Search Results for: travel

5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo

COMMENTS: 14

travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo

In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Jennifer Young introduces us to the town of San Luis Obispo.

5 Things: San Luis Obispo
Jennifer Young of I Art U and Jennifer Young Studio.

Welcome to the happiest city in America (or so Oprah says!). San Luis Obispo, aka SLO, is a charming coastal town located right between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I’ve been lucky enough to call this place home for the past five years. It’s the perfect place to visit for a weekend getaway, whether you’re in need of a trip to the great outdoors or just want a beautiful pit stop when traveling between LA and SF. There’s so much to do in the area, but here are some of my top picks.

EAT:
travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo

travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo

Novo, 726 Higeura Street, (805) 543-3986

Novo is a local and tourist favorite in the heart of downtown SLO. Their outdoor patio dining in the evening is an SLO experience not to be missed. They serve a global cuisine with a plethora of wine choices (and great cocktails, too!).

SHOP:
travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo
travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo

Ruby Rose, 1235 Monterey Street, (805) 545-7964

Ruby Rose is the best place to shop, hands down. I don’t consider SLO to be a place for great shopping, but Ruby Rose will sweep you off your feet. From the gals at Ruby Rose themselves: “Combined with our love of junking, paired with the spirit of the road trip, we travel around the West Coast in our Airstream trailer. We scour flea markets, thrift stores, estate & yard sales to bring back lovelies to our vintage shop located in the quaint town of San Luis Obispo, California.”

Ruby Rose is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11 AM — 5 PM, and Sunday 12 PM — 4 PM. Make time in your schedule to visit this gem of a place!

travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo
travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo
travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo

STAY:
travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo
travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo

Granada Hotel and Bistro, 1126 Morro Street, (805) 544-9100

Another gem in the heart of downtown, Granada Hotel and Bistro is an ideal place to stay if you want to be in the center of everything — but with only 17 guest rooms and suites, make sure to book early. They have everything you will need for your stay in downtown SLO — access to complimentary Linus bikes; an indoor lounge with a fireplace; a rooftop patio for drinks and people watching; a downstairs bistro that serves brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert; and a spa. What more could you need? (Oh, and a major bonus if you’re staying there on a Thursday evening — you’ll be steps away from SLO’s weekly farmers’ market. It’s the best!)

PLAY:
travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo
travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo

When I think of San Luis Obispo, the first thing that comes to mind is the abundance of beaches and hiking/running trails available. It’s a really great city to be in if you want to unplug and spend some time to soak in the beauty of the outdoors. I have so many favorite trails and beaches, but hiking Bishop’s Peak is high on the list. Make it to the top and you’ll get the best view of this charming city!

PACK:

travel california  5 Things: A Travel Guide to San Luis Obispo

A great weekender bag like this one from Cuyana* would suffice for a trip here to SLO. Oh and don’t forget to pack your sunnies and sunblock if you plan to spend a lot of time outside! Enjoy!

Thanks so much, Jennifer! For more, find Jen’s blog, I Art U, and her Instagram feed, here.

P.S. One of our favorite California coastal drives, that will take you right around San Luis Obispo (where, by the way, so many of my friends were lucky to go to college)! And last week’s “5 Things.” 

(Thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series. *Note that the bag is sold out. Here’s a similar one.)

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5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg

COMMENTS: 13

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg
I’m so excited to bring you this new travel series! I’ve found that when asking people advice about visiting their city, it’s best to ask them where they’d take a friend.

So, in “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete)—the things they’d do. In the series’ inaugural post, Shoko Wanger of Sho & Tell introduces us to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY. 

5 Things: Williamsburg
Shoko Wanger of Sho & Tell

I’ve lived in Williamsburg for four years now and have become gleefully accustomed to the steady influx of visitors that stream through in the spring and summer months. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of things to do in the area—we’ve got some of the best restaurants and shopping in the city (though I admit, as an adoring resident, I’m biased). It would be impossible to fit everything I love about Williamsburg into a weekend—but, happily, that’s just another reason to return.

