Amanda Kloots and Elvis Cordero enjoying the Malibu pier with a wagon on a sunny day

The Family Travel Issue

Amanda Kloots talks travel as a single mom and the healing power of mother-son adventures.

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Letter From the Editor

Signed photo of editor and her dog at the beach

Of all the topics we cover at Travel + Leisure, family travel might be the most complex — but it’s also the most rewarding. It looks different for everyone: In this digital issue alone, we have stories from parents traveling by train, plane, car, and foot with kids of all ages; adult siblings turning vacation time into bonding time; multiple generations exploring new places together; and friend groups combining families for one big trip. 

Our cover star, Amanda Kloots, gets real with T+L (like, vomit-on-a-plane real) about traveling as a single mom. She candidly talks about the times now-3-year-old Elvis made her want to swear off stepping foot in an airport, and the times he reminded her what a gift having the opportunity to travel actually is.

For me, family travel took on new meaning in my 30s, beginning with my move from New York to Los Angeles. My mom mapped out a cross-country road trip, and I chose hotels. She probably regretted handing me the reins when we checked into the bed-and-breakfast in Virginia with more llamas than people or the Texas roadside tourist trap with cow-print bedding, but she didn’t show it. In Virginia, she laughed as she helped me scoop my dog out of a creek. In Texas, she procured the spray paint so we could leave our mark on Cadillac Ranch

Since moving 3,000 miles away from my family, I’ve found that traveling is the best way to make our limited time together count. As one of four sisters, I had never traveled with just my dad until we started an annual fishing trip tradition; now, we can say we’ve scouted for grizzly bears in Montana, taken a floatplane over Misty Fjords in Alaska, and raced jet skis in the Florida Keys

While interviewing Amanda, I realized that, although the circumstances of our family travel differ, the outcome is the same. My mom and dad may not marvel at moving airport walkways like little Elvis, but while watching them experience new things, I’m taken out of my role as travel editor, and I’m just a daughter enjoying getting to know a different side of her parents. It’s always in those moments that I rediscover the magic that drew me to travel in the first place.

In this issue, you’ll find personal stories, trip ideas, expert tips, and the gear we love, all with the goal of inspiring you to get out and see something new with your own family. You might even get to know them — and yourself — a little better along the way.

— Nina Ruggiero, Digital Editorial Director, Travel + Leisure

On the Cover

Amanda Kloots in a colorful striped dress by the beach
Amanda Kloots on the Ups and Downs of Travel As a Single Mom — and the Little Moments That Make It All Worth It

Amanda Kloots never planned to travel solo with a toddler. “There was a moment in time where I swore off traveling because it was near impossible as a single mom trying to get through an airport or a flight,” she told Travel + Leisure. But as she entered a suite at California’s Malibu Beach Inn on that sunny February morning, 3-year-old Elvis in tow, all smiles and snapping photos of the ocean view on her phone, she made it look like fun. 

Expert Tips

T+L Trusted

Travel Baby Strollers
The 15 Best Travel Strollers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

If you're traveling with a child under 4 years old or so, you need a stroller. But your everyday stroller might not be your best bet when you hit the road: Today's models are big with lots of storage space, wide canopies, and large wheels for challenging terrain. Not ideal for packing into trains, planes, and automobiles or for bringing in and out of a hotel. If you plan to travel even somewhat often with your little ones, you might want to invest in a travel stroller.