When TeAndra Taylor first started posting photos of her trips abroad with her toddler son, Carson, she had no idea she'd inspire so many parents to travel with their little ones.
Now, the mom not only runs a travel blog, she just launched a picture book series with her new book, Captain Carson Goes to Bali.
"Carson knows the difference between TSA Pre-check and regular TSA. That's how much we travel," Taylor, 31, says of traveling with Carson, 3.
So far they've traveled to 11 countries and 18 states — trips that Taylor writes about on her blog, Traveling with the Taylors. The Tuskegee University grad and full-time working mom also gives tips about activities for different cities and how to travel with children.
"He knows when he's supposed to take his tablet and his liquids out versus when he's not supposed to," she continues. "When we get on the plane, Carson knows to put his seat belt on, he listens to the flight attendants. Sometimes he'll even just walk straight into the cockpit and say hi to the pilots."
Taylor traveled the world growing up because her father was in the army. She knew she wanted to give Carson the same experiences.
"I wanted my son to be able to experience new places, new cultures, new traditions," she says and explains they often do volunteer work when they travel. (The Taylors went to Cuba for their first international trip. There, Carson helped pass out toys and coloring books.)
So far, their favorite trip has been a visit to Indonesia.
"Carson got to feed the elephants there. He got to do a mud bath with the elephants," Taylor says. "We went to the temples and he was able to wear a sarong and he just embraced all the culture."
Taylor decided to write Captain Carson Goes to Bali because when she looked for children's books about travel, none of the characters looked like her son.
"I could not find books about travel with kids who look like him. And I wanted him to find something that he could relate to," says Taylor, who worked with friend and illustrator Samayyah Smith to create the book. She hopes it will inspire all kids to travel more.
Taylor's two biggest pieces of advice for traveling with little ones? Make sure you pack some of their favorite things (snacks, toys, electronics) and tire your kids out before getting on the plane.
"So for my trips, I prefer to tire Carson out before we travel," she says. "When we're at the airport, Carson loves to push his suitcase around and I just let him do it. We get there early and I give him a good hour before the flight."
"We just walk through the airport and he just pushes his suitcase around. So by the time he gets on the plane, he's ready to go to sleep," Taylor adds.
But the Taylors haven't been going to any airports since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. (The mom had trips to 10 countries planned, including places in Africa, all of which had to be canceled.)
Instead, they've been taking road trips, starting from their home base in Dallas, Texas. The road block on international travel has also influenced Taylor's next kids' book.
"I wanted to make it even more relatable since we don't know when we'll be able to travel overseas," she says. "So I decided to [feature] a state this time. It's one of our favorite cities and state."
This story originally appeared on People.
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