post-pandemic trip

Thinking about your first post-pandemic trip yet? If you are currently in quarantine with your spouse, or kids, or both, you may not be sold on the idea of dragging the clan along on holiday. You’ve probably been day dreaming of 7 days of complete solitude on some tropical beach, with no human sounds for miles. Or, travel may be the furthest thing from your mind because you may have lost your job, or you might be struggling with a newfound anxiety around the idea of traveling because of this new existence we live in. Or maybe you are dying for a family escape because your spring break plans fell apart (just ask my clients) and you’ve been dealing with broken hearts and dashed dreams around the house. Life is anything but normal at the moment, but if you’re a true traveler, you know that we will return to travel. When those travel bans are lifted and after all of this social distancing comes to an end, maybe, and just maybe you’ll be convinced that a post-pandemic trip with the whole family is a great idea. Here are a few things to consider…


1. Travel is the Ultimate Way to Celebrate Milestones

Put your hand up if you’re celebrating your birthday all by your lonesome this month? There will be SO MUCH to celebrate when all of this is over, now tack on all of the missed birthdays, cancelled weddings, delayed graduations and family reunions. Travel is a perfect way to mark those occasions, and to give yourselves a re-do on all of the missed fun. Whether it’s renting out a Riad in Marrakech, taking a river cruise between your favourite European cities, or spending your time on a tropical beach in the South Pacific, as long as you’re all together, you have the perfect recipe for unforgettable memories.

2. Travel Rekindles Family Relationships

If life during this strange and frightening time has taught us anything, it’s that we are all way too busy. How many times have your heard your mom or dad scold you for not calling them more often. Or heard a sibling grumble that they haven’t seen you enough. It is especially difficult to make time to connect with one another if you’re living on opposite sides of the planet! My brother lives in Lund, Sweden while I live in Squamish, British Columbia. By most standards, we’re very close, but work, parenting, and life in general have gotten in the way of “checking-in” on eachother. Travel has a delightful way of disconnecting you from your routine, and when you travel with family, it’s the ultimate way to not only catch up, but build on that foundation. My family is planning to spend our first post-pandemic trip in the Caribbean for New Years!

post-pandemic trip

3. Travel Turns Family into Teammates

Traveling is a great way to bond, and learn from eachother in unfamiliar and challenging environments. When my whole family gets together around the dinner table (which is rare, because as I mentioned, my baby brother lives in Sweden), our biggest laughs always centre around some crazy family holiday we took where something went horribly wrong. Be it our Mom getting dysentery while driving across Mexico (yeah, that wasn’t so funny at the time), getting lost in East LA and asking for directions from a bullet-ridden gas station, or getting practically thrown into a van when a relative had to race into the middle of Nazareth in Israel to rescue us because of a mob of teenagers shooting AK-47’s into the air (umm, yes, my family is a bit on the adventurous side in case you haven’t noticed). You don’t have to experience anything that extreme to learn from eachother, but you certainly learn what eachother are made of when a crisis hits (Plus, you end up with some pretty badass stories…if you live to tell the tales!)

post-pandemic trip

4. Travel Makes You Appreciate The Importance of Time

I mentioned above that travel can help us rekindle family relationships and help create lasting memories, but it also teaches us to live..in…the…MOMENT. This is something we are getting a serious dose of right now – living in the moment. And it’s not a state we are accustomed to. My biggest fear when this is all over, after all of the celebrations have died down, and we’ve returned to the rat race we’ll go on forgetting about eachother. We’ll forget this newfound sense of community, even if it is socially distant closeness. Family travel is an opportunity to hit the restart button, leave all negatives in the past. And remember, living in the moment actually can make time go less quick, and feel more rich.

We may be in quarantine for some time more, and that’s okay. Now is the time to conserve, practice lot’s of self-care, reach out to friends, family and loved ones and make sure your tribe is coping well. And if you’re up for it, it’s also a great time to hit up your favourite travel blogs, sites, and guide books, call a family Zoom meeting and start planning out where on earth you all want to take your epic post-pandemic trip!

