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National Parks to Visit Now — And What to Do There

For all the summer 2020 trips that never were…

While summer definitely won’t look normal this year, that doesn’t mean there aren’t adventures you can still embark on! One of the safest options for summer 2020 is heading to the great outdoors and experiencing a National Park.

We had a trip to Norway (our first time back to Europe since we did our epic 1 month in Italy for 1k – two kids in tow and all!) and the Redwoods that were both cancelled, so we have been desperately itching for just any change in scenery….anyone else?!

So we’ve outlined the best National Parks open this summer — and what to do once you get there. Scroll below and find your last minute, COVID-safe getaway below!

National Park Push Pin Map


Grand Canyon National Park

The South Rim, Tuweep, Inner canyon trails and the North Rim are all open for day hiking. Beginning June 14, the park will initiate a phased reopening of Colorado River trips.

Don’t Miss:

The most popular entry to the park is Grand Canyon Village. It is home to Yavapai Point — one of the best places to view the canyon. The Rim Trail is one of the most comprehensive trails in the Grand Canyon and allows you to see the South Rim’s most popular viewpoints. It’s a fairly easy walking path that traces the canyon’s edge with viewpoints at Maricopa Point and Hopi Point.


Hot Springs National Park

Trails, roads, water fountains, and concession services operating in bathhouses and the Mountain Tower are open for limited services.

Don’t Miss:

Head out to Sunset Trail which leads to multiple impressive mountain overlooks. The 8.9 mile loop is doable for beginning or moderate hikers. Afterwards, relax in the longest operating bathhouse from 1912 along Bathhouse Row. Buckstaff Bath is equipped with steam cabinets, whirlpool tubs, Swedish mass therapists, and needle showers. 


Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park

Roads, parking lots, developed and wild trails, restrooms, and picnic areas are all open for visitors but overnight campgrounds and lodging will remain closed.

Don’t Miss:

Of course you can’t miss The General Sherman Tree on your visit to Sequoia. The world’s largest tree stands at 275 feet and measures more than 36 feet in diameter at its base. Or head to the Giant Forest — a large sequoia grove that is home to more than 8,000 trees.

Joshua Tree National Park

Park entrances, parking lots, roads, trails, backcountry camping, family campsites, and some restroom facilities are open for visitors but the visitor center and group campsites remain closed.

Don’t Miss:

Head out on Arch Rock nature trail — a .5 mile trail that has a lot of large rock formations to climb on and a large natural arch.


Rocky Mountain National Park

On June 4th, the park will implement a reservation system (get yours at www.recreation.gov). The reservations will go on sale on May 28th for reservations from June 4th to July 31st. The next release starts on July 1st for the month of August and the same system will continue for September and October. 

Don’t Miss:

On the popular 3.5 mile Emerald Lake hike, you’ll wind past Dream Lake, Nymph Lake, and Tyndall Creek with breathtaking views of the peaks before reaching Emerald Lake at 11,000 feet of elevation.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Reopened with access to the main park road, dunes parking area and dunefield, Medano Pass Primitive Road, Mosca Pass, Montville Nature, Sand Sheet Loop, Wellington Ditch, Dunes Overlook, Sand Ramp, Medano Lake, and Music Pass trails would reopen, along with all picnic areas at Mosca Creek, Sand Pit, and Castle Creek.

Don’t Miss:

To take in the dunes in a different way, try out sandboarding or sand sledding. You have to rent special boards off-site but it offers unique ways to explore the sand dunes.

Mesa Verde National Park

Open with access to the Mesa Top Loop Drive, Far View sites, Cliff Palace driving loop, park hiking trails, restrooms and the Chapin picnic area. The park’s concessions facilities opened, including Morefield Campground, Far View Lodge, Far View Terrace, and Spruce Tree Terrace.

Don’t Miss:

A trip to Mesa Verde National Park wouldn’t be complete without a tour of an Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling. Head out on a ranger-led tour to Balcony House, Cliff Palace, or Long House.


Everglades National Park

Open areas include Royal Palm, Research Road, Long Pine Key, West Lake, Guy Bradley Trail, and Coastal Prairie Trail, and Main Park Road. Guided tours resumed though on a reduced capacity basis. 

Don’t Miss:

Take the Road from Homestead to Flamingo — this 38 mile road will pass through all the natural habitats of Everglade National Park. Stop off and enjoy the hiking trails, boardwalks, and observation towers. At Anhinga Trail boardwalk you can watch wading birds and alligators up close.


Acadia National Park

Visitors will have access to the Park Loop Road and most associated restrooms. On June 5 the park will open its Carriage Roads to pedestrians.

Don’t Miss:

Explore the bike on the network of carriage roads — 45 mile of scenic and car-free cycling. There’s a mix of flat family-friendly loops to more challenging climbs and descents that provide a beautiful and unique look to the area.


Voyageurs National Park 

On May 18 it reopened overnight tent camping and houseboat mooring sites and the rest of the park is open.

Don’t Miss:

Voyageurs National Park is northern nature at its finest. Rent a houseboat (they range from very basic to luxurious) and enjoy the 84,000 acres of water and 134,000 acres of boreal forest.


Great Basin National Park

Entrance road to the Lehman Caves Visitor Center, Scenic Drive, Baker Creek road and trailhead, Snake Creek road and trailhead, Strawberry Creek road and trailhead, are all open. Hiking trails at Great Basin are technically open, though many trails are still covered in deep snow at higher elevations.

Don’t Miss:

At the altitude of almost 7,000 feet, lies the Lehman caves. They consist of 1.5 miles of underground passages that were formed during the Ice Age made from pockets of limestone. Take a guided tour through the stalactites, flowstone, and delicate white crystals.


Badlands National Park

Park roads, overlooks, campgrounds, and trails open but the visitor center and entrance stations are closed.

Don’t Miss:

To explore the Badlands by car, take off on the Badlands Loop Road. The 31-mile scenic road goes right through the middle of the park with plenty of viewpoints. If you want to add a hike to your trip, check out Notch Trail. The 1.5-mile path starts with a brief stroll through the canyon before it leads to a ladder up against a steep wall so it’s not for the faint of heart.


Great Smoky National Park

Clingmans Dome Road is open. Access has returned to Cades Cove Loop Road, Cherokee Orchard Road, Clingmans Dome Road, Deep Creek Road, Foothills Parkway, Gatlinburg Bypass, Greenbrier Road to Ramsey Cascades Trailhead, Lakeview Drive, Laurel Creek Road, Newfound Gap Road, Tom Branch Road, Tow String Road, and Wear Cove Road.

Don’t Miss:

Cades Cove is a fertile valley set amongst mountains that was home to the early Southern Appalachian settlers. You’ll see 18th and 19th century cabins, churches, and a working grist mill. This road circles the valley but you can also park and head off on a hike from here. Abrams Falls 5-mile round trip hike to a small but mighty waterfall.


