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Wayfaren Co

Family Travel

Overnight Flights with Kids – Surviving to THRIVING

Thriving, not just surviving // the overnight flight with kids version. The first time we took an international flight with our then 3 year old and 8 month old to Italy I was allll sorts of STRESSED out.

Would they sleep AT ALL??

Would they scream the entire flight??

Would it even be worth it??

Here to say it IS possible, you CAN take that international flight without drowning in worry. And it is so completely WORTH IT. Traveling with kids to international destinations is not only a way to make the MOST epic family memories, but can be quite empowering too. We have taken quite a few long haul flights with kids from 8 months to 7 years now. Here are a few *key* tips we’ve learned along the way-

Book the overnight flight option if possible

If your budget allows, booking the overnight flight will serve you and your babies SO well. (If affording international family travel is a stretch for you, you *must* check out our posts HERE and HERE!). Especially on the way to your destination, being in transit overnight will make adjusting to the time change SO much easier.

The second you board that flight, set your watch to destination time (this is KEY!). The overnight flight (versus a midday flight), especially with kids, allows for the most seamless transition. And it allows their bodies to be the least confused. It is pretty tricky to find an overnight flight BACK to the US, but the arrival flight is really the most important. This ensures you can enjoy your trip to the fullest!

Overnight flights with a baby

The Bulkhead Bassinet

If you have an infant (typically 1 year and under) you can reserve (for free!) what is called a bulkhead bassinet seat. As soon as you book your flights, call the airline to reserve the free bulkhead bassinet that attaches to the wall. It is simply a small “crib” that attaches to the wall in the first row of the airplane.

This is truly a *game changer* when flying with a really little one on a long haul flight. They will be far more comfortable and YOU will be far more comfortable. I take being hands free and not having to hold a sleeping baby for hours on end any day. We reserved one of these on our overnight flight to Rome, and our littlest slept almost the entire overnight flight.

*NOTE* – They are limited and first come first serve. So again, call to request the bassinet as soon as you book your tickets. If your baby isn’t born yet, simply call once they are here with their official birthdate. As well, once you get to your gate, ask again to confirm they have the bassinet ready for you.

(Don’t miss here our complete guide to packing for travel with a baby…for the minimalist mama!)

*A SECOND NOTE*- Sometimes when leaving an international destination back to the US, the airline will make you buckle your kiddo in using an infant lap seatbelt *only* during take off. So don’t get your baby all comfortable and settled in the bassinet until you are IN THE AIR. If not you will have to wake them up, buckle them in, then do the whole bassinet transition AGAIN. We learned this the hard way when we flew to Rome.

At any age, do as much of your nighttime routine as possible at the airport

Ok this is SO important in overnight flights with kids going smoothly! Simple, but I think really makes a difference in signally to your little kid’s bodies “It’s nighttime!”. Despite being in a new and pretty strange environment, we are GOING TO SLEEP! Pajamas, brushing teeth, books, whatever your crew does that signifies to the kids it’s nighttime at home, do it pre-flight 😉

We will typically pack pajamas and toothbrushes in their carry on backpacks. And we change in the family restroom at the airport right before boarding. Personally, I like not having to be squished in the tiny airport closet of a bathroom, as well as to not have to take the kids one by one. If you have a super long overnight flight though, timing wise it might make more sense to do your bedtime routine on board.

Pajamas, brush teeth, and a quick book and we call it done! This simple routine can be so grounding for kids and really help them feel more at ease in a totally new environment.

Get a few items to help make sleep on the plane a little more comfortable

This is essential. Unless your kid can sleep anywhere and everywhere (we do somehow have one like that), we recommend bringing a few key items for comfortable sleep. Our must haves are a small camping type pillow and a light weight blanket.

For older kiddos you might want to purchase a leg rest. We have the blow up one pictured above, but they also make ones that are built into a kid-size suitcase (Really neat, just much more of an investment). The leg rest helps them stretch their legs out a bit further. This can be really helpful in ensuring they get as many hours of shut eye as possible on that flight. That way they are rested and ready to hit the ground running when you land!

**Not all airlines allow the blow up pillows, so check with your carrier before your flight!

Overnight flights with kids// sleep support (if desired)

This can be controversial, BUT you do you mama. 😉 Anything to help an overnight flight with kids go just a *little* more smoothly right?! But we find a few kid friendly melatonin gummies are immensely helpful in calming the kids down and easing them into sleep. I usually give them the gummies as we are boarding, that way they are ready to go to bed around take off. They usually take 30 minutes to be effective.

We also will use this as sleep support as they are adjusting to the new time change. This really has helped our international transitions go SO smoothly (a win!). No more than 2-3 nights though, because you don’t want them to feel dependent on the melatonin for the entire trip.

Stay HYDRATED

The most underrated tip of them all. Overnight flights with kids will be immensely less painful if everyone does one simple thing…keeps drinking WATER. (or ALL flights with kids for that matter). I know I know, it seems silly to include on this list.

BUT I am convinced, simply being dehydrated is one of the number one reasons travel can be tricky with kids. That recirculated air on planes, coupled with naturally just drinking less water while traveling…is what leads to that “gross” feeling you have after flying. Even if it was only a 2 hour flight!

