(Kid & Coe's Zoie Kingsbery Coe with daughter India)The days of early momhood were a huge shock to my system in so many ways. But as a former travel editor who would regularly keep a packed bag with passport on hand, I'll admit that one of my biggest challenges came in realizing that the days of going anywhere I wanted and staying in any place I could afford were very much on hold. In fact, hotel rooms in general were no longer an appealing option, unless a) you were in a suite or b) you didn't mind eating room service perched on the toilet at 8 p.m. so your baby could slumber in a quiet, darkened room.
Enter Kid & Coe, the genius idea from Zoie Kingsbery Coe. This well-designed, image-rich home-rental site specifically caters to parents seeking space to spread out in destinations both accessible and exotic across the globe. (We sent writer Rumaan Alam and his family to check out one such vacation rental; check out the story here.) Coe, a mom of two who happens to be married to one of the world's most successful DJs, came up with the idea based on her own travel needs. And not only do the properties come with kid-focused amenities—everything from toddler beds and toys to a swing in the living room—but they're also quite easy on our design-loving eyes. We get the lowdown from Coe on her tricks of the trade.
What was your first trip like as a new mom? What were the unexpected challenges, and what were the things that made it easier?
My very first trip as a new mom was pretty easy because my son, Luca, was only two months old! They’re so easy at that stage—I urge all new moms to travel early because they’re so portable and sleepy… when they get older, things get a bit trickier. When Luca was one we took him to Australia. This was before iPads, so I had to entertain him the old-fashioned way: lots of tiny new little treats, wrapped up in aluminum foil, one for each slow hour it took to get there! The unexpected challenge on that trip was realizing that our old style of accommodation—hotel rooms—were less than ideal with our new growing family. It was that trip in particular that inspired me to start Kid & Coe.
What features do you look for in a vacation rental for your family?
Location is of utmost importance. For a city break, I want to be in close proximity to cafes, museums, and playgrounds, or in a great neighborhood with a farmers' market and local treasures, so we can really get into the rhythm of the new destination. For each new property we accept on Kid & Coe, it’s a team question of “Would we take our own family to visit?”
(Kid & Coe's Whitfield Road Residence in New York's Hudson Valley)What tips can you share about things to do upon arrival at a vacation rental with your kids?
One thing we used to do is bring duct tape so that we can hang blankets over the windows to create dark rooms for bedtime. But then we discovered the Gro Anywhere Blind, which attaches with little suction cups for instant blackout. We always go to the local market or grocery store very first thing and stock up the refrigerator with favorite holiday snacks. We also get outside immediately to acclimate to local time as soon as possible, and keep the kids in natural daylight as much as we can.
(The kids' bedroom at the Whitfield Road Residence)What three things do you recommend having in your carry-on bag for a flight with kids?
An iPad, PlayDoh, and Cadbury chocolate buttons.
Which three global destinations would you recommend as being surprisingly family-friendly?
I think Sydney is the most kid-friendly city I’ve ever visited. There’s such a wealth of things to do—beaches, aquariums, zoos, Chinatown. It’s the perfect collision of nature and city. Ibiza is also a firm family favorite...there’s a whole side to the island that doesn’t revolve around nightlife! It has a very European and bohemian way of life and a vibrant energy there that keeps me coming back. And the Bahia region of Brazil is also a great place to visit as a family—the culture is so warm, and children are very welcomed. We have some fantastic properties for rent in Brazil, and it’s on the same time zone as the U.S., so jet lag doesn’t affect the kids (or adults!) as much.
What destination is next on your agenda with your family?
I want to go to Patagonia, and I’d like to go to Cornwall. Patagonia for pure, straight-up adventure; Cornwall because it seems so charming and quintessentially British. Brits do charming quaint eccentric loveliness so much better than anyone else.