Like a linen suit, I do not travel well. I do not adjust easily to hotel rooms (except the Ritz-Carlton, and I am not kidding about that. I would not kid about that), other people’s homes, or new routines. And after our children became part of the picture, travel became a task not worth my trouble.
The most traumatic vacations of my life were not having been in a rare Northeast earthquake or when my husband was frighteningly ill for most of our Mexico honeymoon–the scariest trips of my life were traveling to Cape Cod in 2009 after our twins were born, and then two years later, to a Long Island beach, again, with three small children. After our recent venture to Disney World, I had planned and hoped our children would be driving themselves by the time we’d set out on the open road again.
But family travel does not have to be difficult, apparently. This was the theme and the lesson of a recent Momtrends New York City event, kicking off the high summer travel season. Gathering in the clean, colorful and super-duper trendy kiddie-oriented SoHo space of Citibabes, experts demonstrated how family vacations can be accomplished–
with style, safety, and cool gear.
The gorgeous and always put-together Kim-Marie from Luxury Travel Mom painted a picture of herself crying outside a hotel room door while her children behaved “like animals” inside. I love her for telling this story. She is as well a big Ritz-Carlton fan, so I know I can believe everything she has to say. Her ideas of making a family vacation about memories, rather than about “perfect,” hit hard–like a rainstorm on your last beach day. It brought back all my expectations: the ones I created from my own childhood vacations, and the ones I pack right on top with the kids’ pajamas each time we try to do this traveling thing.
I love Kim-Marie’s suggestions: tip hotel staff, from the housekeeper to the concierge–take care of people to be taken care of; plan your butt off (my words, not hers)–plan for snacks while traveling and at the hotel, plan for enough room for everyone, plan to rest and not do it all at once; and plan to visit your favorite destinations on off times and low season for great rates and lower stress.
If you are like me, packing for a trip means opening drawers and blindly throwing a variety of clothing into a bag. Sometimes underwear and shoes make the cut. Sometimes. The very practical wardrobe stylist Katrina Bischoff from A-Dress the Issue explained how laying your clothing out in full outfits and taking pictures on your camera phone for reference can alleviate much of the “OH NO I DON’T HAVE A THING TO WEAR” crisis that usually hits my vacations on day two. Also thanks to Katrina, instead of hoping I will not need to change out of flip flops for ten days, I am now prepared and bringing three pairs of shoes with me. Everywhere.
One addition to my family’s wardrobe this summer will be the fashionable styles with UPF 50+ protection from Coolibar. The lightweight material blocks 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Kids and their parents will look great and stay completely sun-protected with these fashions. I am stocking up on the great styles and colors for all of us.
Everyone’s favorite baby gear company, BabyBjorn, was on hand to demonstrate their family travel-friendly picks. Among them, the Travel Crib Light: compact, assembling easily in seconds, able to be checked as luggage, and made completely of breathable fabric for baby, this is a must-have for parents of infants through three-year-olds. If you ever want your kid to sleep soundly on a trip, that is.
Given my recent entrance to natural and green living, which I am documenting for this website, I was very interested in hearing what Sunology’s founder, Richard Doermer had to say about their all-natural line of sun protection products. Formulated differently than “traditional” sun screens, Sunology products are oil-based, concentrated and contain natural Vitamins A, C & E, Antioxidants and Omega 6 and Omega 9 oils; you use less while staying fully protected from damaging rays. While I don’t love–or like–or sometimes even do at all–putting sunblock on my children because it takes at least three hours per child, I am eager to try these on my family this summer and year-round.
Katie McBride of General Motors gave such an informative talk about the safety and gas-efficient features of several General Motors vehicles that, although we do not currently own a GM car, I would consider one for our next purchase. The Chevy Traverse, Chevy Equinox and the electric Chevrolet Volt have their own–and many–family-friendly
features, such as standard airbags, rearview back-up cameras, storage, lane departure warnings, and/or bottle holder spaces. The Malibu Eco was actually designed by a team of mom engineers. To get us home safely and in style, General Motors Northeast provided us with luxury travel (ESCALADE!), which was an enormous treat on a rainy city evening.
As we plan our upcoming trip with the kids this summer– that’s right folks, we’re doing it again–I am confident that even I can pull off this family travel thing having had the benefit of listening to a few better ways of thinking, doing and bringing ourselves to new places.
I was provided with product samples and a luxurious ride home for attending this event. Opinions are, as always, my own.
Wendy Bradford is a writer, wife, and mom to twins plus one in New York City. She is fueled by coffee and delusions. She writes about friendship, family and frailties at www.mamaonetothree.com.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributors. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Guest writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.