EAT:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg

Bakeri, 150 Wythe Avenue, (718) 388-8037

The backyard at Bakeri is a true gem—a tiny, tucked-away oasis just minutes from the bustle of Bedford Avenue. It’s a great stop for coffee or tea, sandwiches on housemade breads, or assorted pastries (my favorite is skolebrød, a custardy Norwegian treat showered in grated coconut). Everything’s exceptional—and served up by a smiling staff in powder-blue jumpsuits, no less.

SHOP:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg

Beautiful Dreamers, 326 Wythe Avenue, (718) 388-4884

Located on an unassuming block on the south side of Williamsburg, Beautiful Dreamers is a bohemian wonderland packed with ethereal treasures: clothing and clay incense burners, handmade pottery and patchwork quilts, plants in every nook and cranny. There’s a wooden swing near the front window; behind the cashier, white doves rest, cooing quietly in a sea-green cage.

STAY:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg

Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Avenue, (718) 460-8000

The rooftop view at the Wythe Hotel is reason enough to book a stay. Further incentives: it’s beautifully built and a paragon of Brooklyn design (it’s co-owned by the same team behind neighborhood mainstays Marlow & Sons, Marlow & Daughters,and Diner). Its rooms feature pine ceilings, furnishings made by local artisans, and custom Williamsburg-themed wallpaper. It’s also home to an acclaimed restaurant, Reynard, and a gorgeous bar, The Ides, where said rooftop views are best enjoyed.

PLAY:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg

Williamsburg waterfront and East River State Park, Kent Avenue at N. 8th Street

I love the Williamsburg waterfront, with the bridge to the left and the Manhattan skyline straight ahead. Have a picnic in the grass, take a walk on the pier, or hitch a ride to Greenpoint or DUMBO on the East River Ferry. During warm weather months, Smorgasburg—a food-focused flea market with over 75 vendors—makes its home here every Saturday, in East River State Park.

PACK:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Williamsburg

Backpack, $42.

I learned quickly that a big bag is key to mastering a day out in New York. Without a car to stow things in, I often find myself carrying ridiculous amounts of stuff around with me every day: makeup, an umbrella, an iPhone charger, a camera, and all the various odds and ends I pick up over the course of a day. A roomy bag makes it easier—and more comfortable—to be out and about with everything a multi-hour excursion requires. I like these backpacks from Baggu, which, as it happens, is a Williamsburg-based company. (You can visit their shop at 242 Wythe Avenue.)

Thank you so much, Shoko—for this and for your tremendous help with the entire series!
P.S. More Williamsburg: Our favorite restaurant (ever), Renegade on the waterfront, and Brooklyn Brewery.

Photos by Jacquelyne Pierson.

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Travelogue: Seattle in 48 hours (Round 3, with kids)

COMMENTS: 32

travelogue travel  Travelogue: Seattle in 48 hours (Round 3, with kids)
travelogue travel  Travelogue: Seattle in 48 hours (Round 3, with kids)

This was my third visit to Seattle, and on each visit my impression has been consistent: wow. I’m sure it hasn’t hurt that every visit has been free of the notorious drizzle, but even grey skies couldn’t obscure how beautiful this city is.

We were lucky to get to spend two nights in Seattle a little while back as part of Coast Hotel’s “Great Coast Road Trip.” Essentially, I was asked if I’d like to do a three-city leg of a multi-blogger road trip, write about for their website, and bring my family along. I’ve been invited for some press travel before, but rarely with Aron and the kids, so I usually decline. This was such a treat! You can of course read my posts about the trip on their site—and I’m under no obligation to say more—but we had such a great time (even as we were so daunted by the prospect of a road trip with an infant) that I still wanted to share a travelogue here, too.

Anyway, the plan was this: fly to Seattle and spend two nights there before picking up a Zipcar and driving part of the Cascades loop to Wenatchee, and then on to Portland, before passing along the car to someone else and flying home. We had never been to Portland or Wenatchee (and I’ll talk about those stops next week), and it had been 8 years since our last visit to Seattle… when we almost moved there! We were excited to go back.

travelogue travel  Travelogue: Seattle in 48 hours (Round 3, with kids)
travelogue travel  Travelogue: Seattle in 48 hours (Round 3, with kids)
travelogue travel  Travelogue: Seattle in 48 hours (Round 3, with kids)

The flight from Sacramento to Seattle passed so quickly! Aron and I started hatching plans for return trips before we even left the airport. For his part, Hudson would have been happy to never leave the airport tram.

