Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Kodomo Q&A

Carolyn Murphy

Carolyn Murphy

There aren’t many magazines that American model Carolyn Murphy hasn’t graced. The face of Estee Lauder, she is one of the greats, with campaigns that include Calvin Klein, Tiffany and Co. and Versace. She has one daughter Dylan with whom she travels a great deal and we are thrilled to have her chatting with about their adventures over the years.

Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?

My first childhood memory of traveling is driving with my family to our families farm in Virginia and then on to the beach at Nags Head. It has been tradition since my Mom was a young girl to have a two week family reunion with everyone. My first memory of traveling on a plane was when we moved to England. I was 6 and it was a massive U.S. fighter plane. We traveled a lot as a family for pleasure, but also because my father was in the military.

Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?

My absolute best holiday was in Bali for a press trip I did with Estée Lauder in 2010. My daughter and I flew Singapore Airlines, which is fabulous, and stayed at Villa Alila in Uluwatu. Bali is heaven on earth with the Hindu culture and the landscape full of greenery and temples.

Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?

Goodness, I have traveled with Dylan so much! Our first trip was between our farm upstate and New York. The first airline trip was to Costa Rica at 5 months old, then a few to follow to California. She’s always been a fantastic traveler, like a little monkey. My uncle was a surgeon, and the best advice I ever received was to nurse upon airplane descent so her ears would pop. I think the wanderlust must be in her blood, and which children don’t love a great hotel and room service? She’s had an unreal upbringing in that regard.

Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children generally?

I think because I have one child my experience of traveling with child has been pretty blissful and bonding. I’m sure if I had a brood it might be different. I feel better when Dylan is with me because leaving her behind never feels great to me. If I have the chance to see and experience wonderful places, which are mostly paid for by clients, so why not have her tag along?

Q. Do you ever travel with Dylan for work?

I take Dylan on a lot of work trips, especially if it’s over three days (that’s our rule). Clients are generally open to paying for her to join, paying for a nanny to join us and arranging activities in each city. It has been more difficult to travel with Dylan for all of my work since she was about 7 years old and committed to school. but luckily her school believed the experience of travel was more worth it.

Q: Where was your best holiday with your child?

We’ve had so many wonderful holidays. I feel super lucky so I can’t choose just one. Bali, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, Big Sur, France… what a life she’s had! 

Q: And your worst?

I honestly can’t think of a “worst” holiday with my child.

Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?

I would say books are the best accessory, along with crayons and paper, cards and paper dolls. We had an arsenal of things to keep her occupied. Although, these days I see a lot of children “plugged in” to iPads, which I find annoying and sad. There is nothing worse than seeing a family at a dinner and all the children are drooling over a gadget.

Q: Do you have any personal top tips for travel with kids?

I think having a plan of activities is the best advice, mapping out interesting things to do for them, and having a nanny or caregiver if you can afford it so it breaks up the energy a bit. The bag of tricks listed above is a huge help. They need to be busy!

Q. Where are you spending your vacation time this summer? What made you decide on Europe?

We love Europe and now that my daughter is a teenager she appreciates the visits more and requests certain places. This summer we are thinking Austria and then our friend’s castle in Antibes. A drive and adventure in between both is most likely going to be the plan.

Q. Do you have a personal favouritemust-have travel accessory for yourself when travelling either short or long haul?

My personal favorite is loads of cream for dehydrated skin, earplugs (because you never know what noise might be around you), an eye mask for good sleep and a good camera to take snaps of those special moments. I like the classic Leica.