The Hospital Bag

Those who are expecting might just find that the most important trip they eventually make is – to the hospital. Whether your delivery is planned or your baby comes when you least expect, it’s wise to have that bag ready to go. So what kinds of items should it include?

The bag itself – You can use just any old bag, but it needs to be compact, light and easy to grab when your rushing out that door to the hospital. Dange Dover does a range of really cushy, easy to pack bags with mini pouches and compartments inside that can keep all your goodies organized. Size wise, a good option is their London Carryall which does just that – carry all – oh and look good too.

Hospital Gown and Nursing PJs – I love the look and feel of Kindred Bravely’s Nursing and Maternity Lingerie Gown  – fun, fresh, flattering and feminine, it features a flattering empire waist, which allows room and conceals, easy clip down cups and a built-in bra offer light support for nighttime baby feedings. The same brand also does a Labor & Delivery Gown for $29.99 that comes in a variety of colors, so you can bring your own flare to the hospital.

Water Bottle – styrofoam cups aren’t the best for you or the environment but they are still the ‘go to’ for most water you get in hospitals. Opt instead to bring your own aluminum or bamboo bottle. Keeping cool and hydrated during delivery is key, so for something that insulates well consider Cornickle’s line of water bottles that are both nice to look at and a dream to drink out of.

Treats – Your’e having a baby so you should be allowed to treat yourself. However, choose options that will either aid in your delivery (think candy you can suck on) or snacks that pack some nutrition or energy. I love Hail Merry’s Bites made with shredded coconut, organic virgin coconut oil and heart-healthy fats from nuts.

Slippers/Slipper Socks – You will want these when walking around the hospital or even your room. Kindred Bravely does some super cute ones with fun inspirational quotes to make you smile and feel like a strong mama!

Cremes and Calming Oils – I am a big fan of aromatherapy during pregnancy. Hatch’s Pocket Spa Trio for $68 is a great way to carry a mini spa of ‘mama to be’ blended oils (ginger, eucalyptus and lavender) that do everything from energize to relax or aid sickness.

Making the most of the 2019 holiday weekends – MLK, Presidents Day & beyond….

Winter is in full force and there is nothing like travel to brighten the longest, darkest days of the year. It may be time to take advantage of the upcoming vacation days around Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day.

According to flights tracking apps like Hopper, most Americans tend to take two to three trips each year, often around holiday weekends – but holiday weekends can also be the most expensive times to book flights. However, if you’re thinking about a winter getaway around the upcoming MLK Day weekend, you’re in luck – flight prices are low this month, with domestic roundtrip prices averaging $220 throughout January, according to the app. So where should we look?

  1. Sunny Destinations – Right now, you can still score average roundtrip airfares (originating within the U.S.) during MLK and Presidents Day Weekend weekend to sunny destinations such as Los Angeles, Dallas or Fort Lauderdale, for under $300, according to Hopper. Consider LA – with something to do for everyone, from hiking to biking to surfing and site-seeing. Even there where the sun shines nearly 300 days per year, summer is technically high season which means travelers visiting January – April get both sunshine AND lower hotel prices!
  • International Spots – Some international flights to London, Paris or even Vienna are also seeing good deals, with round-trip airfares running as low as $500. Austria makes a great affordable winter vacation spot to hit the slopes, especially with Euro tour operators like Contiki (running weeklong ski trip starting at $685 – including accommodations, day trips, and most meals.) Explore Christmas Markets, ice skating rinks and more in their genuine setting.
  • Winter Destinations – There are places where winter is still in full force, but that offer the best of it. Nevada (flying into Las Vegas can still be found for holiday weekends for under $300) is an affordable winter vacation spot that sees mild weather and offers a variety of activities, from casino-going to outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. And according to Kayak, traveling and staying in destinations like Denver in 2019 may also be up to 55 percent less expensive than the average trip cost in 2018.