Now think about EIGHT hours on a plane AND a time change! Water, water, water, you truly cannot drink enough water while traveling. We focus on specifically over-drinking pre-flight and post-flight, since it can be a bit tricker to have access to a lot of water on board. Staying hydrated will also do wonders in alleviating jetlag.

Set realistic expectations for overnight flights with kids

Ok! This tip for *thriving* on overnight flights with kids should probbabblllyyy be the first one on the list…because it impacts EVERYTHING. *Your* expectations will set the tone for the entire flight and trip.

Your little ones are probably *not* going to sleep the entire night, and when there is sleep it might be a bit restless. You WILL feel a bit tired the next day. Expecting for things to potentially go wrong and have bumps is half the battle. Is it worth ONE night of not perfect sleep to get to that amazing international destination?! We say YES, without a doubt. 😉 

Don’t forget to save or pin this post for your next long haul flight. And if you’re looking for some bucket listing inspiration follow us over on Instagram @wayfarenco! (and a bit of a kick in the pants to *actually* make that dream trip happen)

Budget Travel

Budget Family Travel: Our Top 3 Cost Slashing Hacks

Ok, I am going to give it to you straight…we’re not millionaires. We honestly don’t even have thousands of extra dollars in disposable income. Here in lays the problem- we LOVE to travel…and we LOVE to travel as a family (i.e. $$$$). Over the years (honestly out of desperation) we’ve gotten creative and resourceful to make adventures to bucket list destinations a regular reality. SO sharing here our top budget family travel hacks, to get you from dreaming to GOING…STAT.

Shockingly low cost (and sometimes even nearly free) trips are in your near future if you read on below and use these same hacks we do.

1. Leveraging credit card points (I know, I know you’ve seen it before…but hear us out)

I think most people hear using credit card points for free travel and have two thoughts. 1. “I just don’t spend enough to get that many points” or 2. “Oh no, I’m not interested in taking a deep dive into the travel hacking card world“.

I hear you on both of these. We also don’t spend enough that we are racking in hundreds of thousands of points a year. And we honestly keep things pretty simple around here when it comes to travel rewards.

BUT we do strategically and intentionally leverage credit cards to help us make our travel dreams a reality…because it’s FREE money. Money that we (personally…and I assume if you are reading this, you too) NEED to make our bucket list adventures happen.

(**I will put the disclaimer here that if you have a history of overspending, this probably isn’t the travel saving money tip for you right now. The key to this hack is to pay off your card in full EVERY month and not spend a dime more than you usually would. Or else it’s no longer free money).

So to begin, if you are still using a debit card for all your purchases…you are seriously missing out. And by missing out, I mean literally leaving heavily discounted family trips and free money on the table.

By simply opening a new credit card (known to actually *help* your credit score) and using those bonus miles towards key dream trips, we are able to save literally thousands on our vacations. Now, I hear your concerns already, believe me. We’ve got the full break down on how we leverage credit card rewards HERE, answering alllll your FAQs and concerns.

How to Maximize Rewards for Budget Family Travel

EXAMPLE: This summer, we really had our heart set on another big trip to Europe. But who really wants a $2500 dent in their bank account just for our 4 flights to get over there?! I will tell you…NOT ME.

So if we have a big trip in mind, 6-8 months before, we apply for a new credit card. The sole intention being using those opening bonus miles for a huge chunk of our travel expenses. For Europe 2022, we opened the Chase Sapphire card (the number one card we recommend for beginning to leverage travel rewards). This got us 100,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months (simply putting all normal expenses on this one card).

That equated to about $1,250!! More than enough to get 3 out 4 tickets to Europe fully covered (if finding a killer flight deal that is).

Have your spouse now do the exact same thing with your referral link (read me filling out the application FOR my spouse) and you just got your family tickets to Italy AND some of your accommodations covered! Again, we go into a lot more detail in our post here, so make sure to check that out!

If you’re paying your cards off IN FULL at the end of each month, you not only won’t damage your credit score, most likely you’re going to increase it. It’s a huge win, WIN.

Earning credit card point bonuses with spending we are already doing, has allowed our family to have the most life-changing experiences. A month in Italy, a high end resort in Cabo, a week in 30A with friends, visiting Great Smoky Mountain National Park, this summer the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal. And SO much more that we never could have afforded otherwise.

2. Relying on flight deals – Chasing the deal not the destination

One of the biggest ways we make our travel dreams a reality is by being flexible and patient. Flexible on where specifically we may go on a trip and the exact dates we go. As well as, patient for the right deal to come around.

Whenever possible we do really try to allow the deal to drive our destination. So at times we might say, “OK we want to go to Hawaii and Hawaii along during Fall Break”. But more often than not, we have a list of places we are interested in going soon. We then watch for the flight deals that come through, and book our Fall Break trip according to the best value.

We also make certain to be a bit flexible on the exact dates of our trip. Sometimes leaving only one day later can literally save you thousands. Take a look at the date grid below when we were booking our flights to the Azores Islands for this summer.

Adjusting our trip by two days, saved us THOUSANDS of dollars! This is what we mean by flexibility.

budget family travel hacks

How to find the best flight deals

Hands down our favorite way to score dirt cheap flight deals is Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Set your home airport (or airports you can easily access/get a cheap flight to) and then get daily notifications of amazing flight deals. These are typically abnormally lost cost fares to destinations across the world or mistake fares. Scott’s Cheap Flights is how we snagged our $400 tickets to Italy, our $89 tickets to Chicago for a wedding, and our under $300/each tickets to Cabo for our entire crew.