On that note, public transportation into the city center is supposed to be simple and efficient, but we opted for a taxi as neither Hudson nor Skyler are carrying their own things yet—and they seem to require so much!

travelogue travel  Travelogue: Seattle in 48 hours (Round 3, with kids)
travelogue travel  Travelogue: Seattle in 48 hours (Round 3, with kids)
travelogue travel  Travelogue: Seattle in 48 hours (Round 3, with kids)

We arrived in Seattle right around nap time, so after checking in at the Roosevelt (our first Coast hotel), we took a little break before heading back out. We were downtown and, I noted, just off of the main shopping strip and blocks from the original Nordstrom. I briefly considered bidding the weary crew adieu for some afternoon shopping, but we had a fairly full itinerary.

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Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

COMMENTS: 14

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

With so many babies on the horizon, I’d thought I’d revisit a topic from my first pregnancy. (A handful of you may have seen a version of this on my old site, Baby Mine.)

Being fortunate enough to take a sort of “last-hurrah” vacation as an expectant couple should be enough, right? You should already count yourself lucky (especially if somebody else is nice enough to watch your older child or children while you’re gone).

So let me preface this by saying that I realize this is not a real problem and that I fear that this will sound ridiculous. But some of you might be realizing that choosing a good destination when you’re expecting is a challenge!

And it occurred to me that I’m probably not the only one out there who has Googled “traveling while pregnant” for destination ideas to find that the only links returned are articles on getting up and walking during long plane flights. In the end, I can only offer that (1) these are some of the factors you might consider, (2) you will get to travel again once the baby arrives (and the real challenges begin), and (3) you’ll have a great time regardless. Think of it less as a last hurrah and more of a chance to celebrate what’s to come.

In our case, the first getaway during my first pregnancy was to Montreal, to celebrate an anniversary. Aron worried about the long car ride, and I feared that a romantic getaway to the “Paris of the North” (in the winter) wouldn’t be the same without foie gras; stinky, unpasteurized cheeses; dips in a steamy, hot jacuzzi; or copious glasses of wine.

Obviously, we got over it.

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

The next vacation we got to plan was for a February escape to warmer climes (and hopefully a sun-drenched beach). We’d taken a trip to India the previous April (with the push being that we should seize the opportunity to see a place I’d always dreamed of visiting before having a baby might keep us away for a while), and we actually considered a repeat trip while our visas were still valid. But it seemed unnecessarily risky: Aron had gotten sick briefly on our last visit, and the fear of food-borne illness–potentially devastating to a fetus–loomed large. We also thought about all of the bug repellent we had applied (instead of taking anti-malarials), and knowing that I would now neither feel comfortable using Deet nor taking anti-malarials placed the destination firmly in the no-go category. We had really hoped to go somewhere that could prove challenging with a baby or small child (as opposed to a kid-friendly, domestic spot like Florida), but found that most places that are warm in February are in the tropics and posed similar problems.

I think it was around the time that I reminded my husband that I also couldn’t scuba dive that he was ready to give up on warm weather altogether, suggesting instead that we head for snowy mountains and embrace the winter. But I quickly vetoed the thought of a non-skiing, non-hot-tubbing, non-hot-toddy drinking week in the snow. Picky, picky.

In the end, we got very lucky: my parents (probably tired of my indecision) came to the rescue with a gift of a Caribbean cruise and we had an amazing time! We also snuck off to Napa for a few days of couple-time and laughed at ourselves for booking a trip to the wine region at five months pregnant.

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

Since then, over two pregnancies, I’ve traveled a lot in the expectant state and my conclusion? (Hint: It’s the same with all questions of travel.) Go!

Yes, there will be heartburn. No, you can’t toss back margaritas. Yes, you will probably spend far too much time agonizing over a maternity bathing suit. But not as much time as you’ll spend agonizing over the first postpartum one.

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

I’d vote the best time is late in the second trimester or early in the third, when you’re unlikely to be sick, likely to look pregnant, likely able to stay up past 9pm, and unlikely to be in early labor or any sort of stressed-out nesting mode.

