Meet: Tykesha Burton, Writer, History Maven, Travel-Loving Mom | The Expedition
Burton Family at Harriet Tubman Mural
The Burton Family at the Harriet Tubman Mural in Maryland.

Meet: Tykesha Burton, Writer, History Maven, Travel-Loving Mom

I fell in love with travel long before I actually started to travel,” Tykesha Burton says. 

When she was growing up in Miami, she heard friends describe the gorgeous landscapes of their homelands—Haiti, Grenada, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic. She longed to visit them, but travel was an out-of-reach luxury for her family. 

“So, I took my very first trips by reading books as a kid,” she says. “I didn’t take my first international trip to Paris until I was 22 years old.”

Today, in addition to being a full-time writer for the federal government, Tykesha is a respected freelance writer, travel blogger and Instagrammer. She has a particular affinity for history and diversity. She lives with her husband and two kids outside of Washington, D.C.—she fell in love with the four-season climate on a girls’ trip—and takes advantage of holidays, weekends, and paid time off to see the world.  

Despite all their adventures, Tykesha was initially anxious about traveling with her kids—and still is to an extent, she says. 

“I overcame much of my fear/anxiety by actually doing it,” Tykesha says. “I’ve been able to rationalize that any anxiety I might feel about possible airport meltdowns is far outweighed by the benefits of them learning about a new part of the world.

She shared her indispensable planning app, the amenity she likes to have everywhere she stays, and her advice for apprehensive parents. 

In three words, our travel style is…

Educational, adventurous, affordable

The first trip we took with our kids was…

To the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, after having our first child. Our first trip after having my daughter was to Kauai, Hawaii. Our next major trip as a family was to Sydney, Australia.

The advice I’d give other parents who are nervous about traveling with kids is…

Let go of your vacation expectations. Traveling with kids is not the same as going it alone or going on a couples’ retreat. There is quite a bit more work during the planning and preparation phase. But the reward is invaluable! There is something wonderful about seeing a new destination through the eyes of your children. It is quite the treat! 

Burton-144.jpg

The hardest thing about family travel is…

The planning phase. As an A-type personality, I spend quite a bit of time trying to anticipate what we will need on our journey and at our destination. I create a list of all the things I need to pack and I seem to pack a ton of stuff we never actually need. So we end up having to lug all of these extra items through airports, which is not fun.

Our favorite kind of lodging is anything that has…

A kitchen or kitchenette. I truly enjoy lazy mornings with my family. Having a place where we can prepare breakfast is a time- and cost-saving feature that I love to have whenever possible.

The most important thing kids can learn from traveling is…

That while we all have differences, our commonalities are what matters. Everywhere we visit, I meet other moms who just want to ensure that their kids are safe and grow up to be happy and healthy human beings. 

We have planned our share of kid-centric trips, but…

Our family vacations are not just for the kids. Most of the time, my husband and I determine which destinations we want to visit. Then we make sure to find family-friendly lodgings and incorporate kid-friendly activities. That way, we all win. We plan for a year to two years in advance. We save our money and paid time off for the destinations further away.

The most family-friendly destination we’ve visited was…

Kauai. The Hawaiian culture is very family-focused, so there were very few activities where we couldn’t include our young children.

The destinations on my bucket list are…

Well, I have visited all seven continents. But out of all of my travels, there are a few destinations I would love to revisit with my family. I want to relive the wonder of Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania and enjoy a savory authentic meal in Italy with my children.  

Our best family travel hack is, for small kids…

Always bring new toys in your bag for longer flights or road trips. I’ve found that a new toy preoccupies my children for a much longer time than toys and trinkets they’ve played with before. These toys don’t have to be expensive. I usually purchase four or five small toys from the dollar store. Also, sign up for airlines loyalty programs for your entire family, to include your kids. 

Our most memorable family trip was…

To visit some family members in Adelaide, Australia. Our most memorable couple’s trip was to Rio and Iguazu, Brazil. And my most memorable solo trip was to Antarctica.

My favorite travel app is…

Rome2Rio. It helps me to plan the best mode of transportation to take between attractions. The maps on the app help me to gauge how far locations are from one another, and I use that information to plan our itinerary.

If I could change one thing about how people travel, it would be…

Encouraging people to seek out local, small businesses. Instead of visiting a chain restaurant, you’re used to, support small local businesses. Mom and pop restaurants and shops can offer great lessons about a destination’s cuisine and culture.

Families can learn more about us by…

Visiting www.MommaWanderlust.com or following us on Instagram @TheWanderlustMomma

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.