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New York, NY

We are parents, too. We think traveling well and traveling with children shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. We have limited vacation time, and we’re not spending our few days of freedom in lousy hotels eating bad food. We know the world is full of wonderful resorts, cool urban escapes and far-flung lodges that can make our time with our kids count. We want it all, and we don’t think it should be so hard to find. So we’re going to share it with you.


Something to Declare: Lisa Sugar

Travel Journal

Travel Journal

Dispatches from around the world

Something to Declare: Lisa Sugar

Henley Vazquez


Editor-in-chief and media maven Lisa Sugar transformed her celebrity news blog Popsugar into an online empire covering fashion, technology, parenting and design. These days, the San Francisco-based mom oversees a network of eighteen lifestyle sites, all while managing three young girls. Here, Lisa shares her go-to family-friendly resort plus why her husband is the guy you want on your next flight.

Q: Where and when did you take your first trip as a family?

Hawaii. We went to the Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island to celebrate my 30th birthday when our first child, who is now eight, was four months old. She did really well on the flight, which was a relief, and it made me confident enough to get back on a flight three months later.

Q: What is your favorite travel memory from childhood and what do you hope your kids remember about their travels?

My dad was very big on family travel, so we used to go away every summer. I always loved European vacations: the theater in London or getting lost in the streets of Paris. I hope our kids remember the fun times they have, too. Right now they’re at a really playful age - 8, 4.5 and 1 - so the family vacations are more focused on playing for them and really good food for everyone plus lots of sleep to catch up on that we don’t normally get.

Q: Have any of your family trips been a complete fail?

No. My husband is very good at making the most of moment, whether a bag is lost or something else happens, he knows how to fix it. He’s a great talent around a bad situation.

Q: Name a place where you’ll always return and why.

The Four Seasons Hualalai. It really is our happy place. We go every year with the kids for guaranteed sun, relaxation, excellent food and sunsets. It really is paradise.

Q: What’s your dream destination for travel a deux, and what’s on your bucket list for a trip with the family?

For us, Villa d’Este on Lake Como or going back to Cap Ferrat’s Eden Roc, where we spent our honeymoon. With my children, I would like to take them to Italy, probably Florence. My kids are so tiny that they wouldn’t appreciate the great culture and food and fashion that’s all right there in that spot, but we'll do that when they’re older plus Paris. Paris is one of those cities everyone should experience. I would like to experience it with my children sooner rather than later.

Q: Where would you send  first-time visitors for a family day and kid-free night in your home town?

In San Francisco, I send folks to the California Academy of Sciences, a cool and modern museum with hands-on exhibits about the rainforest and earthquakes plus an aquarium. The Exploratorium is another really fun hands-on museum. For kids a little older, Alcatraz is a fun trip. The ferries leave from Pier 39, and it’s a beautiful boat ride plus has amazing views of the city. Avoid the touristy wharf. If you have time, go up to Sonoma for the day. Parents can do wine tasting but there are also things like Traintown or Safari West that are family-oriented.

For a night out, I would probably go to Cotogna, one of my favorites. It’s close to North Beach, so you can eat and then you walk around North Beach. Another great place is Zuni Cafe. It’s been around for 30 years and is really yummy.

Q: What’s your traveling uniform? Do your kids have one as well?

I wish I looked a little nicer when I fly, but I wear jeans and a t-shirt plus my Popsugar hoodie because I get cold on planes. Traveling with three young kids means I never want to get too dressed up. I bring two large bags, mine with a computer, magazines, socks and snacks then a bag for the kids with everything from a diaper changer to toys and an iPad. I have three girls and they are really girly, so they are usually in a dress and leggings though I try to get them to wear pants. Our middle one wears a tiara every day, and she brings that on the plane.

Q: Fill in the blank: Flying with kids is ________.  

Definitely stressful, but we make it work.

Never board a plane without__________.

Coloring books,  a lovey and pacifier, an ipad or book for the oldest one and lollipops for the landing to help their ears.

Q: If parents could design a hotel, all rooms would have…

Rooms with separated spaces that’s not a full-on expensive suite. The London New York is a good example. Their suites have a big sitting area so you can add a cot in the living room but still have the bedroom closed off. I don’t want to pay a fortune to have a light on and read a magazine after I put the kids down.


Lisa's Favorite Places