Mother-daughter travel duo explore the world together
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Attending Howard University changed Vanessa Ray’s lifestyle.

College has a way of doing that, but in her case, not for the reasons you’d guess.

When the Texas native moved to the nation’s capital for school, she was introduced to some of her first travel experiences.

Now, she practically eats, sleeps and drinks travel. The best part: she shares the adventures with her 6-year-old daughter Laila.

Through Laila’s Luggage, an adorable travel blog, the mommy-and-me duo chronicle their stops across the globe.

They’ve travelled to 21 countries and 15 states, plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Vanessa Ray and her daughter Laila pose with their Laila’s Luggage gear at an airport in Cape Town, South Africa in March. Photo: Instagram

Ray said Laila quickly grew accustomed to travelling because, due to Ray’s job, they were on a flight nearly every weekend until she was a year and a half.

And long weekends usually mean a quick trip for the well-travelled ladies.

Laila even celebrated her sixth birthday in Costa Rica.

“I don’t want her to be raised in a bubble,” Ray, who maximizes her points for trips, said about their extensive travel. “I feel like the more we travel, the more experience she’s able to gain for herself.

“The world is so big, and I really want her to know that from an early age.”

Being together in far-off places certainly bonds the two — who better to look after you when you get food poisoning in Bali than your mom? Laila’s favorite destination is a tie between Hawaii and Paris.

As expected, their 2020 travel plans have been put on hold amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Ray said she and her daughter had just returned from South Africa before Coronavirus’ wrath started forcing borders to close.

For now, it’s road tripping for the experienced duo.

“We just had to find ways to adjust and still experience things we want to experience,” Ray on COVID-19 and travel.

Ray, who created a line of products and activities for moms travelling with children, hopes to see more Black families when out. She said there aren’t many.

“I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s such an amazing thing,” she said about showing her daughter the world. “I think it’s just a huge blessing being able to expose that to her.”

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