I am #blessed to have several BOSS BABES in my inner circle, but my sister, Anne, is the cream of the crop! I have been trying to convince her to become a Business Communications professor (in all of her extra spare time ?) because she really has such an extensive knowledge on the topic. There will be more content to come from her that so many working women can benefit from, but she’s kicking it off with her business travel essentials! Without further ado… ENJOY!!!!
Hi All! Just popping in to share a quick guest post on a topic on something I have become quite acquainted with: Business Travel! Truly these tips/tricks could be useful for anyone traveling away from home!
Like my sister Kitty, I am a full-time working mama, one less child aka no TWINS! But I have my hands full with two boys, Jackson is 5, James is 2! No one juggles it all like Kitty for the record! Anyway, my day job as an HR Manager is 50+ hours weekly and often requires travel between multiple locations. I try and make as many meetings as possible to get the best return on investment on my time away from the home front. I have gotten pretty darn close to mastering exactly what I need to bring with me on these trips to make getting ready as easy as possible. How I prepare everyone in my family for the departure is a story for another day! In all seriousness, I am blessed with a capable and supportive husband and network to help hold it down when I am away for long stretches.
Anyways, onto my list of MUST HAVES FOR WORK TRAVEL:
***Food & Drink***
RX Bars — These are amazing! I put a few in my purse and a few in my carry-on and know I have a quick snack if I need it. I really like the size and the texture of the KidsRX bars over the full size.
Water bottle — I am a tap water kind of girl, but no matter where you go the water just tastes different! I love this for traveling between desks or having water on hand in my hotel room for the night.
Body wash — This is a game changer overall for me! I love the smell and truly helps reduce overall body odor! 5 stars! I put it in a little travel size and never leave home without it.
Hair-holders — These are not only adorable but durable! I have a lot of hair, again not Kitty status, but a massive amount! These last through workouts with very minimal hair creasing.
Color theme is KEY. I usually try and pack in one or two color theme’s (usually blue or pink) and minimal and comfortable shoes. Nobody got time for blisters on road!
I always bring this blazer. Here is a similar option. My companies are VERY casual but you never know when a certain guest might attend your meetings or the office is freezing (often!) and this way I am ready for anything. Plus they both hold up well in transit.
Travel Steamer — One of my top amazon purchases of all-time! This makes getting wrinkly clothes from a suitcase to presentable a breeze! It gets hot and cools down quickly.
Wireless mouse — I may have been the only person in 2019 without one of these but it has been a productivity game changer when I am away from my regular office. Worth the $$ 10 times over!
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about traveling with toddlers: DRINK TICKETS. Unfortunately, sipping your way through what tends to be a high stress situation isn’t even an options because the number of hands you will have available is -6. In this exact moment I am remembering a flight to Florida with a 1 year old Nolan where the flight attendant brought me white wine with a lid and straw – she was a HERO! I wonder what kind of service I could get flying solo with all three kids?! Not sure I will EVER find out. Nolan has been on several flights and I used to bop around with him relatively freely… and then we had twins and we have yet to attempt flying with all three, BUT when that time comes, Marianne would certainly be a go to resource on how to make it happen with as few tears and sweat pellets as possible. Trust me when I tell you that this girl does her research and knows her sh*t! Without further ado… ENJOY!!!!
While I am by no means an expert, after almost 15 round trip flights with my 3 year old, and now with two in tow, I have figured out enough about how to fly with toddlers so that it can be enjoyable… or at least manageable enough that you just might be able to enjoy an in-flight beverage. Traveling with babies and toddlers seems completely overwhelming, but preparation is key to feeling like the traveling parent superman.
***Before the Flight***
Babies under 2 fly free, so capitalize on that and take your baby and travel!!! Make friends with the flight attendants and often if there’s an extra seat on the plane, they’ll find a way to make sure it’s yours. If you’re flying international, look in to booking the bassinets when you’re buying your ticket. On some airlines you can reserve it free of charge if you book early enough. Long flights and fewer layovers are always preferable.
***At the Airport***
On the day of, build time into your schedule because you’ll need to actually go to the counter to check-in. You will need a copy of baby’s birth certificate or a vaccination record in order to obtain a ticket for a baby/child. Check EVERYTHING-car seat (if lap child), travel crib, all the suitcases, all of it so that you have as little as possible. We walk away with the diaper bag and a backpack. Bonus points if it’s a backpack diaper bag so you can truly have all hands free. When it was just my daughter I even preferred to check the stroller and pop her in the Ergo. If you’re flying solo, babywearing is essential.
