How To

9 Essentials for Trip Styling with Tykes


[trip style = any]

I interrupt my regular TS programming to bring you a little ditty about the bare necessities for traveling light with little stylers {something many people have asked me about given we mostly travel with carry-ons}. 

Trip styling around the globe with and without tykes in tow, I've learned a thing or two about what and how to pack. Case in point: In the past two years we've only checked a bag once in 50-or-so flights. Here are the essentials that allow us to travel light with tots: 

1. Infant Car Seat + Stroller Combo
Our infant car seat and travel stroller set has logged a bazillion miles. The set is based on an easy-fold umbrella stroller capable of holding our infant car seat for easy-breezy handling. Word to the wise: If you plan on traveling more than once a year, don't bring your at-home stroller on the road. My travel stroller has been punctured and damaged more times than I can count, and if these nicks and pricks happened to my everyday stroller, I'd be an angry styler.  

Trip Styler Tip 1: Use your stroller as a high chair if your hotel, restaurant or vacay rental doesn't have one.

Trip Styler Tip 2: Lots of baby-toting travelers swear by baby slings/carriers; they aren't my fave because I have a weak back, though I find their hands-free flex helpful for airports and exploring.

2. Diapers + Wipes + Creams
I've purchased diapers all over the world, so I typically bring a starter pack and buy more when I arrive, but diaper cream and wipes are the TWO things I don't mess with. Bring MORE than you think you'll need of your fave cream {mine is Desitin} and baby wipes, and don't forget yeast cream for your baby's bumespecially if you're going somewhere hot, as it's hard to explain to a pharmacist that your little one has blisters on their bum IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE. 

3. Meds
For teething, fevers, colds, and anything else that afflicts little ones, pack a medi-case with items your child might need, for example: Tylenol, Benadryl, teething gel, eye drops...whatever you have used in the past, bring along just in case.

4. Scarf/Burp Blankets
The amount of times I've been spat-up on in-transit is laughable, so I always wear a beautiful and easy-wash scarf that can double as a baby burp cloth. Also, I never leave home without a baby swaddle-blanket for, well, everything, think: wipe mouth, clean up spit-up, feeding shield, etc....

5. BIG Purse {FORGET the ugly diaper bag}
I'm NOT a fan of diaper bags, which is a bold statement considering I have two small stylers in diapers! To save space and maintain a hint of style, I place my diaper bag {a mini football-sized cosmetics case} into my purse. After all, it's not like there's room in lavatories for a giant diaper bag anyway. Plus, a big purse is way more chic than a bulky diaper bag.   

6. Diaper Baggies
When Blue Styler was born my friend Lauren gave me a bunch of travel diaper baggies, which have saved my nose and the noses of many others from eau-de-diaper. Buy the bio-degradable version to contain diaper-scent in your hotel room {between cleaning} or changes on the go.   

7. Extra Outfits
The amount of times I've had fluids of all sorts on me while trip styling with small ones is laughable, including the time Pink Styler had such an up-the-back explosion that the flight attendant thought I'd spilled coffee on her back {um, NO, it was something else which I had to change...during turbulence in a lavatory without a changing table}. All this is to say: ALWAYS tote an extra outfit for every person in your pack to avoid wardrobe mishaps.

8. Pack 'n Play // Travel Crib
Most hotels have cribs, but if you're traveling to see friends or staying in a vacation rental, you'll need a travel crib or a pack 'n play. Over the past few years, we've brought both. {Our ultra-compact travel crib fits into our carry-ons, while less-compact versions can typically be checked with no extra charge}. From a packing-light perspective, it's easiest NOT to tote a crib, so always check with your accommodation of choice about their crib type and availability. A few months ago we went to Sweden and even though we were staying in an Airbnb, our gracious hosts purchased a pack 'n play-style crib for us to use. 

9. Baby Monitor App
Finally, the most important item, to moi, doesn't even take up space in my suitcase! Enter the Cloud Baby Monitor app, a little piece of digital wizardry my friend Caitlin told me about two years ago. Best $3.99 I've EVER spent. The app connects to iPhones/iPads/Macs via WiFi turning two units into a baby monitor with sound and video monitoring, as well as music and white noise. G e n i u s. If you want to peek on your baby at night via the app, it does not have night vision; however, you can use the iPhone's flashlight to illuminate baby for a quick check-in {I don't use this feature often, but it's nice to have}. Finally, this app is a battery-suck; therefore, when using its functions, connect your device to a power source. 

