We first came across Celia Muñoz, founder of childrenswear brand La Coqueta, and her beautiful brood on Instagram, and were instantly drawn into their travels to far-flung destinations. Intrigued by how they choose where to go, and how they make trips work with 5 children under 7, we had to find out more.
You’ve recently returned from a family trip to India – how did you choose where to visit?
We visited India for the first time last year (Rajasthan) and we loved it so much that we decided to go back. Some people are apprehensive about going there with young children, but we were made extremely welcome; I also felt there was a great connection between the Indian culture and my Mediterranean upbringing, as both are very family-orientated. It’s such a vast country that you ideally need several months to visit it properly, so we’ve decided to spread it across several trips – the last one was to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Goa, and it didn’t disappoint.
What were your personal highlights?
I found the cities of Jodhpur and Udaipur particularly impressive. Every scene is worth a picture, not only because of the aesthetics but because it represents daily life.
Visits to the tea plantations in Munnar and seeing my children running free amongst the crops were definite highs. We also paid a midnight visit to the Temple of Madurai, where we met a Hindu priest. Our children came with us too, and we felt transported to a different life. We spent 2 full days inside the temple and we met some truly incredible people who shared their amazing life stories with us.
Goa and its old Portuguese heritage are beautiful. Our visit to the 17th century Braganza House was incredible, as the interiors are extremely impressive and hold plenty of character. The venue has been a great source of inspiration for my collections to come, as well as for set designs for La Coqueta’s future look books.
We love that each of your children has their favourite photo from the trip printed out by their bed – what did each of them choose and why?
Flavia and Siena both have a picture of 2 girls in a little village called Delwara. They were 11 and 14. The 11 year-old had just got married and the 14 year-old had a child. They both walked to Delwara every day to collect water for their families. It’s a reminder of how women live in other parts of the world.
Lucas has a picture of himself bathing an elephant in the tiger reserve in Kerala. I also have a picture of him after he was unexpectedly showered by the same elephant, and three of my children are crying in shock!
Bosco has a picture of himself and his brother Hugo with a flower garland around his neck in the temple of Madurai. Hugo, who is only three, has the same one as he really enjoyed himself that day.
I have a picture of a woman who is exactly my age with 5 children, which again serves as a reminder of the way lifestyles can be so different depending on where you were born.
What would be your top travel advice for someone who loves to travel and is about to have a baby?
Be prepared and plan ahead. Follow your instincts and do what you think is right for you; advice can be useful, but sometimes it just doesn’t apply to your personal situation. If we’d listened to all the advice we were given, we wouldn’t have left Western Europe! Parents will help other parents, so you can always count on a helping hand in even the most remote corners.
And any general tips for travelling with kids?
I find it useful to follow the same routine as we do at home, waking up and going to bed at the same time (even if there is a bit of jetlag). We invest a lot more in hotels than we used to, because finding the right place makes our travels much easier, even if we don’t actually spend much time at the hotel. We plan every single hour of the day before going away so we know what to expect. We also try to keep our children eating food they are familiar with, although we encourage them to try new things, too.
What kind of properties do you stay in and how do you choose?
We prefer boutique hotels. We try to stay at places with character, and we look for something special that reflects the local charm and architecture – like the palatial Siolim House in Goa. Generally, we look for smaller, family-run hotels in city centres so that my husband and I can go out at night and walk around.
Do you have any trips planned during the rest of 2016?
Yes – I’m on my way to Papua New Guinea at the moment!
And where’s next on your travel wishlist?
We’d love to go to Argentina and Brazil, particularly to the rural areas. Patagonia is at the top of our wish list. Eolo looks incredible, and Fazenda Catucaba seems to be the perfect setting for discovering rural Brazil as a family.
Brought up in Spain, Celia founded La Coqueta to promote and support Spanish design and craftsmanship. The clothing and shoes are designed to be beautiful but also hard-wearing and functional, so they can be handed down through families and still look great.
La Coqueta is offering i-escape readers 15% off their first purchase – just enter ESCAPE15 at the checkout. It’s not valid in conjunction with any other offer and you’ll need to snap it up by 15th September 2016.