Jamie Pearson is a writer, mother of two, and founder of Travel Savvy Mom. Her writing has appeared in Parenting, the Utne Reader, and in the award-winning anthology Toddler: Real-life Stories of Those Fickle, Irrational, Urgent, Tiny People We Love. She has traveled extensively with and without her children, and her top three pieces of family travel advice are 1) Never leave home without peanut butter, 2) No child is too big for a stroller, and 3) Bring plenty of new toys—$50 for three pounds of plastic crap will seem like the deal of the century at 3am in a London hotel. Follow her on Twitter at @TravelSavvyMom.
1. What’s the most underrated destination you’ve been to?
Kemmerer, Wyoming without a doubt—it’s not so much underrated as unknown. Fifty million years ago it was all under water, and today it’s the fish fossil capital of the world. For not very much money, you can go there and dig up as many common fish fossils as you’re willing to carry home (anything rare belongs to the quarry). It’s about three hours from Park City, Utah by car and an absolutely unique place.
2. How do you kill time when you’re stuck on a bus or plane?
Now that I travel with my kids, I’m pretty much never stuck on a bus. I while away the hours on a plane reading mindless thrillers or catching up my freelance work. I’d happily play with my iPhone or iPad, but I’d have to pry them out of my kids’ iron grips first.
3. What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen or experienced traveling?
Can it be scatological? As you probably know, there’s a chocolatier on every corner in Bruges, Belgium. We didn’t show quite enough restraint when we visited with my then 2-year-old son and let him eat his weight in truffles. Back at the hotel, he blew out his diaper. When my husband (who was wearing a hotel bathrobe) tried to change him, he wound up ineptly fouling his bathrobe, the bathmat, and all our bath towels. He had made the decision to soak it all in the bathtub before I could intervene. Calling housekeeping and asking them to take the mess away was pretty much the lowlight of my life.
4. What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at a new destination?
I’m a pathological neatnik, so I stake out the best real estate on the hotel room floor, set up my suitcase, hang my clothes, choose a bed, clean out my carry on, and charge all my personal electronics. Doesn’t everybody?
5. If you could give one tip or piece of advice to travelers, what would it be?
Let fun be your guiding principle. There’s no such thing as a must-see attraction and no wrong way to travel. Seek out the experiences that really appeal to you and ignore the people who say, “I can’t believe you’re not planning to see [fill in the blank]“. It’s your trip—do what you want.
Images courtesy Jamie Pearson