trista sutter familyI think we all fell in love with Trista Sutter, as a finalist on season 1 of The Bachelor, and as the star of the first Bachelorette.  She was gracious, charming, polite and turned into America’s Sweetheart.  She’s gone on to marry the love of her life, Ryan, and raise two adorable children, Max and Blakesley.   She’s also a designer of children’s clothing for Vintage Couture, and a soon to be author of a book all about gratitude:”Happily Ever After. The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart”. Trista also works with various charities as well as within her local community.  I was lucky to be able to grab a chat with her about traveling with her family.  Where do they go?  What do they do? 

Heather: Hi Trista! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me about family travel.  I’m always amazed at your road trips with the kids, and overseas travel.  I follow your tweets, and you seem to have done a lot with them at such early ages, which is fantastic! 

How do you go about planning your vacations around your children, or do you?  

Trista: To this point, we haven’t really planned vacations based on on our kids.  They’ve really just accompanied us on vacations that we knew they would have fun and we wouldn’t have to work.  If we’ve been lucky enough to bring them along, we try to book 2 connecting rooms so that we maintain our privacy while still maintaining their safety and our piece of mind.  It’s been easy in the past to also book a suite with a pull out for Max, but Blakesley has definitely outgrown the pack n play we usually have her sleep in, so I think things may be getting trickier!

Heather: I remembered that stage when mine outgrew the pack n play.  I wondered how I was going to contain a toddler in a bed, and worried the whole time he or she would get out and get into some kind of trouble.  But, somehow they just knew to stay in it! 

How important is family travel to you?  How do you help your children remember their travel experiences?

Trista: So important!  We want our kids to see the world and experience different cultures outside of their little bubble of the Vail valley.  They’ve traveled more than I probably did up until college, including trips to Hawaii, Florida, Nebraska, Utah, Missouri, Indiana, California and cruises to Honduras and Mexico. We take lots and lots of photos to document every trip we take.  With the mommy brain that I have, I need to take them not only for them to remember, but for me too!Trista Sutter

Heather:  I understand the “bubble” comment all too well.  I think that’s why we brought the kids overseas for a while…to let them explore different cultures outside our own bubble.  It’s great that you’re getting them out and used to traveling at young ages.  They’ll be jet-setters later! 

What are your top baby/toddler item must-haves for travel? Do you have any tricks up your sleeves for packing?  How do you entertain your children on plane rides or car trips at this age?

Trista: Must have items for me include a baby carrier.  I loved my Lascal!  If you don’t think you’ll use a stroller for a baby, it works perfectly as something to wheel around your diaper bag, purse, and carry on! Our favorite for travel was our Mutsy stroller.  Last must-haves…diapers, wipes and extra undies.  I forgot diapers on a day that the stores in our terminal were all out!  Thanks to the kindness of a stranger traveling with a baby, my daughter had a clean, dry butt.

I think my biggest trick for packing is to plan out outfits, then throw in a couple extra just in case and roll, baby, roll.  If you have anything that wrinkles, put it in a plastic bag from the dry cleaners and you won’t need to break out the iron when you arrive (unless you just throw it in your bag, of course!).  Lastly, use a big roller bag for you and your baby/babies.  One large is better than 2 small or medium, anytime you have little ones along that need help making the journey. Entertainment…food, sugar free lollipops, travel cards by Usbourne books, coloring books, and now…an iPad!

Heather:  I think the tip of rolling clothes in your suitcase is brilliant.  My mother taught that to me, she was a very well-traveled lady.  It also kept creases out of my clothes!  And the roller bag…I always pack my kids items with mine.  Call me a light traveler, but I don’t need a whole bag for myself.  It’s easy to get majority of the things in one big bag, and then my husband can fill up a smaller one on his own with a few other odds and ends that we need. 

Thanks, Trista,  for letting me into your life for a moment to catch a snap shot of what traveling is like for you and your family.  As always, it’s just a pleasure to chat with you.    
  
    

*Lead photo by www.melissadarstphoto.com/blog