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.
Alexis Aschenbach is the face behind the Instagram account @capitol.momma. She is a mom of two girls (ages 3 and 6) and is expecting a baby boy in a few months. She started "Capitol Momma" as a way to chronicle her adventures around Washington, D.C. with her daughters. She loves scouting kid-friendly places, activities, and events. She is also a contributor to the Mommy Nearest website. We know you'll love her perspective on adventuring with her kids. And she takes beautiful pictures of their adventures. You can also follow along on her website Capitol Momma.
1. Tell us about your family.
Hello! We are currently a family of 4 with a baby boy due in September. I'm Alexis, my husband is Tommy, and our two girls are Clara (6) and Mae (3). I grew up in Nebraska and moved out to D.C after college. I didn't think I would end up staying forever but I met my husband out here and this is where we started our family. Now I absolutely love raising our kids here - there's so much to do and experience in the D.C. area.
2. Where do you live? Has your family moved around at all?
We live in Potomac, MD just a few miles outside of Washington, D.C. My husband owns a local business so we are here to stay! We really like this area because it offers the best of both worlds - we get to enjoy the benefits of suburb life but are close enough to the city to be able to enjoy everything it has to offer too.
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 take a few trips within the U.S. every year. In January we head south to Florida when we really start to feel like we need a break from the cold weather. In the summer we visit family in Nebraska and also go to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Those are our regular trips and then we usually go somewhere new as well. We haven't traveled internationally with our girls yet. I hope to take them to Europe when they get a little bit older. I was in a study abroad program in London during college and really found a love for traveling while there. I want my girls to experience that too.
It's hard to pick a favorite because I think there is something special about every trip but Napa and Sonoma will always be a favorite of mine. Before having children, I was a wine buyer for a large U.S. wine retailer and spent a lot of time in wine country. When my oldest was just five months old we went as a family. It's pretty easy to tour wineries with a baby strapped in a Bjorn but I definitely wouldn't take older kids! Save that for a parent's getaway trip!
4. You do a lot of local adventures and activities with your kids around the Washington, D.C. area. How do you find all of the fun activities you plan? What motivates you to get out so much and explore where you live?
I keep a running list of all the places I want to take my kids and do a lot of research too. We have our favorite places we like to visit over and over again like local farms for berry picking and the Smithsonian museums but then I try to mix in some new places to keep things interesting. I find a lot of activities on Facebook and Instagram and by reading other mom blogs.
I actually find it more stressful to be at home with my girls than out exploring! When I am out with them I am not worrying about trying to get the dishes or laundry done - I can just be present with them and temporarily forget about all my other responsibilities. My oldest daughter is now in Kindergarten and I'm realizing that it's going to get harder to find time to go explore together. I am really trying to do as much as I can with them before sports, birthday parties, and school activities completely fill up our schedule.
5. Why do you like to travel with your kids?
They love it and I love watching them experience new things. It's the best to see the world through their eyes with such wonder and excitement. Plus it's a great learning opportunity for them. Especially in the D.C. area, we have so many historical sites and museums to explore and I try not to take that for granted.
6. What's a memorable travel experience you've had with your family?
Last summer we had a memorable trip to Colorado that the girls still talk about all the time. I've really missed the mountains since moving to the East coast! Growing up in Nebraska, we used to ski in Colorado every winter so it felt great to go back. It was just so relaxing breathing in the mountain air, going horseback riding, picnicking, and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
7. What are the easiest and hardest parts about traveling with kids?
I've always been a planner so that part comes easy to me. I like to make sure we have a schedule even while traveling so we make sure to maximize our time and see everything we want to see. The hardest party is probably when I'm traveling without my husband. He works really long hours so most our local trips are just myself and the girls. I've flown solo with them many times as well and that can be hard with a restless toddler on a long flight but still always worth it.
8. What are your favorite travel resources?
For flights I usually check Kayak.com and Google Flights. For rental cars and hotels, I often book them through the Bank of America Travel Center and use credit cards rewards points. I find that Instagram is also a great resource to find fun things to see and do while traveling.
9. What are three items you never leave home without?
1. Snacks - My girls seem to always be hungry so I always pack snacks in my bag and keep extra in the car. Food is an essential to keep everyone happy when we are out on adventures.
2. Water bottles - another essential! We are usually doing something active so it's important to stay hydrated.
3. My camera - I always take my DSLR with us everywhere we go. It can get a bit heavy to lug around but documenting our adventures is a passion of mine. I love capturing a moment in time and being able to go back to it by looking at a photo.
10. What's your next travel adventure?
We will be taking a few local day trips over the girl's spring break. I'm trying to do as much as I can with them without completely exhausting myself while pregnant! In May I'll be going on a trip to Palm Beach, Florida without my husband and the girls for a little R&R time with a girlfriend. I hardly ever travel without my kids so I'm really looking forward to having a break! And then we are headed to Nebraska in June to visit family.