Travel Essentials: Feather + Flip

The founder of your new favorite travel site tells us what her family would never leave home without.

Travel Essentials: Feather + Flip

Like many great ideas, the new family travel site Feather + Flip--officially launching their beta this fall--was born out of frustration. Founder (and mom) Henley Vazquez, who worked at the luxury travel site Indagare as well as Town & Country Travel magazine, was over the way family travel was being covered...and mostly ignored.

“There’s a growing feeling amongst parents that having children doesn’t mean handing in your passport. I wanted to build a website where time-crunched moms and dads could quickly find the right hotel and the right room at a good price,” says Vazquez, “plus easily figure out where to eat, what to do with the kids, and even find a babysitter to call.” A woman after our own hearts.


Below she tells us more about Feather + Flip, and lets us know where she’s going next and what she’s packing.

What can we expect from Feather + Flip?

We’ll be launching our beta this fall with hotel reviews, itineraries and online bookings. We’ve partnered with some great companies and will offer rates previously available only through a travel agent. Think of us as your well-traveled friend who will give you an honest assessment of a hotel and tell you how to get the best deal.

How much harder or easier is it traveling with kids than you thought?

It’s so much easier now that my kids are getting older (they are 4 and 7). We started flying with both of them while they were infants, and I think the first trip is always the most stressful. Like anyone, I’ve had tough moments of screaming kids on a plane or middle-of-the-night fevers in a foreign country, but I’ve always felt like it was worth the inconvenience to show the world to my babies.

Global Entry has also made our lives infinitely easier, especially since my husband can’t always travel with us, so I’m often solo-parenting on planes. The long wait at immigration coincides with the official end of my patience.

I’m still waiting on the day when both kids will go to the bathroom by themselves. Cramming everyone into an airport stall remains one of my least favorite things ever. But in general, I love traveling with the kids.

What are your favorite family destinations?

It’s impossible to choose! For beach destinations, I love Tulum, St. Barth’s and Ibiza. Ignore what you read in the press - they are all super low-key, relaxed, bohemian retreats where your kids are welcome everywhere and can run around naked on beaches.

Closer to home, Martha’s Vineyard and Shelter Island are little slices of heaven.

Cities seem to be universally interesting with kids, but I was especially surprised when we went to Hong Kong last spring. I could have spent a week there and found something different to explore every day. It was great for kids. London is also endlessly awesome thanks to kid-appealing museums and sights like the Tower of London (honestly, I like the gory stories as much as my kids do), easy day trips and lots of parks. Ditto Barcelona, where the groovy Gaudi architecture is as magical to a 3-year-old as it is to us adults.

What's your favorite family activity here in your hometown?

Governor’s Island is such a treat during the summer. I love taking the ferry over and exploring on bikes or just playing in the lawns or seeing the art projects. It feels eons away from city life.

In Manhattan, the Highline is great. We love to start at the northern part and end in the Meatpacking District so the kids can snack on sausages and play ping-pong at the Standard Biergarten while we have a beer.

A little farther away, Storm King is one of my favorite day trips. The sculptures are amazing. Bring a picnic plus a stroller if your kids are young and get tired of walking.

When it’s cold or rainy, we have so many museums to visit but my new obsession is the Museum of Math. We took the kids recently and couldn’t get them to leave. Eataly is around the corner and great for lunch afterwards.

What she’s packing:

For kids:

-A change of clothes, top to bottom, for the plane. Someone’s always spilling, vomiting or peeing on themselves.

-Every electronic device I own, loaded with movies, tv shows and games, and a big collection of adaptors for foreign plugs.

-Snacks and water.

-Children’s Dramamine. These chewable tablets are remarkably hard to find in a regular drugstore but most airports carry them.

-Night-Night, my 4-year-old’s half-destroyed duck-headed lovey.

For herself:

-A change of clothes, because somebody usually spills or pees on me as well.

-A book so I can read when the kids have possession of my iPad.

-My laptop. Every trip has something worth scouting, so I’m always writing. Even my kids know how to do a hotel tour these days.

-An itinerary, printed as well as in my email. I hate arriving and not knowing what to do next so I always have my travel details and confirmations in the itinerary as well as good restaurants nearby and something fun to do with the kids that day.

-Cheap jewelry so it’s easy to get a little dressed up without the worry of losing anything good.

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

Keep reading Show less

My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

Keep reading Show less