Meet: Megan Byrne Puhl, Anthropologist and Continent-Hopper - The Expedition
Wandering Puhls family travel hiking mounains

Meet: Megan Byrne Puhl, Anthropologist and Continent-Hopper

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Megan Byrne Puhl is fascinated by travel—she’s an anthropologist and writer who grew up devouring issues of National Geographic magazine. 

She and her husband, Andrew, a researcher, are avid mountaineers, backpackers and weekend warriors with their young daughter. (A second kid is on the way!) Though they’re normally based in Seattle, last May they moved to Germany, where they’ve been inspiring our European wanderlust with their gorgeous Instagram photos. 

We chatted with Megan about the family’s top travel app, her hack for flying with infants, and the thing every kid can learn from traveling. 

In three words, our travel style is… 

Exploratory, immersive, flexible. 

If our children could learn one thing from traveling, it would be…

There is no one “right way” to live a life you love. 

I fell in love with traveling because…

I’ve been obsessed with cultures and peoples since I was a kid reading National Geographic on my parent’s sunroom floor. There is such beauty in the realization that we are all not so different from one another, but also such curiosity can bloom from observing how cultures live differently. 

We decide where to travel with a very long list of…

priority places to travel. We’ll often set up fare alerts for deals to those places. To be honest, we look for price feasibility during the general times we’d like to travel and often end up booking trips to places 1) we want to visit that 2) have good deals at the times we can travel. 

The other way we choose is by things we’d like to accomplish. Since the outdoors is at the core of our family, we will choose places to travel based off hiking, climbing, or alpine objectives we’d like to reach, and then plan some fun travel around that area. 

Our favorite family destination is Southeast Asia because…

We’ve specifically found Indonesia, Cambodia, and Thailand to be great with children. Everyone is extremely friendly, and there are excellent food options for kids at every eating stage. Our other favorite has to be Ireland. We had more Irish grandparents offer to hold our daughter so we could eat dinner with two hands than anywhere else in the world! Also, lots of free mashed potatoes for kids just getting into solids. 🙂 

The bucket-list trip we’re planning right now is…

A campervan trip through the Nordics! 

My best family travel hack is requesting…

The airplane bassinet while they’re little, getting a credit card that allows you into lounges to stock up on snacks or even a shower, and an inflatable foot pillow to make a “bed” for kids or use as your footrest if holding a baby for long flights. 

Our favorite travel app…

Is Google Flights, because it allows us the flexibility to see what good deals are happening if your heart is not set on one specific destination. Also, Google Translate’s camera feature is a must if you cannot read the language! 

The first trip we took with kids was…

At 10 weeks old we took our daughter to Germany, Austria, and the United Kingdom. My husband had to work in those locations, so we just tagged along and explored during the day! 

My advice for families who want to travel like us is is…

Let go of expectations—both that trips will be perfect or that they will be a “nightmare” at certain ages. Kids adapt as long as we are adapting and guiding them with patience and fun. And if it is a complete mess, have a backup plan where you can retreat and regroup. 

Don’t be afraid to let others help. If someone offers to help you with the stroller going down a flight of stairs in Europe, say yes and thank you! There is no shame in allowing others to support you, and in fact has led to some of our most impactful interactions with locals.

Finally, find opportunities to tack travel on to things you don’t have to pay for 100%, like work trips. Or find ways to combine trips in similar locations for cost and time savings. 

Our favorite family travel experience has been…

Honestly, any time the children have lit up in awe at something. It reminds me that the small things we as adults often overlook are actually grand and beautiful. The world is magic, and there is no better way to be reminded than with children. 

We love Christmas markets in Europe as a family. There are always fun things to do, cheerful locals, and being outside at events takes away the pressure for kids to be super quiet or walk slowly. 

Expedition members learn more about us…

By hanging with us on Instagram at @thewanderingpuhls!

Sara Clemence is a freelance journalist, formerly travel editor for The Wall Street Journal and news director for Travel + Leisure. She's the author of Away & Aware, a guide to mindful travel.

GET YOUR FAMILY THE BEST PRICES ON TRAVEL.