Capitol Reef National Park 

Returned to full operations this week with most recreational opportunities available.

Don’t Miss:

Check out Sunset Point for dramatic views of Capitol Reef’s rock formations when the sun goes down. It’s a short .3 mile trail that leads right to the overlook from Sunset Point Trail.

Arches National Park

All park roads, trails, and restrooms open while campgrounds remain closed.

Don’t Miss:

To check out North America’s longest arch head to Landscape Arch. The 306 foot arch is at the end of an easy and flat 50-minute hike from Devils Garden trailhead making it accessible for the whole family.

Bryce Canyon National Park

The main park road and all viewpoints to Rainbow Point, restrooms at Sunset Point, Farview and Rainbow Points are open, and trails within the Bryce Amphitheater area.  The Mossy Cave area is open, though construction may close some areas temporarily.

Don’t Miss:

For a different perspective of Bryce Canyon, head to Inspiration Point which is home to three levels of viewpoints. Visitors can look towards Silent City with rows and rows of hoodoos. Inspiration Point is a great way to take in one of the greatest views of the United States and is accessible enough for even those with mobility issues.

Zion National Park

Zion Canyon has reopened though there would be no shuttles. The Angels Landing chain section is closed and The Kolob Canyons area of the park also remains closed.

Don’t Miss:

Zion National Park is one of those parks that offers stunning views just driving Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. For those looking for an adventure, take off on one of the best hikes in the park. Although the chain section of Angels Landing is closed, this 5-mile hike offers sweeping views of Zion Canyon.


Shenandoah National Park

Reopened but only for day use. The entire Skyline Drive and all backcountry trails will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. starting June 30. However, the park lodges, visitor centers, picnic grounds, campgrounds, cabins, and historic structures will all remain closed for the time being. 

Don’t Miss:

To check out Shenandoah National Park by car, head to Skyline Drive. This 105-mile road runs the entire length of Shenandoah in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It offers scenic drives and plenty of overlooks to stop at.


Grand Teton National Park

Reopened with access to primary roads, some public restrooms, day-use hiking, fishing, multi-use pathway system and several viewpoints. 

Don’t Miss:

Head to Jenny Lake during your time at Grand Teton. You can fish, swim, boat, or paddle around the waters or embark on a hike. There is a 7.5-mile hike around the trailhead or a shorter 1.5-mile hike to Hidden Falls.

Yellowstone National Park

All entrances are open. The entire Grand Loop Road is accessible besides the segment between Canyon and Tower which is under construction. Visitors can access most services and facilities. 

Don’t Miss:

A trip to Yellowstone wouldn’t be complete without visiting this ancient geyser. For the best viewing, head to Upper Geyser Basin in the early morning before the day’s visitors arrive. You’ll also want to check out Grand Prismatic Spring. To take in some of the attractions via car head to Scenic Loop Road. If you drive the lower loop you can take in Yellowstone Lake, Hayden Valley, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Hopefully this gave you plenty of inspiration to book that last minute trip to a National Park!

Have options, WILL TRAVEL.


We Got Cash Refunds For All Our Flights…Here’s How

First of all, let’s just all agree this sucks.

Having to cancel summer trips, reschedule adventures we’ve been dreaming about for months, maybe years….it totally sucking the wind out of our travel-loving sails.

BUT praise the Lord, we were able to get full cash refunds for ALL our flights….so we’re sharing here how we made it happen.

One day we WILL get back to Europe…but until then
we can dream about magical day trips from Rome

The Coronavirus has disrupted many things this spring, turning the travel industry completely on its head. The pandemic caused a historic shutdown of air travel in mid-March which just still feels unreal.

While US carriers cut down their flight routes up to 90% (wow, just insane), travelers are having to deal with canceled and delayed flights with endless changing schedules.

Some are fighting for refunds saying they have only been offered vouchers and fight credit, others are still waiting on refunds promised weeks ago. From long wait times (I STILL haven’t gotten through with Delta) to glitchy websites, there are plenty of obstacles to tackle when it comes to getting your money back.

So how do you navigate managing getting your money back during these unprecedented times? We outline a few tips on how to get your refund back in your pockets — and what exactly you are entitled to. 

Wait Until the Last Minute

For any planners out there, it may seem counterintuitive to wait until the last minute to handle these changes but trust us here. It is one of the easiest things to try when it comes to getting your money back — don’t voluntarily cancel the flight on your own.

By waiting until the airline cancel themselves (our Norway flight wasn’t cancelled until 7 days prior to departure!), it requires them to give your money back instead of a travel voucher. Don’t make any changes or accept a travel voucher until the very LAST possible minute, because when you make a voluntary change, they have no obligation to refund you. I know all you Type-A’s are cringing, but this is definitely the way to go on this one.

You Are Entitled to a Refund 

Point blank — if your flight is canceled or significantly changed (with American they told me the flights had to be changed a total of 61+ minutes or more) you are legally entitled to a refund.

Under the rules of the Department of Transportation, if your flight is canceled (no matter the reason) you are entitled to a full refund back to your original payment website. The DOT released a reinforcement on this issue on April 3 that this policy still applies during the pandemic. The DOT’s enforcement says that passengers should receive their refund within 7 business days if paid via credit card or within 20 days for cash and check.

Airline policies will differ from what they consider a significant schedule change. American Airlines just changed that time refund from 61 minutes to 4 hours given the mass changes happening from the pandemic, but this only applies to new ticket purchases. Delta allows refunds for trips that have been delayed by over 90 minutes and United requires a change of at least six hours.

With one of our Norway flights, it got changed from a direct flight to two connecting flights….and that also qualified us for a full refund (still just completely torn up we weren’t escapading through Europe this summer…have you seen our epic one month trip to Italy, babes in tow and all??)

If all else fails… try again

If the first representative you talk to says no, hang and try again…I had to call Scandinavian Airlines upwards of 5 times to finally get our $1200 refund (incredibly annoying YES…worth every penny, YES). With all of these rules in limbo, you might luck out and get an agent that is willing to assist you this time. You can also ask to speak to supervisors who probably have more authority to make it happen.

If you are still fighting an airline for a refund on a canceled flight, visit the Department of Transportation’s website to directly file a claim with them.

In contrast, some airlines are automatically issuing travel voucher credits when a flight is cancelled. Normally I’d be on board, but with travel being such a big question mark right now (someday we WILL get back to Europe), I don’t know about you, but I want my money back. This is exactly what Spirit tried to pull on us for our NY flight this summer, but thankfully I called, I pushed, I filed a claim for a refund online, and eventually got our flight fully reimbursed (PTL!).

How We Spent 1 Month in Italy for 1K HERE!

Have you had luck with your airline refunds? Will you be taking advantage of flight deals and rebooking in hopes to travel again? If you are still dreaming of some sort of adventure for this summer, but not sure what it might look like…take a look at our post HERE!