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

P.S. More encouragement: Trips we took while I was pregnant with Hudson or Skyler to Cape CodCalistogaHawaiiGrand CaymanYosemite and Lake Tahoe.

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Updated: Ireland Travelogue

COMMENTS: 6

travel  Updated: Ireland Travelogue

Every now and then, this photo of the Trinity College Library’s Long room from our travelogue to Ireland pops up in my Pinterest feed. I’d follow the link back to the Travelogue and it would just drive me crazy to see the old post with its few, miniature images–and a whole lot of text. It was due for an update.

That trip we took to Ireland, one spring a few years back, was such a fantastic one. We chose it as a destination on a funny whim—it just happened to be the cheapest international destination to fly to from New York City in June (presumably because it’s usually rainy there then, though it wasn’t for us)—and so I hadn’t built up that sense of eager anticipation about Ireland the way one might. It completely wowed me.

If you haven’t had a look, check out our Ireland travelogue—newly updated! (Aron and I look like such babies—before having our own.)

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Travelogue: New York City (during the holidays)

COMMENTS: 20

travel new york  Travelogue: New York City (during the holidays)
travel new york  Travelogue: New York City (during the holidays)

As I mentioned (and you may have seen on Instagram), we’ve just spent a week in New York. We had a wonderful time visiting favorite old haunts and taking in all of the holiday decorations; it was so nice to spend a week in a city we know so well. It definitely made it easier for us to go at a toddler’s pace without any regrets about skipping over some things. Still, I can’t lie: it has been a rough transition home for Hudson! I’m not sure if it was the time change or the consecutive weeks of vacation, but coming off of this trip has seemed more jarring than most. So it’s nice to look back at these pictures this morning, and remember why this is all worth it!

Because the trip felt like a bit of a homecoming, and because I’ve posted about many of these places before, I’m going to be referencing a lot of previous links where you can find more details if you’re planning a trip of your own.

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Travelogue: Grand Cayman

COMMENTS: 18

travel  Travelogue: Grand Cayman
travel  Travelogue: Grand Cayman

This fall has been a great season for us, travel-wise. I suppose you could say we’re behaving as if the world is going to end when this baby arrives in a couple of months. (Is it?!) On the heels of fun weekends in Yosemite and Monterey, we spent a glorious week on Grand Cayman, a British territory in the Caribbean sea.

As goals for most beach vacations go, we aimed to spend the majority of our time relaxing and swimming in warm water. But we discovered a few things about the island that might come in handy if you’re planning a visit—owing completely to our friends Emarie and Nick, with whom we traveled there. Emarie lived on the island for a few years and knew all the best places to go.

Here are some of the highlights…

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Travelogue: Weekend in Yosemite Valley

COMMENTS: 36

travel  Travelogue: Weekend in Yosemite Valley
travel  Travelogue: Weekend in Yosemite Valley
travel  Travelogue: Weekend in Yosemite Valley
travel  Travelogue: Weekend in Yosemite Valley
travel  Travelogue: Weekend in Yosemite Valley
travel  Travelogue: Weekend in Yosemite Valley

To celebrate Aron’s birthday this year, we decided to jump in the car and drive into Yosemite Valley for a brief escape. The 3-1/2 hour drive passed quickly, and though we arrived too late Friday evening to see our surroundings, we woke up in what is easily one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even if you can only spend a day or two, it’s worth making an effort to visit. Thankfully, we’re close by.

Plenty of people (and guidebooks) can tell you far more about visiting the National Park than can I—especially about the acres to explore outside of the valley floor. The entire park is over 1,170 square miles. But here are a few notes (and a whole lot of photos) from our weekend, in case you’re lucky enough to be headed this way.

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Updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro

COMMENTS: 6

travel  Updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro

travel  Updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro

travel  Updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro

travel  Updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro

travel  Updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro

travel  Updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro

travel  Updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro

I’ve updated and added previously unpublished photos to our Croatian travelogue. I must confess, I was inspired by watching Game of Thrones over the past few weeks, which I realized was partially filmed in and around Dubrovnik! It makes so much sense, now that I look back at our photos. Of the various locations in which the cast shoots the HBO show, I think this would be the one I’d hope to have my story line set in. The Adriatic sea is so beautiful. What an incredible place!