Never, ever will we pay full price for airplane tickets ever again.

So if you can have in mind not just one dream destination, but a handful, and be willing to adjust your trip by a few days if needed…you really can go on some epic family vacations. EVEN IF your budget says otherwise 🙂

3. Making money while you travel

This is our final travel hack in our three prong strategy of budget family travel. We don’t live on hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, so we have been forced to get creative if we actually want to be able to travel to our bucket list destinations.

It all started when we wanted to take a month long sabbatical in Italy with our little ones 4 years ago. We never could afford to pay both our mortgage at home AND an Airbnb for a month in Europe. Necessity is the mother of invention right?!

So we thought- what about if we try to capitalize on something we do own while it just sits empty for 4 weeks?! So we decided to try to list our house on Airbnb for only the month of our trip.

How to monetize your home while away

We got a few professional pictures done, did a bit of minimal decluttering, and low and behold within WEEKS of our listing going live, we got a booking for the entire month of our trip! (If you’re ever in the Dallas area, favorite our place for the perfect family-friendly stay!)

Now we Airbnb our home every single time we have a trip on the books and it usually almost fully offsets the costs of our accommodations at our vacation destination. We know this isn’t for everyone, but we do believe it may be for you more than you think 🙂

We’ve got a crazy thorough post with all the most popular FAQ’s and misconceptions we get here. If you are interested in making budget family travel an *actual* reality, this is something to seriously consider doing!

And if you’re interested in beginning to host on Airbnb to help offset those family travel expenses, we’d love to guide you along the way. Simply use our link here and let us know you did and we will help get you up and running!

Budget Family Travel IS POSSIBLE!

I think most people assume they could never travel to their dream destinations as a family. Think Paris, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Turks and Caicos, Spain! But we are here to say with a bit of creativity and leg work it is absolutely NOT out of reach for an average family, like us, to travel the world 🙂 We hope this was helpful and gives you that bit of inspiration to make that bucket list trip happen!

Gifting

The Most Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts 2022

If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for unique gifts that are full of MEANING and thoughtfulness. Mom deserves a gift as special as she is, right?!. So we’ve rounded up the most thoughtful Mother’s Day gifts in 2022 that will give her all the feels 🙂 See the list below!

A Custom Elevated Scrapbook

So long to the cheesy scrapbook. Mom will LOVE this understated, elegant custom scrapbook from Artifact Uprising. For all her most important moments and all the ones yet to come.

A Personalized Birth Poster for all her babies

These personalized minimal birth posters are such a beautiful, yet meaningful, gift for Mom. Customize with their child’s stats and they have an instant timeless piece of art they will cherish for years to come.

minimal birth poster for mom

A Night Away

(As a mom) This is my FAVORITE Mother’s Day gift idea on the list. What mom wouldn’t want to be sent away for 24hrs with nothing to do but sleep in, enjoy a day in peace, and relax in a hotel all by herself?! Better yet, use your points on your favorite travel credit card and this gift is FREE!

thoughtful Mother's Day gifts 2022

A custom engraved keepsake box

Nothing will make mom cry, like a custom engraved heirloom keepsake box. She will be so touched by this sentimental gift, and it will finally give her a place to put all those special mementos she’s just been stuffing in a shoebox for all these years 🙂

One of the most thoughtful 2022 Mother’s Day Gifts!

Family History Heirloom Book by Time Capsule

Finally get her to document all those family stories she’s always telling you about! Love this unique gift to help mom cherish her legacy and pass it down for generations to come.

family history book for mother's day

Mama Child Bestie Sweatshirts

*Adds to cart immediately for me and the girls.* A gift she will actually never want to take off. How ADORABLE are these “Bestie” sweatshirts?! Order one for her and her little for Mother’s Day 2020.

Bestie sweatshirts for mom and daughter

Help her digitize all those VHS memories (finally!)

WIN the thoughtful Mother’s Day Gift game this year with this one. My sister gifted this Legacy Box to my mom last Christmas and it was such a huge hit. The Legacy Box makes transforming all those old VHS memories into DVDs an absolute breeze. Practical AND meaningful.

Legacy Box for mother's day

Take an online brush lettering or flower arranging class

We are all about experiences and time together instead of things over here. Just love the idea of setting some intentional time aside to do something fun and new with mom! If experience gift giving is more your speed, check out our list here with 50+ experience gift ideas.

Digital Photo Frame to rotate through all her favorite memories

Love these digital frames for mom so she doesn’t have to land on just ONE photo…impossible! This gorgeous modern one takes digital picture frames to a new level. If you are on a tighter budget, this is a great option!

Subtle Birthstone Bracelet

This meaningful jewelry is SO elegant and the *most* perfect thoughtful Mother’s Day Gift. Dotted with a stone for each of her babies, this is a piece she will want to wear with everything and never take off.

birthstone bracelet for a thoughtful mother's day gift

Polaroid Camera for the sweetest memory keeping

Ok this one is a little different BUT the most fun gift, we promise she’ll be thanking you once she gets to use it on her next adventure. We got a Polaroid camera for our latest trip to Mexico, and it truly was such a fun addition to our travels.

