Traveling during the Holiday Season in 2020



The Holidays in 2020 will certainly look different than in years past. So, I  wanted to share some travel tips for the Holiday Season in helping keep us well in 2020.

If you’re planning to travel by plane, don't wait to book flights. Fares are lower this year, and major airlines have removed change fees for most domestic flights, so travelers have added flexibility. If you’re able, use miles instead of cash!

Be sure to pack some hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. The ones I love can be found here.

If you’re getting behind the wheel for your trip, pack with the pandemic in mind. Stock your vehicle with masks, Hand Sanitizer and plenty of snacks :)  Don’t rely on picking up supplies during the trip since there is no guarantee they will be in stock wherever you’re headed or passing through. And if you’re renting a car for the trip, price check around because there are some great deals!

Keep in mind that restrictions vary by state. Do your homework to make sure your destination is open, what rules are in place for visitors and residents, and what quarantine measures may be mandatory. Check in with state and local websites to be sure you understand any restrictions on the states you are passing through and your final destination. 


Staying at a hotel this Holiday Season? Here are my tips:

Hotels have gone to great lengths to adapt to the pandemic. Changes have been made to housekeeping, checkin, checkout and every step in between. 

Once you are in your room, there are additional sanitation steps you can take. Experts recommend cleaning touch points with disinfecting wipes with at least 70 percent alcohol. In addition to obvious objects to clean, such as remote controls, alarm clocks and the landline phone, there are the easily overlooked ones, like cabinet and drawer handles, doorknobs and door locks, light switches, desk surfaces, and information booklets and brochures.

Sanitize the surfaces in your bathroom as well, including faucets and handles. Keep toiletries inside of a toiletry bag instead of unpacking them onto a towel on the counter. My favorite cleaning solution in which I  make wipes and clean my whole house from can be found here.


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Whether you're staying in a hotel or flying this holiday season I've included some of my favorite tips to travel safely and stay healthy this Holiday. Holiday planning ideas for moms | Holiday Travel | Holiday Christmas | Holiday tips to stay healthy | Holiday tips Christmas | Holiday tips and tricks | Holiday tips life hacks | Healthy holiday tips | Holiday tips guide Christmas

Anniversary Weekend Trip to Detroit-

Anniversary Weekend Trip to Detroit-
We celebrated our 10 year Anniversary this past weekend and it was amazing. For some reason, TEN years seems like a big deal to me. And frankly it is. TEN whole years or love, putting each other first, heartache, bumps in the road, learning about each other, kids and all the other things marriage entails; TEN years is a great thing to celebrate! 

But, I do think every year, heck everyday you are together, Healthy and Happy there should be a BIG celebration!

We fully intend to take a big Fabulous vacation to Antigua in November, over thanksgiving to celebrate further as long as COVID allows, but we also wanted to do something special the actual day of our Anniversary. So, in true Nick form he planned a surprise (of which I found out about accidentally but in a really funny way) to Detroit.

We stayed at the Shinola Hotel downtown Detroit. It is a fairly newer hotel and gorgeous. Shinola is a Detroit company most known for their watches which are Made in Detroit. And as a Michigan Native, I'm pretty proud of Detroit and any Michigan based company so of course we wanted to support them. We were blown away by the charm and character of the hotel. While it is newer you can definitely appreciate the older inspired character from the earlier times. The green and black subway tile with the solid oak floors and doors are gorgeous. And the floor to ceiling windows in our room gave way to a spectacular view or a constructions site- Ha- Where they are building a really cool Metropolitan building with Shopping Restaurants and will be the Metro Station. 

Detroit Gets a bad rap. And when I  would travel often for work, people would always ask me is Detroit as bad as they show on the news. Well, of course it isn't. Newsflash you can't believe everything (or maybe anything) you see/hear/read from the mainstream media. Detroit is actually thriving. There have been some big initiatives within the community including substantial investors who have come in and headquartered their businesses downtown and are rebuilding the community. Detroit has a Chicago feel to it to me and we lived in Chicago for 4 years. But Detroit is smaller at least for the time being. But the charm and the people in the heart of Detroit are much friendlier and there is a pride there because of what Detroit has been through. Bankruptcy, Mayor Heartbreak and so much more has brought the people together in a way that is admirable. It brings a warmness to my heart and smile to my face to visit, every. time.   

Want to check out Detroit and visit the Shinola hotel too? Here's your easy button Details including the Room type we stayed in:

Shinola Hotel
1400 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
Alcove Room


Vacay for All!

