The planner Diane Danielson, CEO of the Downtown Women’s Club, a Boston-based networking group, and mother of Andrew, 7. Home base Cohasset, Massachusetts
Diane grew up traveling—her parents would even take her out of school for trips to Europe—and she doesn’t let being a single mom stop her from hitting the road with her own son. She brought Andrew to the south of France when he was just 17 months old, and continues to go there with him every summer for two to three weeks (her parents own a second home in Ste. Maxime). The pair goes to the beach each summer, skiing in the winter, and somewhere else fun in between. The upshot: Andrew is a seasoned traveler who automatically removes his shoes at airport security and never, ever kicks the seat in front of him.
We usually head places where I have a support system. We went to New York City one spring break because we could stay in the apartment of a friend who has kids. In Vail, we visited a family with three teenage daughters who were happy to babysit. No matter where we travel, I try to have some time alone. When Andrew is in ski or snowboard school, I head to the spa. And in France, my parents and son know that every day I go jogging and swimming—it’s part of the routine. But I do give Andrew a say in our plans. In France, we visit castles because he likes knights and dragons, and I suffer through Aqualand, a waterpark, at least once each trip.
When Andrew was a toddler, I had a stroller that converted into a car seat, TriplePlay’s Sit’n’Stroll, which was great for the plane and meant fewer luggage hassles. Now that he’s older, he hops on my rolling suitcase—belly-down, with both hands on the handle—and I can make it through a crowded airport always knowing where he is. If we’re traveling overseas, I book the latest flights possible so he’s tired when we board. On the plane, he changes into pj’s and sleeps.
Not strictly business
When I was asked to speak at Colby College, Andrew and I snuck in a weekend in Maine. The highlight was a place called Strawberry Hill Farms (puremaple.com), where we watched maple syrup being made, searched for beaver dams, and learned to spot deer poop.
Our trip wish list
We want to get to San Diego for the zoo, Legoland, and the Birch Aquarium. Looking ahead, I’ve asked Andrew to keep a log of places around the world he wants to visit someday. So far the list is movie-driven—Madagascar (because of the film, of course), Egypt (he was fascinated by the pyramids in The Prince of Egypt), and the White Cliffs of Dover (they’re in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). Now I have to find a kids’ movie that takes place in Paris!