So, Colleen from Travel Mamas, what do you blog about? I blog about how and where to travel with children…and stay sane. I also write about romantic retreats and girlfriend getaways because sometimes Mama needs a break too!
Favorite late night snack? If I’m being healthy—a Greek yogurt with honey or jam, fresh blueberries, and walnuts. If I’m being naughty—cookies!
Best food discovery? Chinese food in France. The blend of these two cuisines is just incredible!
One thing you can’t leave the house without? My iPhone. And my son’s asthma inhaler.
Plane, train, car or boat? If it could get me where I’d like to go, I’d choose train. I traveled by train throughout Europe when I was a foreign exchange student during college and I loved seeing the world this way. I could read without getting motion sickness, the scenery was beautiful and I often met wonderful fellow travelers along the way. I loved getting a sleeping berth overnight, being lulled to sleep by the motion of the train and then waking up in a new city or country!
Carry on or checked bag? Carry on whenever possible.
What kind of luggage do you prefer? Roll-aboard suitcase.
Do you ever get tired of packing? I hate packing, especially when traveling with the whole family and I need to pack all of the toys, clothes, snacks, etc. for the kids. It’s ironic because my Packing List page is one of the most popular draws on TravelMamas.com. I created these easy to check-off, family packing lists years ago because I hated trying to remember all of the little things needed for traveling with children. I still print one out before every trip, whether bringing the kids or not.
Favorite place you have traveled to? I am asked this question often and it’s always so hard to answer because I love traveling to new places and discovering new corners of the world. If pressed, my top three destinations would be California Wine Country for the beauty and the wine; France for the language, the architecture and the pastries; and Hawaii for the warm ocean waves and laidback vibe.
Dreaming of going to next? Even though I’m not much of a skier, my kids love the snow and had a blast our first time skiing a couple of years ago, so I’d love to take them to slopes this winter. I’d love to cross my final Hawaiian isle off my bucket list—the Big Island. I’m also dreaming of doing an Alaskan cruise.
One thing you search out on your travels? Botanic gardens.
Best travel advice? Plan, plan, plan and then adjust, adjust, adjust!
Worst travel advice? Pack as light as possible and bring only what you need when traveling with kids. You will not win a medal for having a light suitcase. Besides doing laundry nonstop during your vacation is no fun. When traveling with kids, you need to pack for contingencies too. You need to bring more diapers, formula, and snacks for the journey in case you get stuck in traffic or on the tarmac. I also advise bringing along every medicine you think your child might need while away in case it’s not available in a foreign location or your child gets sick in the middle of the night and needs relief NOW. That doesn’t mean over-pack (note: I typically travel with carry-ons only) but under-packing isn’t the best idea either.
Favorite jet lag trick? Get lots of sunshine and try to get onto the new schedule as quickly as possible. When traveling with children, understand that your schedule may be off by a few hours for the whole vacation (depending on the severity of time difference and length of trip), and roll with the chubby baby-fisted punches.
Biggest travel pet peeve? Those naked body scanners at airports. I think they’re unsafe but doing the pat down is embarrassing for adults, scary for children, and can cause a big delay in getting to the gate on time.
Most embarrassing incident while traveling? Nothing specific comes to mind but I’ve experienced my fair share of holding the screaming baby on the airplane and saying stupid things in foreign languages.
Most beautiful sunset/sunrise? Sedona, Arizona.
Most amazing accidental discovery? The Trevi Fountain in Rome. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like an accidental discovery but I was 19 years old and wandering through Rome with friends; we turned a corner, and BAM…there was the Trevi Fountain. I don’t think I’d ever even heard of the Trevi Fountain before so it was a bit overwhelming to just stumble across.
And finally…sweet or savory? Both! I love kettle corn, salted caramel ice cream, and other treats that blend both flavors together.
Colleen Lanin, a travel journalist and writing instructor, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular family travel blog, TravelMamas.com. She is also a regular contributing writer to the Today Show website on NBCNews.com. She lives with her husband and two children in San Diego, California. Connect with Colleen on Twitter as @TravelMamas or via the Travel Mamas Facebook page.
walking on travels: keep traveling, keep moving forward;
take your kids walking on life’s path to adventure