People to Follow: Rubios Wander

It is Follow Friday again! If you love to travel, then I would HIGHLY recommend you start following the lovely and extremely helpful @RubiosWander! #FollowFriday 

Family picture at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. July 2015. 

Rubios Wander is a travel blog started by a childhood friend of mine! This family has been all over the world, so their advice has been well-tested! :) They also have two precious, little girls, so they offer helpful tips for traveling with kids! Continue reading the interview below to learn more about this sweet family and their recommendations for cities, restaurants, websites, and travel gear!

Blog Name: Rubios Wander
Author: Emily Rubio
Blog Topics: Traveling (and traveling with kids!)

TDC: Briefly tell us a little about your family. Where is home for you all?
RW: I'm Emily, wife to Chris for almost 8 years now! We have two little baby girls - Olivia, 21 months, and Adele, 8 months. We love to learn by experience, so traveling is something we can't seem to get enough of. 

Home base for us is in north metro Atlanta. We like it because we went to school here so we have lots of friends & family around town. We can also fly almost anywhere in the world direct out of our airport! Chris and I have traveled to almost 30 countries together, and have brought the girls all across the U.S. with us.

TDC: What led you to start a travel blog?
RW: My travel blog started because we are constantly on the move with our girls, and we get lots of questions about how we do it and what products we use to make it easier for us (and them). Instead of telling the same information to multiple people, it just seemed easier to let them read all about it in real-time. I also enjoy writing about our travels so that one day I can show it to Olivia & Adele and let them read all the stories from the places we've been together. It's enjoyable to write about a trip we took, and I love going back through all of our pictures as often as I can!

Pregnant me, Chris & Olivia at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, WA. September 2014

TDC: What has been your favorite country to visit thus far? AND where are you dying to go?
RW: That's a tough one! But I think I have to say New Zealand is my favorite. We spent 14 nights cruising around the entire country and did so much! We bungee jumped in Auckland, took a jet boat in Tauranga, visited a sheep sheering farm in Queenstown, and so much more! If it didn't take so long to get there, we would have definitely been back again!

We have never been to Peru and I would love to visit Machu Picchu someday. Plus, we love Peruvian food! It's not too long of a flight from Atlanta, and an easy time change, so we hope to bring the girls with us in a few years!

Olivia running to watch the airplanes at Point Loma in San Diego, CA. April 2015

TDC: If you were talking to a family that wanted to try a new vacation spot in the United States, what city would you recommend? What are the must-see spots and restaurants for that city?
RW: San Diego, CA! We can't seem to get enough of the west coast and love the weather in Southern California. We visited back in April and stayed in La Jolla, and we talk all the time about when we will go back. 

We hiked at Torrey Pines, visited the San Diego zoo, watched the sunset at Mt. Soledad, saw the seals at Seal Beach, and enjoyed the coastal views at Point Loma. We rented a house for the week and grilled out a lot there. But we had dinner one night at PrepKitchen in La Jolla and loved it! The area is really cute and a nice place to walk around. 

TDC: Do you have any favorite websites for finding flights, hotels, restaurants or activities?
RW: There are several sites that we use for various parts of the trip. We try to use Hotels.com for hotel reservations, and we can earn free nights through them. For booking houses, we typically use VRBO. Since kids don't wait patiently, and neither do hungry parents, we make reservations as much as we can using OpenTable. A lot of our daily activities and excursions are found on TripAdvisor, and sometimes Expedia. Once we arrive, we use Yelp to help us find restaurants nearby. It has never let us down so we are huge fans!

For our flights, we have an American Express card that gives us great mileage points and an annual companion ticket for flying Delta Airlines. When we don't use that, we book straight from delta.com. We are Atlanta natives and can't stray from our hometown airline!

