Wandering Moms: 9 Traveling Mommas You Need to Meet

At some point, an awful and uninformed human took it upon themselves to spread the most horrific urban legend ever. It was the tale of “You won’t be able to travel once you have children.” HMPH. See exhibit (A) which appears to suggest that motherhood and passport stamps can’t operate in the same universe.

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There are many mom travel groups on social media platforms like Facebook that offer resources and support to mothers who want to travel or has made a continual effort to bust the myth of the urban legend and ensure their children are just as well traveled.

One particular group that is very dear to my heart is Wandering Moms. Disclaimer: I am a founder of this amazeballs group so I am a tad partial.  Wandering Moms is a diverse Facebook group that consists of almost ten thousand traveling mommas around the world. These mothers are giving their children the world, literally. Momma’s click the link to join!

Here are a few of our awesome Wandering Moms members who are showing their children the world. We think you need to meet/ follow them and see that travel with children in tow at all ages is possible!

Jessica Coe

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Atlanta, GA

What is your favorite mommy travel hack when traveling with your children?

My travel hacks are specific to my wonderful daughter who we swear has been here before (she has an old soul). She is very relaxed and adventurous, but my hacks work well for us. Here are a few:

  • We only travel on overnight flights when taking longer than 10-hour flights. We usually take her to a bouncy house or someplace fun the day of travel to allow her to sleep overnight for most of the flight. On one of our 14-hour flights my daughter slept for 10 hours, woke up and ate, watched 1 movie and we were there (cue singing angels lol)
  • Snacks, snack and more snacks. As traveling vegans we have are used to bringing food with us wherever we go. Snacks are a good travel hack for any mom, but as vegans, we have a carry on with fresh fruit and we eat the snacks that can’t hold long (like grapes and apples) first and eat other snacks later. I once brought a 5-pound bag of oranges with us on a trip. We also avoid candy and high sugar items that might make children hyper.
  • I avoid movies and electronics on a flight for as long as I can. I figure the first hour the excitement of the destination makes even the smallest activities like coloring interesting. I also avoid movies initially in hopes that she will fall asleep. At most my daughter can watch 2-3 movies before she is completely over it so I try to save movies and electronics for closer to the end of the flight when I have used all my other “chips”.
  • Also, a tip for new moms travel as soon as possible. Starting the tradition of travel with my daughter as a baby (her first trip was Atlanta to Dubai at 6 months) made her understand and welcome travel. She never fusses during flights and has flown as far as Australia without major whining.

How many countries has your family visited in the last 24 months?

From February 2016 to February 2018 we have visited several cities/states/provinces within 16 countries

  • Iceland
  • Mexico
  • France
  • Senegal
  • India
  • Brazil
  • Peru
  • The Bahamas
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
  • Grand Cayman
  • Jordan and
  • Egypt

These destinations are especially fond to us as we were able to visit 6 of the 7 world wonders (Machu Picchu, Christ the Redeemer, The Roman Colosseum, Taj Mahal, Chichen Itza and Petra-in 3 weeks) with plans to visit the last one this year (Great Wall of China in April).

How are you able to make travel affordable?

We as a family map out where we want to go for 3 years at a time. We all have input and map out (according to my daughter’s school schedule) the best time to visit each place. From that point we look for deals, what flights and save towards it. Booking a flight to Asia is much cheaper a year in advance than 3 months prior. We (my husband and I) have an account specifically for travel. Money comes directly from our account into our “travel account”. We don’t see it and don’t have access to it as we have shredded the card associated with the account. We picked a small credit union with limited branches that we physically have to go into to retrieve the money which makes trying to use it for anything other than travel very difficult. We take advantage of credit card points, error fares and travel in low seasons (we went to Iceland in the winter. It was a blast literally and figuratively as they had a snowstorm while we were there).We plan and book everything ourselves (without the use of a travel agent) and we utilize public transportation while in countries for the cost and cultural experience.

What would you say to a mother who thinks travel is impossible for her and her family?

Travel IS doable. My husband thought that way and said: “no one travels with a baby” when we first had my daughter, but he learned that wasn’t my mentality.

