Bébé Voyage was co-founded by 2 moms who have spent countless hours pouring their energy into the business and the community. Between getting a startup off the ground and managing a family, we know what it feels like to be stretched! Along this journey, we have met so many amazing mompreneurs. The “mompreneur” community truly feels like a sisterhood. We have been so grateful to the community, this series is about profiling our powerful “mompreneur” sisters out there, making a difference in your communities! This week we spoke to Sara Clemence about the new travel site, The Expedition, and how it’s making waves in the travel community.
Congrats on launching The Expedition! What inspired you to create this business? What is your Mompreneur story?
Thanks! I’m a longtime journalist and used to be the travel editor for the Wall Street Journal. For years, I’ve felt that there weren’t enough authoritative resources for family travel. When a former colleague got in touch and asked if I’d be interested in creating The Expedition together—well, it was sort of a no-brainer.
We launched around the beginning of the pandemic, which was a bit difficult. But it also gave us space to experiment and to figure out how to build our travel-booking platform. I love how it serves our mission of helping families see the world, by putting money back into their pockets.
Where do you live and do you recommend your city as a family travel destination?
I’m a native New Yorker, and my heart is in that city. But a few years ago we moved to San Diego for my husband’s job. I honestly don’t think I need to recommend it—it’s a major family destination. San Diego has gorgeous beaches, year-round nice weather, and kid-friendly attractions like the San Diego Zoo and Legoland. It’s also a convenient jumping-off point for Mexico.
What’s your insider tip for families coming to your hometown? What are your favorite family-friendly hidden gems?
Check out some of the local offerings, not just the beach and theme parks. There are some wonderful museums for kids in Balboa Park. My kids can spend hours in the Fleet Science Center and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. The Birch Aquarium in La Jolla has interactive exhibits and is a very manageable size. Plus, it offers gorgeous views of the coastline.
We love to walk around Barrio Logan, a neighborhood south of downtown San Diego. Chicano Park, which was declared a National Historic Landmark a few years ago, is filled with murals by Chicano artists. It also has a nice playground. Afterward, grab hot dogs and elotes (Mexican street corn) at Barrio Dogg.
Is family travel part of your life?
Yes! We took my son across the country when he was three months old. Six months after my daughter was born, we spent a month traveling in Europe. The last time I counted, my children had visited 13 different countries.
What is the most memorable trip you took with your kids?
In 2017, we packed up our life in New York City and spent several months traveling around the Caribbean and Europe. We talk about the “big trip” all the time. I don’t know if my kids consider it a highlight of their childhood, but we do. Our second most memorable trip was last year. We drove an Airstream from California to New York City and back—with our new rescue dog. We had a bunch of drama, including a scary flat tire on a highway in Tennessee, but loved it all the same.
What’s your best advice for traveling parents?
Do it when they’re young if you’re able. Traveling with a baby can seem intimidating, but I found it to be easier than when they get older. As babies, they fly for free—and don’t feel entitled to weigh in on the itinerary!
What is your favorite family travel product or service?
My favorite airline is JetBlue, because the planes are nice, the snacks are free, and it’s one of the few carriers that lets family members pool miles.
I’m also a big fan of GigaPoints, a site that tells you exactly which credit cards will earn you the most points and miles, based on your spending habits. It’s way better than guessing, or creating some big complicated spreadsheet and figuring it out yourself.
What item do you always pack in your carry-on?
Tons and tons of magazines. I don’t have enough time to read them at home. I leave them behind as I go, lightening the load.
How do you tackle the work/life balance (e.g., daycare, babysitting, schools, etc.)?
It’s a juggle, especially right now. Before the pandemic hit, my kids were in school during the day and in afterschool activities a few days a week. Now I homeschool them—not remote school, full-on homeschool—in addition to running The Expedition and managing a freelance writing career. On weekdays, I homeschool from 8 am to noon, then work while my husband takes charge. After they go to bed, I try to squeeze in some more work, but I’m definitely not at peak performance. You just make it work.
What are the advantages of being a Mompreneur while raising children vs. working for an outside entity? Disadvantages?
For me, the biggest advantage is flexibility. I work when I want to, rather than when someone else thinks I should. On the flip side, I sometimes miss having a stable income, as well as the perks of working for a big company.
What’s your shameless plug?
The Expedition can save families heaps of money on hotels, cruises, and car rentals. Basic membership is free, but Adventurer members can get up to 70% off the prices you’ll find on public booking sites.
From now until July 15th Bébé Voyage members get a special deal for The Expedition! So head on over to check it out and start planning your next family vacation!