It was so fun to capture these intentional little moments throughout the trip and be able to see them develop immediately. A unique, thoughtful Mother’s Day Gift that will help her cherish moments over and over.

Travel

1 Epic Day in the Sawtooth Mountains

If you’re anything like us, you’re always on the hunt for postcard worthy beauty…the more untouched the better. If that’s you, then add the Sawtooth Mountains to your bucket list STAT. We’re going to walk you through an epic day in this lesser known destination. What to do in the Sawtooth Mountains, the best places to eat, where to stay, and family friendly hikes not to be missed.

I know, I know when you think of Idaho, the first thing that comes to mind is probably potatoes, right?! But did you know that Idaho has more wilderness than any other state in the lower 48? A mega 60% of the state is covered in forestland!

Compared to its more popular neighboring states of Washington and Oregon, Idaho is a hidden gem! Anyone that lives there is loud and proud about that (and wants it to stay that way:)). We spent a month in Idaho last summer, and it is shockingly beautiful. Filled with jewel-colored lakes, alpine peaks, towering forest, and sparkling rivers.

Sawtooth National Recreational park is such an idyllic US destination that is sure to not disappoint!

About the Sawtooth Mountains

The Sawtooth Mountains are said to rival the Tetons…with a fourth of the crowds! Located in east Idaho, only about 2.5 hours drive from Boise, it is truly a must see when visiting this hidden gem of a state. Nestled right next to Boise National Forest and charming (tiny) no frills Stanley, ID, this portion of the Rocky Mountains reaches a maximum elevation of 10,751 feet at the summit of Thompson Peak. The Sawtooth National Recreational Area is home to some of the most gorgeous hikes in the Western United States, and most definitely in Idaho.

We stayed in Idaho for a month last summer and driving out to the Sawtooth Mountains was hands down our favorite thing we did (Don’t miss our Road Trip Essentials the next time your family hits the road here!). The beauty and almost untouched feeling of the area was just truly majestic. If you are in the Idaho area, the Sawtooth Mountains CANNOT be missed. As beautiful as the National Parks, without the crowds. AND endless postcard worthy views to boot…just wait!

Family friendly hikes in the Sawtooth Mountains

Fishhook Trail

This hike is near the entrance of the Sawtooth area and a great super straightforward option for families with little ones. It starts at the Redfish Lake trailhead and it is 4 miles round trip. There is a total of about 400 feet of elevation gain, and follows the gorgeous Fishhook creek until it ends at a beautiful meadow and beaver pond.

The trail is used by both bikers, hikers and some sections you may see some horses! This is a favorite trail of many and one of the most popular in the area, so during the summer months plan accordingly when visitors are at a peak. In September and the Fall you can also catch glimpses of the gorgeous changing leaves. There is a large parking lot very close to the trailhead, so navigating to this family friendly hike in the Sawtooths is easy breezy.

Lily Ponds and Waterfalls (Redfish Lake)

This is our favorite hike for families in the Sawtooth Mountains! To access the trailhead you have to take the Redfish Lake Lodge boat shuttle. Our kids thought this quick 5min boat ride was a BLAST (not so much when we got caught in a storm on the way back…but MEMORIES right?!). AND it cuts off over six miles of hiking for you in only ten minutes! The boat both leaves on demand, and has set pick up times.

Once the boat drops you off, simply follow the signs for the Lily Lake Trailhead. (not forgetting to making your way down to the shore area, pictured below…the color of that water!). The hike is only 1.5 miles round trip, but there is some moderate elevation gain. Our girls (6 and 4 at the time) did great with this hike and it really was the perfect enjoyable challenge…with a very worthy reward at the end!

After spending some time at the lake (filled with lily pads, hence the name of this trail), you will want to look for the small wooden sign that will point you towards the waterfalls (south of the lake). Just 3 more minutes down the trail and you’ll run into the falls! The waterfall is gorgeous and intimate and we had the whole thing to ourselves when we visited in July.

Also keep your eye out for Huckleberry bushes, during the summer they dot the entire trail and can be picked and eaten straight from the bush! This was SUCH a fun memory for the kids, and they totally delighted in picking the huckleberries and eating them straight from their hands! Be sure and stop in at the Lakeside Grill on your way back to reward the fam (and yourself :)) with a delicious ice cream cone. This hike was hands down one of our most memorable experiences while in Idaho.

4th of July Lake

This hike is a bit deeper into the Sawtooth Mountain area, but well worth the extra drive. (And really any drive that looks like this…sign me up) Off of highway 75 (the main highway in the area), about 15 miles south of Redfish Lake Lodge you will turn east on 4th of July road and drive 10 miles to the 4th of July trailhead.

It is a bit of a bumpy dirt road, but totally doable in most cars. Once you arrive at the trailhead, you will see restrooms and a parking area. The trail is close to 4 miles round trip and will take you straight to 4th of July Lake. This family friendly hike is is perfect for a quick little dip if you’re visiting in the summer and is untouched Sawtooth Mountain beauty at its finest.

Where to Eat in the Sawtooth Mountains

Stanley Baking Company & Cafe

The perfect spot for a quick breakfast before a full day of hiking and soaking up the mountains. This gem is in the heart of Stanley, right outside the entrance to the peaks. Sit on the patio, sip a latte, and grab the kids a couple of homemade cinnamon rolls….YUM.