I’d say if travel isn’t possible to some moms due to financial restrictions evaluate needs vs luxuries. I (nor my family) eat out. We all pack lunches, I do not get nails and eyelashes done (okay I admit I do my lashes myself ☺. We have basic cable, do free family activities when we aren’t traveling and shop conservatively. I sew, so I make most of my clothes and my daughter’s clothes and I’m not a big designer or name brand person so we buy shoes on sale and purses only as a means to carry my junk (not designer bags). I use to do/pay for all of the things mentioned above so now that I do not I can appreciate the instant savings. I’d say if travel is important, sacrifices are a necessity.

If travel is not doable because of the inability to get time off from work use holidays to extend long weekends. Holidays like Labor day we always do a Friday-Monday trip. Since Monday is a holiday we leave after work on Thursday. This means we use one PTO day (Friday) for a 4-day trip.

If travel is not doable because of traveling with kids in general, try a close international trip like the Bahamas or Mexico that is kid friendly to “test the waters” so to speak. Travel lightly, be flexible with your schedule to accommodate any of the children’s needs. Finally, I always schedule something I like to do as well as one thing my daughter likes to do. She loves animals so we generally go to a zoo or have an animal encounter scheduled. I love to scuba dive, snorkel or any other water activity so I generally schedule this for us as well.

Follow the travel adventures of Jessica and family via Instagram @KidWithAPassport

Brandi Jordan

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Los Angeles, CA

Why did you decide to make travel a priority for your family?

My husband and I were both big travelers even before meeting each other and having children. We’ve always wanted to mold global citizens and have gotten more focused about this, especially with many divisive figures in our mainstream media and government we feel its important now more than ever to get out and see how connected we are with the rest of the world.

How many countries has your family visited in the last 24 months?

5 countries ( France, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Vietnam)

What is the hardest thing about traveling with children?

Changing time zones and potty training! It can be brutal to have young children off of their normal routines and schedules which can sometimes lead to an impromptu snack and party at 3am! Being in airports and not always have quick access to a toddler-proof bathroom can make potty training undesirable and a bit icky at times (yet when is potty training ever really desirable?)

How are you able to make travel affordable?

We follow the deals online for tickets, we stay in homestay where we can cook some of our meals at home if needed, and we cut bills at home to put more towards travel, for example, we have one car, no cable, and very few monthly subscriptions unless completely necessary. We’ve also worked to make our businesses run more virtually so we are able to earn income while away as well.

Follow Brandi and her family as they travel the world on Instagram @themomintheknow and visit her Facebook page Brandi Jordan

Dana Rojas

image1Northern Chicago Suburb, IL

Why did you decide to make travel a priority for your family?

I don’t know that I intentionally started making travel a priority, it kind of just happened. I used to take my kids on one trip a year but after I got a job with more vacation days that don’t roll over if unused, I started making sure to use up all my days. I have always enjoyed traveling and love sharing the experiences with my kids. It’s been so much fun taking them new places now I just try to take advantage of my vacation days with holidays and weekends on a regular basis so we can see new places.

How many countries has your family visited in the last 24 months?

4 countries: Ecuador, Canada, Bahamas, Mexico. We have done a lot of domestic travel these past 2 years and been to 16 states ( IN, NV, WI, AZ, CA, KY, MO, MN, MT, ID, VT, UT, MI, MD, WY, FL ) plus DC and Puerto Rico.

How have your children been most impacted by traveling?

I think the exposure to different cities and different cultures overall is giving them a global mindset instead of potentially being raised small minded. Seeing a 3rd world country first hand has shown a real example of the contrast to life in the US. Also, them having been to different states has helped them in school when they learn about places and different historical events, it is more real to them when they have a context for the location already if they have been there before.

What would you say to a mother who thinks travel is impossible for her and her family?

You can do it! If you set your mind to it and travel is something you are serious about you will be able to make it happen. Start local, start with road trips and build your confidence that you can show your kids what is out there. My younger sister has traveled with us several times but after my first solo road trip with my kids in 2016, I really embraced the idea that I can really do it on my own and have a good time, which is empowering. Since then we have flown solo and done a lot out of town trips with just the 3 of us. I even took my nephew with us to California last year.