Mexico with Familia
One and Done
Baby Styler's First Trip
Introducing Pink Styler  
Italy: Baby Styler Edition
Cruising with Disney
Travel Beauty :: Baby Edition

[photo by @tripstyler]

The Illusion of Perfection

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There is a belief in our society that traveling equates to a perfect life. I'm not sure if this goes back to humanity's nomadic nature, our thirst for wonder, or our curiosity with what's new and different, yet it seems as though the general perception of a person who travels is:

Travel = Perfect Life {Wealth + luxury of time}

As someone who has placed many pins on the map both personally and professionally, the above perception is both true and false.

In high school I was part of a group of teens who spent a few Spring Breaks in a financially destitute community in Mexico helping to build a clinic. The area did not have sufficient medical facilities, so the all-volunteer clinic was a welcome addition to the town's infrastructure. Noticing the lack of anything on the walls in the clinic's waiting room, treatment rooms or hallways, I asked the director why there was no art or photoseven something basic. "We don't want to put up art or photos of far-flung lands because it would be unfair to dangle places these people will never see in front of them," he replied. So, the idea that "everyone" can travel is a middle class/+ phenomenonone that is never lost on me. I feel incredibly grateful to do what I do {and realize it can appear "perfect"}, and if you can afford to buy a plane ticket here or there, you should too.   

Both on the road and at home life happens, reminding me that the illusion of perfection associated with frequent flying is not as it seems {both for me and for Kim Kardashian}. While traveling I don't just quit the demands of life, such as paying bills, changing diapers or washing clothes, it all has to be done whether I'm in Morocco or Mexico. Then there's the time I was almost attacked abroad, but that's another story altogether.

Aside from typical sickness you can pick up from foods in foreign lands, I can recall more than a few situations where random health boutsthe kind that happen at home, toohave come into the equation. A recent one was in Italy last summer when the day we left, which was also a National holiday in Canada {meaning I couldn't easily get meds}, I woke up with a giant red bump on my eyelid. I got on the plane reluctantly because I was NOT about to give up three weeks in Italy for something that could be solved. The second I settled in Rome, I visited a pharmacy where I showed the pharmacist my eyelid and she found cream that healed my eye.  

Right Now
Right now I'm in Mexico loving Punta Mita's beach life, and eating tacos every meal of the day. However, one thing my photos don't showbecause there's no time to snap these momentsis Pink Styler developed a minor eye infection which I noticed as we were traveling here {thankfully breast milk seems to have solved it!}, and is cutting a tooth which is making her v-e-r-y frustrated. Blue Styler had a touch of montezuma's revenge associated with new foods and life abroad, as well as a chaffed groin from swim diapers and/or sand.

So, life happens on the road and at home. It's beautiful, it's meaningful, it's messy, and it's ongoing. And so, we keep going, because all we can do is *try* to live our best life in it's imperfect perfection. 

[photo by Grandma Styler]


The No. 1 Airport Apparel MUST

finding the perfect airport outfit

[trip style = any] 

Do you have an autopilot airport outfit? If not, you NEED to get onboard with the concept!  

Every frequent flier I know AND follow has a travel-day uniform, yet it was initially Mr. Trip Stylerwho can pack and get out the door in 30 minuteswho inspired me to select my "getaway getup." Think: A neutral outfit comfortable enough for a 14-hour flight and classy enough for a last-minute upgrade.

Autopilot Outfit
WHO has time to figure out a new set of threads for every trip, especially seeing as airports and airplanes usually have similar temperature ranges, anyway?!? Plus, having a consistent wayfaring wardrobe shaves a ton of time off the packing process, and is one LESS thing to think about as you're rushing to the airport. With so many variables at play on a travel day, it's the one thing you can put on "autopilot." 

The Swap
Because every trip style is differentie: urban, sun, adventure, spaMr. Trip Styler and I always wear a similar base {see photos below}, and swap our jackets, shoes or sweaters depending on the season or destination. For example, we both wore our warm coats to Sweden, instead of the jackets shown below, to save space in our bags.

What We Wear to the Airport

Women's airport outfit
airport outfit inspo

For most trips I beeline for black or blue jeans and a white T as my travel uni base. Depending on the trip's "fancy-factor," whether the little stylers are in tow, or my immediate plans when I arrive, I'll add jewelry. I never leave home without a scarf, and often pack a small sweater depending on where I'm headed. For shoes, it's always booties as for their easy-on, easy-off design. Socks are a must, too, so my bare feet don't touch the ground at security. On top, it's usually my leather jacket, which goes with everything in my suitcase.

men's airport outfit
man + what to wear to the airport

Mr. Trip Styler also likes jeans as his base. On his feet he goes with a smart pair of lace-up booties, making sure he wears his biggest shoes to create more suitcase space. On top, he dons a white V-neck T, a button-up shirt, and a cashmere sweater, which he can add or subtract depending on the climate. For outerwear, his favored coat is his trench because it doesn't wrinkle and has lots of pockets to stuff airline tickets.