Peaks & Perks

If you want to head straight to the really good stuff (i.e. all the nature goodness), we recommend this little pop-up coffee shop for your morning brew. Be prepared- when we were there, they only were accepting cash!

Redfish Lake Lodge

In the heart of the Sawtooth Mountain Recreational Area, this is a easy super family friendly lunch or dinner stop. There is tons to do around the Redfish Lake Lodge- grab ice cream at the outdoor grill (more on that next), let the kids splash in the small sand-lined beach, rent a paddle board for the afternoon. This is our top pick for a mid-day meal during your time in the Sawtooths!

Lakeside Grill

Also, on the Redfish Lake Lodge property, Lakeside Grill is a must stop for a little afternoon treat. Stop by the outdoor grill to get their famous “living the dream” ice cream cones and sit waterside while the kids cool off in the water. This is a great option for a quick outdoor lunch that is easy on the wallet. Afternoon delight FOR SURE.

Sawtooth Luce’s

This is where we had a quick bite to eat at the end of our day of adventure in the Sawtooth Mountains. A completely no frills type of down to earth joint, that just seems like the perfectly fitting end cap to a day of hiking in the mountains. Grab a burger and a beer and revel in the epic day you just had!

Stanley Supper Club

Alright this is a unique find (that books up quickly mind you), but well worth the planning ahead if you can swing it! Just love this special dinner spot and the sweet story of how they started the restaurant. This is more of a “fine dining” experience but in a perfectly Idaho relaxed unpretentious way.

Overnight Flights with Kids – Surviving to THRIVING

Overnight Flights with Kids – Surviving to THRIVING

Thriving, not just surviving // the overnight flight with kids version. The first time we took an international flight with our then 3 year old and 8 month old to Italy I was allll sorts of STRESSED out. Would they…

Budget Family Travel: Our Top 3 Cost Slashing Hacks

Budget Family Travel: Our Top 3 Cost Slashing Hacks

Ok, I am going to give it to you straight…we’re not millionaires. We honestly don’t even have thousands of extra dollars in disposable income. Here in lays the problem- we LOVE to travel…and we LOVE to travel as a family…

The Most Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts 2022

The Most Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts 2022

If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for unique gifts that are full of MEANING and thoughtfulness. Mom deserves a gift as special as she is, right?!. So we’ve rounded up the most thoughtful Mother’s Day gifts in 2022…

1 Epic Day in the Sawtooth Mountains

1 Epic Day in the Sawtooth Mountains

If you’re anything like us, you’re always on the hunt for postcard worthy beauty…the more untouched the better. If that’s you, then add the Sawtooth Mountains to your bucket list STAT. We’re going to walk you through an epic day…

Our Top Tips for Making Flying with Kids a Breeze

Our Top Tips for Making Flying with Kids a Breeze

For so many people, flying with kids can be this intimidating (dare we say terrifying) thing. BUT we’re here to say…it doesn’t have to be! We’ve been flying with our kids as often as we can since they were infants.…

Where to Stay in the Sawtooth Mountains

The tinnnnyyyy town of Stanley (population only 68!) is the gateway to the Sawtooths. For a hotel stay in Stanley, Idaho we recommend Mountain Village Resort and Stanley Town Square. We personally think the best place to stay when exploring the Sawtooth mountains is hands down Redfish Lake Lodge, right next to Redfish Lake. It’s right in the heart of the mountains and the perfect cabin, family-friendly camp type feel. There are restaurants, activities, fun events on site, and it is pretty much the ONLY option if you want to stay in the actual Sawtooth recreational area (except for camping that is).

Also of course always check out Airbnb for a cabin or other independent rental. The options are very limited in the area, but worth checking out! Lastly, for additional hotel options, check out stays in Sun Valley and Ketchum, the closest ski resort towns to the Sawtooth National Forest.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous with little ones, there are also tons of camping options in the area. It can get popular (in the summer especially) so make sure to reserve at least 6 months in advance! Camping around Redfish Lake is a top pick, but other amazing spots include Stanley Lake (our FAVORITE! See below), Pettit Lake, or Iron Creek.

A MUST SEE!

Justttt before you’re about to head out from your epic day (or days) in the Sawtooth Mountains, you must stop at Stanley Lake! We tacked this on as we headed out as somewhat of an after thought, and it was probably our favorite views of the day. Pristine jewel-toned waters, towering trees, a gorgeous mountain backdrop…I mean you can’t make this stuff up. Easily rivals the National Parks we’ve seen…but with half the crowds.

Bonus points if you can get there around golden hour. Nearly all the visitors had cleared out for the day. the water was so still, and it was just truly MAGIC. A family memory I will absolutely never forget.

We hope this was helpful and gives you a little bit of direction to what we are confident will be an unforgettable trip! The Sawtooth Mountains (and Idaho in general for that matter!) are a hidden gem and somewhere we can’t recommend visiting enough!

Family Travel

Our Top Tips for Making Flying with Kids a Breeze

For so many people, flying with kids can be this intimidating (dare we say terrifying) thing. BUT we’re here to say…it doesn’t have to be! We’ve been flying with our kids as often as we can since they were infants. And now we are to the point where flying with our family is a true breeze (for the most part :)). Here’s our top tips for helping you go from fear to flying with confidence!

