If you’ve read between the lines of this blog, you’ll have duly noticed there’s one travel-related “first” I haven’t yet done since the twins were born: I haven’t brought the babes on a plane. I probably don’t need to tell you why this is true. But mainly I’m looking forward to the day when we pack up these babies and get those first stamps in their pristine passports.
Meanwhile, as I gather data ahead of their first trip, I’ve been scouring the web and personal sources for the best advice for flying with a baby. And, thanks to a lively conversation in a professional group online this week, I just hit the advice jackpot — and it’s only fair to share it with all of you.
In this post, you will find the absolute best advice for flying with a baby, because it is crowdsourced from the hive mind of people who know it best: travel writer moms of all stripes (as well as some non-moms with plenty of exposure).
These are moms who are motivated and unstoppable (even if daunted). Women who don’t accept dirty looks from strangers. Women who have a great career and a family and also travel and therefore (if I may) — women who absolutely have it all. So without further ado…
These days — with the demands of infant twins plus career plus being a grownup — at any given moment, I’d say I deserve a vacation more than ever before.
One (of the infinity) great things about living in Los Angeles is we have easy access to the desert, and 24 hours in Palm Springs can make a person feel totally refreshed, rejuvenated, and… tan.
So last weekend, hubs and I headed out for an overnighter at the Riviera Palm Springs that we sorely needed and enjoyed. We were going to take the babes, but decided it was better to leave them instead in the care of their grandparents when the weather forecast said (wait for it) 115. Fortunately, I can’t get enough of the heat myself.
Here’s what our mini-break looked like.
Earlier, I wrote here about past mixed experiences with while exploring Mexico’s cenotes, an ancient system of caves and underground rivers only found in this part of Mexico: Dzitnup was a dud, but Aktun Chen was a major must-do.
Now, in my latest installment of Homebody in Motion’s Unofficial Guide to Cenotes, I bring you dispatches from Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum, a great pick for a couple-hour adventure.
Just back from Tulum for the first time since 2008, I have been reflecting on the ways in which the little city on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula has changed — that much-discussed evolution of Tulum from sleepy beach town to New York trend-story fodder.
That reflection led me to plumb the endless depths of the Internet for my now-defunct blog from back then, in which I described that first trip to the region. What I found was 1) such novice blogging I’m actually embarrassed, and more importantly 2) actually a pretty great template for a Yucatán Peninsula road trip that can be replicated in just five days of travel, and on a budget.
Because of that old post’s legit travelogue value, I’ve decided to repost it here (with some edits for clarity and comparison, and to minimize the meandering writing). A swiftly moving five-day outline on a reasonable budget, with a healthily balanced itinerary including relaxation, adventure, and culture, it can be a source of trip-planning inspiration for would-be Yucatán Peninsula road trip goers — or just fodder for wanderlust daydreams!
Without further ado…
When a very best friend of 20 years announced she was getting married in Tulum, it was a huge deal. First, because this friend is our George Clooney (but even ol’ George figured out this year that marriage rocks). And second, because she’d be getting married at Mezzanine, which is the very same hotel where I stayed during my only other trip to Tulum, on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, back in 2008.
It was a very different trip back then. For one thing, I was with an ex-boyfriend and not my husband. So there’s that. But also because, so I’d heard, Tulum had rapidly become a very different place than it was only five or eight or 10 years ago.
After you have babies, it’s all about firsts: first foods, first consonant sounds, first time crawling, first time pulling up to stand.
When it comes to travel, I’ve written here about our firsts as new parents since the twins were born: my first business trip at 12 weeks postpartum, our first couples’ driving trip away without babies, our first trip by air since they were born.
At last, just as the twins turned 10 months old, I’m excited to share about our first holiday together as a family of four… which also included the twins’ first hotel stay, and their first time in the pool. (Spoiler alert: too, too fun and such a special and cherished family memory!)
Here’s what we did:
Instagram is my special, sacred place on social media. Unlike the cacophony that is my Twitter feed, for instance, my Instagram feed is a highly curated mix of about 150 posters whose every image I want to savor. They are almost entirely individuals (most of whom I know and love personally, or have met and admire), with a only a couple of brands mixed in, and my feed is tightly enough edited that I don’t miss anything. My favorite topics include nail art, vegan food, cats (obviously, hello), Los Angeles lifestyle, events — and most of all travel.
Behold my personal and completely unscientific sampling of some of the best travel photographers on Instagram, and one wanderlust-inspiring brand too — now updated with a some new favorites just in time to kick off the 2015 summer travel season!
Ever since I was pregnant with my twins, I have been dreaming of stroller hiking with the babes. Yesterday, nine months since they were born, we did it at last!
One of my favorite fast weekday-friendly hikes in Los Angeles is Runyon Canyon. (It’s also the go-to hike for half of the rest of everyone who lives here, but whatevs.) I figured that hiking Runyon Canyon with a stroller was essentially possible, though every time I went alone, I assessed: Would this part of the terrain support a stroller? Can you get from here to there pushing wheels? Just how much harder is this hike when you’re hiking for three?
Yesterday, I finally got up the chutzpah to try it.
Wow. I’ve been a mama for nine months, meaning those twin babes have been on the outside now for as long as they were in.
Any parent out there knows there are no words to describe the enormity of it, the massively additive power of parenthood to expand your life and love and reinvent many parts of everything you just thought you already knew.
But instead of using this post to wax self-indulgently philosophical (or self congratulatory) about motherhood, I’ll use it for three breezy, fun things I think everyone can get behind:
1) …to send big love and appreciation to all you moms out there for Mother’s Day! You are all goddesses and super heroes. Imagine me telling you this every day, forever.
When traveling on business this week, I gave an unsolicited hug and shared spontaneous tears with a mom sitting on the floor at LAX administering oxygen to her baby who was having an asthma attack, while the mom tussled with an unsupportive airline staff person. If I see you, and you need a hug, I’m going to hug you and cry with you too — mark my words. I stand with all of you mamas. We are a team.
2) …to share the above epic throwback photo of my mama (Atlantic City, 1946), who [did not have an easy job with my obnoxious behind and] has my back no matter what. I could never thank her, or call her, enough. But I am trying.
Bonus: Scroll down for more throwback mom-and-me photos (featuring epic ’70s fashion! world traveling! wedding joy!)!
3) …to reward one very lucky mama among you with a killer giveaway! Read on…
Last Mother’s Day, I was edging into my third trimester. No, I didn’t have babies yet, so technically I wasn’t a mom. But I’d already been working hard: Twin pregnancy isn’t always a walk in the park!
Because my family is superstitious, we didn’t really do gifts. But if they had been inclined to honor me with gifts as a mama-to-be, here are a few things I think would have made perfect choices. And they might be just right if you need a Mother’s Day gift for pregnant wife, friend, daughter, sister — and definitely yourself!