About Us, All Things Travel, Uncategorized

Why Did We Decide to Travel?

Waseem and I have loved travel for pretty much forever. We each grew up in families that moved around a lot and enjoyed spending summers abroad. To us, it had become more normal to be on the move than it was to stay put in one place for more than about 3 months at a time.

Soon after we first got married in Upstate NY, we moved back home to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with the mindset that settling down there and working for a few years would help us save up some money to start our lives together. After living and working in Saudi Arabia for three years, we decided it wasn’t really the best fit for us. As a labor and delivery nurse working in one of the biggest hospitals in the city, the large workload due to under-staffing, and the lack of appreciation for nurses slowly started to drain me. Waseem had also been working for a non-profit at the time that had stopped paying it’s staff for months, and didn’t look like it was going to anytime soon.

In the meantime we were at the beginning of starting our own little business in our kitchen making beard oil. Waseem started growing a beard at the time and was having a hard time finding the right oils to keep it moisturized and well kempt. When we did our research and found that there really was a gap in the market, and beard oil was hard to come by in one of the hairiest countries known to man, we decided to give it a try and make our own. We’re going on three years now, and we can’t imagine our life any other way. It’s not easy owning and operating our own business, but it sure does give us the flexibility we need to travel (and we loooove to travel!). We’re lucky enough that we can be pretty much anywhere and still be able to get things done for Diggn’ It as long as we have some internet.

Meanwhile we decided to start our family, and our little guy Zayd came along June 2017! He was really the one who gave us the push to do some traveling. No better time than the present to seize the moment and take Zayd on some adventures before having to be more attached to a single location when school starts one day. Bali it was! Since we’d visited Bali a couple years ago and loved it, we knew that was where we had to go. So we packed our bags and headed to the beautiful Island to enjoy more quality time together and just slow down our fast paced lives being in cities and what an adventure it was!

If you’re interested in our favorite family travel tips, click here.

About Us, All Things Travel, Travel Tips

Our Best Family Travel Tips

We’ve been traveling for a while now and we’re definitely not experts, but we’ve picked up a few things along the way. Below are our top travel tips.

1. Always try to stay at AirBnbs
We’re not really the hotel-staying type. For starters we definitely need accessibility to a kitchen since we’re always on the move and we have a young child. We’ve been using Airbnb since 2014 and have stayed in more than 25 different homes all over the world! (Berlin, Amsterdam, Beirut, Chicago, Bali, Vietnam and Dubai to name a few!). I’ve become such a pro at researching and booking places on Airbnb that I would say out of the 25 different places we’ve stayed, we’ve only really had bad experiences in maybe 2 of them. When you stay in Airbnbs, it feels less like you’re visiting and more like you’re living there.

2. Enjoy some Pb&J sandwiches! 
It’s not practical to eat all our meals out, not to mention that it can become pricey. Waseem and I usually have about two meals a day, breakfast and an early dinner. Zayd I would say has two big meals also but does more snacking throughout the day than we do. Peanut better and Jam are the two first things we buy at the supermarket when we first arrive in a new city. Sometimes it’s hard to find healthy options but we do our best. We usually put some banana in our pb & j sandwiches as well to add some more sustenance. Luckily Zayd’s not allergic to anything so peanut butter is something he’s been introduced to since he was about 8 months old and he loves it! I would say we have at least 3-4 sandwiches a week. They’re a great easy go to and can be packed into a day-pack and enjoyed on the go!

3. When shopping less is more (and bring a camera)
It can be tempting to buy all kinds of souvenirs when traveling. From pretty rattan bags and colorful sarongs in Bali to cute wooden clogs in Amsterdam to bags and bags of delicious coffee in Vietnam! Because Waseem and I try to travel as compact and light as possible I would say we take more pictures of things we may want to buy rather than actually buy them. Most of the time you get excited when traveling and buy things in the spur of the moment that you may use on your trip, but these purchases actually end up sitting at the bottom of a closet back home. Every once in a while we’ll make the odd cute baby Bali tourist shirt for Zaydo but I find that the next time I’m packing to move on to our next destination, the shirt for example will only bother me when I have to find room for it. We generally will take pictures of things we may want to buy and veto actually buying them!

4. Use packing cubes, lots of them
I’m a bit OCD when it comes to packing for trips. It usually takes me the entire day before our flight to organize and pack our suitcases. I generally like everything to be in an order that makes it easy to pack and unpack. Our Eagle Creek packing cubes have been absolute life savers! First thing I do is layout all of our clothes in neat piles on the bed. Then, I’ll designate packing cubes for each pile and roll the clothes into them so they fit perfectly. Finally, I’ve started using post its and writing what’s in each pack to label them (okay, very OCD). I find that this makes it really easy to unpack at our next destination. Unless we’re staying somewhere for a week or more I’ll keep the clothes in the packs and just lay them out on a surface making it easy to find things we’re looking for. If we stay somewhere for longer than a week, I will sometimes unpack the packs and put our clothes in a closet. Definitely wouldn’t be able to pack and unpack as much as we do without these amazing cubes! They are truly life savers.

5. Keep Zayd’s sleeping arrangement as consistent as possible
When we decided we were going to start traveling I knew I had to find a travel cot that was light and easily portable for Zayd to sleep in. At around 6 months we moved Zayd from sleeping in the Chicco Next2Me Co-Sleeper to a crib at the foot of the bed so he wouldn’t see that we were in the room with him and want to wake up and play. It worked! After lots of research we decided to go with the Phil & Teds Travel Cot. It’s the lightest cot on the market weighing less than the baby (it only weighs 6 lbs!) and is just the right size for any bedroom you end up in while traveling. It also comes with a compact self inflating mattress pad. I love that Zayd is always sleeping in a familiar spot. It really makes it easy to be moving around as frequently as we are. The first night sometimes takes him a little time to get comfortable as he sees the room is different, but shortly after that he’s fast asleep and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. We also bring along Zayds nest from Etsy. I love it but really wish I had purchased a nest from this amazing company LoveBirdsSewingCo. Their nests are absolutely adorable! Such beautiful patterns and the fabric seems to be extremely durable for indoor and outdoor use. I will definitely be investing in one of these if and when we decide to grow our little family! You can also check out their Instagram account here.