Happy Halloween & last day of October! It also happens to be the last day of #ChooseCruise month, and today I’m sharing a very important reminder when cruising.
Just like heading to the airport, we must plan ahead for cruise departures. But when our cruise is leaving from a far-off destination, it takes a little more time effort to prepare. What do I mean? Well, I’m talking why you should arrive for your cruise at least one day ahead of sailing! Why? So, so many reasons why! That’s what I want to talk about today.
I’ve put together a list of a few of the most important reasons why you should fly in a day or two before your cruise. If you’re planning to cruise soon, you’ll definitely want to keep reading!
I was recently on a flight to Miami sitting next to a very sweet, yet frantic lady. Our flight was due to depart from Dallas by 7:15am and arrive in Miami around 11am. However, it was 11am Texas time, and our flight was just taking off. That meant we wouldn’t land in Miami until 3pm. So why was this woman freaking out? Well, she was catching a cruise to the Caribbean set to sail at 4pm—the same day! I’ll never know if she made it or not, but if I were betting, I’d bet not. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t take flight delays into account when planning for her cruise departure, something I am always very adamant that my clients should plan for. Don’t take the chance on a flight delay—you will NOT want to watch your ship sailing away while you’re coming in for landing!
Almost as bad as missing your ship all together due to flight delays is delayed luggage! Flying in the same day as your cruise departs adds in another stressor—if your bags are delayed, how will you get them if you are in the middle of the high seas?! You won’t. Or you won’t until a later port, IF you book flights with the cruise line.
Arriving a day or two ahead of embarkation gives you time to explore your departure port. If you’re flying in, chances are you haven’t been to the departure port area before, and this would be a great chance to get in some extra sightseeing. Departure ports such as Seattle, LA, Miami, and more are chockful of sights to see that could take up a whole vacation but mark a few musts off your list by arriving a couple of days ahead.
No one wants to start their cruise by actually missing it. All in all, arriving to your departure port at least one day ahead of sailing eliminates so much stress! Without having to worry about delayed flights, rushing the day of your cruise, or other travel mishaps, you’ll be able to take your time, breathe easier, and state your vacation on a stress-free note! Which is the whole point to a vacation, right? To relieve stress!
These are great and very important reasons to arrive for your cruise vacation early, and I truly hope you’ll take my advice! Don’t be that lady sitting next to me on the plane! Are there any other reasons you’d add to the list? Or do you have your own horror story to share that we can all learn from? I’d love to hear!
Winter will be upon us soon, and so will visiting one of my very favorite places, New York City. I’m heading back there in December with a fun crew in tow. We’ll be exploring all this amazing city has to offer during the most magical time to visit, the Christmas season! With that time of year, comes very cold weather, especially for us Texans, making it important to layer up.
To help prepare my group, and remind myself, I’m sharing a bit of outfit inspiration. I put together a few outfit ideas, including what to wear to a Broadway show, and lists on what clothing items to pack. Within the list, I’ve included ideas for the guys throughout as well.
Sweaters, cold weather under shirts with tops layered on top, long sleeves. Longer shirt dresses are also great paired with leggings.
For the guys, cold weather Under Armor is great to layer under their everyday shirts since they usually aren’t quite as into shopping as us ladies.
Layers of leggings, jeans layered over leggings or cold weather Under Armor for the guys (wind blows straight through jeans, you’ll be glad you layered), wind pants layered of leggings/cold weather gear.
Comfort is key here! Walking in NYC is just a given. Tennis shoes would be fine for other times of the year, but in the colder months you have to think about wet snow. Shoes you can seal with waterproof protectant are great. My husband did this for the leather shoes he packed. Rainboots that are comfortable to walk in are a great option. However, hands down my favorite shoes for New York City are these Ugg Boots. Let me be the first to admit, I was never a fan of Ugg style boots, but I picked these up on my last trip to NYC after I quickly realized my riding boots weren’t going to cut it for days of walking. They are SO comfortable for walking, warm, and waterproof!
Other than an excuse to buy a new coat, you don’t need a special coat for New York City. My same coat I wear here in Texas works just as well, but I suppose if you picked up an extra fluffy, extra warm coat you may not need as many under layers. I do usually pack two, just in case one gets dirty and to switch things ups. I also love warm vests layered under my coat.
