ROAM’s Best Family Travel Photos of 2020

Judges picked five prize winners from hundreds of fabulous and fun entries to ROAM’s 2020 contest.

By Liliia DeCos


Before we announce the winners of the ROAM 2020 Best Family Travel Photo Contest, we have got to thank the hundreds of parents who shared their beautiful families, locations and experiences with us – it was truly inspiring!

Even though this was our second year judging the contest, it was still far from easy to pick the winners. While last year, our entries were filled with a ton of beach pics, this year’s photos featured gorgeous mountains and lakes. We also had a lot of entries from parents in different parts of the world, like Australia and Russia. It was reassuring to see that parent travelers value the same experiences, regardless of what country they call home.

Big thanks to ROAM’s photo team – Didrik Johnck, Crystal Engstrom, Maryann Jones Thompson (and myself 😉 – for serving as judges for the contest. We spent hours reviewing and discussing the merits of specific shots. (Read more about our judging process in this article.)

“Looking at all these great photos, I’m asking myself what image really moves me to action? What image makes me dream?” says Didrik regarding the unique task of judging a family travel photo contest. Even though he’s a professional adventure photographer, he tapped into his experience as a dad traveling with his two boys to elevate one image above another.

“I’m always looking for the pic that stops me in my tracks – or stops me from scrolling through a feed,” says Crystal, professional portrait photographer and Photo Editor for ROAM. “After I stop, I’m drawn to the fabulous portraits but I know I’m really looking for the ones that say ‘family travel adventure’ to me.”

After winnowing down our lists of favorites, we picked one Grand Prize Winner, four Runner-ups and 16 Honorable Mentions in four different categories ­– Culture, Portrait, Landscape and Nature.

Importantly, the winning shots are the very definition of diversity: Our best photos represent a broad spectrum of nationalities, family types, destinations and activities. Most importantly, taken together, we believe this vast array of shots expresses what “family travel” means to us.

Best Photo of 2020

ROAM congratulates Alison Bowman-Salas of findingsalas for taking the 2020 Grand Prize for the idyllic shot of her husband and daughter reading a bedtime story in Morocco.


“Even though I spend a lot of time encouraging families to take unique and adventurous trips, there is no doubt that this photo shows us what family travel is all about,” says Maryann Jones Thompson, ROAM’s founder and editor in chief. “Add Moroccan motifs, soft light, and a sweet connection between father and daughter, and you get a dreamy scene for traveling parents.”

To me, this photo conveys how priceless the one-on-one moments are for parents and kids on the road.  Traveling as a family encourages us to enjoy each others’ company and create unforgettable memories – for both parents and children. And as the lucky winner of last year’s ROAM Photo Contest, I also love the emotion that is captured in Alison’s serene shot.

Alison and the Salas family live in Madison, Wisconsin, but spend a lot of time traveling together. Click here to find out more about their winning photo and see more inspiring pictures from their travels.

Winning Runner-up Photos

The judges chose four runner-up winners, one for each photo category.

Action Winner – Red Dunes Jump by elianezuerrer

From their home in Switzerland, Eliane Zürrer traveled with her husband, Ronald, and their daughter to Snow Canyon State Park in Utah. An afternoon of leaping in the dunes left them covered in itchy red sand – a small price to pay when the whole family is having a ball!


Culture Winner – The Ruskealsky Express by yulia_and_mark

A Moscow mom, Julia, took her son to Karelia in Northwest Russia on a retro train called the “Ruskealsky Express.” This photo reminded us of the glory days of rail travel and how seldom we do it nowadays.


Nature Winner: Cotopaxi Forest Magic by familytravelnomads

Mom Stephanie Frias believes that a special photo like this one only happens in unplanned and unexpected places. This shot was taken inside a eucalyptus forest that she and her family accidentally wandered into near the Cotopaxi National Park in the Ecuadoran Andes.

Portrait Winner – Riders on the Border by goflo_travel

Florian Decaux’s French family living in Chicago traveled to the Big Bend National Park in Texas and traveled by donkey over the border to a Mexican village laughing the entire way!


Once again, ROAM is extremely grateful to all the photographers who shared their best travel shots and experiences with us. We are glad to see our community of like-minded family travelers growing and expanding.

Click here to view all the contest entries and click here to see the winning photos from 2019.

Let’s ROAM!


Best Family Travel Photos of 2020

ROAM 2019 Photo Contest – Top 5 Prize Winners

Liliia deCos  – February 2020

ROAM Contributing Editor   


Originally from Ukraine and now based in Spain, Liliia has traveled literally across the world with her husband Jose and their two young daughters. Follow their intrepid walkabouts on ROAM and at bring_baby_abroad, You can also see Liliia’s amazing photos on Instagram at bring_baby_abroad or on ROAM where she won Best Family Photo of 2019

© ROAM Family Travel 2020 – All rights reserved


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