I share so often about my love of travel and giving children the gift of adventures. I’ve heard many people say that it isn’t worth the investment or stress to travel with children, especially since they don’t remember it. But in my experience this hasn’t been the case.
Not only do children as young as two remember their experiences but I find that during trips away my kids begin to do, say things, and take major developmental leaps that I think would have happened more gradually had we stayed in our comfort zone. I also notice that traveling gives me a sense of escape from the monotony of everyday life that helps me to be a better mother. I notice that for my kiddos travel is almost like planting them into nutritious compost rich soil; they begin to bloom and express themselves in new ways.
There’s nothing more thrilling than seeing your child try a new food or say hello to another child in a new language. It’s quite precious and exciting! In those moments all the travel planning and cost seems to be a non-issue. In those moments all you can really think about is just how strange yet thrilling it all feels. I love the times where I get to point out to my child something that had previously only been visible on the flat surface of a book or screen.
Today’s interview is with an amazing woman who decided that travel with kids, though difficult at times, is more than worth it, and she wanted to help other families experience that joy in inviting and kid-friendly spaces all around the world, quite literally. Her name is Zoie Kingsbery Coe and she’s the genius mama behind Kid & Coe, Making family travel as easy as A, B, C.
In the U.S. you can find beautiful Kid & Coe abodes in places such as Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Echo Park, LA and all throughout the states. There are also an abundance of absolutely magical family stays in locations like Italy, Uruguay, Morocco, India, and Sweden. Each listing touts things like what makes it Perfect for the Parents, Why Kids Love It, Accommodation Details, a segment called About the Location that shares details like the local cost for a taxi, beach precautions, plus lovely little things like Style Notes that describe the esthetics that make that home the perfect home-away-from-home. I absolutely love those tiny touches that show attention to detail!
As a mama who’s traveled with kiddos alone before, it’s nice to know what you can expect once you get to your destination and that the host and/or booking site has similar standards and expectations to you. With Kid & Coe you’ll also know before leaving home that your vacation stay has high chairs, a crib, toys, and bonus things like stair gates. It goes without saying that Kid and Coe is truly an accommodation site that has thought of what the modern mama is really looking for when traveling as a family unit.
Well, after all of that I bet you’re excited to hear from Zoie herself. Below you’ll find my interview with Zoie. She shares some really wonderful travel tips and insight into what it’s been like for her to travel with her kids. Enjoy!
I’m Zoie, momma to two big kids: Luca who has just turned 9 going on 13, India Rose who is 5 and our brand new bebe, Ivy Love, who is straight from heaven and came at just the right moment in our lives. We are a very close-knit family who love spending time together, chasing “adventures” and being as silly as possible. My husband is a touring DJ/music producer and I am the founder of Kid & Coe, which features carefully chosen holiday family accommodation.
AM: Tell us a bit about your passions. Did you grow up traveling or is it something you began doing once you were older?
ZKC: My parents actually met on an airplane! It was very normal for our family to decide last minute we were going to fly to Paris or Milan for the weekend, as we could fly standby (ie. free!). That kind of spontaneous search for adventure certainly seemed to ignite a spark of wanderlust in my soul. I grew up in Georgia in a fairly rural environment so visiting these very cosmopolitan cities with my family showed me that the world was a vastly wide and wonderfully different place to explore. The idea of stretching boundaries is something I want to pass on to my own children.
AM: I love that Kid & Coe is focused on supporting families as they travel together. So many couples halt all abroad adventures once they have kids but for many of us travel is both a treat and a necessity. When did you realize that Kid & Coe was a needed resource and that you were the person to create such a platform?
ZKC: The company has been running since October 2013 but this idea did take some time in the making. Wind it back a few years, and my husband, our baby and I were traveling the world and realizing that it took a lot of effort to find properties that were truly child-friendly and suitable. Over time, that list was requested more and more by my friends, and so the idea was born. I drew together a team, and began to work with concepts and ideas to bring it together.
One way I hope we’re different is we strive to inspire families to think ‘outside of the box’ when it comes to family travel. Disney must be done, and we love a kids club as much as the next person, but we also believe in showing our children a world that stretches beyond typical family travel boundaries.
AM: Could you share about some of your favorite Kid & Coe homestays?
ZKC: Yes! We celebrated my son’s 8th birthday at the lovely Palmeras Residence, where they made him his favorite meal of fish and chips and chocolate cake. There was no WiFi, which was refreshing, and the kids roamed the beautiful grounds. We released freshly hatched baby turtles to the sea and enjoyed the simple connection with nature and each other. We’ve also stayed at the Chevening Residence and rediscovered why we love London so much-wide open green spaces and buzzy side streets worthy of exploration.
AM: Finish this sentence.
ZKC: Traveling with kids is: …hard work but SO worth it.
AM: I know you were just in Ibiza and really loved it there. Which city has been your favorite to travel as a family and why?
ZKC: We just visited Madrid, where we were able to mix a bit of the Prado museum for myself and my artistic daughter, balanced out by a soccer stadium tour for my footy obsessed husband and son. And of course we all enjoyed visiting the oldest spot in the city for ‘churros con chocolate caliente’’.
AM: Could you share a few tips for families heading out on their first overseas trip? What are some things you always pack and have on hand when traveling?
ZKC: My husband teases me, but I start packing about a week prior to the trip. I pull the suitcases out and just start adding things so to avoid the last minute panic of trying to remember everything. I would urge families to try and pack light, I know it’s tough but you do NOT need a clean pair of jammies for every night you’ll be away. I always pack their backpacks with new little wrapped toys-small things that will keep their interest (while buying a little more time until the ipads are handed over). Stacking cups and snacks are your friends for little ones-’hide the raisins’ being a great time suck on a long plane ride, and they double as sand and bath toys upon arrival. We also pack a fresh pack of markers, sketchbooks and little watercolor palette, and a deflated soccer ball (with pump) for my son. I also love the packit cubes to keep their clothes separated and organized within one suitcase.
AM: What have been some of your favorite experiences sans-kids while traveling?
ZKC: Wow there are a million of these, alas distant memories… :). One very memorable trip with my husband was to a little hotel in the north of Taiwan perched in the Sun Moon Lake. He wasn’t yet my husband then, and I remember the grounds were dotted with ponds filled with koi fish, boat rides to ancient temples and dim sum for days.
AM: Can you recommend a few books that you love?
ZKC: I loved ‘Light Years’ by James Salter, I’m currently reading The Vacationers which I like as it’s set in the Balearics. I will also reread ‘My many colored days’ by Dr. Seuss with my kids to help explain the myriad of emotions we all have!
AM: What’s a favorite quote or phrase of yours?
ZKC: “let’s try it and see what happens”
All photos courtesy of Zoie Kingsbery Coe.
Do you have a tripped planned for the summer? I’d love to hear about where you’ll be traveling to and whether or not you’re brining your kiddos. Also, if you have questions about traveling with kids feel free to ask me in the comments section. I always reply.