I hope you’ll have a look at the updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro.

travel  Updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro

P.S. Do you watch Game of Thrones? Aron was embarrassed to admit it at first, but he’s obsessed. Hopefully obsessed enough that we can revisit Croatia and do a location-tour? Also, more travelogues.

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Travelogue: Maui, Hawaii (August 2013)

COMMENTS: 31

travel  Travelogue: Maui, Hawaii (August 2013)
travel  Travelogue: Maui, Hawaii (August 2013)

This past month, we caught a ride on one of the best direct flights you can take from Sacramento’s airport: At 9:30 am, you’re in the air. And by 11:30 Hawaiian time, you’re in Maui. Our entire week was a most-generous gift from Aron’s parents, who had chosen to fly the whole family out for a vacation together (Aron’s parents would arrive with his sister and her family a few days after us).

We flew with Hudson’s car seat once again, but it’s starting to put him awfully close to the seat in front of him (he’s a tall 2-year-old). Still, love that he falls asleep in it, and we love that we can relax knowing he’s strapped in if we do. Besides, we’d be bringing it along anyway for the car rental.

travel  Travelogue: Maui, Hawaii (August 2013)

We were booked for eight nights at the Marriott Ocean Club on Ka’anapali beach. From the airport, it’s roughly an hour’s drive.

travel  Travelogue: Maui, Hawaii (August 2013)
travel  Travelogue: Maui, Hawaii (August 2013)

There’s a wonderful (if expensive) fruit stand on the way to Lahaina and Ka’anapali—around mile marker 15 or so. I’d wager there are better deals to be had elsewhere, but I must admit we didn’t find them. Food in general is expensive on the islands.

We brought some papayas, mangoes, passion fruit, bananas, avocados, and limes back to our hotel to snack on throughout the week. Ask for help picking the ripeness for the day you wish to eat it, and be sure to take them up on the offers for samples (especially of the coconut candy, which I still regret not buying).

travel  Travelogue: Maui, Hawaii (August 2013)
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Travelogue: Paris, France (Part Two)

COMMENTS: 52

travel  Travelogue: Paris, France (Part Two)
travel  Travelogue: Paris, France (Part Two)

[Continued from Paris, Part One]

On our fourth night in Paris, we met the babysitter we had arranged months earlier. Ana came over around 6:45 in the evening—we met her outside the apartment as we were coming home from the park, in fact—and I could tell it was going to go well immediately. I think Hudson thought she was our friend, Rhiannon (“Ana” sounding a bit similar and there being a resemblance), because he immediately reached up for a hug and asked after Rhiannon’s son. So they were off to a good start, with him eager to show her his toys.

I had actually written Jordan (who I’ve been lucky to get to chat with on a few occasions at blog events), about her experience with babysitters in Paris and she sent me a suggestion. In the end, that woman wasn’t available, but she passed along Ana’s contact. Ana only had experience with small children in her own family, but she struck me as intelligent and warm and I got a good feeling about her. In the end, she came three nights (Wednesday Thursday, and Saturday) and her friend came one night (Friday). I communicated with both over email before our trip, did a little web-stalking, and sent documents with all of our rules and routines ahead of time so that we could address specifics and be more brief about such things in person.

By the time the evening came, we knew that Hudson was waking in the middle of the night but that he was falling asleep and staying asleep during the babysitter’s hours easily—a big relief—and that he felt comfortable in our new home. We also purchased a cheap mobile phone for use in France, so that the babysitters could reach us in case of emergency and asked that they text us an update at least once while we were out.

If you’re considering using a babysitter, this book and our Rick Steves’travel  Travelogue: Paris, France (Part Two) guidebook had additional babysitting resources they recommended. I would also suggest asking your hotel concierge for help, if you have one.

travel  Travelogue: Paris, France (Part Two)

As much fun as we were having as a family of three, it was such a relief to leave that evening and step out into the glowing light as a couple, to know that we would have the chance to experience the romantic side of Paris (that we had once so loved) again and linger over wine and flickering candles.