Traveling with your little ones as often as we can is SO important (IMO)! Cheers to you Mama, you got this!

Set some expectations (for you and them)

Coming from a background in elementary education I know the MASSIVE value in setting expectations. The undeniable MVP for how they can help avoid meltdowns and unnecessarily stressful situations…especially while traveling with kids.

Before flying with kids, we always lay out the day of travel for them weeks, days, and then hours in advance of a flight. What will they expect on the day of travel? Will they be waking up super early and just be carried to the car in PJs? Will you head to the airport after lunch? Will you have a layover somewhere? What is the plan once your arrive at your destination?

We also always give them heads up/reminder about all the waiting that happens when flying. Waiting during check in, waiting during security, waiting at the gate, waiting on the flight. Telling them “things might not go perfectly smoothly, we might run into x y and z problems.” And as my mom always tells the girls, “Be ready to pack your patience!”

Setting all these expectations ahead of time will save you SO many meltdowns. Kids are able to navigate unknown situations with so much more ease if they have a little heads up and picture of how the travel day might go in advance.

…and that goes for you too mama! Setting expectations for myself the day of a flight does wonders. There will be moments of stress. There will be things that don’t go as planned. Kids are going to get fussy (at the worst possible time). Your patience will wain in difficult moments. BUT just expecting these things to happen are half the battle! Flying with kids can dare I say…be fun!

Tire them out before boarding

One our easiest tips for flying with kids is to get them up and walking as much as possible before take off! Go walk to get your meal, walk to go check out the different shops, look out at all the airplanes outside. Burning a bit of physical energy before sitting on an airplane for a few hours can do wonders for content little kiddos through a flight.

So many airports now have play areas too! We always try to seek out those kids friendly areas where we can, because expending some physical energy before flying leads to much happier little ones mid-flight.

Choose your flights wisely

Although we do know budget is a huge factor here (don’t miss how we find dirt cheap flight in this post!), when we are able we are very intentional about the flights we chose when flying with kids. I would say our unicorn of a flight is probably mid morning or afternoon. That way we don’t have to wake the kids up crazy early and throw off their schedules for the day, but also arrive before their normal bedtime and gives us time to settle in.

You can absolutely still have flights that are a breeze with kids that are at less than ideal times! And at the end of the day YOU know your kids best, and when they will most likely be happiest in transit.

If we get the pick of the best, we are choosing a mid morning or afternoon flight (and non-stop if at all possible). Now when flying internationally on a budget, that obviously is next to impossible. However, we will always choose the least number of flights that fits our budget. It is always worth it to us to spend just a little bit more money to get one flight instead of two. Less time in the air = less opportunities for meltdowns.

Reserve your seats in advance or take advantage of family boarding

Again, if budget allows reserve your seats in advance when flying with kids. With our kids current ages (7 and 4.5), our pick is window seats for them because they love looking outside during take off and landing. I.E. read, something super easy to hold their attention during a chunk of the flight. If you have a toddler, you may chose the aisle seat so you can get out easily to walk around.

Some people like the back of the plane because it is more “family-friendly,” coupled with the louder white noise sound at the rear. Some prefer the front so they can get off that plane ASAP at landing! Completely personal preference!

Don’t forget (with Southwest) about family boarding! Just by flying with a child 6 years or younger, you get early family boarding between the A and B groups…without early bird check in!

Less is (SO) much more

…now don’t get me on my soap box, but if I feel passionately about one thing, it is this. Traveling with less when flying with kids, means more hands free for wrangling kiddos, a lighter load for a less stressed mama, and less mess to clean up. Packing as minimally as possible for flights is one of our most important tips for flying with kids.

Whether it’s using the most compact headphones (you won’t believe the price on these- our favorite headphones to travel with!) or just picking a few select, intentional activities. The less you have in your bag and the less you have in your hands, the happier of a traveler you will be. The happier of a traveler you are, the happier of a traveler your kids will be. Our packing list for traveling with a baby (for the minimal mama) is a great resource if you have super little ones!

Pack minimal, mess-free activities

Here’s my criteria for what activities make it on the plane when we are flying as a family:

  • Not a ton of parts that can be lost
  • Easy and not too bulky to pack
  • Can hold their attention for a long period of time (has multiple iterations, reusable etc)

When going on a plane with little ones, we pack a few intentional activities. More is not more when traveling with kids, we are convinced. I don’t even love bringing something like markers on a flight honestly, because good lord knows I don’t want to go searching under those seats for a marker cap.

Our go-to’s for older kids are Puzzle Sticker books, and for younger kids we love these reusable water coloring books. Anything that is minimal, mess free, not too difficult to pack, and will hold their attention! We also find our littles tire more easily of an activity they’ve seen before, so when possible I like to surprise them with a brand new activity once we have boarded.

Fill their bellies with protein heavy snacks

Truly full bellies = less fussy children (the goal here right?!). I personally have found if I am handing over more “empty” snacks, that just leave them hungry 30 minutes later, my kids are much more easily on edge. So one of our top tips for flying with kids is to try to make sure and pack compact, plane friendly, protein heavy snacks for all of your flights. And when traveling with little ones, lots of normal “rules” go out the window. They can have a snack whenever they want, however often they want.