Family Travel. There is a HUGE misconception that it's hard to travel with kids and that parents should wait until kids are older to travel with them. I'm going to bust that misconception right now. In my family, my husband and I intend to take our kids almost everywhere with us. Don't get me wrong, we do take at least one trip a year without them because (hello adult time is fabulous) But, we want to have those cultural experiences with our kids. We want to see the looks on their faces and share with the feelings of excitement when we are snorkeling or eat the yummy food when bouncing around Europe.

Today, I'm sharing one of our latest family vacations. You might notice that we like to visit a lot of tropical places and let me tell you why. We live in the United States of America, in the state of Michigan. Where its Winter 7is months of the year. Not kidding. So, we like to visit warm warm warm places. The sun brings out the best in us, no doubt about it!

When researching for this trip, we decided upon the Grand Caymans Islands. We read up on it as we do about anywhere we travel and had some friends that visit every year. This trip in particular my parents were coming as well. We like to take a big family trip every other year as Christmas. Meaning we don't buy Christmas gifts for each other, instead we take a fricken fantastic trip. Instead of things, we make memories. We love it so much. In fact, we are looking to make it a yearly thing #memoriesoverthings

We always travel mid-week. Pro-tip when you have the flexibility to travel off days Wednesday-Tuesday for example, flights are usually cheaper, airports and flights aren't as busy and accommodations are likely less as well. Plus, while we don't have this any longer, when I was working at my corporate job, I  loved that for 2 weeks, I  didn't have to work 5 days in a row :) 

Ok, enough chat, lets get down to why I recommend this place and these accommodations for you all. 

Here's where we stayed: We loved loved loved it. This is a smaller condo unit directly on the beach with an incredible pool. Daily cleaning. Close to many restaurants and take out options and shopping. This unit has the biggest balcony a double balcony which is so great for the incredible ocean and beach views. 

Here's a few restaurants in the area I cannot recommend enough:
Island Naturals Cafe- All about Gluten Free, Real Food, So fricken good! islandnaturals.ky

LeVELE Restaurant: https://www.levele.ky/

The Wharf Favorite Restaurant. We got to feed fish!: https://www.wharf.ky/dinner-reservation-in-cayman-islands 

So, when are you planning a trip to the Caymans?

Travel More,
Jess

Favorite Family Vacation

My Family has the travel bug. There, I said it. And we sure are missing traveling around these days given the Pandemic. But, we have our travel list ready when it is safe to travel again! 

My husband Nick and I  set a goal after we had our oldest Tyler to take 10 trips with him before he turned 2 because (SPOILER ALERT) kids under 2 fly free on a parents lap. Well, we didn't quite hit 10 trips, I think it was 8 but my goodness were those trips magical! 

Traveling with a little one allowed Ty to experience lots of culture, and learn the ins and outs of traveling. Something we feel very strongly about should be learned as a little kid because it makes it easier when they are older. Now, both of our kids have made many cross country and international trips and we very much look forward to many more passport stamps in the near future.

By far our favorite family vacation was our trip to Turks and Caicos. You'll notice in my social media, we like to travel to tropical places. We live in Michigan where the weather is subpar, 8ish months of the year :) When we visited Turks and Caicos, Tyler was 18 months old and it was really just making its mark for its incredible beauty. We like to go to places taht haven't been "Americanized" yet and my goodness Turks sure made its impression on us. 

We traveled with my parents, my sister and her friend then the three in my family; Nick, Ty and I. Even on that long layover flight Tyler did great (again why we think traveling with kids young is so important as it sets the foundation for the love and knowledge on how to travel for years to come). We rented a Condo until right on the ocean on VRBO, you can find the link for it here: https://www.vrbo.com/741444?utm_campaign=VRBO_TRV_INQ_HASC_replyBlank_PPS&utm_content=propid_text_o_lprop&utm_medium=email&utm_source=SYS&utm_term=20170102

We made this trip in early December and practically had the place to ourselves. Traveling at this time is also considered "off peak" which means we got much better pricing for the place and airfare. Plus Christmas decorations were out in full force which is fun to see how other Countries decorate and celebrate! The pool was huge and again we mostly had it to ourselves, the staff was amazing. They clean your room everyday even though this is considered a condo unit and guess what, they even did our dishes?!? Yeah, I'm a Mom and I always have dishes to do, so sign me up for anyone who will do my dishes! The beach is soooo sandy with this luscious white sand and the walkway into the ocean is breathtaking. While Tyler was just walking at this time, I have so many pictures of him crawling his way into the ocean. 

