After working as Travel Editor of Tatler, Melinda Stevens moved into the role at the helm of coveted travel magazine, Conde Nast Traveller. The go-to glossy for serious travellers the world over, she has covered the globe from head to toe in her role as Editor-in-Chief and, often, takes her children with her. The magazine itself has a fantastic section on family travel, so who better to sit in the kodomo.com hot seat than Melinda herself? We chat the beauty of Medised, why Tulum made for a great family holiday and early childhood skiing memories.
Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?
Peeing in my ski-suit at the bottom of the Wispile mountain in Gstaad, Switzerland, aged about 6. I remember standing at the top of a tiny slope completely terrified, longing for a hot chocolate, slightly crying in a lazy-like fashion, and then peeing, which was nice and warm and comforting for about a minute. After that, not so nice.
Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?
Probably the road trip we did around the Northwestern states of America in an RV: 3 kids, a husband with OCD, outrageous landscapes, a handful of grizzlies, and the occasional Mormon. My eldest was 8, my youngest was 2. It was both the best of times and the worst of times; we just can’t remember the worst bits, whereas the best bits sing out!
Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go? After my first baby was born we took her to France when she was about 10 days old. It was sunny, she was naked, we were outside, all was good.
Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children generally? A wonderful, bonding experience, for example, or traumatic and stressful? Or a bit of both?
Both. Sometimes both in the same second. Like, we’re in a boat on the Mekong and the children say they’re bored. Or I’m pregnant and vomiting in a loo in a shack after a bad curry and then googling what food poisoning does to unborn babies. Or, we’re running to see the procession of a thousand monks. Or, we’re riding in a crazy broken mini ferris wheel in a dump outside of some town. Or, we’re at a night market amongst all the crazy birds and dogs and lizards, and crafts and shoes with bells on. Believe it or not, this all happened in one day when we were in Luang Prabang (northern Laos). I’m obsessed with remembering this holiday because we lost, not one, but two cameras. So we have no photographs of it. Which keeps me awake at night.
Do you ever travel with your children for work?
My eldest one has travelled with me a lot. She was the only child for 4 years, so she came with me everywhere. We all travel a lot together, but sometimes it’s better when work is work and a holiday is a holiday. It’s not fun for anyone when I’m trying to have drinks with a General Manager and my girls are hurling pistachios at my head.
Q: Where was your best holiday with your children?
We took them on a little Mexican jaunt recently, down the Caribbean coast. We ended up in Tulum, which I had been wanting to show them for some time. It was awesome. Go away long enough – leaving the tech behind! – and everyone finds their groove. Plus, we discovered the hotel Esencia, probably the loveliest low-key cool hotel the Carribean sea has to offer.
Q: And your worst?
Flying to Puglia with Ryan Air. We missed the flight. The staff laughed in our face. We ended up back at home 8 hours after we’d left it. Devastated. And broke.
Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?
Suncream. I am obsessed with suncream, though they all go nut-brown anyway. It’s kind of heavenly, but stressful all at the same time.
Q: And top tips for travel with kids?
Medised kicks Calpol into touch. You can still find it in some chemists, particularly in Shepherds Bush where I live, though not many other places. It sends them to sleep in a way that Calpol can only dream of!