Some of our go-to snacks higher in protein are:

  • Duke’s Meat Sticks
  • RX Kids Bar
  • Any sort of Nut Bar (Kind)
  • Protein heavy pouches

Plan for ALL the movies

Let me tell you, there is no award for the mom who has the most successful screen free flight with kids.

We are pretty intentional about the amount of technology our little ones get at home. However, when we travel that really goes out the window. Now, they don’t have their faces glued to the pad literally the entire trip. BUT bring onnnnn the movies! We personally prefer movies over any games, because it seems games always need some kind of intervention or help. The more hands off the better!

Best tips for flying with kids = without a question a little help from your trusty friend the iPad.

Always have a chewy treat on hand

When flying with kids, expect potential ear issues due to air pressure. Although, I will say in all our flying, we have only had one or two instances with ear problems. However, with how much discomfort it puts their little bodies in, I always like to be prepared for the worst.

If they are not old enough for gum yet, I like to keep on hand a chewy treat when flying with kids. This not only helps them pop their little ears, but also provides a helpful distraction.

***And speaking of helpful distractions, my secret weapon when traveling with little ones is to have a surprise treat on hand they don’t know about. Sometimes, if on the verge of a meltdown, a simple distraction can be a LIFESAVER.

Be the thermostat, not the thermometer

Last, but certainly not least. This is one of the most important tips for flying with kids, and making it a SUCCESS. Children are going to 100% feed off your energy and attitude when traveling. So you have to read the temperature of your crew, not set the dominos for an easily stressed, grumbling family of travelers.

Like I mentioned at the start of this post, setting your expectations are a HUGE piece here. Your attitude on travel day is going to set the entire tone for all your little people (and husband!). And to take it a step further, if you can not only try to weather the stress of the day well, but have FUN with it….you are going to be on your way to family flights full of confidence and ease.

We hope these tips for flying with kids are helpful and of value to you! And if you are road tripping and not flying, don’t miss our super comprehensive guide for your next family road trip! You got this Mama 🙂

Memoring Keeping

Tasteful Travel Inspired Home Decor You Will Love

If you are like us and have a particularly sensitive radar for the cheesy and poorly designed, then you know in the world of travel inspired home decor….tasteful can be very hard to find. We like our home like we like our adventures- beautiful and well curated (call us vain).

But we truly do have an appreciation for a well-designed home, yet also love to incorporate our favorite and most meaningful trips in our every day lives.

We scoured the internet and found the most tasteful ideas for travel inspired home decor. Pieces and ideas that will seamlessly fit into your modern home, while still holding all the meaning they are meant to. See the round up below!

Showcase artisanal textiles, throws, or pillows

This is one of my favorite “souvenirs” to pick up in a new country. The beauty of a unique artisanal textile from another culture can’t be beat. A few years back we went to Santa Fe and splurged on a gorgeous deep navy throw with a distinct New Mexico aesthetic. It has been the perfect accent to the leather chair in our living room for years…and will continue to be timeless forever.

Even if not a souvenir, purchasing intentional textiles like an Indian throw blanket or mudcloth pillows add a rich cultural feel to your space.

Hang a tasteful Push Pin Travel Map in the heart of your home

If you have ever tried to find an actually beautifully designed travel map, you know it’s no easy task. This push pin map is the most elegant one on the market, and bonus, is handcrafted here in the States! A map you could actually display in your modern living room and it not be a complete eyesore- a win! (Also don’t miss our round up of 10 beautiful ways to document your travels here)

Use travel-inspired rugs

Vintage kilim rugs are one of our favorite ways to quickly add a rich cultural feel to any room. They can get very pricey, very quickly. Our go-to sources for travel-inspired rugs without spending a million dollars are hands down Etsy and Ebay.

Choose culturally-inspired furniture pieces

I am not talking super ornate pieces that scream say “I AM FROM MOROCCO.” (although, done in the right way, that could be cool!). We love furniture that has small cultural details that give a nod to a place other than your home, but don’t overtake the room. Furniture that tells a story is our FAVORITE.

If you have a little more in the budget, The Citizenry is KING of tasteful culturally inspired decor. You can even shop their site by country- so very dreamy…check them out.

Pick out a meaningful custom map or print

One of the simplest ways to incorporate travel inspired decor into your home is with custom map prints. (Which if you’re looking for thoughtful gifts similar to this look no further than here!) There are so many amazing sources out there for beautifully designed map prints. Minted and Nbourhood are some of our favorite though! We also love the modern take on the National Park prints on Etsy here.

Frame photos from your most special adventures

Choose the most beautiful landscape pictures from you most cherished trips. Slap a preset over those in the free Lightroom App and send those beauties into FrameBridge for a truly effortless process. If there are travel photos flooding every corner of your home it can edge on tacky, but a few meaningful shots here and there can add beauty and a story to your home. The custom prints above from Still Novel as also a gorgeous and special way to display your travel photos.

Display your travel mementos in a timeless keepsake box

Such an interesting item to display on your coffee table that keeps your travels at the forefront of your (and your company’s) mind. A design-forward keepsake to hold all the mementos from your latest adventure is such a subtle way to add some travel inspired home decor to your spaces.

Celebrate your favorite countries with curated dishes and mugs

We love collecting unique dish-ware and mugs from our travels. Although, you have to be careful actually getting the items home. They are such a beautiful way to reminisce on past adventures without overwhelming your space with travel inspired decor. Just drooling over these Japanese serving plates.

