I’m so inspired by the moms I’m seeing crisscrossing the globe with their kids on social media. I decided to reach out to some of my favorites to see if they would share their family travel tips with my readers. They were kind enough to respond with these thoughtful and helpful answers. Some takeaways: The more you do it, the easier it gets for everyone and, despite the inevitable hiccups, traveling with kids is always worth it in the end.
Read on to learn more about these inspiring women who work in a variety of travel-related professions. Their family travel tips will make your next adventure more hassle-free and memorable however far-flung or close to home.
Photographer and Writer Lola Akinmade Åkerström
Editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm and an award-winning writer and photographer whose work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, BBC, CNN, The Guardian and Travel + Leisure, Lola does it all.
Home base? Stockholm, Sweden.
Hardest thing about traveling with kids? The entire pace of the trip is dictated by your kids. You will cut your sightseeing list in half. You won’t be able to do all the things you personally want to. This also often means eating the bulk of our meals around lunch time because by 6 pm, trying to take a toddler out to a restaurant is like playing the lottery. You tend to lose every time.
Most family-friendly destination you’ve visited? Besides my neighboring Nordic countries, I love going to Spain and Portugal with the family. One of our most memorable family travels was bringing them with me on assignment to Mauritius and
What’s your biggest piece of advice for moms who are intimated, but want to travel with their children? There are tons of resources out there to guide you and it’s a lot easier than you think. Kids are very versatile and adaptable, and they will feed off your own energy. R
Lola was a featured speaker at Women’s Travel Fest in New York City.
On a side note, my favorite stroller for traveling with a baby six months or older is the BabyZen YOYO.
Creative Director and Influencer Lauren Wells
Lauren’s beautiful photos on Instagram give me serious wanderlust. She’s worked with Relais & Châteaux, Visit Napa Valley and Nordstrom just to name a few.
Home base? Boston, Massachusetts.
Won’t leave home without? Besides my baby girl? 😉 I would have to say my Kindle. I am an avid reader, and there is nothing more relaxing to me than snuggling up with my family and a good book.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for moms who are intimated, but want to travel with their children? Just go! Most hiccups will make for good stories, and once you brave the first trip, you will have the confidence for so many more! laurenstephaniewells.com, @laurenswells
Documentary Producer and Journalist Kate McMahon
A film Kate helped produce was nominated for an Oscar in 2005. Her hard-hitting documentaries and stories for PBS and OPB are always enlightening.
Countries visited with your children? Five foreign countries: France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Victoria, BC. Our daughter was 16 months old the first time we traveled abroad as a family. We rented a two-bedroom villa in the bohemian Le Suquet quarter of Cannes, France. Four years and one more child later, we returned to Europe – this time to Barcelona, Geneva
Won’t leave home without? My crossbody Longchamp bag. It lets me be more hands-free in the airport, is easy to get my ID and boarding pass in and out of, and is a “third” bag when there is a two-bag carry-on limit. I’m the type of traveler that never leaves extra room in my suitcase – so every extra square inch I can find is a good thing!
What’s your biggest piece of advice for moms who are intimated, but want to travel with their children? There is no way to predict all the uncertainties of traveling with kids. That’s actually what makes the adventure so great! Prepare yourself with enough local knowledge about your destination like where’s the nearest grocery store? Where’s the nearest hospital? Where’s the nearest playground? Then, pack your bags as minimally as possible and remember that you can buy the rest of your necessities once you’ve arrived. katemcmahonprods.com
Art Director and Stylist Dulci Edge
Dulci’s stylish aesthetic comes through in her work for clients such as Gal Meets Glam, Sephora and J.Crew and on her travel blog The Far & Near.
Home base: San Francisco, California.
Approximate miles traveled with your son? Over 100,000 miles!
Best thing about traveling with kids? Kids are the ultimate ice breaker. Having Charley with us has been a great way to meet locals and people are more open, friendly and willing to spark up a conversation. It’s also just so cool to see him interacting with the world and watching how curious he is.