This is definitely the key to keeping warm in New York City in the winter. Warm scarves, gloves or mittens, and winter hats or toboggans, as we call them in the south, are must haves. I feel no shame in packing one or two per day just to switch things up. I also like to scoop up cold weather accessories at the corner Christmas markets in New York City. For those going along with me, as long as things haven’t changed, you’ll be glad to know we’ll have one right by our hotel.
While you’re out and about in New York, you’ll need a place to keep your wallet and phone safe. You could use your coat pockets, but if they don’t zip or button you run the risk of things falling out when you take your coat off and on. My preference is a crossbody purse. I like the one found hereand here. The first is just big enough for my wallet, phone, and a couple of extras like Chapstick and gum. The second is a bit bigger and would fit all of that along with a camera or other smaller belongings. The most important part of a crossbody purse for me is a zipper—it gives me piece of mind that my items are secure. That being said, I’ve never had any trouble in any way shape or form in New York City, but it is always best to exercise caution no matter where you go. For a wallet, my husband prefers a front pocket wallet for traveling, and everyday use. He loves this Fossil one found here.
Broadway + Shows
For Broadway and other shows, I love to dress up! This can be a little trickier in the winter because you’ll have to wrangle your coat in the theatre. Typically, I wear a dress with leggings under, a warm scarf, and even a fur vest for add warmth while walking to the theatre. Dress slacks and a nice blouse are also great options. For guys, nice jeans or dress slacks with a long sleeve button down shirt are great. You’ll see folks dressed all kinds of ways at theatres, but in my opinion it is nice, and respectable, to dress up for the theatre and a night out.
So the key to New York in the winter is definitely layers!
As you can see in the photos from my last visit to New York City below, to keep things switched up, since you often only see the outer layers, I wore a different scarf and hat each day. Not to mention, it is easy to pack multiple scarves than it is multiple coats!
I’m so looking forward to heading back to New York City in December. It is truly a magical time to be in such an incredible city!
Special thanks to Sharla Kay Photography for the styled photos above.
As I mentioned yesterday, in the past month or so, I have been on 8 different airplanes for a couple of business trips. This meant I was traveling without my family, including babies, and would need to pump breast milk while away. I searched and read all over the internet, and still felt so overwhelmed and nervous before traveling. When would I pump? Would I have a place to pump? Would I have enough time between flights to pump? Would I have a hard time getting through security with my prized "mommy milk"? So many questions, and so many unknowns for this first time traveling pumping momma. But I found that it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd made it to be in my head, and with a little pre-planning and the right supplies, it was fairly stress free.
I previously shared the supplies I found essential to making my experience flying and pumping fairly stress free. Today, I’m sharing a few tips that I hope will help you feel more at ease and answer some questions you may have.
Packing & Supplies │ Carefully think about the supplies that you may need. Depending on where you are going, you may not have access to a store to pick things up. I was in foreign countries, with no Walmarts or Targets, so my packing was checked and checked again then triple checked. You can read the list of must haves that worked for me here.
Be Flexible │ Do the best your best to stick as closely to your schedule as you can but know that traveling is a time when you likely won’t be able to stick to your regular pumping schedule, especially if you aren’t comfortable pumping just anywhere.
Research Airports │ With a simple Google search, I found that the two major airports that I would be traveling through had special rooms dedicated to nursing/pumping moms and families. Miami International Airport had these AMAZING nursing pods for nursing/pumping only throughout the airport. They are private pods located at various gates in each terminal. The pods come equipped with a comfy bench, table, mirror, and outlets. I said it a million times on social media, but these made things so much easier! Since, I’ve seen that other airports have them as well.
Bring a Power Bank │ Not everywhere will have a lactation room, or perhaps you’re on a business trip where you won’t have access to your hotel room throughout the day. You may even need to pump in your airplane seat. A power bank will help put your mind at ease as to whether you’ll have a place to plug in your pump. Having access to an outlet anywhere will be a huge stress reliever.
Call Ahead │ Call ahead to double check that your room will have a mini-fridge. If not, request one. Kindly explain why it is needed, and, most of the time, hotels are happy to accommodate. If your mini-fridge doesn’t have a freezer, the night before departure, ask that your cooler pack be put in the hotel’s freezer for you to pick up before leaving.
