Book Review: Wanderlust and Lipstick: Traveling With Kids

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Book Review: Traveling With Kids

One of my favorite sites is Wandermom's, at Wanderlust and Lipstick. Always sharing great ideas, tips, stories, and more, Michelle Duffy (Wandermom) is just the consummate family traveler. I was so pleased to find out that she and co-author Leslie Forsberg have a new book out, Wanderlust and Lipstick: Traveling with Kids! It is full of excellent ideas - and REAL LIFE stories from many moms that have traveled with their kids, be it around the world or around their state. When I first opened the book, I was intrigued by the Table of Contents. Yes, I am one who reads that (and then a bibliography, if included) first. From talking about Why Travel with Children to Learning before you go, flight plans, friends and family, getting around, pack it up, health and safety, responsible travel, and more - this book is jam-packed with incredibly useful information for family travel. One of my favorite parts of the book is Meeting the Locals - from ideas about spending time with a local family to language, organized meetings or camps, bringing gifts from home, or volunteer work, this section has all the makings to help your child become a true intercultural traveler!  Another excellent resource is the extensive packing list for traveling with kids of all ages. I hadn't thought about many of the items on the lists - and am very grateful for it!

There are also:
*creative ideas for grand adventures with kids
*proven packing tips and advice for dealing with kid gear
*suggestions for dealing with your child's emotional needs while traveling
*useful information about getting around and where to stay
*personal anecdotes and advice from more than 40 family travelers
*listings for more than 200 essential websites

Truly, this is THE BEST book I've seen about traveling with kids. Hopefully it will inspire more families to explore the world, become global citizens, and learn that there are great adventures, friends, and learning anywhere!

 

Wanderlust & Lipstick: Traveling with Kids

 

 

We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Michelle about her new book, traveling with kids, raising intercultural kids, and more. Here's what she had to say...

 

 

WE: Please tell us about your new book: Wanderlust and Lipstick: Traveling
with Kids
...

MD: When Beth Whitman, the author of Wanderlust and Lipstick: For Women Traveling Solo approached me to participate in the ‘Traveling With Kids’ book, I thought she just wanted to interview me and, having traveled pretty widely with my children, I eagerly accepted. When I realized that she wanted me to be a co-author, I was truly shocked. But I got over my shock and when I reflected on all the places I’d been with my children, and on all the many good (and bad) experiences we’d shared, I realized that I really did have information to share with other moms. So I rolled up my sleeves and started writing!

In the book we include practical advice on how to travel with children (and preserve your sanity); we aim to inspire you with ideas for adventures; and we share stories from the many women we interviewed for the book who have already taken many great trips with their children. We provide detailed information and advice on everything from a weekend city breaks to planning extended trips with children and we include product reviews and links to many, many websites for further information.

 

 

WE: What was the impetus for writing this book?

MD: Wanderlust and Lipstick: Traveling With Kids is the third book in the Wanderlust and Lipstick series of guide books written for women, by women. We felt it was an important addition to the series since it seems that all women, at some point, travel somewhere with a child. We’ve endeavored to make the book approachable and worthwhile for moms, sisters, aunts and grandmothers traveling with children of any age.

 

 

WE: How has having kids changed the way - and places to which - you've traveled?

MD: In some ways, having children hasn’t changed my travel at all and in others – like our accommodation choices – it’s radically different than what I would have chosen when traveling without children. My children are now 13 and 8 (almost 9). My older son was extremely well-traveled in the first four years of his life – in the year when he turned three he visited Ireland, Greece, Peru and Melbourne! The pace of our traveling slowed down when his younger brother was born (although we did hike in Hawaii when he was only three weeks old). We now travel less frequently but our trips are longer in duration and we stay primarily at condos, houses or apartments rather than a standard hotel room.

Having children has caused me to travel more to spend time with extended family and to wait on more adventurous travel - not that this has been a bad thing. Since our children were born, most of our travel has been to Europe because that’s where our extended family lives in Ireland, the U.K., Portugal, Italy and Greece. This has been a good thing because it’s certainly easier to travel to developed countries with small children. However, now that my boys are older, we’re planning an extended trip to South America, Africa and Asia. (I can’t wait).

 

 

WE: How do you suggest we raise intercultural kids, besides the obvious of travel?

MD: Language and food are two things which I return to again and again as tools to educate my children on the size and diversity of our world – just from our own living room and kitchen. I also look for ways to leverage opportunities to bring the world into our home in more practical ways. For example, when I returned to work after my children were born, I decided to hire an AuPair to live with us for a year as an opportunity expose my children to another culture and language. (Young men and women from all over the world work as AuPairs, but ours was from Germany). My children still stay in touch with her and regularly request that we visit her country (someday!). Also, just last year, we hosted some teenage exchange students from Japan. Even with a significant language barrier, my children and the Japanese kids found ways to communicate – albeit while playing video games. 
Finally, when we travel, we really do try to live like locals in the places we visit. We take public transportation, shop in grocery stores and eat at small, local restaurants. It can sometimes be more frustrating to deal with the vagaries of the bus or train system in another country, but I believe it’s an invaluable way to introduce my children to another country in a low-key way.