“Why would I need a travel agent when I can book everything online?”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that or read that, I could quit selling travel and wander the world full time. With the plethora of online information at your fingertips, it would seem that booking that dream trip to Hawaii or all-inclusive getaway to Mexico is easy as pie. But before you jump on those rock-bottom cheap travel deals, or entrust some random booking engine with your credit card, find out why travel agents are still relevant in 2018.

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family fun

Traveling with children under age 2 (or any age) is a daunting proposition and can cause a great deal of anxiety if you’re not prepared. And therein lies the key; Preparation. When my little guy was born back in July, the countdown to getting his first passport stamp began, but so did the painstaking research into what we were going to need to make his first plane ride as seamless as possible. Here are some tips and lessons I gleaned from my own research and experience, as well as a few from other family travel experts:

Before You Get to the Airport

1. Baby Gear Rental Companies 

If you’re traveling with children somewhere in North America, look into renting baby gear to ease streamline the packing process. Loose Lips Magazine contributor and new Mommy Jessica Proctor was recently in Palm Springs (the same week we were as it happened) and rented a crib and high chair from Desert Baby  For a mere $40 a week this company dropped off and picked up the equipment from the doorstep of her AirBnb!

2. Don’t Overpack Your Checked-Baggage

I admit it, I was so guilty of it this. My son was born in the summer and I was gifted so many adorable  outfits that he couldn’t wear because he was so little and since I was finally heading to the sun, I brought them with me. All. Off. Them. Let’s be real. He ended up wearing maybe 8-1o outfits during the 8 days we were there. An outfit a day is fine, plus a couple of extras for any possible “blow-outs.”

traveling with children

3. Pack Your Diaper Bag Carefully

Just because you’re traveling with an infant doesn’t mean Airport Security are going to go easy on you. If you bring your own formula/breastmilk (yes, you can do this), do yourself a favour and place it in one of those giant freezer bags for easy inspection. Do the same with your diaper creme, and anything else in liquid form. Here are a few things you should absolutely include when packing your diaper bag:

  • Plenty of Diapers
  • Diaper Creme
  • Wipes
  • Baby Tylenol – Frequent flyer Beth Claridge never left home without it
  • 2-3 onesies for any necessary outfit changes plus one full outfit in case your luggage gets lost
  • At least one outfit change for you (You can pack this in your own carry-on)
  • Plastic bags to place any contaminated clothes
  • Change Pad (Airplane and airport bathrooms are gross)
  • Anti-bacterial wipes (Airplane seats are even more gross!)
  • Teething toy, soother,
  • Burb Cloth
  • Bibs
  • Blankie for snuggling up
  • Toys you don’t care about (because let’s face it, something’s getting lost along the way)
  • Muslin Baby Cover – These are perfect for breast feeding, swaddling (if you’re babe is into that), or as as a blanket.
  • Freemie Cups – New Mama @criscortijo just took her little one on a long-haul flight to Peru and like most new moms, she had to pump every few hours. This product allows you to do it discretely.

3. Cover Your Bases with Travel Insurance

I have the insurance conversation with every one of my clients because I think it’s downright irresponsible to travel without it, especially if you’re traveling with children anywhere in North America. While many credit card companies offer travel medical it can be quite limiting, with lengthy lists of pre-existing conditions that would prevent coverage. Plus, if you miss your flight, are delayed or miss a connection, travel insurance is there to cover the costs. If you’re traveling with your wee ones, you don’t want to take any chances with substandard insurance. Ask your travel agent about the type of coverage you need and travel with peace of mind.

traveling with children

4. Book Seats Ahead of Time  

In the past you may have played the whole “I’ll-take-my-chances-at-check-in” game to avoid paying for advanced seat selection, but trust me, you don’t want to deal with that mess when you get to the airport. You are at the mercy of ground staff, and not to throw them under the bus, but it’s not their responsibility to seat where its most convenient for you. So unless you want be stuck in the middle seat, miles from the bathroom or separated from your travel partner, always pay the extra and book your seats (with me!) ahead of time.

