If there is such a thing as a travel bug, we have been bitten. I don’t know if this desire was passed on to me or created when my mother would take us on an adventure every other week when we lived in Jamaica. We would travel to the sites on the island and once a year we would travel to the US. My hubby was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH but somehow he too has a penchant for travel and having new experiences.
We traveled quite a bit as a childless couple early on in our marriage and vowed to not let having cherubs slow us down. So said, so done. Our cherubs have had passports since as early as 2 months of age. Our international sojourns were initially limited to annual trips to Jamaica to see my family around Christmas and New Years. Over the years and with the increase in our family size from 1 to 3 cherubs, we have expanded to other destinations to Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, Cancun, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Canada.
We love to travel period. Our dream is to be able to travel most of the time and world school our cherubs. Currently, we homeschool which gives us some great flexibility to be able to travel during the off season. We love international travel but there are so many treasures to behold right here in the United States.
So far this year, we have been a few adventures with our family of five. In February, we went on a Caribbean Star Wars adventure on the Disney Fantasy. This was EPIC and brought lots of laughs, stories, and memories for our family of five and our mothers who joined us (their first cruise experience). We were pirates, hung out with Disney and Star Wars characters, touched fish and starfish in the Bahamas, swam in the Caribbean sea, sipped soda on the beach and ate authentic jerk at Scotchies in Jamaica, got sand in our toes, swam with the dolphins in Cayman, and saw the beauty of life in a Cozumel reef from inside a submarine.
In April, we took a family road trip to Atlanta, Georgia for my hubby’s AACR (American Association of Cancer Researchers) meeting and the Women in White Coats Wellness Retreat and Conference. My hubby and I both have family in Atlanta but despite going multiple times, we had not previously gone to the attractions in the city like Zoo Atlanta and the Georgia Aquarium. We got an Atlanta City Pass and that gave us the flexibility to see several of the attractions at a discounted rate. Bonus! So needless to say, our cherubs and I explored Atlanta attractions while my hubby was at his meeting.
At the end of our Atlanta adventure, we drove up to Braselton, GA to go to the Women in White Coats Wellness Retreat and Conference. Let me say this, Chateau Elan is phenomenal! It is every single bit of a five-star luxury resort. We stayed at one of the golf villas, due to the size of our party and it was incredible. While I was enjoying the conference, my family explored the resort and the town.
Here is something that we have learned in our traveling with cherubs. Always bring a laptop and an HDMI cord. This way, no matter if you are in the US or abroad, you can hook up your laptop to the big screen television in your hotel room and stream Netflix programming. Interestingly, we have found that the program offerings in Mexico were much more extensive than in the States. Our minivan has HDMI capability as well, so for long trips, we don’t have to worry about the whimpering of “I’m bored” or “Are we there yet?” because there is a wide range of programming that we download beforehand for them to watch. When they are not watching movies, they play games and read. Sometimes we listen to audiobooks and podcasts together. We love traveling.
We love traveling with our three cherubs. We firmly believe that making memories and having experiences are priceless. If it were up to me, we would have a limitless travel budget and be booked for a 120 day cruise around the world. Since it is not up to me and there is a travel budget, I will have to settle for a bunch of trips in the US and one to Mexico this summer. Believe me, I am incredibly blessed to be able to spend time with my family, go on everyday adventures and travel adventures with them. Traveling is just an extension of our memory experience building together.
Our son is a geography nerd so the travel penchant has been passed on to him for sure. He is fascinated by big cities and tall buildings. In addition, he is very intrigued by city layout and road infrastructure. So he gets very excited when we get to drive on a six-lane highway or a complex matrix overpass. So you can imagine the domestic and international cities that are on his travel bucket list. No matter the proclivities of yourself and your loved ones, I wish for you a summer chock full of adventure and memory building whether at home or on the road. Cherish every single day and those that you love.
Here are some travel tips that have worked for us:
- Borrow DVDs, books, games from the local library
- Download movies and shows from streaming service to a laptop, bring HDMI cord
- Personal neck pillows for each family member (great for planes and cars)
- Lightweight, multidirectional roller luggage is a must
- Pack a couple of mess laundry bags (from the Dollar store) and some soap pods
- Make a first aid bag with bandaids, sunburn aloe cream, sun block, antiseptic, topical antibiotics, Tylenol, Motrin
- Keep refillable water bottles in the car or take to the airport to refill at refill stations
- Keep a bag with snacks for flights and road trips
- Pack rash guards for all family members (I forgot to wear mine and the apply sunblock on a recent trip and paid the price with a nasty sunburn)
- Baby powder works wonderfully for removing sand from beach day feet and legs
Dr Charmine Gregory is a Nocturnist Emergency Physician, mother of three, speaker, podcaster and wellness champion who practices in SE Michigan. She is a co-author of The Chronicles of Women in White Coats and the podcast host of the Women in White Coats Podcast. She can be followed on IG @ffwcharmaine, twitter @CharmsFitDoc and LinkedIn @ Charmaine Gregory MD
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