Follow Dana and her sons as they travel the world on Instagram @Mamilovesdosninos

Shaquita Dilworth

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Chiang Rai, Thailand

Why did you make the decision to leave the United States? 
I couldn’t take the constant (silent… not so silent) threats that hung over my child’s head.
How long have you been abroad? 
1 year 7 months 4 days
Why did you decide to make travel a priority for your family?
I got tired of working so hard just to pay bills, while life continued to pass us by.
What is the hardest thing about traveling with children?
 Trying to manage his bedtime with sightseeing. If it were just me I’d go until the sun came up, but if he doesn’t get at least 11 hours of sleep over the night he little turns into a monster; maybe more like a cute little gremlin before and then after they get touched by water.
How has your son been most impacted by traveling?
My previously very rigid son has learned to be more flexible (except about bedtime). He used to be very sensitive to sounds and got easily over simulated (Asperger’s diagnosis), but now he’s like a whole new person.  He still has some sound sensitivities and is just highly sensitive overall when compared to other children.  But I think he’s grown so much due to our frequent trips.
What would you say to a mother who thinks travel is impossible for her and her family?
Just do it. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us, so live life for today.
Follow Shaquita and her son as they travel the world on YouTube @  NomadnessTravels

 

Aja Rutledge

A&B Washington Monument

Currently nomadic and slow traveling through Mexico, Central America and possibly South America.

 

Why did you make the decision to sell everything and travel?

As for me, there are so many reasons. I got tired of not fitting into a box and trying to make it fit. I got tired of the state of the American society from politics, social issues and more. I began to learn how well I can live in some other locations versus sacrificing being a mother and my life just to earn a nice living. I have always wanted to travel and figured I’d put it all together and see what happens. I figure I can always return.

How does your son feel about your decision to embrace the full-time travel lifestyle?

My son was initially not feeling it but the more we talked the more open he became. As he learned that he can still keep in touch with people at home and communicate with them regularly he was good. Now that we’re in it and he’s making friends abroad he is loving it.

Why did you decide to make travel a priority for your family?

I see my son come alive, learn and explore things as we’re traveling in ways that never happen when living in the States. He is excited about learning and life and retaining experiences beyond anything he does while in the States. When I realized this, I decided I wanted to travel to give him the opportunity to become the best person he can possibly become.

How has your son been most impacted by traveling?

My son has learned to have more empathy for others. He has learned things through experience that most likely would not have stayed with him had he learned them in a book…such as going to the Mayan ruin, Chichen Itza or going to the National Museum of African American Culture and History. My son has also learned about compromising with others.

 

How are you able to make travel affordable?

I sold my home so what I spend on travel is what I spent on living in the U.S. I also go the locations where the dollar goes far so I can live on a lot less than I can in the U.S.

Follow Aja and her son as they travel the world on their blog www.doinglifeafraid.com

Instagram: @doinglifeafraid /  Facebook: @doinglifeafraid

 

 

Karen Akpan

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Southern California

Why did you decide to make travel a priority for your family?

After having my son, I just knew I had to show him the world. There was no other way about it.

How many countries has your family visited in the last 24 months?

A total of 17 countries. This month we will visit country # 18.

What is your favorite mommy travel hack when traveling with your children?

Don’t be so rigid. We usually just free flow, especially because children are unpredictable and things change so often. So I highly encourage parents to plan with caution, allowing lots of free time esp for when kids just want to be kids.

How has your children been most impacted by traveling?

Our most recent trip to West Africa, I noticed a Huge change in my son. He almost grew overnight. Not in size, but everything else. After seeing how lots of children were living, walking to school, climbing hills, playing outside in the mud, barely any TV etc, he adjusted soooo well. He hardly ever complains about anything. That for me us a huge change for a 4yr old.

Follow Karen and her family as they travel the world on their blog The Momtrotter

Instagram: The Momtrotter   

 

Iliah Grant AltoroIMG_2997

Minneapolis, MN

Why did you decide to make travel a priority for your family?

As a woman of color and a mother to children of color from the United States, I understand that there’s a script that has been pre-written for their lives. A script that limits who they can be, what they know, understand and what is expected of them. Travel is one tool that I use to teach them that they belong to, and are a vital part of, a big, beautiful and complex world. A world that is so much bigger than the United States of America and its very limited expectations of them. Travel has become of necessary means of survival for them; it gives them the privilege to not have trauma be a constant part of their existence as children of color. Travel teaches my daughters that they can be free-spirited and adventurous even as mothers; travel teaches my son to rid himself of the pressures of false masculinity. I decided to make travel a priority for our family because I believe that they deserve it!  