As I alluded to in Part One, I never saw children out in restaurants at dinner (save for the occasional tourist), and it really seemed a challenge to bring ones as young as Hudson. We mentioned this to our babysitter, and she—without missing a beat—agreed and said “yes, you can bring the dog but not the child.” Ha! If you’re living in France, I’d love to hear if you think this is accurate.

In any case, though it adds a significant expense to pay for babysitting (around 10euro/hour seems normal), for us it was worth it.

travel  Travelogue: Paris, France (Part Two)

That first evening out, we headed for Restaurant Le Gaigne, just around the corner from these stunning vertical gardens on rue Pecquay. The restaurant was booked (and now appears to be closed until a new location opens), and their chic wine bar across the way had a wait for tables, so we headed back up rue des Petits-Carreaux a bit and popped into L’Assiette à Carreaux just as the rain started falling; it was buzzing with people smoking cigarettes outside and drinking champagne inside. It looked promising, and we were happy we stayed.

travel  Travelogue: Paris, France (Part Two)
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Travelogue: Paris, France (Part One)

COMMENTS: 59

travel  Travelogue: Paris, France (Part One)
travel  Travelogue: Paris, France (Part One)

Aron and I had been talking about returning to Paris for years. For some reason, despite many visits as a couple living on the West Coast, we never made the trip once we lived on the East. By the time the opportunity arose, I was pregnant. And nothing sounded sadder than a trip to Paris (with its incredible wine, raw cheeses, and its laundry list of pregnancy taboos—like foie gras and steak tartare) while expecting. (You might recall that I faced similar dilemmas in Montreal, albeit the kind that that no one should really ever complain about.)

In hindsight, it might have been easier to travel to Paris while pregnant than with a toddler. Either involves some sacrifices, some compromises (to put it more glass-half-full)—the toddler perhaps more.

And here’s where I should learn to heed my own advice: Just go!

travel  Travelogue: Paris, France (Part One)

So to start…

I want to tell you the secret, magic tricks to having the perfect vacation in Paris—ah, Paris!—with a toddler. I really do. I just have to be honest: there was a night at dinner when Aron and I, albeit proud of our well-behaved son who was licking herbed butter off of escargot shells, agreed that if someone asked us whether to choose to go Paris with a two-year-old, we might say “non.”
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Found for Dad: travel/diaper bag (and some other gift ideas)

COMMENTS: 8

style  Found for Dad: travel/diaper bag (and some other gift ideas)

While in Paris, Aron and I both fell in love with this bag we were gifted from Sons of Trade. The Tactical Tote is designed for men by the same company behind the Petunia Pickle Bottom bags. And it’s big, maybe a little too large on my frame, but it makes a great gender-neutral diaper bag (it’s attractive, wipeable, durable, has tons of pockets, and converts from tote to backpack with a couple of snaps and the company sells a separate diaper pad/case to put inside), but we loved it as a travel bag, too.

The tote can be snapped shut on its own, but because the tote handles fold over and snap in place, we felt especially confident that no one was easily reaching into the sack. I loved the confidence that adds. Seriously: I felt like Vanna White when it arrived, showing Aron all of the bells and whistles.

style  Found for Dad: travel/diaper bag (and some other gift ideas)

You can order directly from the company and find accessories at Sons of Trade.

However, I also added the Tactical Tote to my Luvocracy page (sign up for an account here), where I created a Father’s Day Gift Collection. Here’s a few of the other picks you’ll find there…

style  Found for Dad: travel/diaper bag (and some other gift ideas)

Just in case you’re doing some last minute shopping.

P.S. Other gift guides for him. And him.

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Travelogue: One month in Bali (August 2012)

COMMENTS: 9

travelogue travel  Travelogue: One month in Bali (August 2012)

I’ve been wanting to share a true, extensive (over-the-top, in typical fashion) travelogue from our month in Bali for, oh, almost a year now. And I think it’s time! Here’s the plan: I have multiple posts on where we stayed, what we saw, where we shopped and ate, for each of our destinations. There was just too much to tell for me to put everything into one long post this time.

