Family travel snap: LP Destination Editor, James Smart

For this month’s travel snap we journey to Istanbul with one-year-old Luan, son of Lonely Planet’s Destination Editor for Britain, Ireland & Iceland, James Smart. James loves exploring his own region and recently visited Cork, Edinburgh and East Iceland. He’s also a big fan of Spanish food, Latin American hiking trails and anything you can slide down on a snowboard.


What’s the story behind this photo?

This is our young son Luan pottering around outside the Tiled Pavilion, which is part of the İstanbul Archeology Museums. It’s an amazing collection including Islamic tiles, Babylonian lions and Turkish sarcophagi. None of these were top of Luan’s bucket list! He was one at the time and his main interests were eating bananas and pulling things off walls, so I let him roam around outside with his shoes off afterwards which made him much happier.

We really like this photo because he looks really comfortable and happy in his new environment. And behind him you can see wandering museum-goers and beautiful tiles which remind us how much we enjoyed our trip to Istanbul.

Kid’s perspective

Given his age, I think he’ll only remember it through the photo! He did love how friendly everyone was though.

James’ tips for visiting Istanbul with kids

1) With toddlers or babies, get ready to work! Sultanahmet and Beyoğlu, two of the most popular areas to stay, are very hilly. Whether you’re using a buggy or a sling, you’ll get out of breath a lot.

2) Invest in an İstanbulkart transport card – they’re really convenient and keep the cost of travelling down.

3) Enjoy how lovely the locals are with kids. Luan had some great times on the trams – there was always someone pulling faces with him!

Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?

We’re off to northern Spain – San Sebastian and Bilbao – for some springtime sea swimming and pintxo (Basque tapas) eating.

Lastly, complete the sentence:

When we shut the front door ready to go and travel as a family, we always…

…make sure we’ve double-locked the front door, obviously.

Follow James Smart on @smartbadger for tips and news on travel to Britain, Ireland & Iceland.

Places from this post

Related content