Getting through Security │ This was the easiest part for me, and what stressed me out the most. I would be traveling out of the country and the rules aren’t always consistent with the U.S., but I had no problems at all at the foreign airports. I did have to have my milk go through extra screening in Miami. Even so, it wasn’t too big a deal. My biggest takeaways are 1) Make sure that you remove the cooler bag with milk from your other bag. 2) Let the TSA agent know you are traveling with breast milk, all that I encountered simply nodded and we all went on like normal, well because it IS normal. 3) If your milk does have to go through extra screening, ask that the agent doing the check put on fresh gloves. And don’t worry, they won’t take your milk out of your sight. 4) Just relax. TSA is used to this, even if you are not. Most agents will treat you and your milk with respect and care.
I hope these tips will help put your mind at ease about pumping & traveling. Please reach out to me with any questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Or do you have any tips to add? I would love to hear them!
In the past month or so, I have been on 8 different airplanes for a couple of business trips. This meant I was traveling without my family, including babies, and would need to pump breast milk while away. I searched and read all over the internet, and still felt so overwhelmed and nervous before traveling. When would I pump? Would I have a place to pump? Would I have enough time between flights to pump? Would I have a hard time getting through security with my prized "mommy milk"? So many questions, and so many unknowns for this first time traveling pumping momma. But I found that it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd made it to be in my head, and with a little pre-planning and the right supplies, it was fairly stress free.
Under Plane Seat Rolling Bag │ Baby Onesies │ Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bags │ Pump Wipes
Power Bank │ Cooler Pack │ Breast Milk Bags │ Cooler Bag
One of the main things that helped me make it through flying and pumping with minimal to zero tears (I say minimal since of course there were tears being away from my babies overnight) was the right supplies! Without them, it would have been a lot harder than it had to be. In addition to my breast pump, these are my go-to traveling pumping mom's must haves.
Under Plane Seat Rolling Bag │ This was a HUGE help! This rolling bag fit my cooler pack, breast pump, and pump supplies PLUS fit under the seat in front of me! This was huge for two reasons. 1) No need for multiple, cumbersome bags. 2) My milk was in my sight at ALL times.
Baby Onesies │ A couple of onesies or stuffed animals from my babies' closet and photos of them were huge not only for promoting milk production, but for my emotions as well. It was comforting to be able to smell them while away,
Breast Milk Bags │ So now is NOT the time to skimp on cheap milk bags. Good quality milk bags are ESSENTIAL in traveling with breast milk. These are my favorite.
Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bags │ You'll need something else to pump your milk bags in before storing them in the cooler bag to bring them home. Gallon freezer bags are the perfect size, sturdiness, plus great for when you pop everything into the freezer when you get home. I prefer freezer bags since they are not only sturdier, but have a stronger seal, in case of leaks while traveling.
Cooler Pack │ A cooler pack to freeze for transporting milk was a must. Some recommend freezing the milk for transport and allowing the milk to keep itself cold, but I had long travel days and was afraid of the milk thawing. This cooler pack was great, kept frozen all day, and fit in my bag perfectly.
Cooler Bag │ I have tried 3 or 4 different bags for my milk when I was working an 8 to 5, this bag is hands down my favorite, especially when traveling with several days worth of milk. It fits my cooler pack, 2 gallon bags of individual bags of milk, AND fits in the rolling bag.
Pump Wipes │ For cleaning on the go, these Medela wipes are excellent! For sterilizing between pumps on fly days, these were huge lifesavers. These were also great for sterilizing after washing with soap as well. I would wash, wipe with the sterilizing wipes, then air dry.
Bottle Soap │ Even though you're traveling, you can wash your parts in the bathroom sink. I brought along a small container of my favorite bottle soap for a good hand scrub scrub of my pump parts. You could also try Medela's no scrub soap for on the go.
Power Bank │ A power bank is a HUGE lifesaver! You may find yourself in tiny airports with no private places to pump other than a bathroom (I know, GROSS! But we have to do our best) or a quiet corner, and you'll need a place to plug in. Then, whomp whomp whomp, no outlet. This will be your saving grace!
I know with this list can seem long and overwhelming, but once you have all of these items working together, you'll find that traveling and pumping isn't quiet as bad as it seems. I hope this list will help you prepare. I'll be sharing my tips for traveling and pumping tomorrow. See ya then!
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