But prices like this won’t stick around since jet fuel prices are expected to rise. 7 percent in February (to $235) on average and will continue to gradually rise through May. So get booking!

Pregnant paradise at home; creating your ultimate ‘zen’ retreat….

As much as I love getting away, it isn’t always possible for moms-to-be (especially towards the end of your pregnancy.) However, using some of my favorite products, I have found a way to create a personal retreat right in my home…..

Candles – There is no better atmosphere setter than a candle, and not just any candle. I am very particular about scent and aesthetic in my home. Alixx Candles candles artisanal craftsmanship, European elegance, and a refined sense of calm. Hand poured with delicate and refined French parfums, each scent transcends to the most beautiful and fragrant places in France. The artisanal glass vases in which the candles sit are mouth-blown in Europe and are in themselves pieces of beautiful art that smell and look wonderful.

Natural oils – Everyone has their own version of what oils or creams prevent stretch marks, and while there is no real sure answer, you can help your skin by keeping it supple and hydrated. Opt for the natural route (for you and baby) and pick up some products from Skinny and Company’s chemical free Raw Beauty Line. Raw Beauty will give you everything you need to moisturize, repair, and protect your skin naturally, and leave you smelling better than a tropical vacation!  All of their raw beauty products contain 5 ingredients or less, Chemical Free, and contain 100% virgin Skinny coconut oil.  

Pregnancy pillow – This one I could not live (or rather sleep) without. The Snoogle by LeachCo retails for less than $70 and will literally transform the way you sleep, sit back or relax. If you are like most people, one pillow throughout the night is just not enough. There’s the pillow that goes behind your back for support, the one between your knees for temperature control, the one for your head, and (if you’re pregnant) one more for tummy support. The Snoogle was uniquely designed to support your body from head to toe and make the pillow situation less complicated, and makes sleeping, sitting or curling up to read a book while pregnant, a million times more comfortable.

Essential oils/vaporiser – We do know that many mums-to-be find aromatherapy helpful in easing pregnancy niggles, and calming nerves… especially at a time when your sense of smell is so acute. A vaporizer is a great way to benefit from the affects of aromatherapy in a safe way when pregnant. Oils like lavender and lemongrass are a few of my favorites to set the ‘spa’ mood at home but only use a couple drops of essential oil at a time (they are strong) in your choice of vaporizer….And if you do use them in a bath, dilute the essential oil by mixing the drop with at least a teaspoon (5ml) of a base oil like Grapeseed oil or sweet almond oil.

A prenatal massage – It’s worth treating yourself to at least one of these while your pregnant, as your body and your mind will thank you. Massages are like mini-vacations in themselves but when your pregnant it’s crucial you have one catered to prenatal care, for safety reasons. My local massage spot, Earth and Sky Healing Arts, is the picture of ‘zen’ – not only evoking relaxation and wellness, but also catering specifically to pregnancy needs. Their prenatal catered massages are specifically designed with a focus on the hips, lower back, neck, and shoulders – to help cultivate a centered balanced state in preparation for labor, mentally and physically. Look for a spa location with WELL trained prenatal masseuses, where you can unwind in safe hands.

TRAVEL TRENDS FOR 2019

TRAVEL TRENDS FOR 2019
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The rise of the ‘mini trip

Maybe it’s because people are working more hours but it seems travelers are reporting that they plan to take more weekend trips in 2019! Thanks to improvements in flight routes and flight tracking apps – ‘micro trips’ will become increasingly more popular and varied. Go-to tracking apps like Hopper have made it easy for people to book hotels or flights based on notifications and predictions on when and how prices will rise and fall and when the best time to book is. Tools like this are also a great way to explore different destinations and see when and where price wise the best place to go for you is!

