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Traveling with Children & Pets

By July 8, 2022No Comments

If your dream trip includes children or a beloved pet, you’re in luck.  We love kids and pets here at the Santa Barbara Travel Bureau!  Both our Montecito and downtown Santa Barbara travel agency offices are child and pet friendly.  Feel free to bring children and pets along when stopping by our offices to plan your vacation.


SB Travel Marketing Manager, Angela Schmidt travels frequently with her family of five and is happy to share intel, “Cruising is an effortless, safe way to visit multiple destinations when traveling with kids.”


Featuring award winning complimentary childcare programs on board, with shore excursions designed for children, setting sail tops our value list when traveling with tots. Not all cruises have kids programs, so make sure to contact SB Travel first and ask for Angela if you’d like first-hand details on traveling with kids.


Keep reading for child and pet centric special offers and don’t miss SB Travel’s client appreciation event in August, featuring the best cruise lines for kids.  Held in our beautiful State Street office, our hosted travel events are a fun way to mingle with other travelers and our experienced travel advisors. Contact SB Travel to be added to our event guest list.

For those looking for a luxury hotel experience offering unique child centric programing, here are our favorites:

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Museums offering dedicated kid’s activities that enchant grown-ups too:


Will showing the world’s biggest collection of Impressionist paintings to your children bore them? Not any more with the sensational Scavenger Hunt at the Musée d’Orsay.
Solve all the mysteries and find all the clues hidden in each statue, painting or architectural feature of the Musée d’Orsay as these will lead you to a secret treasure in the end…
Multigenerational travel gives families the opportunity to learn about a destination – and each other. We’ve complied our top museum choices for kids, where curated exhibits and interactive learning make kids feel like VIP guests.


Go Dutch
World-renowned Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam draws travelers with its famed Van Goghs, Rembrandts, and Vermeers, and its Michelin-starred restaurant, RIJKS. It’s a great spot for children too, with daily family-focused tours, drawing lessons, and a kid-focused museum guide and puzzle book. The crowning stroke: a digital mystery-solving game. Museum director Taco Dibbits calls for adventurous families to uncover eight secrets hidden throughout the museum in an hour-long, interactive scavenger hunt.


Think Green
At Lusto, the Finnish Forest Museum, children can connect with nature in creative ways. “I loved this museum because there were umbrellas as decorations, spoons on plates that moved themselves, and truly something for everyone to enjoy,” says Virtuoso advisor Trish Mercer. A 26-foot children’s tree – complete with a treehouse in the branches and a bear den nestled below – offers different levels of play and discovery. Model chainsaws and forest machine simulators allow kids (and adults) to get a feel for the reality of forest management and resources.


Look Ahead
Think big at Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. The Tokyo complex looks to the future with participation-based exhibits ranging from cellular life to the farthest galaxies. Walk through an International Space Station replica, meet robots, observe neutrinos, and discover endless more ways to explore. From preschool scientific thinking games to an “opinion bank” for the grownups, the future is definitely ageless.


Nurture the Classics
“In Denmark, I love the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art,” says Virtuoso advisor Andrew Butler. “It’s located in an idyllic waterfront setting, and families with children will love the three-story children’s wing of the museum. Free workshops allow children to paint, draw, or sculpt in the style of the museum’s featured artists.” The facility’s impressive main collection is vast, changing every few months.

Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes | France

The 349-room Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes’ complimentary Studio by Petit VIP program lets aspiring Spielbergs and Coppolas (ages 4 through 12) dive into filmmaking. Kids work as screenwriters, directors, cinematographers, and actors while creating a short movie that premieres, in true Cannes fashion, in the hotel’s private screening room.

Hulopoe Bay adventures at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai | Hawaii

Nature in its most pristine form – secluded beaches, quiet hikes, reef-rich snorkeling – is what the tiny Hawaiian island of Lanai is all about. At the 213-room Four Seasons Resort Lanai, kids’ club activities emphasize conservation via guided adventures to the lava-rock tide pools at Hulopoe Bay, where mini marine biologists learn how to identify sea stars, hermit crabs, moray eels, and more.

