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Family Travel Guide - Tips for families on the move

I’m excited so many people are taking advantage of vacation rentals. They are an especially great option for families because they offer much more space for the money than is available in a hotel. That means you can invite the grandparents or family friends to join!


You also have all the luxuries of home in a vacation rental, which is so important when you’re traveling with kids. When a kid wakes up in the middle of the night in a hotel, it is such a pain to try and mix a bottle of formula or get milk. In a vacation rental, you’re able to pop into the kitchen, do your thing and hang out with your babies when they need you without waking up the whole house – everyone will appreciate that!


My family just took a trip to the beach for our summer vacation and stayed in this Montauk vacation rental from  While we loved our home away from home, I have three simple tips that can help make your vacation rental even more comfortable for your family. For more details, watch my video, "How We Made the Most of Our Summer Vacation Rental."



1. Familiar Scents


"Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.'' - Helen Keller


It’s amazing what an impact scents can have on your emotions. For my family, just walking in the door and smelling something familiar can make us feel calm and comfortable when we’re staying someplace new. Often it can be very light, common scents such as vanilla, lemon or cinnamon that create connections to contentment.


To start your vacation off right, pack a few of your favorite scents! One of my favorite ways to do this is with the new Glade® Solid Air Fresheners because they are inexpensive and lightweight for travel or can be picked up locally if traveling by plane.


2. Food


What food you pack will depend on how you travel to your destination. When you fly, you’ll only carry the basics to get you through the flight like favorite snacks and formula. If you’re driving, you can pack an ice chest with additional necessities or even leftovers like we did when we traveled from NYC to Montauk. In any case, you’ll want to locate a grocery store convenient to your vacation rental so you can easily pick up anything else you need for the week. Also, come equipped with a shopping list of basics. You won’t want to sit and explain what you need to a well-meaning husband or friend, let alone think about making a list when you get there, so doing this ahead of time is hugely helpful.


For us, breakfast is the meal we all eat together. Kids wake up hungry – at least mine do – and coffee is an immediate must for this Mommy.  So I make sure we have our favorite cereal, milk, coffee, and the kids’ favorite bowls, bibs and placemats – all of which are lightweight, small and easy to pack, and SO worth having. All in all, the kids’ breakfast-time ritual remains the same as every other day – meaning vacation days start off stress free for mom and dad!


3. Bed and Bath Time


When we get home from a long day of vacation adventures, the last thing we want is to fight the bath/bed battle; so, to ensure things go smoothly, we make sure to have everything the kids love on hand. For example, we always bring our girls’ hooded towels for after bath time - the familiarity of being hooded, wrapped and snuggled after a bath is important to them. Plus, each girl has a favorite blanket they love to sleep with, so it’s a no brainer to bring that with us, as well.


It really doesn’t take much, and a little will go a long way toward making your family comfortable when traveling.


What makes you feel at home when you’re on vacation? I’d love to talk with you about it in the comments section below.


Also, I wanted to share a few fun family photos from our summer vacation. Enjoy!


Collage Big Montauk.jpgCollage.jpg



Diana Heather writes at She is also the Chief Mom, both at home to her two girls and at You can follow Diana on Twitter @ParentingsATrip


Let's Talk About Family Travel

Posted by dianah May 1, 2012

My name is Diana Heather (yes, Heather is my last name) and I’m the proud mommy of almost 3-year-old, Khloe, and 1½-year-old, Lola. I refer to our girls as “Little” and “Littler” or collectively as “the Littles.” They truly are the joys of my life and I couldn’t be happier to be a mom, despite how chaotic life can be with two toddlers that are only 15 months apart!231086_10150579323195063_852305062_18120896_7793193_n.jpg

My goal in writing this blog is to advocate family travel. With all its crazy ups and downs there’s nothing better than watching your toddler dreaming away while in a rented stroller at the end of her first day at Walt Disney World, or during a beach vacation pondering the questions, “How much sand can an infant actually eat? Why is my infant eating sand in the first place? Doesn’t it taste bad?”