The Caribbean and FL Keys continue to bounce back in a big way

Many of the Caribbean islands and the keys hit by Hurricane Irma and Maria are well on way on their way to recovery by now. There are also more flights to these destinations than ever before (from smaller cities like Boston and Denver.) They Keys are a particularly good bet for accessible paradise with something for everyone; take Key West’s Havana Cabana Resort – rich in charm and character where guest can relax and unwind with a midday mojito by the pool, conquer an array of watersports or just explore the colorful, buzzing town on a bicycle or vintage Vespa.

Conscious travel

2019 Should likely see a rise in people’s desire to learn something new while on vacation. Destinations like on the west coast like the City of Los Angeles should be a popular choice offering that California ‘all round vibe’ that includes a variety of experiences for a conscious traveler to experience from sustainable, farm-to-table cuisine to scenic hiking and surfing. Meditation gardens like Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardensprovide incredible spiritual retreat, while Bikes and Hikes L.A. offers hikes throughout the day until sunset, to discover some of the City’s most picturesque views. And between Santa Monica, Redondo and Manhattan Beach, travelers will find an array of surf camps to choose from!

Customization and Personalization

Especially technology that can help you keep track of & benefit from airline loyalty programs and offer solid travel hacks from a well travelled community, are on the rise. Apps like App in the Air is personal flying assistant that not only does that but also keeps you up-to-date with your flight: real time status, provides airport tips and in-airport navigation maps, flight profile with all your flights logged. The app works offline (gate changes and flight status updates are delivered via SMS which requires no data roaming).

The rise in the ‘vacation home’

According to a recent survey by Wyndham Destinations, more than half of millennials surveyed said have vacationed in a timeshare and a whopping three quarter said they actually liked it. Nearly half of Americans in general travel as a family and tend to like comfort when they travel like spacious accommodations, consistent service and brand names — all things that timeshares offer. In fact, the number one thing (34%) consumers say make their vacation less enjoyable is a lack of amenities like laundry, a fitness room or pool.  Homes away from home seem to be the future…

Surviving Flight Delays

Surviving Flight Delays

This holiday season I found myself subject to the mass delays surrounding the bad weather front that hit the northeast a few short days before Christmas. Even as a travel expert, I know that no amount of planning can control the weather,. However, there are ways to be prepared for the worst. So with the extra time due to my flight delay/cancellation, I used this as an opportunity to share some a few of my own tips with all the hardworking news networks on site!

Have ‘plan B’ ready to roll

I always keep a list of apps that come in handy in case of delays, especially when it comes to needing to rebook flights due to cancellation. You can’t always rely on the airline to get you on the next available flight, or predict when that will be, so you may need to do your own research – and FAST. Apps like hopper are great to have handy on your smartphone, as they will not only be able to compare what airlines are flying and at what prices, but also track these and can let you know when they go up and down and price and when to book them. Predicting future prices for flights and accommodations with 95% recommendation accuracy sure comes in handy when you have to think (and rebook) fast on your feet.

The Hopper App

Get Travel Insurance

While most travel insurance policies cover overnight stays, medical expenses, delayed or lost baggage, trip cancellations and airline change fees, most people still opt out of the added travel insurance. However, it can come in handy, especially if you find yourself booking a trip close to any major holidays like Christmas. The trip-focused plans are pretty affordable, but if you travel frequently you want to look into getting an annual travel insurance plan so it’s always there.

Pack prepared

If you are delayed for more than a few hours, airlines tend to hand out food vouchers, and sometimes nearby accommodation, but not always – so it is best to come prepared. Some essentials I suggest include granola bars, a water bottle, wet wipes, a blanket, a neck pillow, medicine, chargers, headphones, earplugs, an eye mask, some basic toiletries, and maybe a clean t-shirt rolled up in your bag! I personally love my Dagne Dover – it has a compartment for every item I travel with!

Keep yourself charged up and have offline options handy

There are some great portable chargers out (unless of course you have a ‘smart’ suitcase) so it’s worth carrying at least one power source in case you don’t find yourself near a pug for a while. You may also find yourself subject to slow airport wifi with hours to kill. Download movies and your favorite sitcoms from Netflix and Amazon Play (which are free if you have a subscription) so you can watch them offline during delays and on long trips. 

