Beloved travel influencers Alli and Bobby Talley caught the travel bug as young people. Alli traveled abroad often, thanks to her father’s career in international commercial real estate, and Bobby loved road tripping with his parents and brother — he visited all 50 U.S. states by the time he was 16.
The couple dubbed themselves the “traveling newlyweds” once they’d tied the knot, and they began sharing their adventures with friends and family via a blog and eponymous Instagram account: @Traveling_Newlyweds. They quit their jobs in 2018 in order to focus on travel full time, using their growing online audience to highlight destinations near and far from their home base in Costa Mesa. And now, they’re traveling parents, having welcomed son Jude in early 2020 and daughter Reese just four months ago.
I caught up with the new parents recently to talk about traveling with young kids.
Being an expert traveler doesn’t immediately make you an expert at traveling with kids. How did your first trip with Jude go?
Alli: We were so humbled by it. Jude was about four months old, and we were headed to Santa Barbara. We got as far as Calabasas and had to stop — he was losing it. A trip that should have been two and a half hours took us almost six hours. You are at the mercy of your child. If they’re hungry, you stop. If they need to run around, you stop. You learn to really throw any expectations out the window.
How does that sense of flexibility come into play once you arrive at your destination?
Bobby: We are — or we were — such goers. We like to do and see as much as we can when we get somewhere. Even with restaurants, we used to graze. We’d go to one place for drinks, another place for appetizers and so on.
Alli: But with Jude, we thought, “We’ll be lucky if we make it to one restaurant.” Now, we make a list, like, “Top Three Wineries To Visit,” and we just see what happens. Travel may look different now, but that’s okay.
Tell us about a successful weekend getaway you’d recommend to fellow SoCal families.
Bobby: Our favorite getaway with Jude has been to Los Alamos. We stayed at the Skyview Hotel, which has a very cool, laid-back vibe, and it’s so kid-friendly. He loved playing in the pool and we loved the poolside drinks. Many of the wineries nearby welcome kids — our favorite is Demetria — and we all loved the delicious food at Bob’s Well Bread. Highly suggest the eggs benedict; it’s the best!
What other planning strategies help make for a successful family trip?
Alli: We’ve learned to book a room with a patio or somewhere you can escape once the baby goes to sleep.
Bobby: A Slumberpod [privacy tent] is a must for us. We also look out for great playgrounds. We will take the longer route to a destination if it means more amenities like parks and places to eat.
Alli: Pack an iPad, too, and don’t feel bad about it. Whatever helps entertain them! Also, someone once said to always have new toys in your suitcase and diaper bag. We now do this! We go to the Dollar Store, or the Target dollar section, and buy weird little compact gadgets that might excite Jude. Once, that was a pad of Post-Its, and Jude stuck them on the back of the plane seat for 40 minutes. And pack all kinds of snacks, especially ones they have never tried.
When parents are afraid to go on that next trip with kids, what do you say to them?
Bobby: I would say the best thing to do is just go. Take small steps first — drive just two hours — and see how it goes. Things are bound to happen. Our flight to Alaska was so terrible with Jude that I was dripping in sweat. But it couldn’t get worse from there! And the rest of the trip was priceless.
Alli: Travel with kids is intimidating — and it’s hard. We won’t mince words: We’ve had some of our worst moments in the car or on a plane with Jude. But that’s not what you remember. The memories we have made and the photos we have are priceless. And we have seen Jude’s interest in the world come alive. You’re going to have tantrums and bad moments whether you’re at home or in Alaska. May as well be somewhere beautiful.
To see where Alli, Bobby, Jude and Reese head to next, follow @traveling_newlyweds on Instagram.