Trip Styler Tip: Find more packing pointers, check out my guides in the Expedia Viewfinder: 7 essentials for carry-on cool, 10 packing tips for blending comfort and class, and How to get from the plane to the pool, pronto!

[photos by @tripstyler]

How to Pack Like a Pro

How to pack like a pro

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Think you’ve read about every packing hack under the sun? Think again. One benefit of my job as a Trip Stylist is the access I get to the inner sanctums {aka: suitcases} of the world’s most well-traveled jetsetters.

Not only do their packing prescriptions constantly sharpen my own suitcase skills, but I'm often left thinking "Genius! why didn't I think of that."

Beyond the typical tacticsthink: roll your clothes or transport your earrings in a pillboxhere are the most usable, useful and “ah-ha” packing hacks for your next adventure:

With every mile I log at 35,000 feet, my love affair with the plastic shower cap gets more and more strong because it always has me covered. Get it? Pun aside, I carry multiple hotel shower caps to wrap my shoes {or anything with mess-potential) so my soles don’t soil my garments.

Ever since you started putting clothes in a suitcase, you were probably told to roll your garments, right? WRONG! One of the best pieces of advice I've gleaned on the topic comes from Shaun Huberts, a Canadian musician who spends his life living out of a suitcase. His packing epiphany, which he writes about in his book, How to Pack like a Rock Star, involves arranging clothes in your case as if you’re laying bricks. {Think of it like a fold-roll hybrid.} This way, garments stay ultra-compact, and you can see every single item in your suitcasesans rummaging to find “that” top you want to wear tonight.

Think of your suitcase like New York City real estateevery available inch of space needs to be maximized. With this, wait until the end of your packing process to find a spot for your socks and undergarments {or anything small and malleable}. Whether you fill a fist-sized space with your small stuff, slot a few extra items into your shoe, or cram essentials in your clutch, wait until all your big items are in your bag first.

When you’re on the road for more than a week, and need to launder a few garments without doing an entire load, skip the sink in lieu of your own DIY washing machine. Armed with a freezer-sized Zip-Lock bag and soap, all you need to do is throw in your garments, add water and dash of soap, seal the top, swirl, and rinse. This method is quick, easy and there’s no mess.
Trip Styler Tip: If you swim on the last day of your trip, and need to store your wet swimsuit in a no-leak pouch, your wash-bag does the trick.

Sometimes an iron is necessary for stubborn creases, but when your apparel is only lightly wrinkled, hang it in the bathroom while you’re having a shower to loosen the fibers. Once you’ve dried off, place your getup on top of your partially damp towel, loosely roll it, and leave it. Three minutes later, unravel your once-rumpled garment, smooth it with your hands and go!

Whether you’re flying private, in a suite aboard a commercial jet, or in seat 75D, you know what products will make you feel good. Sure, the Jurlique amenity kits on Cathay Pacific and the Godiva chocolates on Emirates can help ease you into your journey, but nothing can replace the things that bring you comfort on cloud nine. So to feel really comfortable inflight, assemble your own small kit to slot into your first-class cubby or seat-back in front of you. My high-flying favorites include: pen, toothbrush, travel-sized hand or face lotion, eye cream, wipes or sanitizer, face mask, lip conditioner and tiny notebook.

6 tips for packing like a pro

---> A variation of this article originally appeared in Luxury Retreats Magazine, a publication to which I contribute regularly. <---

[Graphics by @HeatherLovesIt, video by @Tripstyler]

Video: 5 Steps for Stand-Up Paddling Success

how to stand-up paddleboard

[trip style = any]

Many moons ago, I learned to stand-up paddle {SUP} on vacation. Within seconds I was hooked—core strengthening and serenity, anyone?—which prompted me to paddle on every future vacation involving a body of water.

Eventually, SUP'ing only while away wasn't enough—I wanted to do the sport all the time!—so Mr. Trip Styler and I purchased two heavy-duty inflatable boards we store in our city condo and transport with us anywhere we want to glide on water {each board folds up into a big backpack}.

Fast forward seven years, a dog, and a baby later, and we still love it. While Dog Styler's a seasoned SUP pro, this summer, we're hoping Baby Styler can join in the fun. 

Thinking back to my favorite SUP-sational travels, the most calm and gorgeous place I learned was in the protected ocean lagoon at The Fairmont Orchid on Hawaii Island. So taken by the experience, I returned there on vacation a few months ago and shot this how-to SUP video for the Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog.

PS - Don't miss my epic encounter with a curious turtle in the video below!

[photos by @tripstyler]