I’ll spend the next week or so sharing different aspects of our trip, give each the tag “Bali Travelogue,” and you can see them all grouped once I’m done. I’ll start with Ubud next week, and then pause for a while to finish up posts on Permuteran, the Gilis, and Seminyak (see updated list below).

Those of you who have written me asking questions about traveling to Bali, often with young children: I’m sorry it took me so long! The rest of you with no plans to go there anytime soon: Um, sorry? Indulge me? And start saving your miles for a ticket! It was amazing!

First up, the 40-hour journey and arriving at our first destination, Ubud.

Updated posts list: 
Welcome to Ubud
Central Ubud
Markets of Ubud
Cremation and Ceremony in Ubud
Excursions from Ubud
North to Permuteran
Amed & Gili Trawagnan (Lombok)
Seminyak

[photo of our first home, Harvest Moon Villa]

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Crowd-sourcing: travel questions

COMMENTS: 53

travel  Crowd sourcing: travel questions
[Walking through rice fields in Bali last August (Hudson 13 months)]

Many of you have written in the past, either in comments or directly by email, to ask for travel advice–particularly on the topic of traveling with children. I have a big favor to ask: would you mind sharing more of those questions? I would be so grateful if, in the comment section here, you’d tell me all about your biggest travel questions, your concerns or hesitations (and particularly on that topic of traveling with children). Are there topics you wish I would discuss–or that you’ve found yourself Googling lately? I would so love to hear!

Thank you in advance! I promise to share more about why I’m asking (and to try and cover these topics) soon. Of course, if you have an answer to someone’s question, by all means jump in there, too.

In the meantime, here are a couple of travel-tips posts you might have missed: Flying with a Baby or Toddler and What to pack: travel gear for a toddler.

And P.S. Any time you have something you wish you could find or see here, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks again!

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The best gifts for a traveler

COMMENTS: 9

travel  The best gifts for a traveler

Joanna and Condé Nast Traveler recently asked me about my favorite travel gifts . You can see a couple of my recommendations (and those of many others) here.

What would you add to the list? I definitely second the cashmere socks!

travel  The best gifts for a traveler

In fact, I’d put together a complete sleep-kit for a loved-one’s carry-on–something utilitarian but also a little luxurious. And what’s more luxurious than getting good rest on a red-eye? Toss an eye masktravel  The best gifts for a traveler (the kind that lets you blink during REM sleep), a double-inflating neck pillowtravel  The best gifts for a traveler (for wedging to the side or back of your neck), a pair of socks (cashmere if they’re lucky, or some classic Wigwams), and a pair of earplugs into a Baggu zipper pouch; stash it under the tree and they’ll be eternally grateful.

And, so I never have to go too long without hearing his voice, extra battery life for Aron’s phone. These charge up on your computer and remain on standby (rather than bulking up something he always keeps in his pocket).


[Photos from our 2010 trip to India: (1) Arriving in Delhi as the sun rose (2) Aron on the overnight train from Jodhpur to Delhi]

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What to pack: travel gear for a toddler

COMMENTS: 14

travel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler

I’m starting to work on our Bali travelogue, and thought I might start with some posts about packing.

We brought way more than we needed for Hudson on our month-long trip. No surprise there: it feels like it’s impossible not to overpack with a baby (and now, a toddler) in tow. We would basically just pack the entire contents of our apartment everytime we went somewhere, as if we were being air-dropped onto a deserted island.
But there are a few things we really used.
travel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler
First, the essentials:
GoGo Babyz Kidz Travelmatetravel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler (with our Combi Cocorro Car Seattravel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler ):  If you’re bringing a carseat on a trip with you, the GoGo Babyz can convert almost any carseat into a stroller. We opted to leave our stroller at home and it was so nice to still be able to wheel Hudson (or the empty carseat with our bags stacked atop) through the airport. And on a side note, our smaller- and lighter-than-average carseat is awfully nice for traveling. I’ve seen some travelers struggle to install their carseats on the plane, and it was never a problem fitting this into the row.

We were so glad we brought a Totseattravel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler  with us. (But please, totseat, start making these in more attractive, plain fabrics soon.) High Chairs were available about 50% of the time, but we never worried because he could use this with any chair.

