Holding Butterflies

Not too tight, not too loose

While You’re Out

This post is a little random but I have some thoughts about what to carry while you’re out and about. Traditionally, I carry a large handbag or backpack when we are out sightseeing. It holds my (large) wallet, the camera, a guidebook, maybe a water bottle, sometimes a sweater. It’s convenient in case we make a couple of purchases while we’re out, because they could be tossed in the bag,.. Read More

Smile for the Camera!

You, Mom. Yes. YOU. Of all the ways to remember our trips, photos have always been the best way to preserve those memories. And I am in almost none of them. My number one photography tip is to make sure that the photographer gets in front of the camera a little bit every single day. In my family, I’m the shutterbug. That means that I have tons of shots of.. Read More

Don’t forget to remember.

I love that the French word for remember is “souvenir.” That’s exactly how I feel about the things we’ve bought in our travels. After a lot of junk purchases, I’ve discovered a couple of basic ideas for buying souvenirs while we’re gone. That apron I’m wearing in that picture is one of my favorite purchases, and I think of Windsor Castle every time I put it on. Plus, it is.. Read More

When Bad Things Happen…

Even on vacation, life happens. We’ve had bickering, exhaustion, stitches, broken bones, and IVs while away from home. How do you keep the bad things from taking over your vacation? Plan, but don’t cast those plans in stone. The name of my blog is “Holding Butterflies” because that is how I feel raising my kids–I hold them, but not so tight that I damage them, and not so loose that.. Read More

In Praise of Small Museums

The Louvre. The British Museum. The Smithsonian. Huge names. Huge museums. Sometimes, they really are too much. And it’s easy for them to dominate your attention. But today I want to encourage you to look for the little museums in your travels. When I pay to go somewhere, it’s easy for me to feel like I’ve obligated us to look at Every. Last. Thing. And then, before we’ve realized it,.. Read More

Private Guides

I know, it sounds crazy, over-the-top extravagant. But let me tell you about our experiences hiring a private guide. In 2014 we took a trip to London during the summer high season. We expected crowded sites to be overwhelming, so to help us plan our trip we hired the completely delightful Henrietta Ferguson for a few days in the city. The first morning she met us at our house. I.. Read More

Where to Lay Your Head

We’ve stayed in hotels, houses, apartments…even a houseboat! I think that the kind of place you stay really effects how you feel about the vacation. Hotels I think this is the default vacation lodging choice. There are six of us and my husband does NOT like to be packed in, so fairly quickly we started getting at least two rooms when we travel. And yes, we put all the kids.. Read More

The best times to use a travel agent.

In all our vacations, we’ve used travel agents rarely. But when we have used them, they’ve been incredibly helpful. I wanted to take one post to highlight the specific circumstances to use them in. Cruises: A few years back we decided to go to Alaska and try a cruise. It seems to me that this is where a well-connected travel agent excels. Cruise options are vast and our agent was.. Read More

Dealing with Jet Lag

Let’s talk about a subject particularly near and dear to my heart right now: jet lag. Depending on where you go, this is either a little issue or a huge one. Here are a few hints for dealing with it: Put yourself on the local meal schedule as quickly as possible. Even if you arrive in California from the East Coast at lunch time, and find yourself not hungry, go.. Read More

Go native.

I just returned from four days in Barcelona, Spain, with these lovely people. With virtually no internet connectivity, I missed posting yesterday and the day before. (Sorry!) I still have some things to say about logistics, but this trip is so fresh on my mind that I’m going to share just a little thought tonight. Background:  this was a work trip for Bill and some of his executives, the European.. Read More