen sink. More often than not, we are traveling with carry-on luggage only, even for multi-week travels throughout the world. So keeping everything small, packable, and organized is super important. Packing cubes have been a huge asset along with lightweight and quick-dry clothing.

If you come to Ontario…

get ready to experience a beautiful place from top to bottom, with loads on offer. Most visitors spend their time navigating the area between Niagara Falls and Toronto, but heading north from there opens you up to some of the most gorgeous places in the province. The area surrounding Georgian Bay is a particular favorite. It’s accessible and just beautiful. But if you want something truly unique, head way up to Thunder Bay and explore some of the parks and waterfalls around the top of Lake Superior.

I hope to get out of The Expedition… 

a community of families who are passionate about travel. Surrounding yourself with those who encourage your interests is a great way to stay grounded to the things that you value and want to invest further in.

I’d like to give other members… 

my biggest piece of advice for other families looking to travel is to follow your passions. Children are intuitive and look to their adults as role models. Maybe they won’t want to grow up to be travelers. Maybe for them passion will come in the form of music, art, science, or engineering. But if they see you following your dreams, they will know that they too can make their dreams a reality.

Terry Ward is a Florida-based freelance journalist and travel writer.

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