Stay CALM

This is probably the hardest thing to do – even I still get stressed when it comes to delays and cancellations. If you experience a delay and need to speak with the airline, stay composed and be polite, as remember, they are going to be the ones to get you on the next flight out. After that, find somewhere sit down, call anyone you need to, and wait it out. If you have lounge access, this is where it comes in handy. Remember, if your not flying, there’s often a good reason for it – which can include your safety in the air!

‘Momma’s to be’ On The Go – tips and tools to aid expectant mothers

As many of you may not know, I am expecting!
Five months into pregnancy, all the comforts become important, especially if you are like me, and always on the go. Many women work and travel right up until they are not medically allowed to, which can start to get tough as you stomach swells and your body changes. There are of course, tips and tools you can use to make any travel experience more comfortable, from your daily commute to jetting off on your ‘baby-moon.’ Below I share a few:

Give yourself time  – It’s not so bad being at the airport early anymore because they’re basically like big malls. Just do a little bit of shopping and go grab a light meal. Then (if you can) plan to take a nap on the flight, which is when comfort is key. GoTravel’s Ultimate Memory Pillow ($34.95) is well worth it and far cheaper than a flight upgrade. 

Create a spa experience – Whether you are arriving home after a long commute or arriving at your travel destination, creating a calm environment is essential when you are pregnant. Scent is particularly important so I suggest taking along some naturally scented travel candles. GoodLight makes a gorgeous range of natural travel size candle Apothecary Jars that you can light by your bedside, starting at just $8.99. Hatch’s Pocket Spa Trio for $68 is also a great way to carry a mini spa of ‘mama to be’ blended oils (ginger, eucalyptus and lavender) that do everything from energize to relax or aid morning sickness.

Bring a book/ download an app – Take along a book or download a meditation app that helps you zone out a little. There are a magnitude of books, e-book and apps on the market for expectant moms but you don’t want anything that causes you any more ‘expectant anxiety’ while you are in transit. One of my favorite books is Deepak Chopra’s Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives, which takes a soothing approach to pregnancy, focusing on the wondrous process of bringing new life into the world, as derived from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda – with an emphasis on body, mind, and spirit.

Comfort wear – Wanting to be stylish and yet comfortable when you travel is tough for the average person, never-mind pregnant. Luckily Hatch is well ahead of the curve with their maternity wear. One of my favorite travel essentials is their Slouch Dress which not only looks gorgeous but also weighs less than nothing, and takes up no suitcase space. Maybe get one in every color?!

Hydrate your skin – This is super key when you are traveling. The skin around your breasts and belly are especially susceptible as they stretch so be sure to keep these areas supple and hydrated. I love the $12 Belly Mask by Hatch – an all-natural hydrating sheet mask, made to help minimize stretch marks during pregnancy and help soften inflamed scar tissue postpartum. I am also now obsessed with coming home to the the Jua Essentials line of washes and cremes, which not only smell incredible but are free from harsh chemicals, petroleum, parabens, damaging sulfates.

Foot care – All this new baby weight is standing on one thing…. your feet. Aside of getting that regular pedicures and foot rubs there are other ways to make sure your tootsies are cared for. Compression socks are key for pregnant women traveling to prevent blood clots and aid circulation, and luckily Dr Motion makes a gorgeous range to choose from. I am also a big fan of  Down Girl Soothing Leg and Foot Relief $42 by Hatch – an anti-inflammatory gel-based cream that helps reduce swelling and invigorate tired feet and legs (perfect after a long journey or day on your feet.)

Take care of ‘down there’ – Over your pregnancy there is a lot going on ‘down there’ which can be more than uncomfortable, especially when on the go. Love Wellness does PH balancing, perfectly packaged ‘Do It All Wipes’  that fit right in your purse to keep you feeling feeling fresh and healthy wherever you are.

