This gorgeous Southern Belle took on New York and literally the world! She put the word "luxury" in front of "family travel" and has created a cult!! And she just had her third baby - gorgeous Nola will no doubt be traveling on her back from now on!
She is the co-founder of the amazing https://www.passported.com and she really will change the way you think about travel - amazing ideas - city guides, itinerary planners, hotel bookings and all the reasons WHY you should travel with kids! And those reasons are all amazing!
She has been instrumental in helping us see the world- and now it's your turn!
Meet Henley Vazquez our favorite- and worlds most gorgeous Vagabond. xx
Where you do live and why?
New York City, because it's the best city in the world, obviously! We've lived in Tokyo, Madrid and Boston, and as much fun as it is to try out other places, I love raising kids in NYC. We're lucky to have all the benefits of a big city but to live in a neighborhood that feels like a small town, and to be surrounded by a wonderful community of families.
Your daily routine?
Wake up, kids to school (or summer camp, right now), then off to the office. Especially during the summer when we have lots of Passported clients planning trips to Europe, I'm in a full sprint to work so I can get calls done before the European hotels close for the day. I usually have time to sneak in a trip to the gym before coming home, then it's feed the kids, clean 'em up, snuggle them until they won't let me any more, and then chase them to bed so my husband and I can have a grown-ups dinner before we both spend another hour or so working.
Update: I started writing this before baby #3 arrived. Daily routine right now is feed baby, work until she needs to eat again, feed baby, maybe pass out drooling on my pillow for 15 minutes, change diaper, repeat. I'll get back to that other stuff running around the city and having proper dinners soon enough.
How did you become everyone’s favorite family travel guru- seriously now!!
Aww, thanks! There are so many people out there planning amazing family trips, both professionally and just for their own families, so I'd never qualify myself as the favorite or the best. But my job really is my passion, and I'm very lucky to spend my working hours dedicated to something I love. I believe that traveling with kids and traveling well should be compatible, and I love scouting the hotels, destinations and guides that will help other families make the most out of their vacation time.
Best perk of the job?
The travel, for sure. Even after doing this for more than a decade, I still get excited every time I land in a new place. Exploring new cities and countries never gets old, especially not when you can see it through the eyes of kids.
Best travel advice for families?
Be selfish. Many parents forget to take their own preferences into account when planning their family trips, and they end up with travel plans that revolve entirely around their children. While I'm a huge believer that happy kids equals happy parents, you're the one paying for the trip, and it should balance activities that will keep your kids happy with opportunities for you as an adult to relax and enjoy. Book a babysitter for a date night, stay at the hip hotel you want, not some oversized all-inclusive resort, eat at the good restaurants, not just the chicken-fingers-and-french-fries establishments. Children are much more flexible than many people think.
I live in these dresses. At this point, I have five of them in different styles, and they are the first thing to go in my suitcase. They work for the office, the beach, the airplane. Also, I wore them through my entire pregnancy and they are exact the sort of roomy attire I need postpartum while I still look nine months pregnant. Smokks maternity!
Impossible to choose! Latin America is top of my list right now, and I want to explore more of the countries I've already visited plus fit in trips to Panama and Nicaragua this coming winter. While I love a good beach (St. Barth's always top of my list), these days I'm more into the places that have activities and culture beyond the sand.
What’s next on your travel list?
My summer travel isn't very exciting since I've just had a baby, but I've already got flights to Isla Holbox and France booked for the fall, and probably a return trip to Cuba. I fit in a trip to Morocco this spring, which had been on my wish list forever.
Plane-train or automobile?
I'm a nervous flyer but always plane because it's the only way to get to the places I want to visit! When I'm not flying with the kids, I throw back a couple glasses of wine and then binge-watch a tv series to handle the nerves.
Sun or snow?
Usually sun. I'm a huge complainer when the weather drops below 75 degrees. But over the past few years, I've given the family ski trip a go, and it's been great. Feels so good to actually embrace the winter rather than running from it, and I love how happy and exhausted everyone is at the end of a good day on the slopes.
From 2 to 3 any advice?
Ask me in a few months! I'm still getting the hang of this. When my two were young, I swore I'd never have another, but as they got older and more independent, I started to panic about how quickly they were growing up. So now we have a baby again, plus a 7- and 10-year old. It's all a little crazy I guess, but at least I have two very good helpers when we travel with the little one!
If you could recommend 1 kids camp or travel experience what would it be?
The one travel experience I think is a must for families is finding a way for your children to interact with local kids in the destination you are visiting. If we want to raise kids as global citizens, the best way to start them is by showing them that children everywhere, from Morocco to Mexico to Thailand, are not so different than they are. They don't need to speak the same language to find similarities, to play a pick-up game of soccer, to run around a park together. And if your family speaks another language at home, or your children are studying another language (my husband is from Spain and our kids speak Spanish to him), take them to countries where they can use that language to get to know kids. Seeing my son chatter away with Cuban school kids about their favorite soccer players when we visited Havana last year was a major highlight. We remind them on every trip that although someone's school or home or skin or religion may be different than yours, at the core we are all the same and have more in common than we do differences.
5 things your suitcase cannot leave home without?
Smokks, obviously! After that, always a good sleep/eye mask in case blackout shades aren't great in the hotel (helps a lot for jet lag); children's Motrin and Benadryl because when someone gets a fever, it's guaranteed to be at 3 am when you can't go to a local pharmacy; every iPad, iPhone, iproduct I own for kid entertainment along the way; AYR jeans because they don't stretch out and will look as good at the end of a week of travel as they did at the beginning.
Flying with kids? best advice ever please.
Keeping kids busy on airplanes is easy these days with ipads and in-seat movies. The bigger problem I find is with the food choices. I always load up on snacks that will keep tummies full if the airline food doesn't appeal, and then I pack an extra set of clothes for everyone in our carry-on in case tummies aren't happy and someone throws up. No one wants to wear barf on their shirt for an overnight flight. My other must is to force everyone to do a bathroom stop right before final descent. I've had too many emergency pee situations where the kids swore they didn't need to go, right up until it was a bladder code red and we couldn't leave our seats because the plane was landing. I guess flying with kids is all about managing bodily functions...a little gross but true!