 

 

WE: When planning travel and activities for different ages, what are your tips to keep the whole family happy?

MD: There are three things which I think are important. Firstly, focus on the goal of your trip. Is your plan to relax, to explore or to learn something new – or a combination of all of these? Secondly, keep in mind the temperaments of the members of your (family) group; and finally, be conservative in planning the pace of the trip. I try to keep the goal of the trip in mind as I investigate activities and attractions before we go. There’s no point in planning long days of sightseeing when what everyone needs is really plenty of rest and relaxation.

Temperament is huge in our family since my one of my children is a (very) reluctant traveler and he has ADHD. As parents, we expect him to complain and resist and we really work hard at being calm and upbeat about where we are going and what we plan to do – doggedly so sometimes. When we travel we regularly take “medication vacations” i.e. my child with ADHD does not take the medication which he needs to stay focused in school. Thus we must be even more careful in planning our daily activities and having multiple backup options available all the time.

There is one way in which I know I differ from a lot of moms when we travel: that is planning parent-time. My husband and I both work full time and we look forward to our vacation as time to spend with our children. Even when our boys were little we did not stay at resort hotels with kid’s clubs for example. We do use children’s programs on ski trips, but that’s because neither of us ever learned to ski (we’re self-taught snowboarders). I feel that it’s important to be honest about what you need when planning your trip. If you’re a stay-at-home mom who really needs quality time with your spouse or partner, then look for a cruise or resort with a good kid’s program. Your vacations are not just for the children, it’s important that you come home feeling rested and rejuvenated too.

 

 

WE: It is critical to give back to communities, whether at home or while traveling. What ways do you and your kids do this?

MD: Both of my children attend schools which try to integrate community awareness and participation projects into the curriculum with everything from collecting food for local food banks to being involved in park and trail clean-up projects and fund-raising for organizations like Save The Children. Choosing schools with philosophies like this was an important decision for my husband and I since the school activities help support and reinforce the things we do at home.

 

 

WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

MD: I’d love to welcome your readers to check out my blog at http://wandermom.com/. I blog about the places we go and what we do, gear and gadgets which are useful or interesting for traveling families and sometimes I give in to my geekiness (in my day job I work in technology) and I write about technologies which are relevant to or impact the travel industry. I look forward to interacting with your readers!

 

 

WE: Thanks so much, Michelle! I really enjoyed reading this book - and think it is an invaluable book for families that travel.

For more information, and to buy the book, please see:

wanderlustandlipstick.com/books/traveling-with-kids/

 

 

 

Comments (8)

  • dreamvision

    11 years 5 months ago

    I'm going to check out their blog, but I'm wondering if they address the issue of traveling with children on a budget, while addressing thier needs? Anyone know?

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    11 years 5 months ago

    good question, dreamvision! they do devote a section of the book to budgeting, and how to plan your travels using the budget (pp. 142-144). 

     

    Jessie Voigts, PhD

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • wandermom

    11 years 5 months ago

    And if you don't feel that this topic is covered adequately in the book, please let me know. You can leave a comment on my blog at any time or shoot me an email - my address is here: http://wanderlustandlipstick.com/blogs/wandermom/author/wandermom/

  • dreamvision

    11 years 5 months ago

    Thank you! I checked to see if our local library had the book, but alas, they do not. :-(

    I am, however, enjoying your blog. I particularly appreciated your article "Free Range Kids on the Road".

    I have always considered travel to be an integral part of my children's education and development- whether the trip was 5 minutes from home, or five hours. The longer trips are something we are doing more frequently, now that the kids are older, and it truly is more of a challenge as far as planning and implementation are concerned. We have (semi-recently) moved 12 hours away from our families of origin, to an area where we are can drive 6 hours in any given direction and be in a whole other world. So much to do, so little time, and how to decide where to go? And get there without breaking the bank, or driving each other insane? It definitely is not as simple as throwing some clothes in a suitcase, packing the kids in the car, and driving straight through!

    Keep up the good work!

  • Jesse Miles

    11 years 5 months ago

    This sounds like this would be a great gift for my sister.  She travels with her kids a lot.

    Jesse Miles

  • Ed Forteau

    11 years 5 months ago

    Jesse, you are a good brother.  And her kids favorite Uncle.

    Ed Forteau

    Publisher, WanderingEducators.com

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    11 years 5 months ago

    jesse - you should definitely get the book, read it, and then give it to your sister! then, take the kids on a fun trip. double gift!

     

    Jessie Voigts, PhD

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    11 years 5 months ago

    Congratulations to our winner of Wanderlust & Lipstick: Traveling with Kids, dreamvision. We'll be contacting you via email! thanks for commenting, everyone!

     

    Jessie Voigts, PhD

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

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