Infuse travel inspired home decor with paintings of your favorite destinations

Whether it’s a custom painting of a meaningful landscape or one you find of your favorite place on earth. Artwork can be a simple and elegant way to give a nod to travel without walking the cheesy line. Our go-to sources for art are Etsy and Society6!

Place out travel-themed coffee table books

Find some gorgeous minimal coffee table books showcasing your favorite countries and boom you’ve got some tasteful travel inspired home decor down! We love Gray Malin everything, this Italy coffee table book is especially dreamy. All the travel coffee table books linked above!

Make a collection of woven baskets from other countries

Artisanal baskets are trending lately and for good reason. Whether, placing a basket or two in your bathroom or displaying a collection of them on your wall. Woven baskets from other countries are such a tasteful way to incorporate some culturally-inspired themes in your home.

Travel inspired home decor does NOT have to be tacky friends! Here’s to both beautiful AND meaningful homes!

Family Travel

What I’m Packing, Minis and Me: Family Trip to Cabo

Mexicooo! Beach, sun, sand, and a rich cultural experience…SIGN ME UP. We are heading to Cabo San Lucas for Spring Break and we couldn’t be more excited. Give me all the margaritas on the beach at sunset STAT, please. Mexico is such a great way to dip your toe into international travel with kids. It’s not too far of a plane ride, not TOO foreign of a culture, and is actually very family friendly. Here’s what we’re packing below for our family trip to Cabo (that are Mexico/beach specific)!

1. Passports

This one is a given…but NOT to be forgotten! If you haven’t aquired passports for your kids yet, NO FEAR and no need to be intimidated. The process is quite simple. For the run down check out the easy 3 step process HERE. As well, this helpful article from the Traveling Mom talks through a few FAQ’s and common mistakes.

2. A really good, clean sunscreen

Vacay at the beach = allll the sun protection. Our preference is the sunscreens without all the junk in them; all the protection, without the chemicals…yes please. We have tried many and this is the best clean sunscreen option we have found that 1. actually works, 2. isn’t a million dollars and 3. actually sprays on pretty clear, so you aren’t left looking like Olaf your entire beach vacation.

3. Aloe/Balm

Just *in case* sunburns do happen, I always like to have on hand some after sun relief. This clean Aloe Vera Gel here is great, but if you want the REALLY good stuff and don’t mind spending a bit more, this balm is true GOLD. A little bit goes a really long way and it provides the best, best soothing relief (and a million other purposes away from the beach as well!)

4. Sunglasses- Adults and Kids 🙂

A necessity (for you) and just adorable (for them). Our girls love these adorable sunnies we got just for the trip!

5. Beach Bag

Can’t go to the beach with kids (and their 26586937 things) without a beach bag. I’m bringing along this classic, simple one and I love that I will be able to use it not just in Mexico.

6. Bathing Suits

So many bathing suits. For you Mama, you can’t go wrong with Summersault suits. I am telling you, from a decades long semi-suitaphobic, these will make you feel confident in a way you haven’t in years. Cute and bit sexy, while still allowing you to freely chase your kids in the pool.

For the kids, we love H&M for adorable budget-friendly finds. And Minnow Swim and Coral Reef Swim if you are willing to spend a bit more (the quality and designs can’t be beat!).

7. Rash Guards/Long Sleeve Swimsuits for Kids

I learned this the hard way on our trip to 30A last summer. After 4 days at the beach, our kids were nice and rosy pink and I really wished I would have packed long sleeve swimsuits to protect them for those last few days in the sun. Ill prepared no more for our family trip to Cabo!

This rash guard for toddlers we got for our youngest is so dang cute and an incredible price. Minnow’s collection of rash guards truly is a minimal mama’s dream. For some long sleeve options that won’t break the bank, we love Swim Zip Suits!

8. Sun Hat

A must to protect from those bright afternoon rays. I have literally had this one since our honeymoon 11 years ago and it’s withstood multiple beach trips and countless dress up sessions with the girls 🙂

9. All the Beachy Dresses

Honestly, I’ll be frank and say I hate clothes shopping and just have a hard time spending money on myself in that way. BUT a few cute beachy items were a must. My favorite dress I found here (that definitely can be enjoyed beyond the beach), a fun floral skirt, and this linen jumpsuit were all winners!

10. Sandals for All

Although normally I really wouldn’t pack sandals for an international trip with kids (just due to the impracticality for walking and multi-use), I think for a family trip to Cabo they are a must. These sandals are a fantastic option for durable beach shoes, that are just as cute as they are well made (and not $$$)!

Also these $15 slides (yes $15!) scream family trip to the beach…and I ain’t mad about it 🙂

11. Poloroid Camera

Not beach related at all, but just SUCH a fun addition I knew I wanted to start adding to our travel memory documentation tool belt! Such a unique and simple way to instantly capture little memories from your trips…can’t wait to use this, and the kids will think it’s a blast too! (I can already envision the mullttiipllleee chats that will need to happen about not taking 84731 pictures lol)

12. Goggles

Any one else’s kids somehow become allergic to water unless they have their goggles on?? These CANNOT be forgotten. A high-quality, won’t break after one swim, option for kids here. A family trip to Cabo isn’t complete without goggles.