Record Breaking Holiday Travel – tips to survive!

I probably say it every year, but this year holiday travel is actually set to break some records!

Numbers released last week by AAA show that 112.5 million people are expected to be traveling in the air and on the roads; that’ s a  4.4 percent increase over last year’s number. Broken down by transport, 102.1 million people are expected to travel by car, 6.7 million people will travel by air and 3.7 million will travel by trains, buses and cruise ships.

So what’s the best way to beat the madness?

Timing is everything; the earlier you leave the better. That goes for every kind of transport. If your flying be sure to get to the airport at least two hours ahead of time. Drivers should note that data released by AAA shows that Thursday, Dec. 20 from 9:30 – 10:30 p.m. will be the worst time for travel in New York City. 

Get some handy apps stocked up on your phone, like WAZE, that use real time traffic data and also show alternate routes for you to consider based on traffic and time. 

3  Consider traveling on the actual holiday itself when there is usually the least amount of traffic and (for the risk takers who haven’t booked already) flights, trains and such can have price drops. Re flights in particular, be sure to download tracking apps like Hopper which will let you know when those deals strike.

4 Drivers, never hit the road with less than a full tank of gas, especially if you’re driving an extended distance. Its also smart to pack a driving kit with blankets and gloves, drinking water and flashlight with extra batteries, and healthy snacks for the journey. 

5  Keep update on weather reports, as this time of year weather can cause mayhem to travel plans. If you are driving, make sure you check weather conditions, have a working radio and your vehicle is prepared for any circumstances that may arise. If flying, be sure to keep an eye out for ‘winter storm warnings’ or severe delays,. This is particularly important if you have a connection somewhere that may be subject to temperamental weather you would not otherwise be. 

6  Stay calm, as he holidays can be stressful enough. Try and make the best of  journey ahead, no matter what it may bring (and know that a little extra preparation goes a long way.)

Bleisure’ Travel – Adding Leisure to Business Travel

‘Bleisure’ Travel – Adding Leisure to Business Travel
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Business travel can be a nightmare for many. Blurring lines between leisure and business travel — often referred to as ‘bleisure’ travel — has become more popular over the past few years. As long as it’s not forbidden by your company, fly to a desired destination to spend the weekend, and then head to your business meeting. 

Francesca so why ‘bleisure’? 

Many destinations are too expensive to go to otherwise so as long as your company allows, it makes sense to combine the two and get some site-seeing in.

Traveling to a destination ahead of time will give international businesspeople a window to adjust to a time change before their workweek starts.

Get to the meetings refreshed and with a positive attitide – making them them more successful in their business meetings.

Tips 

GET TSA PRE-CHECK OR GLOBAL ENTRY

For frequent travelers, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry is essential for expediting the security check. You don’t need to remove your shoes or belt, and you can keep your 3.4-ounce liquids in your bag and your computer safely in its case. TSA PreCheck costs $85 for five years and Global Entry is $100 for five years.PACK SMART AND CHOOSE QUALITY LUGGAGE

If your a regular business traveler/frequent flyer quality and space economic luggage is KEY (especially if you plan on extending your trip.) TRS Ballistic Luggage for example uniquely allows one to connect and roll multiple luggage pieces with one finger (think briefcases to suitcases) and has four wheels so no airport cart needed – making it time and space economic. See here.

REACH ELITE STATUS IN AN AIRLINE’S LOYALTY PROGRAM

If you don’t have status on an airline, get that first. Elite status in a frequent flyer program gives you airport lounge access, priority boarding, complimentary upgrades and more. When you’re on long-haul flights or visiting multiple cities, these luxuries can make travel a better experience.

Saving money with holiday travel is possible!

Saving money with holiday travel is possible!

It’s not too late to save some money when it comes to traveling over the coming holidays. Here are some great money saving tips to help you save both on booking and on getting from A to B….

