When my daughter firmly decided at about nine months old that she was done breastfeeding, I told my husband, "All right then, let's go on vacation!" (Any mom knows that a vacation with a pump in tow, especially Walt Disney World, is not a vacation.) Traveling has always been important to us, and became even more so when I changed careers to the travel industry six years ago. We knew having a baby would slow us down for awhile (and we are okay with that) but we like to make the most of the vacation time we do have, and for now continue to leave her behind when we travel.
I've read plenty of post responses regarding vacationing sans kiddos from the sanctimonious mommies in the Facebook group I have since ceased participating in - one mom proudly (proudly?) declared that she had never left her children overnight once...and they were like 7 and 10! Her tone and continued comments implied that she was obviously a better mom than any others in the group, specifically because she has never been apart from her children. This promptly got an eye roll from yours truly. I love being a mom more than anything, but before I was "mama" I was a wife for eight years, and "just Stephanie" for twenty seven before that. This alone time, and this couple time, is crucial to my sanity and the strengthening of our foundation for the family. For us, knowing our daughter is with family who love her, care for her, and give her the time of her life, is all we need to know. In another year or so, we will start taking her along for family vacations, and I hope one day when she is older she remembers the amazing adventures we shared together. For now, it's adults-only.
My husband and I didn't even hesitate to plan our first vacation together post-baby: Walt Disney World for five nights (six, if you count dropping the baby off the day before at the grandparents') was an incredible time, full of laughter, delicious meals, and absolute fun.
Our second post-baby vacation was shorter - just a little four-night getaway to Mexico (again, five nights if you count our pre-vacation night without child). My husband was sick while we were there and I was in pain and still healing from a horrific back injury, but we made the most of it. We still connected, talked, laughed, and just enjoyed being at a new-to-us resort together. The sunshine and blue sky weren't too bad either.
Now here we are, getting ready to celebrate our tenth anniversary, and we are heading out on another vacation, this one a little longer. We'll be leaving behind our little one once again, and now that she's older, the following will make our nine nights away easier on everyone.
- remember to pack the bedtime crew! This includes Baby Goldberger, Reindeer, Marshmallow, Charlotte, and now also Pink Kitty (who my husband has named "Dirty Kitty" following a recent trip to Aldi). Our kid went from a gal who couldn't care less about stuffed animals to one who loves having her squad around when it gets dark. Basically, these guys get their own tote bag now.
- pack special foods and snacks. My mom is amazing at having all sorts of great eats and treats on hand for our daughter (we are vegan) but I like to ease this burden on her by supplying some food. This includes boxes of mac and cheese, granola bars, cereal bars, mandarin oranges, Silk brand yogurt, and vegan General Tso's chicken from Whole Foods.
- keep with her routine. She goes to daycare twice a week, so she will continue that while we're gone. She loves "school" and it gives the grandparents a little break during the week.
- check in with FaceTime. Because we miss her face and hearing her little toddler voice saying her funny toddler things when we're away. I am with my daughter a great deal, so FaceTime with her still feels novel to me, and I love hearing her yell, "Mommy!"
- not worry. I don't worry for a second when we're away because we know our daughter is in amazing hands. I focus on where I am, and on my husband. Our time is precious, and so important as we continue to forge this life together. It doesn't matter that we've been at it for a decade - it's still important.
One day when our daughter is older, we will show her photos of us on vacation, laughing and enjoying one another so much. We will show her the photos of her having fun with Papa and Grammie. We will tell her we hope she finds someone she wants to spend as much time with as her dad and I do with one another.
Parents - enjoy! Go celebrate your love and life together. Your child will be fine.
Toast parenthood over a margarita.
You've earned it.
this post originally appeared on our main page at www.destinationtravelco.com
The 2017 results are in...
The December 2017 issue of Vacation Agent magazine featured a list of the top fifteen "ultimate dream destinations" as voted upon by American travelers surveyed by Travel Leaders Group.
Did your dream destinations make the list?
3. Bora Bora
5. New Zealand
6. World Cruise
8. Mediterranean Europe Cruise
9. Greek Isles
11. European River Cruise
12. (tie) Antartica / South Pacific and Tahiti Cruise
14. Australia / New Zealand Cruise
Please visit Travel Leaders here to see the full article.
Share your dream destination in the comments below! (Then contact me when you're ready to make it happen!)
The most active section of my website is, without a doubt, the pages dedicated to mainstream vegan travel tips and the recaps of my vegan experiences on various vacations. After hunting around on Facebook, I noticed that while there are a number of pages dedicated to vegan travel (most of these more for the backpacker-workaway-city specific types of experiences), nothing existed to assist those doing more "mainstream" sorts of vacations such as Disney vacations, cruises, resort packages, etc.