Pack any pureed food/pouches, milk, formula, etc. in a bag within the diaper bag. Blue gel ice packs are typically accepted. Security will most likely ask they to be pulled out and scanned separately. TSA is notoriously awful at efficiency, so set the bar low, stay friendly and you’ll typically be pleasantly surprised.
***On the Flight***
Wipe down everything. I get building up your immune system, but planes are gross.
Ask your flight attendant not just which bathroom has the changing table, but where exactly it is in there. They’re often disguised.
Try to hold off nursing or giving a bottle until actual take-off. If baby won’t take a bottle/nurse, make sure you have a pacifier, sippy cup, or pouch to suck on to help with the pressure. They won’t let you wear the baby carrier during take-over, but usually you just take off the straps, hold baby and put the straps back on once you’re in the air.
Pack LOTS of outfits. My three month old had two blow outs on a 2.5 hour flight. How. Don’t forget a fresh shirt for mom too. A handful of burp clothes can be helpful for a multitude of fouls, especially if the carrier is a victim of the blow out and you need something between baby and a dity carrier. An oversized muslin blanket makes for an easy floor cover in a quiet corner of the airport to allow baby to stretch out and play before the flight.
Babies under 6 months really don’t need much in the way of activities. Here are some of my favorite activities for older babies and toddlers.
“Busy” food — Cheerios, puffs, raisins etc. that they need to work to pick up
Masking/painters tape/mini Post-It notes/stickers/sticker books — Tape things to the tray table or window. Toddlers love picking and sticking.
Water bottle and pom poms — put in, take out. Repeat.
WaterWow “coloring” books – if you don’t already know about these, purchase NOW for everyday use but also pack for your flight.
A few additional activity recommendations:
Do NOT take the special lovie, blanket, etc. unless you have a backup in your suitcase. The risk of losing something is too high.
Wait 30 minutes between each toy being given, if possible, so they don’t burn through everything in the first hour.
Hold off on letting your toddler run the aisles as long as possible. Once they nkow its an option, there’s no looking back.
***Travel Equipment Recommendations***
**Carseat** Taking a car seat is an absolute non-negotiable. Rental car companies rent seats that are often expired, wrong for height/weight/age, improperly cleaned (and therefore compromised), or not available despite being reserved. As someone that flew four hours, only to be stuck with my luggage and a four month old baby for another two hours while my husband fought with the rental car company over the joke of a car seat and then drove to Target to buy us a car seat, I can tell you- it’s. not. worth. it. The car seat is the only item you pack that has the potential to save your child’s life. It’s worth taking your own. This (Cosco Scenera NEXT) is the absolute best for travel as it’s really well rated, easy to install and very light (plus under $50!). Whichever you decide, make sure it’s certified for use in aircraft. You can buy a cheap carry bag from the counter at Southwest or online. You can also stow some larger, lightweight, oversized items in there too (blankets, etc.).
**High Chair** Depending on where you’re going, this (Mountain Buggy Clip On Seat) may or may not be necessary. But if you don’t want to worry about your hosts having an extra high chair or want to have a place to stick your baby so you can enjoy your rose while sitting at a picnic table at an outdoor winery, this should be in your suitcase. Bonus points for it laying completely flat and weighing only two pounds.
Toddlers- Too big for a travel crib. Too squirmy to put in your bed. Enter the toddler blow up bed. Including the pump, it becomes compact enough to fit in a suitcase!
Secret weapon is the SlumberPod — Yes, it’s expensive, but after the first time when you’re not stuck hanging out in the hotel bathroom because it’s the only place you can turn the light on after you put the baby to bed, you too will understand why it’s worth every penny.
If the baby is going to sleep in a pack n’ play – think about ordering a topper for the mattress so that its more comfortable and less crinkly.
Remember Katie from my first IGTV video where I peer pressured her into creating a tutorial about her hotel hair hack (velcro curlers FTW!)?! Well, lucky for you, she is back on the blog and sharing the nitty gritty about GLAMPING (noun; a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping. glamour + camping = GLAMPING). Without further ado… enjoy!!!
I consider myself outdoorsy in that I like having a cocktail on a boat or a covered patio with a large fan. So, when I married a man who LOVES the outdoors, I spent a few years pretending to be cooler than I actually am (that’s a story for another time, but imagine sleeping in a tent at 10,000 ft altitude with snow on the ground). Ohh the things we do for love.
Fast forward 8 years, and here we are again, but with rings on our fingers and a lot less *ucks to give about impressing my husband with my coolness factor.