My Travel Plans Were Cancelled…Now What?

YUCK right?? Let’s all have a moment of silence for all the adventures planned that never were this summer.

(We personally had to cancel an epic family trip planned for Norway this May…and honestly I just try not to think about it too much because it’s too heartbreaking)

Traveling for Americans will look vastly different this summer. While most people had to cancel their spring trips (take a look at how we got full cash refunds for each and every flight HERE), their summer vacations are still looming in uncertainty. Spring was spent with plenty of time inside doing puzzles, wearing sweatpants, and taking up plenty of new hobbies. So now that warm weather is rolling around, we are sitting here wondering how can we scratch that adventure itch…anyone else?!

While the U.S. Department of State is still advising Americans to avoid all international travel, domestic travel (more specifically outdoor oriented travel) seems to be the answer for travel for now…because we need something, right?!

So how will this summer look? We’re digging into positivity and rounded up a couple of ways to make the most out of this unexpected season — while still being safe!

Rise of the Road Trip

Road trips…surprise, surprise… predicting this summer will be heightened unlike anything before. People are opting for car travel over plane travel as a direct response to the pandemic (this is definitely what we are thinking!)

Experts are also seeing a rise of RV travel (anyone else have a never before urge to purchase a camper and get on the road?!)— they offer a sense of freedom and safety which is the perfect sentiment during these unprecedented times. Minimizing risk because you are confining your travel and lodging into the same self-contained environment, while still itching that travel bug is the name of the game.

This site seems to be the best resource for renting RV’s for those cross country adventures.

And for good measure, here are some suggestions from the CDC to ensure your travel is as safe as possible.

  1. Anticipate your needs before you go so you can minimize stops.
  2. Prepare food, water, and snacks for the road.
  3. Pack a sufficient amount of alcohol-based (at least 60%) hand sanitizer.
  4. Bring disinfect and other cleaning supplies.

So why not take advantage of this situation to plan a summer road trip? While international travel may not resume for a while, we can still see across the United States and our own backyards. Take this as an opportunity to visit those close-to-you destinations that you may have ruled out before. Visit an old favorite in your home state or introduce your family to a trip you often went on as a kid.

Get Outdoors

We think travelers will also be leaning towards summer vacations that explore the great outdoors. Travelers will head outside to state and national parks because they feel the safest and will most likely be open to the public.

National Parks are expecting to experience the largest visitation growth periods in history (YES!) as everyone is clamoring to be outside again. With this new influx of visitors, the NPS will be implementing new safety measures. We planned a last minute getaway to the Smoky Mountain National Park because we were dessssppperraateee for a change of scenery – but check out our full list of National Parks open now and what to do once you get there HERE.

Return to full operations will continue to be phased and some services may be limited. If you choose to travel (or are lucky enough to live by) a national park, there are a few simple safety guidelines across the board to take into consideration when visiting.

  • Comply with state and local guidance, just because the park is open doesn’t mean you should go.
  • Continue to follow the social distancing rule of 6 feet.
  • During COVID-19, resources you may be used to might not be available so remember to always pack items like water, park maps, and food.
  • Avoid crowded areas — trails will have limitations making them more crowded than usual so avoid peak times and popular areas.
  • Don’t approach wildlife. While this is always the case, with much of the population indoors this spring, areas have seen an increase in wildlife activity.

AND If you can’t get to a national park soon, remember you can always visit virtually! SO cool!

Here is a list of National Parks that are partially open or have dates to reopen soon.

US National Parks That Are Open Now

  • Denali National Park, Alaska (backpacking areas open, but climbing season suspended)
  • Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska (entrance/trail use by permit only)
  • Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska (some areas open)
  • Saguaro National Park, Arizona (day use only)
  • Joshua Tree National Park, California (roads and limited trails open)
  • Redwood National Park, California (day use only)
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado (day use only)
  • Biscayne National Park, Florida (trails, boat launches, and restrooms open)
  • Everglades National Park, Florida (day-use area and some beach campsites)
  • Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky (trail use only)
  • Great Basin National Park, Nevada (trails and visitor centers open)
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota (day use only)
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio (trails open, clockwise travel only)
  • Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota (limited trail open)
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina (day use only)
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (limited trails open, day use only)
  • Zion National Park, Utah (day use only)
  • Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands (trails and beaches open)
  • Mount Rainier National Park, Washington (backcountry areas open)
  • Olympic National Park, Washington (day use only)
  • Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (roads, hiking trails, and fishing areas)
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (south entrance, some roads, trails, and restrooms open)

National Parks Scheduled to Open

  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (currently closed, reopening limited areas May 22-25)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (plans for reopening scheduled for May 27)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park campgrounds, Colorado (opening June 4)
  • Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (trails and backcountry camping opening May 19)
  • Arches National Park, Utah (opening May 29, backcountry access opening May 30)
  • Canyonlands National Park, Utah (opening May 29)
  • Big Bend National Park, Texas (opening June 1)
  • Parks Canada National Parks (multiple parks opening June 1)
  • Canada National Parks Campgrounds (scheduled to open after June 21)
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado (opening June 3)
  • Isle Royale National Park, Michigan (opening after June 14)
  • Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona (mid-June)
  • Katmai National Park, Alaska (camping suspended until July 1)

State and local parks also offer hiking, biking, and camping in order to get outside. Public lands managed by the National Forest Service offer miles and miles of wide-open spaces to enjoy that will likely be less busy than national parks.

When not planning our last-minute National Park trip, we have been LIVING at our local nature preserve! It’s like a little mini-vacation, and bonus it’s only 15 minutes from our house.

Take advantage of local favorites to plan a weekend with all the outdoor activities that leave you feeling filled to the brim — a campfire, s’ mores, and a beautiful hike. Pack a picnic and take it to your local state park to enjoy.

Travel WILL happen this summer… though “normal” travel will not return for quite some time (queue all the crying emojis). While you may not be able to head off to your trip overseas (remember that one time we lived in Italy for a month??), it’s still possible to make the most of this summer.

After all, after months of quarantine, any trip will feel like a dream vacation.


Essentials to Take on Your Next Overseas Flight

A long haul flight means one thing (besides a super exciting destination on the other side 🙂 ) – P R E P A R A T I O N.

Whether it’s products to help you catch some much-needed shut-eye or a few items that make traveling just a little easier, we’ve rounded up some international travel essentials we really feel make a difference in chaos versus calm.

While passports and foreign currency are always at the top of the list, we always ask ourselves, “what can make this the easiest trip yet?” Prepare for anything on international flights with our favorite go-to products that are just as stylish as they are useful…a must in our book.


1. If you haven’t heard of Away luggage yet, get out under that rock you’re living under! Every trip, whether international or local, deserves a great suitcase and Away makes some of the best of them. A sturdy suitcase in a trendy color will ensure you never mistake a bag for your own at baggage claim again— they even offer custom painting, engraving (on metal) or stickers to further personalize.