TDC: You and your husband travel with kids a lot, what advice would you give to parents who are nervous about flying or driving with little ones?
RW: My best general advice is to start the trip and planning process with the knowledge that you will be moving at a much slower pace than you did before them. Don't plan to do too many things in one day because it just won't happen. If you are road tripping, try to find a mall with a good food court and indoor play area so the kids can have lunch and some time to run around and get out their energy. If you are flying, bring snacks and quiet toys for the flight to keep them entertained as long as possible. We also download movies onto the iPad and let the girls watch something that we know will entertain them. Traveling with kids gets easier each time you do it so start early and go as often as you can!

One other thing, and we hear this one frequently, is why bring them when we know they won't remember. Olivia and Adele are both under two and we have never paid for their admission in or on anything - so why not?! They fly for free until their second birthday, they get into museums & theme parks for free, and it gets them used to being a little out of the norm of their comfort zone! Plus, with the amount of digital photos that their generation has, it's much easier for them to remember things since they can look back at so many pictures & videos of themselves on a trip.

TDC: Do you have any travel gadgets, luggage, or must-haves that you would highly recommend for making life easier?
RW: We bought an iPad mount for the car headrest and it has made a world of difference for our time spent in the car! I can now play a movie or turn on a photo slideshow for the girls and the time passes by so quickly for them! Here is a link to ours.

For meal time, I have two products that I couldn't live without. Adele is in the baby food stage right now, and we all know that's messy. These bibs are a simple wipe & go. For traveling, you don't want to carry a bunch of dirty, stinky cloth bibs with you each day so these are a lifesaver for messy meals. We also leave these disposable placemats in the diaper bag at all times. They are perfect for babies who aren't ready to eat off a plate yet, but still feed themselves finger foods. This way, you don't have to put their food directly on the table if you are worried about the cleanliness of an outside patio table, and they can look at Minnie Mouse during their meal! (See picture of Adele with bib and placement below.)

TDC: Anything you would suggest people avoid when traveling? Are there any mishaps you've learned from? :)
RW: Chris likes to call these "rookie mistakes" and we have a long list of them. I think at the top of the list should be to avoid long lines and always have food accessible! Kids don't always understand why they're waiting and it usually doesn't end pretty. Airlines let traveling families with babies board first so you have plenty of time to get everything out of your bag and ready for the flight.

We always bring more than enough snacks to last and plenty of water. Well fed kids are much easier to deal with than kids who get 'hangry'! We learned this the hard way when we took a hike once at Snoqualmie Falls near Seattle, WA and forgot a bottle for Olivia. She was about 6 months old at the time and didn't know how to drink from anything else! We were at the base of the falls and the car with the bottle was at the top. Poor Chris had to sprint uphill about a mile and bring it back down to our very upset little baby! We've never made a rookie mistake like that one again!

Also, don't plan on them being able to skip a nap if they've never done it before. It might sound better that they stay awake and participate in the entire day's activities, but that's just not always realistic. Sometimes they'll pleasantly surprise you and be great without a nap all day!

TDC: Favorite place to get dinner with your husband in the Atlanta area?
RW: Atlanta has so many great restaurants and we always seem to go back to Canton Street in Roswell to eat at Table & Main. The entire street looks like a scene from a movie with great restaurants and shops lined up one after the other. Table & Main is in an old, two-story house with a fantastic patio for outside seating. Usually I would order a salad at dinner, but I can't resist their fried chicken and mac & cheese. They take reservations, have a full bar, and have the perfect date night ambience for any couple.

On a few scheduled nights throughout the summer, Canton Street participates in Alive After Five. The street is blocked so that pedestrians have free reign and can wander around listening to live music, tasting some food, and getting discounts at the shops. Many people bring their dogs & kids and make it a fun outing for the entire family! http://www.aliveafterfiveroswell.com

(Thank you @RubiosWander! That is so helpful!)

Okay, so who do you recommend for #FollowFriday? Any instagram accounts or blogs that you think I should feature? Would love for you to leave a comment below!

Best,
Emily Kirby