This past year, we were invited to two weddings out West – one in San Diego, and the other the small town of Ennis, Montana, back-to-back weekends. Since we live in Ohio, we decided we would be going to both or to neither. After consideration, we realized: when else would we have this kind of opportunity to see a state (or three – fun fact) that we’ve never seen before?! We made the decision to book our trip to Bozeman and Yellowstone National Park and never looked back! One small catch: if I was going to be asleep in wilderness, it wouldn’t be in a rickety tent from Dick’s Sporting Goods – it would be a “glamping” version with running water and my own toilet. After some research, I discovered Under Canvas and we booked our trip!
We spent Monday evening in Bozeman, and headed out on Tuesday morning around 6:30am and arrived to Yellowstone’s Northeast entrance by 8am after making two quick stops along the way. The fee for the week is $37 (not bad when you think about all you will experience!) and you can pay with cash or card.
One of the recommendations from a friend was to ask these two questions at the gate: Any bear sightings? AND Is there any road construction we should avoid? The Park Rangers are a wealth of knowledge and WANT to help and share with you, so take advantage of it! I would love to act like an expert on Yellowstone and give you the full breakdown of what to do once you’re in the park, but truthfully, you can’t go wrong. We focused the first day on hot springs and geysers (signs everywhere – you can’t miss them!!) and ended the day with Old Faithful. It’s a national treasure – you must see it. The entire time as we were driving through the park, my husband and I kept saying, “this feels like a different planet – or at LEAST a different country!” Those rolling hills, waterfalls, ice-capped mountains, open pastures, hot springs, geysers, white water rapids, and everything else you can see, are a FAR cry from Columbus!
After driving through the park we left to head to West Yellowstone to our accommodations. Below are the pros and cons of our stay at Under Canvas:
PRO: 7 minutes from the West entrance to Yellowstone Park and downtown West Yellowstone
CON: The resort was under construction and we literally thought we were pulling into the Fyre Festival. (This construction should be complete by now – July 2019.) The construction also meant a lot of standing water, which meant a lot of mosquitos. This was horrible and almost made sitting outside unbearable in dusk/evening. Who knew mosquitos could live at that altitude?!
PRO: A King SIZE BED while “camping” – hello?
CON: If you go before the middle of June, temps can get into the low 20s and even teens at night. Make sure you come prepared!
PRO: Each tent is equipped with a wood-burning oven contraption to heat it (see above).
CON: Someone (not me…) has to wake up every few hours to put wood back in the oven.
PRO: Heated water/shower, a toilet, and a sink, within 2 feet of you. These modern day amenities are truly just not worth sacrificing while you’re schlepping around in wilderness.
CON: When booking reservations, make sure you are booking THROUGH YOUR LOCATION. Under Canvas is corporately-owned and they messed up two of our reservations (white water rafting & zip lining – which we were really pumped about!) ** They were very apologetic at our location and paid the deposit fee to make up for it – major kudos to them!
PRO: The resort offered private massages in your tent and a massage therapist drove down from Bozeman for us – so so cool!
PRO: SILENCE in the evenings. Truly magical. One night we even heard wolves!
In all, I would 100% go the glamping route again. Yellowstone, and Montana in general, are absolutely breathtaking and the ability to get a good nights’ sleep in a private room with a King-size bed and the desired modern amenities, was truly the way to go. Next time, though, I’ll make sure the location isn’t under construction 🙂
Amazon Version(click to shop)Reviews say to size up if you are between sizes because the torso is not super long… I sometimes still stay true to size because when a one piece is tight it helps pull in my post-baby (1.5 years – can’t really use that excuse much longer LOL!) belly!
My BFF Katie has always been in the know about the must have beauty items and products. We lived together in our sorority house (Pi Pi ADPi!!!) for two years and she was the resident glam squad. I can’t count the number of times I plopped onto her bed in my towel dress wrap (sooo #college) and closed my eyes as to imply, “I’m ready for you to do my makeup!”. Somehow we are still friends LOL!
Now we (sadly) live 100s of miles away from one another, but she was in DC for work so I went down for a legit SLEEPOVER/throwback to those nights in the Pi House (think: face masks, non-stop chatting, laughing and room service in bed in our robes).
I forced her let me film her talking about one of her newer tricks for refreshing her hair when she is traveling for work. She is the cutest and I wish she lived in Baltimore so I could make this a weekly occurrence!
The video tutorial is on my IGTV (@kittymills) but here are the basic steps…
1. Roll small sections of the hair around the crown of your head up into your rollers.
2. Continue getting ready and doing your thaaaang!
3. Slowly remove.
4. Hit your hair with some texturizing spray and TA-DA!!! Bouncy, voluptuous hair with minimal effort and time!