2. Save your hair and skin the trouble of dealing with hotel mini toiletries while traveling. Just because you’re living out of a hotel doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have luxe products to get ready with like this Aesop travel kit. Feeling fresh and put together after a long flight can make or break your jet lag or lack there of….


3. Call us biased but we think part of a great trip is writing down the memories and a minimal journal to keep them in. Utilize all your time spent on trains, planes, and automobiles to journal about your experiences traveling abroad….you are going to thank yourself when you’re reminising down memory lane 10 years from now.

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4. Packing your toiletries will be a streamlined and stylish process with these Cuyana travel cases. Keep one in your carry on with all your inflight skincare and makeup essentials (TSA approved!) to freshen up on board. These cases are SO high quality and just beautifully made.


5. Keep this handy menu in your purse to help decipher common meals and drinks from Spain to Italy— especially when the cafe doesn’t offer wifi. No bigger than a credit card, these compact and useful A-Z guides will make sure you end up order squid eggs at that foreign restaurant.


6. And all the OCD travel germaphobes said AMEN….for wipes that are as polished as they are handy, reach for these essential oil towelettes. Also available in lavender, orange, and peppermint, essential oils are a great alternative to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. They will kill germs while the aromatherapy benefits can reduce stress and anxiety of an international flight.


7. Freshen up with this rose hibiscus hydrating face mist. Everyone knows traveling can be super drying for your skin and this mist will help you feel hydrated on board and awake and refreshed when you land after a long haul flight.


8. Why do we always feel so icky after a long flight?? Dehydration! A collapsible water bottle will ensure you stay hydrated while traveling without the bulk of a full water bottle. These Que bottles come in the chicest colors ensuring you stylish and hydrated travels.


9. The perfect in-between of flimsy plastic toothbrushes and the classic bulky electric ones, a Quip toothbrush won’t take up room in your carry-on while still giving you a deep clean. Because of its sleek properties, keep in your carry on for longer flights…I always, always head to the bathroom on board to brush my teeth after an international trip. Such a little thing that makes me feel ready to tackle jet lag!


10. The only adaptor you ever need….no more random messes of various bags of adaptors you’ve had through a variety of trips. No matter where your travels take you, this universal adaptor charger should be in your carry on. With 4 international plug adapters, this charger works in over 150 countries.


11. Sleeping well on a plane may seem like an anomaly, but to wake up feeling refreshed after an international trip, we will try ANYTHING! A comfortable silk sleep mask is a great place to start. Pair these with earplugs or your favorite noise-canceling headphones for the greatest possible potential at SLEEP on your long haul flight.

Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 3.27.22 PM12. Pair the above with these Noise-canceling headphones and you are sure to catch some Z’s. Headphones are imperative to drown out the noise of an airplane and catch some shut-eye on longer flights. These emerald green versions are as pretty as they are useful.

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13. Hallelujah to the person who invented the first portable, outlet free charger. We love this Calpak portable battery that also doubles as a chic luggage tag (also available to monogram) because portable chargers are a must for long layovers and even longer travel days.


Here’s to you next easiest flight yet! Cheers friends!







7 Winter Getaways That Will Make You Want to Book a Ticket NOW

Whether you’re looking to escape to a warm-weather paradise or a winter wonderland, we’ve gathered some of the best getaways to check out for these last few months of winter. From classic traditions in the Big Apple to the food scene in Savannah to sled-dog rides in Bend, Oregon, we’ve got a well-deserved vacation for everybody on this list.



Trade in the cold for the hot sunny weather of Miami where the average temperature in January is 76 degrees. Spend your days basking in the sun and your evenings enjoying a cocktail on a rooftop bar or checking out the nightlife in South Beach. January and February are actually perfect months to vacation in Miami as hurricane season lasts from June to October bringing potential stormy weather. So what are you waiting for? Get lost in the Cuban food of Little Havana, explore the art in Wynwood, or relax in the sand on Miami beach.

New York City


Winter in the Big Apple is truly like no other. From the skating in Rockefeller plaza to the department store window displays, there is something for everybody to enjoy during this time of year. There is something about seeing the city under a fresh blanket of snow that is just pure MAGIC. Use this opportunity to explore beyond tourist favorite attractions and cuddle up in cozy bars and restaurants. Heading to Brooklyn will give you a taste of what everyday New Yorkers spend their time doing. Enjoy the views Dumbo has to offer or the eclectic shops of Williamsburg.

Savannah, Georgia


Savannah is the perfect winter escape because you’re able to skip out on the crowds and the humidity that summer in the south brings. This picturesque town does have varying temps during the wintertime, but with cheaper room rates it’s the perfect time to enjoy the southern hospitality. Explore the roads lined with Spanish moss and rows of trees. It also has a bustling food scene, full of authentic Southern food as well as mixes of various cultures from British and beyond. Soho South Cafe and Collins Quarter remain local and visitor favorites for cafes and eateries.

Berkshires, Massachusetts


You might automatically picture quintessential New England in a warm summer breeze, but it’s actually a dreamy destination to check out during the winter as well. Explore the small towns, open roads, and cabins and barns covered in snow. Head out on an adventure to cross country ski or snowshoe or spend the weekend snuggled up in a cozy cabin. Check out Blantyre hotel which boasts amenities like four-poster beds, fireplaces, and just idyllic grounds. They will set you up to enjoy winter picnics, ice skating, or even a sleigh ride all accompanied with homemade hot chocolate.

Yellowstone National Park



Sure the summer months at Yellowstone garner up to 97% of the park’s three million annual visitors, but that doesn’t mean winter isn’t a good time to visit the historic national park. Enjoy the peace and seclusion that winter brings in the 2.2 million acres of beautiful scenery. Stay in the Old Faithful Snow Lodge where you can enjoy cozy nights with thick quilts before you venture out during the day for activities. Fill your days with cross-country skiing or snowshoeing throughout the thousands of miles in the park. You’ll have the pleasure of viewing erupting geysers, frozen waterfalls, and brightly-colored mineral pools in addition to viewing large bison in the wild. You can even head to Yellowstone Lake to ice skate!

Santa Fe, New Mexico


Head down south for winter with a trip to Sante Fe, New Mexico. It is easily accessible, only forty minutes from Albuquerque, where you can take an uber from city to city or take the local train making hourly trips. Sante Fe is chock full of things to check out- the art, the food, the shopping, the unique southwestern experience. If you’re looking to warm up inside, check out Meow Wolf an indoor expansive art installation. Buy your tickets in advance to explore this immersive art experience that uses storytelling and mystery to transport visitors to fantastical realms. Head to downtown to walk around and explore the shops while scents of New Mexico’s state tree piñon pine intoxicate you.