The course my life has taken thus far has given me a great appreciation and love of travel, but since having children of my own, travel has taken on a whole new meaning and I’m excited to now be able to experience destinations through their eyes, as well as my own!


5206_243201755062_852305062_7988344_7303853_n.jpgI’m a Mississippi girl that had the privilege of growing up on the Gulf Coast - think white sand beaches, family-owned businesses, casino fun, water skiing on the bayou, crawfish boils and Mardi Gras! However, after a childhood vacation to New York City, I fell in love with palpable energy and inspirational atmosphere of life in the Big Apple, and knew I had to live there! After getting my bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations, then graduating from law school, I had brief stint working with my father at a legal practice, before “retiring” from my law career to follow my dreams and move to New York.  I’ve now had the good fortune of doing PR and social media for incredible brands like Mikasa, Henri Bendel and Harry Winston, and couldn’t be happier in my new home!   

Two days after moving to the Big City, I met my amazing, fabulous, magnificent husband, Ashley, (aka Hubs), who hails from England. As fate would have it, he also left home and moved to New York to pursue his career as an entrepreneur (lucky for me!), but my in-laws still live across the pond, about a four-hour drive north of London - five hours if it’s Christmas Eve with a 6-month old baby – happy to tell you that story if you’d like!



I've been traveling with family in one form or another for most of my 35-year life. We were lucky to get to travel frequently as kids, leaving me with many great memories, from my first plane ride at the age of 3 to Austin, TX, to my brother and I learning to water ski in the Caribbean. Growing up in Mississippi, we also took many road trips to Disney World – every kid’s dream! It took us two days to get there and I distinctly remember my dad using an Atlas for that trip. He and I share a love of maps and I can recall many maps in my travel history. 141_13375525062_852305062_1483116_7644_n.jpg

In college, I traveled with classmates to Europe and hopped trains from country to country.  By the end of the summer we’d been to Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Prague, and even Budapest and we did it all with our maps, our guide books and our big American backpacks in tow. 

After moving to New York and meeting Hubs, who as I mentioned is from England, travel became even more important, since we were quite a ways away from both sets of parents. Since we’ve been together, we’ve received countless new stamps in our passports and even decided to have a destination wedding in Barbados!

Since having our oldest daughter, Khloe, we’ve visited the in-laws in England, grandparents on the Gulf Coast and Savannah, and recently had our first trip to Disney World (more to come on that in another post!). No invitation for a birthday party or baptism is ever turned down. Even if it requires great-granddad Bill in Vancouver to hop a plane to the Coast or if 80-year old GG needs to update her passport for family Christmas in England! You’d be shocked by how many times in the last five years our entire extended families have actually all been together for one event or another.

However, it’s true that kids change the game - and it’s especially true when it comes to family travel [I used to have a carry on and a checked bag both for me, now I’m lucky to have one corner of one bag for the entire trip. Nothing in my carry-on is actually for me anymore. Nothing! ]  But seeing our family and experiencing all the world has to offer are the most important things to my husband and I, and its part of why we’re together. Geography doesn’t get in our way. We agree, based on both our own childhoods, that travel and family are both invaluable parts of what made us who we are.





Here, I hope you’ll learn from my travel smarts and experiences and as well as from my travel mistakes. I’m going tell you every thing I know and everything I’ve ever tried when it comes to the sometimes mind boggling topic of family travel.

You can expect to read how to make traveling with your family easier, lighter, safer, cheaper and ultimately way more fun!

Hopefully you’ll be inspired to travel with MORE of your family, MORE often, because nothing compares to the memories you’ll create for your kids and yourself, and the stories you’ll one day be able to tell your grandchildren!

Together, lets have fun, travel with our families and create many family vacation photo albums together (online of course- I can’t scrap book)!

Stay tuned here for tips on family travel and updates about the places I’ll go both in life and in parenthood.


Diana Heather writes at She is also the Chief Mom, both at home to her two girls and at You can follow Diana on Twitter @ParentingsATrip.