Hardest thing about traveling with kids? Jet lag! 🙁
One thing you won’t leave home without? Our sound machine. It’s been a major sleep cue for our son since day one and helps create a peaceful sleep environment wherever we are (including thin-walled hotels in Europe!).
Most family-friendly destination you’ve visited? It seems pretty straightforward, but Hawaii is totally family friendly and so relaxing, you can’t help but feel like you’re really on vacation (which isn’t always possible when traveling with kids!). Spain was also extremely family friendly with young and old enjoying late meals and after dinner strolls.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for moms who are intimated, but want to travel with their children? Always go! It seems totally daunting and impossible at first, but the sooner you go, the easier it will be for everyone. Our son has been traveling
Filmmaker and Host Kelley Ferro
Kelley has visited a whopping 70 countries. Her bubbly and adventurous personality comes through in the travel videos she creates for companies like CNN and Fodor’s.
Home base: Santa Monica, California.
Best thing about traveling with kids? Traveling with my infant has made the usual see-it-all, do-it-all me slow down. There’s less of a rush as the point of the trip has shifted to making sure we enjoy the few things that we can do, rather than try to do it all.
One thing you won’t leave home without? Her lovey! That soft little monkey helps her feel secure and helps her nap, no matter where we are. I also love her pacifier wipes for all the toys that inevitably get dropped on the floor and her Hatch Night Light/Sound Machine for making bedtime feel like home.
Most family-friendly destination you’ve visited? Italy was extremely family friendly! The locals went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and welcome. Some restaurants even allowed us to eat early (7pm) since our little one had to go bed. A couple of times when she was crying, locals at tables nearby offered to hold her. In Italy, having your kids with you all the time is natural and it made everywhere we went and everything we did that much easier. It made us realize how the USA is a bit less welcoming of kids in the “wrong” environments.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for moms who are intimated, but want to travel with their children? Traveling with kids IS intimidating, I get it. But I do believe that the more we’ve done it, the better we all have gotten at it. What I realized is one tough day is usually worth all the other amazing days together. These memories can make you so much closer as a family and I feel like it’s made me a better mom. I’m not scared of things not being “perfect” anymore because kids do
Luxury Travel Specialist Kristin Chambers
Kristin is the ultimate luxury travel insider. She founded D.A. Luxury Travel in 2007.
Home base? Boston, Massachusetts.
Countries visited with your son? 11 countries with son Michael.
Best thing about traveling with kids? Learning what is important to them in new destinations. Hearing the one-liners, listening to their “awe” as they are introduced to a new situation. I have found my son exercises his ability to be adaptable in foreign countries much more than when we are at home. For example, at home, he likes his eggs and pancakes cooked a certain way. In Sri Lanka, he dove into a platter of curried dahl with his hands our second day! Never tried it before, finished it all! Proud mama!
Hardest thing about traveling with kids? They are still learning to listen to their bodies and jet lag and exhaust can creep in at non-ideal times. As adults, we can often power through, however with kids, you never know where you may be when they just hit that wall. Go with the flow and do not worry if you miss out on an experience, there will be more!
Most family-friendly destination you’ve visited? Italy. Even if not their own, they hugely value the next generation and express so much joy when families visit their restaurants, shops, etc. They initiate conversations and will offer up engaging conversations. This is one of the reasons we loved Northern Italy so much.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for moms who are intimated, but want to travel with their children? Anything off the daily routine is traveling! Hop in the car, explore a new town, eat a new food. We recently went to Morris, CT to visit friends. On the way home, we stopped at a local dairy. I asked if we could pay for a small ice cream tasting. Everything was local, and we had an awesome experience. They even let us in the back to see the daily kitchen routines. Travelers always want to get into a kitchen in Italy, why not Morris, CT! daluxurytravel.com, @kristin_daluxurytravel
Header photo courtesy of Lauren Wells.