Bend, Oregon


The Pacific Northwest makes for a wonderful winter destination. Located just a few hours south of Portland, Bend is a haven for outdoor winter sports. Check out Tumalo Falls for cross country skiing or snowshoeing, Mount Bachelor for snowboarding and skiing, or sledding at Darke Park or Dutchman Flat. Many tour companies will lead you on a moonlight snowshoe tour or head into the city for a beer tour instead. Some trails often remain snow-free in winter at Oregon Desert Trail if you prefer to hike instead. You can even go for a sled-dog ride! If you run out of options to explore, check out the town of Sisters (22 miles away) for boutiques, galleries, and picturesque winter experiences.


Are you off to visit anywhere this winter?! We’d love to hear! Let us know in the comments below!


Make Money While You Travel…BUT REALLY

Money, money, moneyyyyyy.

It’s got to be the #1 reason you don’t travel as much as you would like….are we right?! Because, as you know, adventuring is not cheap.


This has always been our biggest limitation in regards to vacationing as a family. Especially, as because the more our family grew, the more dollars we were cashing out for each trip.

This also was one of the biggest factors in why we were slow as mud to jump on traveling internationally with kids….”But it is SO much money, just to get over there!”…”Shouldn’t we wait and spend that money when we can *actually* enjoy it.”


Life is short friends, way too short to wait to go to Europe once the kids are out of the house.

The problem: travel is expensive.

The solution: Enter the literal most BRILLIANT idea we’ve ever had.

When planning our trip to Italy, we knew we needed to find some way to offset the costs of not only traveling overseas for a month, but also covering the expenses of our bills here (more on how we spent 1 month in Italy for $1k here).

Insert our means of making money while we travel HERE- Monetizing something that is ours, when we aren’t using it.

And so the idea of listing our own house on AirBnb whilst away on vacation came to life- and it was the most glorious, brilliant, divine, idea we’ve ever had.

Here’s how it works folks- we know the dates we will be away on a trip (whether that’s 2 days or 2 months), we open up those dates on our AirBnb listing, people book our home, we make money WHILE we travel…by doing NOTHING.

Now, this isn’t for everyone. We’ve gotten the looks…..”You do what?!”….”So, you let people stay in YOUR house? Oh, I could never do that.”…”Isn’t that weird that strangers have been staying in your home?”

We totally get it. But for us, as long as they don’t sleep in our sheets and it allows us to more easily hit that book button on our next adventure…it’s an undeniable YES.

Below we are answering some FAQ’s/tips we typically get about renting our house out on AirBnb while we travel. Go ahead and get your own listing started HERE and earn $25 with your first booking-

  1. Don’t feel like your house has to be PERFECT to be able to do this! – We had sooo many projects still left on the list the first time we booked our house during a trip (including a arm length hole in our laundry room wall). The only non-negotiable? That it’s CLEAN. Perfectly styled and every single project completed is absolutely not necessary.
  2. Get professional photos taken– We reached out to our realtor and were able to get pictures taken of our house for $100! Worth every penny for how quickly those photos help our listing move. There has not been a single trip we haven’t had someone book our home since the inception of this idea in Spring of 2018!17-3962_Clubway
  3. Allot your Cleaning Fee to cover a pre and post cleaning– When setting up your listing, you will have the option to input a cleaning fee for guests. Use this to your advantage! We have our fee cover a cleaning before we leave (we’ve done it the hard way and attempted to get out home spick and span ourselves pre-travel and it was just wayyyy too stressful). Now we just straighten up pre-departure and leave the heavy lifting to someone else! And one of the very, very best parts of all of this?? Drumroll please…..You come home after a trip to a SPARKLING CLEAN house. Friends, is there ANYTHING better?! (see video below of when we returned from a long weekend in Florida with friends)


  4. What about your valuables? We are fairly minimalist (read our list of travel essentials for the less is more mama here), so we honestly do not have any “valuables” other than our laptop and a necklace or two. Options here are- lock your items in a safe, have a friend/family member hold onto them during your trip, or if the items are small enough, take them with you! You have the ability to approve or deny every single person that books your home…so check out their reviews, message them, get a feel for their character if you can. We have never once had an issue with this, or had a single item shown up missing/damaged, nor had anything but a pleasant experience with our travelers!04-3962_Clubway
  5. What about damage to the home? Shout out to AirBnb for being the BEST company, because for every single host (at absolutely no additional cost to you) they offer their “Host Guarantee.” This provides you “property damage protection of up to $1 million USD for every host and every listing.” So truly, you have nothing to lose. Thankfully, we have yet to experience any damage or loss, but feel super confident knowing this is here as a back-up protection if needed. Go on, start setting up your own listing here now!
  6. Second set of “AirBnb” guest towels and sheets– The one thing that weirded me out in thinking about other people staying in our home was them sleeping in our sheets (too weird right?!). That was my one non-negotiable with this whole idea. So we invested in a a very basic set of sheets and towels to pull out only when we have a booking. Once we get home our own sheets go back on and it’s like no one was ever there!33-3962_Clubway


So there you have it folks. Make money WHILE you travel, by doing NOTHING…really. This has served us so well and allowed us to take some trips that we might not be able to quite make work financially other wise.

Use the link HERE to get your listing set up and earn $25 with your first booking! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. We would love to help you get out and adventure more in any way we can!


Travel Essentials // For the Minimalist Mama

Traveling with kids is already a challenge right?! What you are packing and bringing along should work for you and not against you…can I get an AMEN?

We are all about less is more in our family. Because the less you bring, the more free hands you have. And the more free hands you have, the more easily you can chase around those wild children, right?

We’ve compiled our list below of the best of the best travel essentials for kids, for the minimalist mama.

Make your next trip more joyful, less stressful. Less stuff, more memories.


Here you go!