An Ergo Baby Carrier travel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler (or any sling or carrier) is my number one travel essential. Hudson had lots of practice with being worn on the sidewalks of New York, so he would even nap in the Ergo while we crossed rice fields or walked around town. I appreciate that it has a hood for shade and that it doesn’t take up too much space.

BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light travel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler (with jury-rigged mosquito net): Many of the places we stayed were willing to furnish us a crib, but I’m so glad we had our own. We knew it was safe, and Hudson knew it as a constant and familiar bedtime spot even as the rest of his surroundings were changing. My only caveat is that I wish it were smaller. Also notable: sometimes airlines will count this as a piece of checked baggage; other times they’ll let it go since it’s for a baby. It’s worth asking ahead of time and bringing the email reply with you when you check-in if you get a “yes.”

travel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler
And a few other favorite items:
“Baby Catch-all” bibs (aka Tommee Tippee bibstravel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler ): These roll up and wipe down easily (no laundering required) and catch those few precious bites that you were counting on for a few more minutes of distraction on the plane.

Dye-free Infant Acetomeniphen: You’ll likely be packing a medicine cabinet’s worth of first aid supplies (bacitracin, teething relief, ibuprofen, tylenol, etc.). Somehow they always end up staining things, which is especially annoying when you have fewer changes of clothes. Look for the oddly elusive dye-free options. (NB. Be sure you’ve tried them before using them on a trip and have checked dosage guidelines with your child’s doctor).

Headphonestravel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler  specifically for kids (with a splittertravel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler ): Hudson hasn’t had much practice watching television, so he was not too interested in watching cartoons when we really wanted him to on the plane or while up for hours and getting over jet lag in the middle of the night. But it helped that he had his own over-the-ear headphones, and that I could listen along and react. (I’ve also heard good things about thesetravel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler .)

BabyConnect App: Aron and I love this app and recommend it to all new parents for tracking sleep and feedings or anything else. We’re a little crazy for still using it, but I personally found it really nice to be able to look back over Hudson’s usual sleep patterns when deciding how to adjust him to the twelve-hour time difference. And then to track his sleep when it was completely erratic and we needed to judge whether he was sleeping too long during the day.

Baby monitortravel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler : If you and your partner are lucky enough to get your own room, you’ll be happy you brought along a monitor.

Leakproof thermos by Foogo: if your toddler can use a straw, this is a nice (insulated) option. And it won’t leak in your bag. (This leakproof feature doesn’t apply during ascension in the plane, however, when the pressure builds.)

And don’t forget finger snacks, a new toy or two (think 99-cent store), a change of clothes, and more diapers than you think you need for the plane.

Happy traveling!

travel family  What to pack: travel gear for a toddler

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Passport pet peeve (and a travel tip)

COMMENTS: 15

travel  Passport pet peeve (and a travel tip)

I just added additional pages to my passport. I suppose, overall, it’s a good thing that we’ve traveled enough internationally that I think I might need extra pages. But paying whopping fees for additional pages because border control agents tend to stamp pages willy-nilly really irks me! Here’s the thing: there are grids on each page. Stamps are supposed to indicate when/where you entered a foreign territory and then when you returned to your country of residence–and they’re supposed to sit beside each other! Visas often require full pages and, more often than not, there are requirements about how many consecutive pages you must have blank to get one. For example, we need two consecutive blank pages for our entry visa when we arrive in Bali. I happen to have exactly two such pages remaining, but I also have quite a few where Homeland Security has stashed a stray re-entry stamp, multiple pages away from its partner. We’re traveling through Germany and then Thailand before we get to Bali so I’m thinking it’s too risky to expect that the agents (well, maybe not the ones in Germany if stereotypes persist) will stick to the grids and steer clear of those two remaining, consecutive pages.

Okay, slightly persnickety, and possibly dull travel rant over. But seriously! What is the deal? We have to be so careful with these documents; is it really too much to ask that they stamp them in sequential order?

Lesson learned (and passed on): pay upfront for the extra pages if you plan to travel internationally often, and check visa/page requirements early in your travel planning to avoid expedited-service fees.

[Image of very orderly EU stamps via Chris Guillebeau, The Art of the Non-Comformist's The Hidden Messages of Passport Stamps]

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