From the moment I met Tommy DiDario, we both felt an instant connection. Our mutual friend Sam Champion introduced us.
Tommy lives in New York with his equally amazing husband Gio Benitez and I treasure the friendships with both of them. In fact, we all enjoy each other so much that my husband and I have vacationed with them.
Tommy is a lifestyle contributor to many television shows, including Rachel Ray and The Today Show. I love his warmth, kindness, and curiosity to learn as much as he can.
We refer to each other as “soul-friends” and I am happy to share some of his insights about travel.
The Travel Mom: Did you take family vacations when you were growing up? Do you remember visiting anywhere in particular?
Tommy DiDario: I grew up going to the New Jersey shore throughout my summers. My grandfather had a house where everyone would come together and spend the summer. I have such great memories of spending time with my family, especially my cousins who were all similar ages, doing everything from spending entire days on the beach, to entire nights walking around town or going to the boardwalk full of rides and games, to playing miniature golf and afterward visiting the local candy store to buy some fun treats. We were never in the house -always out and about adventuring!
I remember family dinners on Sundays where my grandfather would make a giant pot of his pasta and homemade sauce. It was such an amazing time to bond with the family, while still feeling so far away, even though the shore was just an hour and a half from where I lived. I think it just goes to show you that vacation doesn’t always have to mean going somewhere super far or super exotic. There are so many places to make memories, both near and far.
The Travel Mom: With destinations, you have been to, are there any that stand out? What is it about the place that makes it memorable?
Tommy DiDario: Hawaii is so special to me. My husband and I traveled to the islands the year we met in 2015, and ever since then, we return every December. Kauai is the island we have fallen in love with. To me, it’s one of the most breath-taking places in the world & one of the few places that I can totally unwind and relax in. It’s an island of adventure and exploration. From hiking to secret waterfalls and swimming underneath them, to watching Honu (Hawaiian sea turtles) on the beach, to tasting the delicious local flavors of Hawaii and to the kindness and warmness of the people, it’s a place that every time I visit, I never want to leave. From going over the last 5 years, we have made some incredible local friends that I look forward to making memories with every year when we return. The larger-than-life landscapes of Kauai make you feel so tiny, and what a humbling feeling is that.
I also absolutely love Turks & Caicos. The island has the warmest, clearest water I have ever swum in – I could stay in for hours! I also love that it’s a quick flight from NYC! The Shore Club is an exquisite property there, and the staff couldn’t be more accommodating. Last, I love Italy. The history of Rome always blows me away, and I could tour that city repeatedly.
The Amalfi Coast, specifically Capri, is enchanting and I dream of returning often. My grandmother who passed away before I was born loved Capri so it feels extra special spending time in a place she loved so much.
The Travel Mom: You are someone who travels often, what is it you enjoy about traveling?
Tommy DiDario: So much! I love learning. Learning about new cultures, history, new cuisine, and even learning about myself. I do things when I travel that take me out of my comfort zone, and I like that feeling.
For example, in Hawaii, I did one hike that was at times a bit scary. Let’s just say I had to hold on to a rope on the side of a muddy narrow trail so I wouldn’t slip. While it was scary, I felt so accomplished after completing that hike. I also love adventure and traveling brings me back to feeling like that little kid again, about to embark on a series of epic adventures.
The perfect vacation to me is a mixture of adventure and r&r. One day go on an all-out excursion, the next day get a massage and hang on the beach. Traveling is also a time for me to re-center. Being in the entertainment industry, it’s always go go go and my mind is constantly spinning or thinking about the next job, interview, segment, or TV pitch I have to do.
When I travel, I try as much as possible to turn that off and be present. Traveling is a great way for me to re-focus on being present.
The Travel Mom: When the time is right, and it is safe to travel, any thoughts on where you would like to visit?
Tommy DiDario: Good question!! I just want a warm body of water to jump into so I am not picky – my swimsuit is ready for when the time is ready! I have to say, I truly hope Hawaii works out this year because of how special that trip is to me. It’s part of my love story with my husband, so I am extra sappy about Hawaii. In the meantime, it’s been nice exploring places local to me in NYC. This summer I have been safely checking out Montauk and the Hamptons, and it’s been a fun local adventure!
About Tommy DiDario Tommy is a TV Host & Lifestyle Contributor, seen on The Rachael Ray Show, The Today Show, Entertainment Tonight & so much more. He covers everything from celebrity interviews to human interest stories, to lifestyle topics in the fashion trends, grooming, travel, health, fitness and wellness worlds. Notably, Tommy was one of the first-ever non-news hosts to be hired by a news network to host his own show (Today Show).
During the current COVID pandemic, Tommy launched his own talk show via Instagram Live, #LetsTalkTogether, in which he interviews inspirational celebrities who give viewers a daily dose of positivity.
Credits include the Today Show, the Rachael Ray Show, Entertainment Tonight, Daily Mail TV, Amazon Live & more
Over the past 20 years, Emily Kaufman, known as The Travel Mom, has built a loyal and engaged community of travel enthusiasts who watch her weekly on national TV shows as Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, The Steve Harvey Show, CNN, local TV stations, and online for the latest travel news, tips, and giveaways. Emily engages the community offline as well through experiential events, including The Travel Mom Weekend Getaways. The Travel Mom is a 360-degree media brand that touches TV, digital, and experiential all in one.