5. Try to Book Flights According to Babies Sleep Schedule

This is not always possible, and often, we are at the mercy of carrier schedules. However, if you’re traveling overseas, red-eye/overnight flights can be easier in terms of your baby adjusting to jet-lag. Your baby can sleep through the night (if you’re lucky enough to have one of those little angels) and wake up in the morning in destination. Some moms find it’s easier to book their flights in the morning because their babies are fussier near the end of the day and into the evening hours.

traveling with children

6. Invest in Good a Travel Stroller

My smart minimalist friends prefer to use baby carriers when they travel, but consider either investing in a good travel stroller or rent one when you’re in destination. Strollers can double as a high chair and, if you’re traveling in a hot climate, having a miniature furnace strapped to you 24/7 is no fun. We use a Mountain Buggy Umbrella Nano Stroller – It only weighs 13lbs, folds up small enough you can store it in an overhead bin, and takes seconds to fold out.

7. Check-In 24 Hours Before Flight

Similar to seat selection, some people don’t bother checking in online 24 hours in advance, but there has never been a more crucial time to get into the habit than if you’re traveling with children under age 2. You want to avoid standing in as few line-up’s as possible, so pre-pay for your baggage, make sure your seats are selected, and if you haven’t brought your own snacks, consider purchasing your meals ahead of time (if you’re traveling with a low cost carrier) so you don’t have to worry about anything other than keeping your little one occupied on board.

At the Airport 

traveling with children

8. Arrive Early

I know, I know, I’ve just told you to check-in 24 hours in advance, so why should you have to arrive early? Because going through security with children under age 2 can be a stressful experience. And you never know if you’ll have to make a trip to the bathroom (or multiple) for a “hose down.” Arriving 2.5-3 hours before an international flight will give you plenty of time to drop off your bags, get through security and make the little one is as fresh as a daisy for their flight. Remember to pre-pack your milk and any gels or creams (diaper creme) in plastic bags (I used giant freezer bags) for quick inspection.

9. Board Last!

You know when they announce that anyone traveling with children or in need of assistance may board first, ignore that. Unless you have a grave concern about overhead space, you don’t want to pro-long the amount of time babe spends in close quarters. Use the “divide-and-conquer” method if you’re traveling with your partner. Have them go on board first with the carry-on, and you can follow later. Before your seated, make sure to have those secret weapons like snacks, fun toys, or GASP, a pre-loaded iPad tucked away below the seat in front of you rather than up above. It’s all about easy access.

10. Take a long, deep breath

Give your babe a bottle or the breast during take-off and landing. The sucking motion will help them equalize those little ear drums. Your little one might cry at one point during the flight. They may even scream for a brief moment. But remember, it’s only a moment in time. And while there may the odd dirty look, people do have more compassion for struggling parents than you might think. Chances are, many of your fellow passengers are parents themselves. Don’t be afraid to move around the cabin (when it’s safe of course), make friends with the flight attendants, and above all, breathe. It’s going to be okay.

 

traveling with children

Bon Voyage!

being bumped

There is nothing worse than arriving at your gate, passport in hand, luggage all checked-in, beach bag slung over your shoulder, sun sand and fun mere hours away and then, a few ominous words tear you from your cocktail-infused daydream: “Would Mr. Joe please come to the front desk?” You gather your things and saunter up to the desk, all the while secretly hoping you’re about to get a surprise upgrade to Premium Economy when you’re about to get hit with the “you-thought-you-were-getting -to-Maui-tonight-but-guess-again” schpeel. The airline staff gives you an apologetic look and utters the words: “You’re being bumped.”

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