Ocean House | Rhode Island

While parents lounge on the private beach or sip Pimm’s Cups on the croquet lawn at Rhode Island’s genteel Ocean House, kids hit the herb garden with the 67-room hotel’s resident food forager to learn about seasonal ingredients and farm-to-table dining. The outing is part of the property’s Center for Wine & Culinary Arts programming, along with kid-friendly baking, chocolate, and pizza-making lessons.

A friendly spar in Rome.

Hotel Hassler | Rome

Kids’ field trips at the 91-room Hotel Hassler in Rome include Vatican visits, gelato-tasting adventures, and a journey to the Gruppo Storico Romano gladiator school, where they don tunics and parry with wooden swords in a sandy arena while learning about the competition’s 2,000-year-old history.

Bring Your Pet

The most common and widely accepted animal travel companion is a dog. Always double-check with your travel advisor on pet policies and fees – and whether your pet piglet is allowed to check in. Since Santa Barbara Travel Bureau is a Virtuoso member, booking your hotel through allows you extras, like a complimentary resort credit starting at $100!

We rounded up some of our favorite options for canines at Virtuoso hotels around the world.  These luxury hotel stays welcome dogs with posh beds, treats, menus, and more:

The Joule, Dallas

The Joule welcomes dogs with a personalized dog tag, bag, and a cup full of housemade treats. A welcome letter details pet-friendly restaurants and parks in the area, and no trip to Texas would be complete without a black or white bandanna – true Texas style gifted to dog guests. Book through SB Travel to receive breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit.

Esprit Saint Germain, Paris

Owner Laurence Tafanel of Hotel Esprit Saint Germain in Paris is a huge dog lover; she rewards Virtuoso “best friends” with a bottle of Evian mineral water and hypoallergenic pet treats. The concierge will detail pet-friendly restaurants and bars nearby, and if you need a dog walker, they’ll book one of the best in Paris. Book through SB Travel to receive a welcome bottle of wine and breakfast daily. 

The Plaza, New York City

With its location at the edge of Central Park, owners and dogs staying at The Plaza can enjoy off-leash time across the street before 9 a.m. The hotel has introduced The Canine Companions Package with a welcome basket including treats, a chew toy, a leash, room spray, doggie bags for walks, and bowls for food and water (they also allow cats) – a portion of all pet stays go to support the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Book through SB Travel to receive breakfast daily and a $100 spa credit.

Rosewood London

Dog guests at the Rosewood London enjoy stylish English accommodations thanks to a recently launched canine package in collaboration with Barbour amenities that includes a dog bed, a collar, and a leash for use during the stay. Guests (owner or canine) can meet the hotel’s resident golden retriever, Pearl, who “wrote” Pearl’s Guide to London featuring her favorite pet-friendly establishments across the city. Book through SB Travel to receive breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit.

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Rome Cavalieri
Small dogs at the Rome Cavalieri enjoy VIP service – Very Important Pet service, that is. Owners can easily book dog sitters or walkers, reserve an appointment at the Pet Spa, and shop for pet necessities at the boutique. Special dog menu options on the room service menu include tuna and healthy rice and meat and vegetable soup. Pets are also welcome in the Tiepolo Lounge & Terrace and the Imperial Club bar. Virtuoso travelers receive one-way private airport transfers, breakfast daily, and a $100 dining credit.


Mandarin Oriental, Paris

Meet the VP of Pet Relations, Archie, at the Mandarin Oriental, Paris. He’s owned by general manager Philippe Leboeuf (though Archie goes by “Lewoof”). As a puppy, Archie spent time at London’s Claridge’s Hotel, where he grew to love room service and hobnobbed with celebrities. After moving to Paris, Archie helped develop the pet room-service menu and is on duty every Friday greeting guests. He recently started his own InstagramVirtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.

Montage Deer Valley

Montage Deer Valley counts two canine ambassadors among its staff: Bernese mountain dogs Monty and Parker, who both welcome guests in the lobby. The Park City hotel offers a Canine Cuisine in-room dining menu – after romping along dog-friendly trails, they’re sure to be hungry! – as well as dog beds and special treats. Virtuoso travelers receive an upgrade at time of booking (if available), breakfast daily, and a $100 spa credit.