tisdaleheadshot270.jpgStacey Tisdale is a traveling mom who’s everywhere: on CNN, Oprah, CBS, NBC and the best seller list.

She’s a financial reporter, financial literacy expert and author of “The True Cost of Happiness: The Real Story Behind Managing Your Money” as well as the doting mom of 3-year-old Christopher.

For the last year, she’s been traveling the country helping people get control of their finances and their emotional issues about money as well as lobbying our elected leaders in Washington about the importance of financial literacy.

Recently, TravelingMom founder Kim Orlando caught up with the Marymount College alum to talk about how she manages traveling with a 3-year-old and how families can manage their money in a way that means they still can take a family vacation, even in a tough economy.


tisdalepark150.jpgTMOM: Do you take your son with you when you travel?

STACEY TISDALE: I try to. I recently did a book signing for a group that has its annual conference at Disney World, so I brought Christopher along. I also invited a woman who babysits for him who has two young children of her own. We kind of made a family vacation out of it.

TMOM: Have you got a vomit story for us?

STACEY TISDALE: We had an amusing flight once. I’ll say up front that I’m an over-packer, especially when it comes to my son. So I packed like four outfits for a three-hour flight, assuming I wouldn’t need any of them. Something must have upset his stomach that morning, because he went through all four outfits in the first hour. He spent the rest of the flight in his diaper.

TMOM: How is it traveling without him?

STACEY TISDALE: It works out OK, but you have to be super organized. My husband drops Christopher off at school in the mornings and we have a sitter who picks him up. I make sure to lay out all his clothes ahead of time, along with any extras he might need, and I provide the sitter with snacks and activities and lessons.

TMOM: So it’s not hard to leave him?

STACEY TISDALE: I didn’t say that. There’s always that moment when you pull out of the driveway where you feel like your heart is breaking. But you just take a breath, go get your business done, and get home to him as soon as possible.

TMOM: Give us some highlights from your book.

STACEY TISDALE: America’s money woes are as much mental as they are financial. I ended up talking to as many psychologists and sociologists as I did financial experts. They boiled it down to the same three things. The “three money scripts” I call them because I want people to think of them as financial instructions having been written by others.

TMOM: Tell me more about that.

STACEY TISDALE: For example, there’s the “childhood money script.” That’s the way we saw money handled when we were growing up. It has a huge impact on our adult behavior. If you saw a lot of financial extravagance as a child, you may have the tendency to overindulge. I always tell parents: If you think you need the latest Lexus, your child is going to think they need the latest iPod. And those kinds of early messages can be dangerous.

TMOM: Tell us about your lobbying efforts.

STACEY TISDALE: I’ve spent a lot of time in Washington talking to members of Congress about the importance of financial education and financial literacy. Lack of financial understanding is part of what led to this economic crisis.

TMOM: What kind of financial knowledge?

STACEY TISDALE: To start with, an understanding of what you can and cannot afford. People signed up for mortgages without understanding how the debt levels really work. How quickly and how drastically they can change. This highlights how important financial education really is.

Read Stacey’s family vacation financial planning tips .