Sign Up For Flight Alerts and use your miles

Use flight tracking apps like Hopper and sign up for flight alerts which will email or ping you notifications as prices drop or when deals become available and ultimately let you know the best time to book. Also It’s never too late to become a frequent flyer. Take advantage of your unused points to get flights or hotel stays for the holidays. Some credit cards will even get you special rates on rooms and upgrades, and a points-purchased business class flight could even be a gift to yourself for the holidays.Posted On:By: misstravelguru

Don’t Fly Straight To Your Final Destination 

While a straight shot to your destination may seem like your best bet, you may be surprised to find out that it might be cheaper to create your own layovers using one-way flights. Consider building your own itinerary which can be cheaper than basic roundtrip fares and also consider surrounding airports. (Added bonus – if you cancel or change one leg of the trip you’re only dealing with the one way ticket!)

Be Mindful When You Rent A Car

Use rental sites to compare prices and book the cheapest car available, then try to negotiate for a free upgrade when checking in at the car rental counter. And you can skip the rental car insurance to save even more money. Many credit cards cover the cost of car rental insurance. Depending on your destination, this could save you hundreds of dollars.

Consider your travel days and return home

A big way to cut costs when traveling over the holidays is to fly on the holiday itself. Also don’t be in a rush to get back especially if you are looking to come back over a weekend (when flights typically run higher.) Consider as well taking your holiday days AFTER the holiday rather than before which will not only will it save you some money, but you could opt for slower travel options, like taking the train or going on a road trip.

Pack light

An easy way to save money on holiday travel is by not checking bags. You’ve likely seen swarms of people with stacks of suitcases and bags waiting to check into their flights. Instead, ask yourself a critical question before you start to pack – do I really need to bring all this stuff? Get smart with your luggage too (in every sense) and look at brands like Dagne Dover which create bags that are both stylish and perfectly practical for travel – like their Landon Carryall made of durable and light weight 365 neoprene.

The Best Flight Tips

The Best Flight Tips

This summer, many of you will be doing your fare share of flying. While flying doesn’t come however without its fare share of stresses and strifes, there are great ways to make the most of your transport time, and hey, even enjoy it! So here are some tips to help you get from A to B at your best.

DRINK BEFORE YOU GO

The humidity on planes is only around 10% and this dry air can cause headaches and groggyness, so down at least 10 ounces of H20 preflight. In flight consider some seltzer water with a splash of ginger ale to keep you hydrated and and travel sickness at bay.Posted OnBy: misstrave

CREATE A CATNIP KIT

Stow in your carry on a neck pillow, noise-cancelling headphones, and eye mask and a (lightweight) microfibre blanket. You will use them all at one stage, trust me.

EXERSIZE

Flying can cause feet to swell and the body to ache, so every hour walk the length of the cabin to rev circulation. Once at your destination, see what your hotel/accommodation has to offer fitness wise, rent a city bike to explore or utilize a national gym chain if applicable. Keeping healthy and fit when traveling keeps your immune system going and your mood positive.

SNACK SMART

Cut out the carbs which can make you bloated during pressure changes, and instead opt for nuts, dried fruits or cheese. If you do get a sandwich, pull out the meat and veggies for energizing protein without the drowsy causing refined carbs. Equally when drinking steer clear of the sugary drinks that will leave you tired on arrival.

MEDITATE

It can be tempting to watch your favorite series re-runs but flying can provide you time to do what you might normally put off or don’t have time for at home. Jot in your journal, go over your monthly calendar, or take some time to meditate (download tranquil music and from toes to head imagine each part of your body relaxing one by one.)

STAY COOL

Yes flying can be stressful but have perspective. Cancellations and delays can happen, but the most important thing is that you are SAFELY. Focus on extending love to other travelers even in the midst of small agitations or annoyances and offer assistance; it will leave both you and them with a smile and good sense of well being.