Tomorrow I will be jetsetting off to Mexico sans child – a first in 19 months of motherhood. I’m excited to let go of the responsibilities of life for a few days and enjoy some much needed R&R with the girls, but I have to admit, it’s also a little heart-wrenching! I’ve never spent a night away from my kid, let alone an entire weekend. My arms will be aching to snuggle him to sleep, and mornings will feel empty without waking up to his cries and cute conversations, but Dear Lord, the thought of sleeping in….!

Travel Ready

With this upcoming travel, and a few more planned trips throughout the Summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about the experiences and beautiful memories gained through travel vs. my homebody tendencies to splurge on the home. Unfortunately, most people – myself included – don’t have the financial ability for both. So one tends to trump the other and for me, that tends to be the home. When it comes down to it, coming home every day to a warm and inviting environment means more to me than a brief stint in a warm and inviting environment.

But lately, I can feel my tendencies shifting. Maybe it’s motherhood – I want my child to be able to experience the world and feel inspired by its cultures. Or maybe I’ve just been TOO much of a homebody over the years and my body is now craving a shock to the system! Whatever it is, I find myself wanting a little less for the home and a little more for the soul (minimal design, maximum travel!).

Suitcase packed and ready to travel

I think there is a point in which a home just has too much stuff anyhow. Don’t get me wrong, I have a whole portion of my brain dedicated to all the stuff that I want! But there is nothing I really need and in my old age (of 33!), I’m realizing more and more that family and friends and a bit of fun is more important than any stuff that I have or want. Sometimes I have to convince my brain of this, of course. Like I said, there is a lot of stuff that I want! And browsing through all the amazingly beautiful blogs and home tours and product shout-outs out there really make me want to empty my wallet. IMMEDIATELY. But I don’t. Or try not to to the best of my ability, because traveling really can enrich the soul so much more than any tangible product or beautiful home can. You (and I) just have to curtail that little green monster sometimes…

So for the remaining Summer, I give myself – and you – a challenge: other than the projects that you may already have in the works, give yourself a break. Embrace minimal design, curb your spending, and maximize your travel budget.

Do you have the soul of a jetsetter or a homebody? How do you plan to save and what places would you like to travel to?

Traveling with Baby: Tips & Tricks

These are the kind of memories that get me through weeks like this one….

Hawks Caye Beach w Watermark

Can you believe Mother Nature dropped more snow on us?! In Spring (#springfail). Oh how I long for warmth!

Luckily, I managed to escape the wrath of Mother Nature earlier this month with a week’s worth of vacation in the Florida Keys. And my God, it was heaven and so very much needed. I’m quite certain that if I didn’t escape, my brain would have exploded by now.

I was pretty nervous about traveling with a 4 month old though and spent the week prior to vacation packing, repacking, scouring the web for travel tips, and checking my list twice.

In the end, Little G was an angel and heck, I give myself props for packing like a champ and having everything go amazingly smooth!

I’m sure some of this was pure luck, but I did manage to learn a few things along the way:

Traveling with Baby w Watermark

1.  Try to book a flight during baby’s normal sleeping hours. Our flight departed at 6am, which meant a 3am wakeup, but it was SO worth it when Little G slept through the entire flight.

2.  Bring your car seat and stroller. Both of these can easily be checked at the gate for free. Simply drop off as you board the plane (make sure they are both tagged!) and pick up on your way out. That way, if you have need of a rental car or taxi, you can travel with your baby safely!

Family Photo Copy

3.  Be courteous. Most passengers seem to be pretty sympathetic to the plight of traveling with baby, but in case your angel turns into the devil reincarnated somwhere mid-flight, come prepared with earplugs for you and everyone around you. A box of earplugs can be purchased for just a few bucks at your local hardware store and I promise, those few dollars can go a long way!

4.  Purchase a new, fabulous toy for baby only to be used in times of desperation. Again, if the devil seems to be inhabiting your baby’s body, this is the perfect time to pull out this never-seen-before toy that amazes and distracts your little person.

5.  Call the hotel ahead of time and see if they have up-to-code cribs. If so, reserve one and have it ready to go in your room upon your arrival. The less you have to pack, the better! Believe me, your suitcase will already be bursting at the seams.

6.  Pack at least 2 outfits per day for baby (and 1 for your diaper bag) and a few extra light-weight blankets. I used one of these blankets as a fitted sheet for the crib since I knew it had been washed with hypo-allergenic detergent. Be sure to throw one in your diaper bag as well – the plane can sometimes get chilly!

7.  If you’re breastfeeding, also be sure to pack a nursing cover in your diaper bag. Nurse on the plane at take-off and landing. This will distract baby from pressure changes.

8.  If you’re traveling to a warm, sunny location (and why wouldn’t you?!), pack a few light-weight long sleeve shirts for baby, a few UV protectant, rash-guard shirts, sunscreen, and a couple of sun hats. I also brought a UV protectant play tent for beach time (it’s super light-weight, portable, and easily fit in our suitcase, but large enough for me to sit in to nurse).

G and I in Tent

9.  Try to keep baby’s routine as much as possible. Schedule mealtimes during naps – again, this is where the stroller comes in handy! My husband and I really lucked out with this one. We went out to eat for lunch and dinner every day and managed to actually enjoy every single meal as Little G slept in his stroller beside us. But be prepared to leave quickly! We payed the bill as soon as we got our food. You know, just in case…

10.  Keep an open mind and know that vacationing with baby will be different than any other vacation you’ve ever taken. You’ll be spending a lot of time in your hotel room (so you may want to splurge on an upgrade…). You won’t be able to go parasailing or scuba diving or zip lining. But you will be able to watch and experience your little one discovering this whole new world around him and that, my friends, makes the hassle of traveling with baby in tow entirely worthwhile.

G and I 2 w WatermarkDo you have more tips and tricks to add? I would love to hear them!