For Savannah Guthrie, the co-anchor, along with Hoda Kotb, of NBC’s “Today” show, traveling is a regular part of the job. As much as she’s in New York presenting feel-good stories from 30 Rock, she’s also frequently in exotic locations around the world reporting on current events.
This winter she traveled to Pyeongchang, South Korea during the Olympics, where she got ski lessons from the two-time Olympian Gus Kenworthy. In May, she went to Windsor Castle for the marriage of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. She even flew to San Jose, California, to play tennis with Roger Federer and raise money for his charity.
Aside from her global adventures, she’s the hands-on mother of two children: Vale, 4, and Charley, 1. She often incorporates them into her show. Recently, she brought Vale on set to dance with Michelle Obama on International Day of the Girl. She also writes children’s books on the side. One of them, “Princesses Save the World,” written with the educator Allison Oppenheim, was released in September.
Ms. Guthrie doesn’t just want to have adventures alone; she wants her husband, Michael Feldman, the managing director of a consulting firm, and their two children to join her. She tries to bring them on trips as often as she can, whether it’s for work or pleasure.
We caught up with Ms. Guthrie about traveling with her family and what she’s learned along the way. Here is an edited version of the conversation:
Why is it important to you to take your children along on trips?
The main reason we take our kids is because we want to go and we don’t want to be apart from them. They’re still too little to truly enjoy the magic and adventure of travel, although Vale is getting there. We went to Wyoming this summer and on the flight home she said she didn’t want to return to New York City because it was “boring” compared to our trip.
What was the first trip you took with your children?
We took Vale to a friend’s wedding in Jamaica when she was 4 months old. I remember being so nervous about the travel but little did I know, traveling with an infant is as easy as traveling with children will ever get. I think she slept the whole flight. The hardest part was all the “stuff.” My personal rule is take three times what you need for the carry-on: triple the number of diapers, triple the number of outfits, triple the number of bottles, bibs, burp cloths etc. etc. Bring quintuple the number of pacifiers and some wipes because all they do is throw them under the seat.
How do you decide when to bring the whole family along?
Our default position is to take the kids. But the biggest factor is the length of the trip. If it is just a quick weekend and we are doing mostly adult things (such as our trip to Chicago in September to watch tennis at the Laver Cup) then we leave them home. They’re happier at home in their own beds, and there is no point in bringing them and then leaving them in the hotel room with a babysitter. But by and large, we don’t travel unless we can bring the little ones.
Any advice on getting through a flight with children?
We are pretty strict about screen time at home but our basic policy for travel is “Pirate Rules” — which, loosely translated, means “anything goes.” We let Vale watch movies for a long time if it keeps her happy and under control. Same rule for snacks — we let them have treats they wouldn’t normally have if it keeps the peace. We are doing it for fellow passengers as much as ourselves.
How do you choose which hotel to stay in with your family?
I don’t have particular recommendations but obviously hotels that are used to hosting children are better. I don’t like bringing the kids to a hotel where other adult guests might be annoyed.
What’s been your most meaningful moment traveling with your children?
We had a big adventure to Greece last summer and I loved walking around the islands with Vale in her little Greek dress and an ice cream cone. She was so happy.
Any challenging moments?
I took my daughter, then 2, and 6-week baby boy all the way to Arizona to surprise my mom for her 75th birthday. It was the classic situation. It was a night flight so I thought my daughter would crash. Nope. She was bouncing off the walls, running up and down the aisle, introducing herself to all the passengers until about 20 minutes before landing when she finally fell fast asleep and was none too happy when we had to wake her up to get off the plane. Classic. Kids are on their own time.
Have you ever been somewhere alone when you wished your children were with you?
I always wish my kids were with me. I often fly all night on red-eyes for work trips just to limit my time apart from them. I had to leave them home for the Olympics in Korea this year. I wish they were with me because I missed them terribly for two weeks. But I can’t wait until they’re older and they can come with me. They’ll feel as lucky as I do to get to see the world.
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