Fear no more, fellow vegans! Yesterday I launched a new group for this style of travel, and I invite all of you to come join us for feedback and reviews, photo shares, and q&a. It will be a friendly place, led by yours truly, to share our concerns and excitement for seeing the world as a vegan!
Spread the word, and come join us!
Vegan Cruises/Resorts/Disney Vacations
I was recently contacted by reporter Jamie Biesiada to discuss the effects of Zika virus on our agency's bookings for various afflicted destinations and how we are assisting clients in light of Zika's spread.
While we have not seen much of a shift in travel plans in our office (our sales for the Caribbean and Mexico have actually increased in 2016), this article highlights how agents around the country are working with their clients, particularly, babymooners. It's a great read for couples considering a vacation while pregnant.
You can view the article in its entirety here.
What a winter season it has been! I am looking forward to continue doing the job I love, but also enjoying warm summer days on my front porch and relaxing with my family.
My summer hours go into effect Memorial Day Weekend, and will be as follows:
(evening availability by appointment)
(availability by appointment)
I will post my days off on Facebook and as a vacation response through my email account.
My longer hours will resume in the fall season.
Document your travels, commemorate a special event like a honeymoon or anniversary, or tell your love story with one of these special maps available on Etsy.
Bags are great, and I am obsessed. I love totes, reusable grocery bags, toiletry bags, make up bags...the list goes on and on. I am not into purses though - go figure.
For the globetrotter in your life, here are bags of all shapes and varieties...for when you aren't required the less-than-fancy clear bag for TSA checks. Click on each link below to be routed to the listing on Etsy.
Since the tender age of nine and my first memorable vacation (to New Symrna Beach, Florida and Walt Disney World), I have been an avid journal keeper during my travels. From Mead notebooks purchased from the local drugstore that held my pasted mementos and childhood memories to the more sophisticated books of my adulthood, I have left a great deal of scribbled pages in the wake of my travels.
Journals make a great gift for many reasons...
1.) who doesn't like to remember their vacations around the world?
2.) writing is good for the mind and good for the soul
3.) it is a personal, thoughtful gift - particularly if you purchase one themed to your loved-one's upcoming trip
4.) children can build all sorts of great skills through journal-keeping (this is the former teacher in me coming out)
These journals are all available through Etsy, one of my favorite sites for gift-buying. Truly, the items below represent just a small sampling of all of the awesome journals you can find on the site, so I would encourage you to do some exploring on your own as well. Click on the images below to be routed to the listing for that particular item.
Etsy, that crafty rabbit hole of jewelry, home goods, and more has become the go-to destination on the Internet for cleverly creative gifts, and I often window shop to see the wares sellers are peddling. From now through the holiday season, I will be featuring some of my favorite travel-themed finds for the globetrotter in your life.
Please click on the images below to be directed to the item's listing on Etsy.
Passports are the ultimate form of identification when traveling - many people don't realize how meaningless a driver's license is once you are outside of our borders.
If you're planning a vacation outside of the United States and its territories (such as Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands) you must have a valid passport.
Here is what you need to know:
- Passports are valid for ten years, so it is a good investment!
- It generally takes about five weeks to have your passport processed. During busier times, it can take about eight weeks, so plan accordingly.
- You can download passport forms right from your computer (see link at the end of this post) or pick them up at post offices, county clerk offices, or passport agencies.
- Many local drug stores will help you with the required 2x2 passport photos. Fees vary depending on location.
- Your passport must not expire within six months of your return date or you might not be permitted to board your aircraft and fly home.
- Yes, you need passports for the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico.
- While you are not required to have a passport for a cruise itinerary departing and returning to a U.S. port, we strongly encourage our clients to have them anyway. It takes a great deal of stress away from travelers when they have this ultimate form of identification on hand, otherwise, several very specific documents are needed to board the ship. If you make a mistake with even one of them, your cruise vacation ends before it even begins - you will not be permitted to sail. (Avid cruisers can tell you tales of the many potential travelers hanging out around the cruise terminals not able to board the ship.) Further, in the event of an emergency and a need to return home sooner, a passport would be needed to depart any other countries for the United States. (Yes, the Bahamas are another country!)
Your airline tickets, travel reservations, etc. must all match the name on the passport, so book your travel and obtain your passport in your maiden name. When you return from your honeymoon and have your marriage certificate, you can have your passport changed to reflect your new last name. If it is within twelve months of original issue there are no fees for this. If the original passport was issued more than twelve months prior, you will pay a fee with your application.
For more information on passports, please visit the U.S. Department of State.