How many countries has your family visited in the last 24 months? 10
What is your favorite mommy travel hack when traveling with your children?

It’s not a gadget or Ipad but SNACKS! Lots and lots of snacks!  I have found that making sure my children are properly fed and have enough snacks for any given trip cuts back on complaining and unnecessary attitudes!

What is the hardest part about traveling with children?

One of the hardest things about traveling with children- besides them fighting and complaining- is never having “alone time.” You don’t have two hours to stroll by yourself through a museum; you don’t have an hour to go sit at a coffee shop and read a book. Sometimes I miss simple things like that, but I would still never trade traveling with them for anything in the world!

What would you say to a mother who thinks travel is impossible for her and her family?  

First, I always acknowledge that travel is a privilege. Even with error fares, credit card points, skipping out on Starbucks, an Uber side gig and shopping at Forever 21. But for many women travel is a possibility with the right inspiration, guidance, and tools! I believe that if travel is something that a mother really wants to do with her children, it most certainly can be done! Sometimes it boils down to how bad one really wants it. I often say that my “American Dream” is not a big house with a white picket fence, it’s passport stamps and experiences for my children. So I would tell this woman that it really is possible, you just have to be willing to sacrifice for it.

Follow the adventures of Iliah and her family as they travel the world via Instagram @negrabohemian

Jennifer Calandra

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We are currently wandering since May 2017. We did 6 months in Belize and now we are going around the US and surrounding areas. Currently Puerto Rico, then heading to Philadelphia, PA.

Why did you decide to make travel a priority for your family?

 My older two children and I experienced homelessness for years following my divorce. Once we stabilized, I was determined to change the narrative of our lives. We were being treated like victims when people heard our story and I no longer wanted that badge. Traveling is so unexpected for a family with our background. It completely changes the perspective and expectations that others have about us, and ultimately, the ones we have for ourselves.

What is the hardest thing about traveling with children?

Apparently, they like to eat 3 square meals a day. Even if we are on the road and there aren’t many options. I’m trying to teach them how to be okay with snacks when it’s a travel day!

How are you able to make travel affordable?

We barter.

How have your children been most impacted by traveling?

They now see that the world is bigger than our former public housing neighborhood. There are new things to learn from children all over the world. The different sights, sounds, and smells have stretched their creative curiosity in ways I have only dreamed of as a child.

Why did you make the decision to sell everything and travel?

I am not a materialistic person. Trading m goods for plane tickets was the best thing I could have done for my family. Our lives, expectations, perspectives, satisfaction, etc, will never be the same.

Follow the travels of Jennifer and family on Facebook at Jennifer Dorothy and via Instagram @mrscalandra

Amoya Knudson

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We were full-time travelers until last week when we decided to make Mexico our home base.

Why did you decide to make travel a priority for your family?

We realized we were happiest when we forgot about our material items and chased adventures instead.

What is your favorite mommy travel hack when traveling with your children?

Wine! Unlimited screen time for car rides and plane rides. With a toddler, it is a lifesaver. Also, lots of snack and babywearing. Did I say wine already?

Why did you make the decision to leave the United States?

When had only planned on staying in Guanajuato, Mexico for two weeks but fell in love with the city immediately. After being nomadic for almost a year, it took less than a day to make the decision to stay. We found a community of single mommas here. The quality of life I can give my girls here is amazing compared to what I can give them in the states. I should also add that the tacos are on point!

Why did you make the decision to sell everything and travel?

We were full-time travelers up until two weeks ago. When we made the decision to travel full-time, I had just got out of an emotionally abusive marriage. I was broken. Material items don’t mean much when your world falls apart. Traveling with my daughters helped me find myself again. I rediscovered my self-worth and embraced happiness.

You can follow Amoya and family’s journey on their blog Trip Momma,  Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/trippinmomma/, and Instagram @trippinmomma.

 

Tanai Benard

Email: Tanai (AT) 4DeepAroundTheWorld.com

Facebook: 4 Deep Around The World

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