  1. Gathre Mat – This mat has SAVED us on so many trips (our favorite size is the Midi). Goodbye disgusting airport floor and hello picnic at any moment. These mats are crazy durable, wipeable, and protect those little babes from any germs you want far, far away…and the beautiful designs don’t hurt either. Who says you can’t travel with little AND keep an ounce of your sense of style?!ChicagoAirport1
  2. Fawn Backpack– Super high quality and exactly the amount of compartments you need, nothing else you don’t. Fits perfectly under the airplane seats, isn’t too bulky for pedestrian adventures. Also, Dad might not be completely opposed to carrying this one as well!
  3. Headphones– These are great. Wonderful price, don’t fall off, fold us compactly.
  4. Water Coloring Book – Our go-to travel activity for kids because there aren’t 165739 pieces to loose or a massive mess to make. Yes, you can absolutely pack ALL the activities to keep kids occupied (themed zippered bags, window clings, and the like)…I am just not that mom. The simpler the better in our family.
  5. Ergo Baby Carrier – Forever and always, more durable, sturdy, easy to throw on baby carrier there is for travel. We attempted to trek around the city in our Solly Baby wrap, and although we love it for at home, it’s just not practical for travel.DSC_0873
  6. Golden Books – Thin and super easy to pack a few of these books without taking over your entire bag!
  7. iPad– Need I say more?
  8. Dirty Diaper trash bags– Because it WILL happen in the worst moment in the worst possible location.
  9. Summer Infant Travel Stroller – This stroller has been with us in the cobblestone streets of Italy, to the hills of San Francisco, to the Redwood Mountains, and countless airports. SO durable, lightweight, easy to fold-up, and has an attachable shade (important for those long sunny travel days), and can lean back for the glorious, coveted stroller nap!DSC_0122
  10. Clip-on High Chair – If your Air BnB or hotel does not provide a high chair (preferable), we love this thing so easy meals with a little while away. Folds up super compact and allows you to eat with a babe ANYWHERE!
  11. JetKids Ride Box – This is the one item on the list we don’t have but is at the TOP of our list for our next big adventure. We tried the more economical blow-up travel foot rest pillow for our eldest to be able to lay down and sleep on longer flights and it was a disaster. This will definitely be worth the investment.
  12. Thermos – Still have a milk drinker and are going to be traveling for long stents? Bring this sippy cup and this one alone?
  13. Travel Journal – Despite the chaos around you, you are going to want to soak up every.single.bit. of your trip…because a year from now looking back at those memories will be so very sweet and you’ll want to somehow transport back in time. A beautiful travel journal with everything you need, and nothing you don’t.



The BEST Day Trip From Rome

Have a bit of an extended stay in Rome? Then you MUST…read you’ll be totally missing out if you don’t make it here…MUST make a point to take a day trip to Sperlonga, Italy. We are 100% convinced it is Italy’s secret hidden gem.

Sperlonga is tiny beach town about 1.5 hours away from the Rome city center. White washed Italian home lined cliffs, bougainvillea covered streets, white sandy beaches overlooking the turquoise blue waters of the Tyrrhenian sea- this place is a MAGIC.



Dating back to the 1950’s, Sperlonga used to be a hidden getaway for movie stars and actors from Rome and we can completely see why.

So if you only are able to take one day trip from Rome, this.is.it.


Take the train from Termini out to Fondi-Sperlonga. You can purchase tickets ahead of time on Tren Italia or GoEuro, or simply use the straightforward self-service stations at Termini. You will most likely be looking for the train headed to Naples. Tickets are 6.50 Euro one way and only a little over an hour ride there….a steal for the beauty you’re about to bathe in.



Hop off at the Fondi stop (Note: the train station is not labeled Sperlonga, pay close attention as many times the Italian trains have no announcement or screen notifying you of each stop) and simply go through the train station exit and immediately head to your right to the bus stop.

From here, you will wait for a bus that takes you to Sperlonga beach. The bus is 1.50 Euro (cash only) and only about a 15 minute drive to the coast.

PRO TIP: Make certain to look up the return train and bus times before leaving (and screenshot them on your phone) so you know what your return options are before heading home! We have definitely learned the hard way on some European excursions and were stranded in a town with no way back to the city until the next day…not the WORST problem in the world, right?! But important to note.

*If you can take longer than a day trip, we say go, go, go! We initially went out for just a few hours, but fell in love with the little seaside town so much we decided to go back for an overnight stay. Because goodness THAT view in the morning from the sea facing balcony, cappuccino in hand- WORTH IT. (We recommend Florenza Residence or Hotel Aurora…anything with that view though)






There will be two main stops on the bus to Sperlonga, the first one at the top of the hill in the historic center, and the second at the beach. Do yourself a favor and get off at the top of the city center and meander your way down to the water. The winding pathways of bougainvillea covered doorways and white washed cobblestone paths are pure magic and not to be missed.

Also note- If bringing a stroller, this is also the recommend route, as there really is no easy way to get back up to the city center once down at the beach….trust us we learned the sweaty and exhaustingly hard way 🙂






The beach is split up into various “sections”- a public strip of sand (no umbrellas and free to anyone who chooses) and several private groups of umbrellas. Each private area typically has a resort or hut of some kind associated with it. It is 20 euro to rent an umbrella with two chairs for the day and well worth the comfort and reprieve from the hot Italian sun.

There are showers and places to rinse off your feet at the back of the shore and we even heard waiters come around to take aperitif orders around 5pm daily…What?!





Take a walk down the beach and you’ll find restaurants, cafes, and a nice amusement park type area for little ones- a small playground, trampoline park, a carousel, and train. Keep in mind the rides do not open until 5pm though! (Another reason to book that oversight stay!)






This little hidden gem of a city is still beautifully untouched from the wave of summer escapading Italian tourists and probably one of our very favorite parts of our month long stay in Rome (read how we spent 1 month in Italy for 1k here)!

We’re convinced Sperlonga is Italy’s best kept secret and the perfect way to escape the bustling city of Rome for a day or two. Comment below and let us know if you make it out there, we would love to hear what you think!




Traveling Internationally with Kids

AKA how to travel internationally with kids, and not loose your mind.

No, we are not crazy. Yes, it can be done…dare we say and be the best thing you ever did.

Yes, there will be hard moments, but goodness will it be worth it.

For years, we daydreamed about taking an international trip. We MISSED Europe….but the kids, they’re so little, to take them at this age would be crazy! To go just ourselves and leave them for that long at this age, how could we do that!

All the while daydreaming and booking NOTHING.

After a few years of being stuck in that wanderlusting, never traveling, quicksand we decided NO MORE. We aren’t waiting any longer, we are taking that trip we have been fantasizing about…and we’re taking the kids along with us dang it!

Our girls were 8 months and just about 3 years old, two kids three and under, and we booked a trip to Italy, for a month.


That was our first trip internationally with the girls and we haven’t looked back since.

Hard at moments? YES.

Incredible at moments? YES.

A life-giving adventure with memories we treasure and are SO dear? YES.


Our philosophy on traveling with kids- parenting is hard, really hard, every.single.day. no matter where we are. At the end of most days I am exhausted. So why not be in the place I’ve been dreaming about while doing it all?

We hope these tips for traveling internationally with little ones are empowering and an inspiration to you!


Hope for the best, expect the worse. Although, Luke the undeniable optimist in our marriage, would say to never expect the worse…”You are just setting yourself up for failure!” My mama self says though hope for the best, pray for the best, expect and prepare for the very, very worse.

Traveling with kids internationally is ALL about your expectations. When we flew to Italy with our toddler and infant, we had three flights ahead of us before stepping foot in the land of gelato and pizza. I prepared myself mentally for 24hrs of potential meltdowns, knowing we had a month ahead of us of pure bliss. It could go swimmingly perfect and you have angel babies or it could be a complete disaster, including but not limited to myself getting peed on without a change of clothes (Note- ALWAYS bring a change of clothes for everyone, not just the babes…rookie mistake, I know).

