It’s Link Up Day! Every month I love hosting a link up with my favorite blogger friends. I hope you guy join in with us this week as we talk all things travel. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t truly appreciate travel until I was an adult. I didn’t even want to go on a honeymoon but Kevin was pushing for it so I conceded. I wish I had been bitten by the travel bug earlier in our marriage. But in all honesty, those first few years of marriage when Kevin was in grad school for time and we were running the house on my income alone were survival years. We vacationed every year and spent boat loads of time at the beach but it wasn’t until we had the kids that I really wanted to show THEM what was out there in the world. Of course traveling with young kids is NOT EASY but we have fun. We are not heavy duty itinerary planners so it helps that we always have loose plans of what we want to do but aren’t tied to times. If food or nap time is needed, we’re as flexible as you get. I want to share a few of my personal travel tips then I show you the highlights of some of our trips. Make sure you also check out my fellow co-hosts today. Allie, Holly, Lisa, Trina & Sara are all fantastic bloggers who I know will have fantastic travel tips.
Always put outfits together for your kids ahead of time. Secure the outfit with a rubber band or put it in a freezer sized ziplock baggie. I know I’m picky but I don’t want my kids in weird, mismatch outfits in vacation photos because my husband put them in a dress shirt with basketball shorts.
Socks and shower shoes. Hotels gross me out. My kids truly believe that it is a universal hotel law that you aren’t allowed to touch the floor with your bare feet. #momwin
Always pack sweatshirts. I don’t care where you are going or what time of year it is. There will always be a chilly night.
Spring for the spray sunblock on vacation. I usually don’t use the spray but, its vacation. And least amount of wrestling alligators I need to do on vacation, the better.
Always have baby wipes on hand. They are used for EVERYTHING.
Bring spare ziplock bags. When your kids snack bag rips apart or they buy a toy that breaks into a million pieces or your afraid your toiletries will leak during your travels, WHATEVER…you’ll be glad you had those bags.
Snacks- Pack your kids favorite snacks (and yours too!) and some new fun snacks too. Let them pick their own things to bring. Road snacks are part of the experience.
Don’t eat heavy for every meal. I can definitely eat, but I can’t eat heavy too often during vacation. I get super sluggish and a little cranky.
Research back up plans. Have an idea of what other things are in the area even if they are not a priority to see. There have been so many times that we completed our activity way earlier than we expected and are looking at each other like…now what?
If you have kids, scope out a place where they can run. When you hit up a touristy place there are usually very little places for them to get that energy out. I had Hank up in NYC a couple months ago and while he very much enjoyed it, but by the end of the day you could see he was getting anxious and twitchy. He needed to stretch his legs in a way that shuffling up 5th Avenue doesn’t allow. When we were in Niagara Falls last month the boys were getting pretty cranky. We went to these walled gardens and just let them run free and roll down hills. Moods were immediately improved.
Plan down time. Make sure that you are spending time at the hotel pool or watching movies in the room. These things are fun too and usually ensure that everyone won’t be burnt out the next day.
Not scenery pics but in the picture of Kevin we were kayaking Bioluminescent Bay. Google it. It was stunning.
This is our favorite vacation spot and where we say we will retire. Both times we’ve gone we’ve traveled with friends and it is the most beautiful and serene place I’ve ever been. We stayed in Inlet, right outside of Old Forge in a quiet cabin on a tranquil lake equipped with a huge pontoon for our stay. The second you dropped your line into the water a fish was on it. We boated, hiked, kayaked, took a seaplane ride, cooked over the fire, drank and told stories. There was no TV, cell service, or internet. It was wonderful.
What I remember most about New Orleans was the food, the drinks (of course), and the cemeteries. Voodoo is huge down there so we did a few voodoo tours and cemetery tours. We did an airboat ride to check out the alligators but mostly just toured the city trying to learn about the history and architecture in the area.
Punta Cana was the laziest vacation of my life. Kevin was in the trenches in PT school and I was burnt out from carrying the household load for so long. We needed a relaxing getaway and thats what we got. We swan, ate, swam, ate. I tried a cigar and hated it. We drank coconut milk straight from the coconut and had the freshest fruit I’ve ever tasted.
NYC at Christmas
I’ve been up to NYC all times of the year but nothing can beat NYC at Christmas. My mom, sister, and I go up to NYC at Christmas every year to shop and see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. I love to walk down 5th Avenue and see how all of the stores have decorated for the holiday. The displays are so elaborate and festive. We always check out the tree in Rockfeller Center and try to get to Central Park for the obligatory carriage ride. This year we brought Hank with us and he loved the show just as much as we do.
Gatlinburg was our first trip with the kids besides the Jersey Shore where we are constantly weekending. My family has a place at the beach so we have some of the comforts of home there. But the thought of ACTUALLY vacationing with these two knuckleheads made us a little apprehensive. Overall, it was a wonderful trip and the views were unmatched. We did a ton of hiking (the boys kept up pretty well), did some scenic drives and all of the typical tourist stuff. Hank ice skated for the first time a split his chin wide open. Goodness gracious, blood everywhere. Reid was 21 months at the time and didn’t understand that we were only vacationing and hadn’t moved there. Poor kid was so homesick that we had to keep pulling up the listing photos of our house on our phones to make him feel better and reassure him we would eventually go home. These are our memories though and we laugh together now about them.
Last month we took the boys up to Niagara Falls for a little getaway. Any time we are together is great and the falls were amazing to see. We toured the town and surrounding areas. The Hornblower cruise was definitely a highlight as was the sky wheel.