I have a soft spot for moms who find a way to turn their passion into a profitable venture while at the same time building it around the demands of motherhood. It takes creativity, out-of-the box thinking, a supportive family and YES cheerleaders. For many moms an investment in the online world can open a world of possibilities. I did not have to travel far to discover the impressive Colleen Lanin, San Diego mama blogger and founder of Travel Mamas.com!
What value does your blog offer San Diego families?
Travel Mamas offers families from San Diego and beyond tips on how and where to travel with children, printable packing lists, and travel-related giveaways. The site also spotlights getaways without the kids because sometimes mama needs a break too!
What is your goal with the blog from a business perspective?
While I do make a little money from advertisements on the site, www.TravelMamas.com is really more of a platform for me in terms of making money elsewhere – through freelance writing, teaching blogging classes, doing speaking engagements, and building an audience for the book I hope to someday publish, The Travel Mama’s Guide: How to Travel with Babies & Tots…and Stay Sane! The site provides me with an opportunity to travel for free or at a discount. Travel Mamas also led to my job as an editor for the Travel & Vacations Channel of Tree.com, a new social media site launching this month by the company that owns Lending Tree, RealEstate.com, and many other businesses.
Tell us your favorite San Diego staycation and as well vacation!
People always ask me where to stay in San Diego and I have to admit, I haven’t done a lot of staycations here because I love to venture elsewhere whenever I get a chance. When we were getting our house’s interior painted once, my family checked into the Hotel Del Coronado for a couple of nights. As a peninsula, Coronado has its own mini-culture and it felt like quite the escape from our everyday lives. I have brought many visiting relatives and friends to tour the hotel and it was such a treat to stay as a guest in this historic hotel with its castle-like appearance and gorgeous stretch of beach. My husband and I also ducked away for one night at La Valencia in La Jolla Cove to celebrate our wedding anniversary shortly after our first baby was born. The Cove also has a unique village-feel to it that made it feel like an escape. I think the most important advice I can give in terms of taking a staycation is to treat it truly like a vacation – leave the computer and to-do list at home and explore your own town as if you are a tourist!
I always love to explore new destinations but there are a few places I could happily return to again and again. As a wine lover, California wine country is certainly a favorite. I lived in France for a year in college and I love to visit there to practice my French, take in the beautiful architecture, and eat as many croissants and pastries as I can! Hawaii is another favorite for me – I have been to every island besides the Big Island and can’t wait to scratch that one off my bucket list.
I always joke that Disney Cruise Line should hire me to do PR for them because I absolutely gush about their cruises! I can’t think of a better way for the entire family – no matter the ages – to have a fabulous time. The customer service is out of this world and everyone is taken care of, so the kids AND mom and dad are happy.
Do you have top tips for traveling with babies/little ones?
I have so many…I don’t know where to begin! The most important first step for new parents on their inaugural trip with a baby is to adjust their expectations. There isn’t as much “me time” or “we time” but with a few adjustments a vacation with a baby can still be fun and relaxing. Be sure to squeeze in baby’s naps and stick to a regular bedtime routine. Take turns with your spouse or travel partner so that you can squeeze in a trip to the spa or round of golf.
What are your top budget tips for traveling families?
I love doing a home exchange to save money – you can try to exchange with acquaintances in other locales or choose to go through a site like www.HomeExchange.com, where you pay an annual membership for access to listings of trade-able homes around the world. I also like to have groceries delivered or make a stop at the market, especially during long trips. Eating breakfast in your hotel room saves money and allows for more time to see the sites or relax on the beach.
What would you like to see come from your blog?
I try to stay focused on what got me started in the first place…my desire to help other parents enjoy traveling with their children. I love writing, traveling, and parenting and feel very fortunate to be able to combine these three passions into a career. I’d love to see Travel Mamas continue to grow and maybe use the site to help me sell my book. It would be fabulous to eventually be able to earn enough money so that I could hire additional writers and help even more parents enjoy seeing the world with their children.