Will you get to go to that romantic restaurant that just looks so hip and trendy and is date night central? Get to go to every single incredible museum in the city? Nope. But you will get to experience a new country with your favorite people in the world, and in this season of life, that requires an adjustment of expectations.

Good, Bad, Great, Horrible…it WILL be worth it.




If at all possible extend your trip for as long as you can possibly afford to time and money wise. It was SO helpful on the days the girls were just.not.having it, that we could say scrap this, let’s head back to the apartment and try again tomorrow. Knowing we had time built in for this was so clutch…because we all know if kids are anything at all, they are unpredictable.

We aimed to see one site a day. Typically between public transportation to get there, making time for wandering, and meals, that was an entire morning in and of itself.

Our days typically looked like a slow breakfast at the apartment, out for adventuring to one activity for that day (Our little one would nap in the Ergo at some point here), and then out to a restaurant, picnicking, or back for a homemade lunch. The afternoons were spent at the apartment- both so the girls could nap and we could take a breather. Once they were up, we were either feeling energized and ready to go explore again or would just stay in our neighborhood for playground plays, after dinner strolls, and of course and always GELATO.



If at all possible, get on the new time zone as quickly as possible. Jump into the new rhythm right away, no matter how tired you are. The first few days everybody will feel groggy and a bit out of it, but being in the new country will completely energize you and quickly mask any jet lag.

Expect sleep patterns to be a bit mixed up for a few days, but the kids will adjust. Just stay consistent and expect nighttime wakings for a few days. It took both of our girls (3 years and 8 months) about 2-3 days to adjust and return to their normal, peaceful sleeping through the entire night schedule.



LESS is so much MORE. Another benefit to booking an AirBnB….LAUNDRY. We packed for a month in Italy for our family of 4 in one large roller suitcase and one carry on (yes- no Pack ‘n Play, no car seats, no high chair or clip on…read more on that below!) Each person got about a week’s worth of outfits and two pairs of shoes. If we were going for less time, I would have paired down on that even more and planned on just one large suitcase for all of us.

The less you pack, the more free hands you have. The more free hands you have, the happier your babies are. The happier your babies are, the more you are not loosing your mind…and actually able to enjoy your traveling- call me crazy, maybe even the transit part 🙂


And all the families traveling internationally with kids said A M E N. Most all major airlines offer the ability to book a bassinet if you are traveling with an infant. This glorious small baby bed hooks onto the wall in front of your seats- meaning you don’t have to hold your child for the entire flight.

Simply call your airline, tell them you are flying with an infant and you would like to reserve the bassinet. They will move you up to the bulkhead row and reserve the bassinet for that little one, FOR FREE! Just make sure to check in with the flight attendants as soon as you arrive to your gate, to ensure they have the bassinet and that answered prayer is YOURS (typically there is only one).

Bonus Hack // Slide your nursing cover over the bassinet and put a portable sound machine in there and it blocks out a lot of the light and sounds that would wake baby up!

Our youngest resisted the bassinet at first because it was a new environment, but with some snuggling, nursing, and the above hack she ended up sleeping almost the entire 6 hours on the overnight flight there….now the rest of us, not so much. But, HALLELUJAH.



This was hands down what made traveling with our girls in Italy doable and enjoyable. One in the stroller, one in the carrier…free hands for us. Our little one (8 months at the time) would nap in the carrier daily, allowing us to still adventure and not miss out on a thing.

Our favorite carrier by far while traveling is the Ergo. We also have the Solly Wrap and love, love that for when the babies are super little, but the Ergo was sturdy, quick to take on and off, and allowed for easy naps while on the go.

Traveling Internationally with Babies


The best of the best travel stroller right here. This beast of a stroller has lived through a month of cobblestone streets in Italy, the beaches of California, the hills of San Francisco, planes, trains, and automobiles, and it is still going strong. Durable, lightweight, easy to fold up quickly, comfortable for baby, and doesn’t break the bank.



Gosh, the dreaded car seats while traveling with kids. Why is there not a better solution for this yet?! For years Luke and I have been brainstorming up a Shark Tank worthy idea to solve this problem…alas it continues to be a hiccup, an essential and important one all be it,  but a hiccup in every adventure with little ones.

Our personal preference is to avoid bringing the car seats whenever we can, because that just makes us and the kids happier travelers 🙂 We will either opt to reserve one if we are already renting a car (although our experience with that has not been fabulous) or if heading to a major city were we can rely on public transportation just leave those massive things AT HOME. In Rome, as we stayed in the city the entire month besides one day trip, we simply booked a driver through Sixt MyDriver to and from the airport, as they had an option to request car seats.

When in the city- trains, buses, trams, metro, you name it and we are on it. Our older daughter loveeedddd riding all the public transportation, in fact she would meltdown if she found out we weren’t going on the tram that day. Every country will be different, but in Italy we experienced that people were polite and willing to give up their seats for the kids or mama with the Ergo about 75% of the time.



By and far our favorite way to travel with kids. Booking an apartment instead of a hotel provides SO much more flexibility and room to breathe. We booked a two bedroom, two bath apartment in Italy- us in the master, our toddler in the smaller bedroom, and our infant in the large bathroom (crazy or genius? We say genius, but this is a no judgement zone here- it’s dark, quiet, and a baby sleep inducing cave).

The AirBnb not only was less expensive than a hotel room, but we also had a kitchen AND the ability to do laundry. This way we didn’t have to eat out for every single meal, save money, have a cozy home base, and pack less.

The game changer for us was finding an AirBnb specifically catered to families (This one in Rome). Our host had a toddler bed, crib for the baby, high chair, kids dishes and utensils, and children’s toys and books…yes, I know. What?! Just about the best thing this mama ever heard. On AirBnb there is a Family Friendly search option; when at all possible we book apartments with these amenities already there for us. The kids can enjoy their new “home” more and so can we, win-win 🙂

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To get $40 off your first reservation, book through this link HERE.


We knew we had three flights to get through and approximately 24 hours of travel. So we needed something to keep the transit exciting and everyone reasonably well behaved. Enter wrapped up airplane surprises.

We bought 3-5 small, packable “presents” for our toddler that we wrapped prior to leaving (read- I wrapped them with old Christmas paper on the way to the airport): A sticker book, a bag of gummies, a few Golden Books (thin and light!), and a water coloring book (our very favorite activity for traveling with kids- no mess, no stray parts, and reusable over and over).

Before taking off on each flight or if we had a longer layover, she got to unwrap one gift. SO much excitement, SO much anticipation, SO many new gifts to explore, SO much leverage 🙂


Traveling with littles is so enjoyable for the whole family if you have the right attitude. And so many activities were both exciting for the girls and a joy for us- city parks, new restaurants and food to try, huge monuments, fountains and piazzas, riding the trains and buses, the list goes on.

However, believe it or not the kids were not thrilllledddd with going to see say St.Peter’s Basilica. We weren’t living in Rome for a month without going to see the Vatican though, right?

