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How I Plan Our Vacations

Romantic beach getaways are one of the best vacations for couples.

Traveling is something I do very often. Those closest to me would even say I “live out of a suitcase most of the time.”

I get a lot of questions but mostly it’s “how do you do it?”

The short answer: strategic planning.

Beautiful blue skies and seas are always a blessing on vacation.

I love traveling for the new experiences it offers. We get to see other parts of the country… and sometimes the world. Our vacations give us a new appreciation each time we visit somewhere different. It’s truly a blessing to be able to visit and witness such beautiful places.

I am the one planning our family vacations: the things we do, where we’ll eat and where to stay.

Vacations are the perfect time to expand your horizons and learn.

Over the years, I’ve gone through lots of trial and error when it comes to vacation planning. Not so great for us… but now I think I’m at the point where I can give you some insight from our lessons learned.

Here are my top tips for planning your next great vacation:

  1. Time of Year: We like to consider the season we’re planning our vacations in and what kind of weather we want to travel in to… or AWAY FROM!
  2. Do Your Homework: Once you decide where your dream destination is, it’s time to hop on Google, travel blogs, YouTube, etc. to research your ass off. Follow hashtags, like #ParisFrance, to see where to best areas are to stay and what there is to do in that area. Then start thinking of some dates that will work for you and your party so you can begin looking up flights right away. Typically, the earlier you book, the more reasonable the flights will be financially.
  3. Find Your Accommodations: Next, you’ll want to determine if the town or city you chose is more of a hotel or Airbnb type of place. Both offer incredible perks but you should take into consideration: the group you’re traveling with, distance to things you want to do and amenities you think you’ll need.
  4. Plan Your Fun: Don’t wait until you’re already there to book activities and excursions. So many times they are reserved in advance and showing up the day of to do it without a reservation will likely have you leaving in disappointment. Instead, book all of your fun ahead of time… and save a little wiggle room for downtime, too. Just remember to double check their reviews because you don’t want to book with a company that can’t deliver on the fun.
  5. Consider Transportation: Take into consideration if you’ll need to find full-time transportation, like renting a car, or if Uber or walking will work. Remember, where you choose to go has a lot to do with this part of the trip, too.
  6. Keep It Organized: To help keep everyone on the same page and eliminate the constant back and forth questions, I like to make an itinerary for the day by day events. Of course, everything must be scheduled and confirmed to do this—hotel, flights, activities, etc.—but it makes it such a stress-free experience in the end.
  7. PACK IT UP: Finally, it’s time to pack. With everything planned, this is the last thing you have to do before enjoying whatever vacation awaits. Making a checklist always helps me. You can read some of my other travel tips from the time we went to Paris for our 2-year anniversary. Or, you can read all about my girls trip to Turks and Caicos last year that was SO AMAZING that I knew I had to take Mike back to show him how beautiful it was for himself!

Relaxing poolside on vacation is my idea of fun.

Of course, it’s fun every now and then to wing your vacations and just adventure… but especially with young kids, that’s not always possible. Make sure you dot your I’s and cross your T’s if you want to have vacations that end with nothing but incredible, life-long memories for everyone.

Vacations with my husband Mike Evans never get old.

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What’s In My Carry On Bag + My Best Travel Tips

Mike and I just got back from our two-year anniversary trip to Paris- and OMG, it was absolutely the BEST trip I have ever been on! (I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it in my next post!)

But today’s post is going to be all about my best traveling tips and what I packed in my carry on to PARIS!

Since I do travel so much, I’ve gotten used to packing (like a pro), whether it’s back and forth from Florida to Texas, a weekend getaway, flying with the baby or even going out of the country!

The point is… my experience (for better or worse) is here to help you today! Here’s what was in my carry on for a 10-hour flight out of the country:

Roll-On Carry-On
For this trip I checked a big suitcase for all of my clothes, shoes and beauty products- especially the ones over 3.4 fl oz. (which is the max amount you’re allowed to have in a carry-on, FYI).

I knew I had to bring on a roll-on carry-on for all of my bags, jewelry, camera, and items I would need in case of an emergency, though- that way if my checked bag got lost, everything I care about or REALLY need is in my roll-on!

I always keep this one in the overhead compartment with my blanket and laptop for the plane ride, too! I also have my makeup, an extra set of clothes and travel size toiletries.

Purse/ Tote/ Backpack
In this bag I carry anything I think I will need handy during the flight so this includes:

Passport
Wallet
Cash
Chapstick
Gum
Charger
Pen
Under Eye Patches
Wet Wipes
Hand Sanitizer
Vitamin C
Benadryl/ Tylenol PM (we were on a 10 hour flight after all)
Sleep Mask
Makeup Wipes
Book
Jacket

I KNOW… IT SOUNDS like a lot, but these things are all super small (and definitely helpful!)

Packing Tips

Pack Strategically and Organized
This means pack accordingly so that it makes traveling that much easier and you know where everything is if you need to grab it while running through the airport.

I keep a VERY organized purse while traveling because I don’t want to be stressed out digging through my bag while I’m in a hurry… it just doesn’t make for peaceful traveling.

To help stay organized, I keep everything in separate pouches, so, ie: keeping my wallet, passports and boarding pass in my side pouch so those things are always handy, whether I’m checking in my bag, going through security or buying snacks.

Then I keep different pouches or makeup bags for different things, such as: one for my makeup, one for toiletries and one for tech accessories. This really helps me stay organized while traveling (and use all of the cute makeup bags I’ve collected along the way!)

Dress Comfortably For the Weather You’re Traveling To
I’m always prepared for the weather I am flying into because it could be 85 degrees where you’re traveling from and then 30 where you’re going! Carrying a light sweater is always a great idea when flying.

Bring All Necessary Accessories/ Entertainment For Flight
I always make sure to bring whatever is needed to keep myself (or the kids) entertained throughout the flight so I’m not going crazy waiting to land. For me this means always having my headphones, buying WiFi if the flight is super long or having a book or movie ready. Plus, I always have my mini blanket while flying- it’s just a comfort thing and I hardly ever fly without one!

Buy Water/ Snacks Before Your Flight
This is SO important to me because I’ve made the mistake too many times of not buying water… and then as soon as I get on the plane I’m thirsty or my throat hurts because the plane is too stuffy.

Even worse… if I need to make Ariah a bottle ASAP, how do I do it without water?!

Don’t wait until the flight attendant comes around with the cart (OK, so I may be a bit impatient) but I just think it’s better to go ahead and buy water after I get through the security gates.

With a bottle of water and a snack, I’m good to go the whole flight without waiting around for a small cup of water!