As it happens, my favorite vacations of the last decade have all made it to the blog in some form or another. They are my favorite because they signified this new stage of family life of being able to travel with my spouse and kids...and enjoy it! All the trips we took with our kids in the baby/toddler/pre-school years were a lot more "work" than vacation. Even though we stayed in state, it was a big deal for us to go somewhere other than Grandma's house on these trips, so here are the highlights of our last vacations.
1. San Francisco, CA
I posted about our San Francisco trip here, but I focused more on my packing strategies and what I wore each day (like this outfit) than our travel activities. So for today I'll share our top activity recommendation and some quick notes of what I learned about what to take on the trip.
Express | Tee: Old Navy (Similar) | Jeans: Express | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Hat: Target
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Favorite San Francisco Activity: Alcatraz
Image via Wikimedia
Our family was unanimous in choosing Alcatraz as our favorite activity in San Francisco. I had been to Alcatraz before but on my previous visit I didn't do the audio tour and it turns out that was a big mistake. It made all the difference in the experience and was well worth the time! My kids became totally fascinated with learning about Alcatraz and watched several movies and documentaries after we visited. Also, (incredibly!) new information has recently come out about the escapees since our visit so it's been fun have a connection to the story. If you want to go, book your tickets well in advance because the tours always sell out.
Packing Lessons Learned:
1. Wear sneakers. As pictured above, I wore Converse for most of our San Francisco touring and while I wasn't miserable, sneakers would have been a better choice.
2. Layers. You can't have too many layers in San Francisco! In the outfit photo above I was actually wearing a thin, lightweight cardigan (pictured here) underneath my jacket. Sometimes I needed just one layer, other times I needed both for warmth.
2. Los Angeles, CA
Our Los Angeles trip was just last month (original post here), and I used my my San Francisco outfits (as well as my Canon Beach, OR outfits) as a guide for packing this time. No need to re-invent the wheel!
Similar) | Tee: Target | Necklace: Express | Jeans: Express | Bag: Aldo (Similar) / Shoes: Nike Internationalist
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Favorite Los Angeles Activity: Kids Choice -Universal Studios Hollywood
Favorite Los Angeles Activity: Parents Choice - A Day in LA Bus Tour
Everyone in my family rated these two activities 5 stars out of 5, but the kid and adults had slightly different opinions on which one was the ultimate favorite.
Packing Lessons Learned:
1. Wear sneakers. I sort of learned my lesson from San Francisco, as I'm clearly wearing sneakers in the outfit above. But there was one day I wore Converse (see original post) and once again, there was more walking than I expected so my Nikes would have been a better choice. Next time I'll get it right!
2. You are not a tourist attraction. I've realized I spend entirely too much time stressing about what to pack for family trips. No one is there to look at me, and it's more important for my outfits to be comfortable and functional than blog-worthy. But...worthy or not I share them here anyway because I find packing posts from other bloggers very helpful!
Me at Universal Studios. Zero people looking at me. (Other than the camera man...)
3. Bonus: Ultimate Favorite Vacation - Germany
Just for fun I thought I'd throw in an honorable mention of my all-time favorite vacation to Germany. I've only left the continent once, and it was an amazing experience. It also took place in the years before digital cameras, so I think my memories are better than the actual photos I have!
My jacket love goes way back!
In the 90s, I had an older brother in the military stationed in Frankfort, and my parents took the two youngest siblings (another brother plus myself) over to visit him and tour around a few different parts of Germany, including Heidelberg (pictured above). I loved every minute of it, and it makes me look forward to the day I can take my own kids on international trips like this since it's the best kind of education!
* * *Thanks for taking a little trip down memory lane with me today! And stay tuned for more posts this week with Memorial Day news. I'll be sharing my favorites and I'm polling my friends to find out their favorites as well so we all have a chance to get the best pieces at the best prices!