We did the snorkeling excursion on this huge boat with a slide which was so fun (Ty sat this part out and stayed back with my parents) but we loved it! We did not rent a car in Turks rather, we walked as we were close to shops and food where we stayed plus there were bikes at our condo unit we could ride. We didn't have much agenda on this trip as Tyler was so little, we spent our mornings at the beach and then one of us would stay with him while he napped in the Condo until and after nap we all moved to the pool. It was a dreamy dreamy vacation and we can't wait to get back!


My Tips for Traveling:
+Travel "Off Peak" times if possible
+Always check to make sure you're not traveling during hurricane season if in hurricane belt. Usually right before or right after hurricane season is best
+Travel mid week so Wednesday-Tuesday etc. less people in airports, cheaper accommodations, etc.
+Travel to places that are aren't super popular yet...its so fun to be able to experience new places that not everyone has been to.
+Avoid renting a car if possible, it saves money and allows for you to walk/ride bikes to explore more
 

Traveling without kids. Why you should book that trip with your Spouse TODAY.

Traveling without kids. Why you should book that trip with your Spouse TODAY.
You took a trip without your kids? GASP. Do you know how often I've been asked this question since we got home from our Couples Trip a few weeks ago? The Answer is, A LOT. Who placed this guilt on us as parents that we don't think we can leave our kids for 5 days to get a fricken break? To reconnect with ourselves and our Spouse. After-all, if we don't put ourselves and our marriage first, what is left for the kids?

I have a lot of friends who are in the trenches of raising their kids. Hello, that is me too! I think parenthood is the toughest job out there. Daily, I ask myself am I doing this right, am I  present enough, am I showing them, teaching them, the life and character skills they need? Oy. The pressures on parents today is like no other! 

And with all the pressure and stress of parenting plus those who work outside of the home and social activities it can be a lot! Do you feel like you and your Spouse are two ships passing in the night between feeding the kids, bathing them and putting them to bed? It's such an easy trap to fall in to. So easy.

I  have some friends who haven't taken a trip together since before kids. Which for some might mean 8 years ago. Hear me out, I'm not a Marriage Counselor nor do I think a vacation can solve all things but, here is what I  think a vacation can do for you and your Spouse: Relaxation. Quiet. Eating a hot meal. Not having to cook or clean up. Uninterrupted SLEEP. My God, Sleep is a beautiful thing. A hot shower. A break from the laundry. A break from Carpool. Catch my drift here, the list goes on. 

Now picture this, a tropical location where all your meals are made for you. Where someone comes in and makes your bed everyday. Where the sun shines, everyday. Where you can have a drink in your hand all day without any judgement. Oh, and that drink is brought to you poolside while you are in the pool. Literally sitting in the pool on the most comfortable lounge that's made from Heaven. Am I painting this picture for you, yet? Does this sound amazing to you? You can do this Momma's, you can leave your babies for 5 days. I  promise, they will be ok without you. Leave them with family or friends. You'll come back so recharged and a better you so you can handle all the tantrums and stress that Motherhood throws at you. And you and your Spouse will be much more connected because you will have only had to focus on each other for that time away. And when you can only focus on each other incredible things happen. 

This picture of my hubby and I was from our trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico where we vacationed for 5 days with 4 of our friends. It was a great trip. Our parents are amazing and watched our boys during our trip. And plot twist, our oldest Tyler came down with Influenza-not quite 24 hours after we left :( Talk about Momma guilt here. How could he get sick while I  was gone? How awful of a Mom was I that I was in a different Country leaving our poor parents to care for him. Cue all the tears and guilt from both Nick and I. We asked and considered coming home but our parents reassured us it wasn't necessary and they would let us know if things changed and we should hop a plane to get home.  We Facetimed often and managed to still have a great day in the days that were left of our trip. And I can say with full confidence we had a great time and it did all the things for us that I've promised you all above and made us so excited to speed home to get to our Babies.

Book that trip Mommas. We deserve to have fun too. We are better parents when we take time away for ourselves. 

I  only have one life and I'm determined to live it to the fullest. Each and every day. Are you?

If you love to travel, share one of your favorite places below with me, we are a traveling fam and we'd love to hear where you love to visit that we should go to next.

Best in Wellness,
Jess
 
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