One for you, one for me. We go to see St.Peter’s that morning, so after nap time we go play at the playground down the street for the 1000th time and go browse around that kid’s bookstore she had been eyeing. And really as a parent, it’s all a joy- because like we said you are in a beautiful new country, exploring new places, with your favorite people in the world, what could be better?

Bonus Hack // We would also implement this concept with each other! There was a few things both Luke and I really wanted to do, but knew it just was not best for the kids. Luke was dying to go visit this Monastery (die hard theology nerd that husband of mine), but it was a mile hike uphill with no means to take a taxi, the opposite of child friendly. So one day I stayed in Rome with the girls and he got to take his dream day trip, and visa versa.




I think what really made our international travel with little ones so enjoyable was that we stayed in the same destination the entire trip. We weren’t trekking from Venice to Florence to Rome to Naples…we stayed in Rome the entire time, and it was beautiful.

The transit, we think, is the hardest part of traveling with kids. So we cut down on that as much as possible. With all future international trips, we plan to visit one, maybe two, cities if we have more time. This really allowed us to settle in, take it slow, and not have the stress of packing up and moving from one city to another with babies in tow.


It is that simple. Just book the trip. You will figure out the details as you go and everything will fall into place. But stop just dreaming, and start GOING. You won’t regret it.



Italy: 1 Month for $1k

“We can’t travel now, not with the kids at this age”

“We don’t have the money, we could never afford it.”

Sound familiar? We dreamed FOR YEARS of taking anniversary trips to Europe, but to leave the kids for that long? Could we really afford to invest thousands of dollars on just a week or two?

Finally, after way too many hours spent wanderlusting and booking nothing, we said ENOUGH. Europe was going to happen, with kids in tow. Because life is way too short and we didn’t want to wait 10 years to get back there!

It is possible and hopefully we can share with you a bit of our story and the helpful how’s to stop merely Insta-Wasting so much time and start booking, traveling, and if you have children, bringing them into that passion of yours too!

Being self-employed with Wayfaren, we absolutely know we have some of the flexibility others do not, and we do not take that for granted one second. But how we made it possible to spend 1 month in Italy for 1k (not including the cost of food and transportation within the city) can absolutely be applied to anyone, in any stage of life, in any situation.



Meet your new best friend…your really fun, dangerous best friend.

Scott’s Cheap Flights is a website that finds incredible deals on international flights. When an airline makes a mistake (error in the system, typo, etc) or offers a great sale, Scott finds it and emails you with instructions on how to book- then boom, you go on that trip you have been dreaming about for way less than you ever thought possible.

With Scott’s deal alerts, we ended up getting peak summer season tickets to Europe for $490/each. Normally they are $1000-1200! Yes, three tickets for the price of what would normally be ONE ticket…unreal right?!

To sign up and get the basic alerts is free. Or you can upgrade to the Premium Service (3x the deals sent directly to your inbox) which we would recommend. At $30 annually this more than makes up for itself even if you end up booking just one flight. Ever.


Simply set your departure city/cities and the deal alerts are catered specifically to you, straight to your inbox. Filter out the noise and only get deal alerts departing from your favorite airports, but consider opening your departure city to more than just your hometown. For example, if we were to see a $350 ticket from Denver to Greece, we would jump on that immediately because we know we can find a $100-200 ticket from Dallas (our departure airport) to Denver…or better yet cover the Dallas to Denver loop with points (more on that below).

PRO TIP: Always use an Incognito window when researching flights, that way you know you are getting the absolute lowest price! Airlines, hotels, search engines will adjust prices based on time of day, how many times you’ve viewed certain routes etc…Incognito always!

Know you want to head to Paris sometime in the Fall? Sign up for the alerts and keep you eye peeled on your inbox for notifications to Paris, if you can be a bit flexible on your dates and departures I can guarantee you you will snag a killer deal that will make booking that trip no question! For example, just today I received an email about NY to Paris flight for $270!

Currently, Scott’s Cheap Flights caters to international travel, however weekly we see deals come through for Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. Their website advertises they hope to add domestic options soon.



We use our credit cards for everything, and I mean everything. Maybe a bit unconventional for some, but when you keep a close tab on your bank account and use the credit card like a debit card, paying it off in full every month, you can rack up points pretty.darn.quickly. And points equal FREE CASH, the only time in the world that money actually does grow on trees.

For our trip to Italy, we ended up redeeming $1980+ in credit cards points! Money we earned simply by using our credit card regularly for all personal and Wayfaren business purchases.


We have both the Southwest Chase and the Barclays Arrival credit cards. Many times when signing up, you receive a large amount of points (40,000+) for spending $1000 in the first three months…that alone pays for one airline ticket. The Southwest Card we use for domestic flights, and the Arrival we reserve for international redemptions.

Flights, hotels, Airbnb, car rentals…we’ve redeemed our points for nearly everything travel related over the years.

Signing up for travel geared credit cards from the beginning was a priority for us, as we know travel was something we loved and wanted to do more of, but couldn’t quite afford (can I get an Amen?). By using our credit cards like debit cards, paying them off in full each month, we were able to make our travels dreams a reality.



By now, if you haven’t heard of Airbnb you have been living under one very hard and heavy rock. Far and away our favorite way to travel, especially with kids. A comfortable and familiar home-like setting for little ones, more bang for your buck, the ease of being able to have separate rooms (read: more sleep for all), and what really feels like a more authentic experience in your destination city.

When researching apartments in Italy, even for very cramped accommodation with a poor location in the city, we were STILL looking at $2500-4000 for the month- and that was on the low end!

We knew we didn’t have the cash for that type of investment, yet we also didn’t want to give up on our dream of this Italy trip. So what did we do? We got creative and made it happen. Necessity is the mother of invention, isn’t it?


So, we decided to list our home on Airbnb. A few things fixed around the house, a handful of photos, and two weeks later our house was listed online. (If you are ever in the Dallas area, we would love to have you- book here!)

If we could even cover half of the cost of the apartment in Italy, we knew financially we could make the trip work. Sure enough, someone ended up booking our home for nearly the entire 4 weeks we were in Rome!

  • The nitty gritty- our apartment in Rome for 4 weeks was $3418.55
  • We made $3322.06 from renting our home on Airbnb while we were gone

Unreal right?! If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. We were so thankful for that clearly divine provision. And we plan on doing this for every trip in the future, wether it be a weekend away or another month abroad. Hosting is not for everyone, but we figured hey, as long as they aren’t sleeping in our sheets and it allows us to spend a month in Italy, I am quite alright with that.

Potentially interested in hosting through Airbnb? Get your listing set up today here!

Ready to book an apartment with Airbnb? Use the link here to get $40 off your first reservation!


We are confident and so excited that this could help enable you to stop just dreaming, and start GOING. We know how vital overcoming some of these major travel hurdles are. Feel free to comment below with any further questions, and if you book a trip, we want to hear!