Holding Butterflies

Not too tight, not too loose

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

Research and Planning

Deciding where to go and what to do isn’t a straightforward proposition. We’ll decide what kind of break we’re in need of. Then we start looking for places that fit the bill. Then we might come up with a couple of things to do. Then we’ll circle back and look at our “what” again, to be sure we think it’s still valid. It takes a couple of iterations. I think.. Read More

Mobilizing the Army

Let’s talk about packing. As the mom, the vast majority of the actual getting-the-clothes-into-the-suitcase falls on me. I have learned a LOT in moving the small army that was four preschoolers cross-country. It makes my four big kids now seem like a breeze. Here are my best tips: If you forget it, you can buy it when you get there. If you can’t buy it, you can do without. When.. Read More

Ten days is our new favorite.

If a week is good, ten days are even better! Ten days:  Just a little longer Pros: The luxurious feel of extra days longer than a week, almost as restful as two weeks but much less expensive, ability to add a second destination, at least one day of travel not on a weekend–less crowded Cons: More expensive, can be hard to find a place that doesn’t rent by the week.. Read More

Epic in a Week

  A week has always been our default vacation length. Vacation rentals and other places seem to encourage it, and it is really easy. One week: The typical vacation length Pros: Easy to schedule, long enough to get a mental break Cons: Not quite long enough? Resorts often will reinforce the week-long idea, trying to book most of their arrivals and departures on the weekends and discouraging mid-week arrivals. For.. Read More