Jo Elvin is editor of the highly successful UK version of Glamour magazine. Having grown up in Australia, she moved to London in the early 90s with a fierce determination to crack the British magazine market, and crack it she did. She launched the immensely successful Sugar magazine, followed by B magazine, and she was then made Editor of New Woman, where she remained until Conde Nast invited her to launch Glamour. Jo has been awarded ‘Editor of the Year’ no less than five times by the British Society of Magazine Editors and we are thrilled she has taken time out of an unimaginably busy schedule to chat with kodomo.com.
Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?
Not very glamorous, I’m afraid! It involves 14 hour drives from Sydney to an outback town in New South Wales. My father was transferred to Moree when I was six for his work. I remember boiling hot leather seats, fights with my brother and nothing to do for hours. I’ve tried telling my daughter what travel used to be like, but once she has her headphones plugged into the iPad in the back seat, she loses interest in tales of the olden days.
Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?
Probably our holidays to Mexico. Years ago we fell in love with a place in Baja, California called San Jose del Cabo and a gorgeous boutique hotel there called Casa Natalia. We used to go all the time but they don’t allow children under 12 so we have a few years until we can go back. I think that part of the world is perfect; there is so much art, colour and culture. It was really amazing to walk out into this quite dusty little town and find the most amazing restaurants. And it’s one of the friendliest places I’ve ever been to, not to mention the amazing beaches. We went hiking in incredible gorges, kayaking and snorkeling with tropical fish. We will definitely go back one day.
Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?
Our very first trip was when Evie was five months old and we wanted to introduce her to my family in Sydney. So yes, ambitious. I thought the flight was horrendous – until I did it again with her when she was 15 months old. I should have appreciated a stationery baby at the time! But she’s definitely half Aussie. She absolutely loves it in Sydney.
Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children generally? A wonderful, bonding experience or traumatic and stressful?
It’s definitely all of those things. I find that I relax a lot more when we holiday in England. No temper tantrums about ‘weird food.’ I travel quite a lot for work, and frankly I don’t have a lot of patience for airports and jetlag when I’m supposed to be travelling for pleasure. So the last few years we’ve gotten into renting nice houses in places like Cornwall and filling our time with day trips to different places. We love it. And it means I relax and switch off on day one of the holiday, rather than day four.
Q. Do you ever travel with your child for work?
No. That idea appeals to my daughter even less than it appeals to me.
Q: Where was your best holiday with your child?
Definitely Cornwall. We just fall into a lovely, relaxed rhythm. We wake up slowly and lazily, we hit the beach after lunch until dinnertime, we go out for dinner and go to bed late. We often invite friends down, so we’re always entertained by new faces drifting in and out. There’s so much to do in that part of the world, I don’t even care if it rains.
Q: And your worst?
Probably the first one, which was just a week away in the country. We had not yet learned to adjust our expectations of what a vacation would be with a baby. There were a lot of tantrums: mine, not the baby’s.
Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?
The usual hallmarks of the exhausted parent – such as the DVD player that hooks up in the car. We’d never get through six-hour journeys without it.
Q: And top tips for travel with kids?
My mother-in-law flew to Sydney with us once, when our daughter was 15 months old. She had the genius idea of bringing tons of wrapped gifts. There was nothing extravagant, but things like new colouring books, pencils, a book and a tiny soft toy. Every now and then, when boredom took hold and we could sense the temper tantrum brewing, out would come another little present for her to unwrap and amuse her.