One of my favorite things about social media is meeting other families that love to travel and adventure. I like to dig in and find out what works for them and what draws their family to want to be "on the go" so we started a little series here on the blog where we spotlight other families who love to travel. We hope you will enjoy the next installment of the "Travel Family Spotlight" series.
Emily Holt is the face behind the Instagram account @flightsfromhome.slc. She is a mom of a darling one-year-old and she started "Flights from Home" as a way to post travel deals she found from Salt Lake City to destinations around the world for family and friends. Her account became so popular that she has now expanded into Southern California, Las Vegas, Denver, San Francisco, and Portland and has separate Instagram accounts for each city as well as a community page at @flightsfromhome. The deals she finds are amazing and the work she does makes it so more families can travel inexpensively, so of course we are big fans! Of course, Emily and her family love to travel themselves and they are now learning how life changes when you travel with a young child. We hope you'll enjoy our interview with Emily from Flights From Home!
1. Tell us about your family.
Our family currently consists of me, my husband, Cam, and our little girl, Jade (1.5 years old). We call Salt Lake City home. My husband manages software development and I'm an attorney. We also are huge Utah fans.
2. Where do you live? Has your family moved around at all?
Cam was born and raised in Salt Lake. He went to Alta High School. I was born in California but have been here since Junior High School (Orem and Salt Lake), so I definitely claim Utah as home.
3. How often do you travel with your family? Is it local travel or international? Where has been your favorite place your family has traveled?
We try to travel internationally twice a year. Last year was Italy and Cambodia. This year was Croatia/Bosnia and TBD. Aside from that, we take a couple domestic trips. Usually these are small and often involve visiting family around the country. It would be great if we could figure out a way to get unlimited time off work :)
So far, our favorite vacation destinations have been Cambodia, Ireland, and Brazil.
4. Tell us a little bit about your website/Instagram account and what gave you the idea to start "Flights from Home"? How has what you do evolved as you have expanded to different markets? What other cities do you think you will expand into?
I started Flights From Home as a way to share travel deals with friends and family. Call it a weird hobby or whatever, but I like Flights. And I figured an Instagram account was better than the weekly mass texts people were getting. Over time the account has just grown, and I figure, the more the merrier. I have heard from so many people that they have been able to take trips they never dreamed of because of my account, so that has really been a lot of the driving force for why I have kept it going.
The posts have changed a little as the account has grown. Mostly so they are more readable. We did open up a few new cities, which has been fun, but also definitely more work than I anticipated. As of now, we don't plan to open any more markets until the other accounts are a little more established. Then, I guess we will just go from there.
5. Why do you like to travel with your daughter? How has travel changed for you since having your daughter? How has it changed as she has grown into a toddler?
Traveling with Jade has definitely changed things. The pace of travel is much slower, and we overall have to be more flexible to account for things that might come up. But really, this has actually been a welcomed changed. It's nice to be forced to spend a little less time go go going on vacation. Plus, it's truly nice to just unwind as a family for a week or two and just enjoy each other's company.
6. What's a memorable travel experience you've had with your family?
Candidly, that's the great thing about travel--there are so many to choose from. One of my favorite memories though is when we took Jade to Cambodia when she was eight months old. We were in a market and there was this lady that was selling all of these cute handmade, patchwork animals. I picked out one I liked and was showing it to Jade, and immediately her eyes went to the strangest looking monkey and she just started laughing. I don't think I had ever heard her laugh that hard. Needless to say, we bought the money and still have it. We always joke how Jade has this tendency to pick out scary souvenirs, which has been true on a few vacations since then.
7. What are the easiest and hardest parts about traveling with a baby/toddler for you?
The best part about traveling with kids is that I find places tend to be a lot more accommodating. For instance, we have been taken to the front of the line in security in airports or customs because we have a small kid. Also, in Asia, we got upgraded everywhere--mostly because people loved Jade!
One of the harder things is dealing with sleep issues in new time zones. To combat this, we try to maintain some normalcy wherever we go. For instance, we try to get up at a reasonable time, so hopefully we are tired by the end of the day. We also bring Jade's portable white noise machine and her blanket, so that she has something familiar even though we are in a new place. Even trying our very hardest though, a lot of times we just roll with the punches. There have been many times where I have been up at 2 a.m. watching a movie with Jade in a foreign country because she woke up and can't fall back asleep. And you know what? I really don't mind because I don't get 2 a.m. cuddles that often at home.
8. What are your favorite travel resources?
For flights I'm a huge fan of Google Flights and Kayak. For places to stay, we try to use @Airbnb when possible (especially in Europe). Having a full apartment, rather than just a hotel room, with a little girl is invaluable. And fortunately, @Airbnb rentals are usually cheaper than hotel rooms.
9. What are three items you never leave home without?
Aside from the required passports, when we travel, three items we never leave without are snacks, a linen ring sling I use to carry Jade, and Jade's white noise machine (see above regarding attempting to adjust to sleep).
Our staple snacks are goldfish, trail mix, and Swedish Fish. We always pack half in our carry-ons and half in our packed bag for when we come home--plus, snacks are always good to have when you need something at 2:00 a.m. in a foreign country.
As far as the sling goes, we actually don't take a stroller and just use the sling. Jade is still light enough that I can carry her when she's tired. Plus, she naps right in the sling, so Cam and I will keep doing things wherever we are while she is napping.
10. What's your next travel adventure?
Other than a few domestic trips to California, we actually don't have anything in the works right now, which is kinda strange for us. Usually though, we go wherever a cheap flight takes us, so it doesn't bother me that nothing is planned. I'm sure a deal will come along and the conversation will go something like this: "Cam, how about this for our Fall trip?" "Sounds good." Haha.