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Breaking The Mold To Travel & The Residence Inn Resident Mom of The Year 2012 Award

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I often make fun of the comments I sometimes receive from friends and readers about the “glorious life” I lead. Those who know me, understand and see how hard I work, know how non-glamorous those hours can be and join me in laughter.

But with all it takes to be here, there is nothing in this world I would rather be doing and despite how non-glorious many of the hours can be, I am living my dream.

I am living my dream for many reasons. Some may see it simply in that I get to travel, and yes, that is fabulous despite the amount of work that comes before, during, and after each trip, I do count my blessings to be able to do it.

But for me, the blessing is much, much greater than just that. For me the blessing is in the fact that I have found a voice to share with others the very thing that I was told I could never do – not if I wanted to be a good mother or wife – and that is to follow my passion.

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Residence Inn’s Resident Moms Provide Travel Tips for Any Season

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We’re all gearing up for another high season of holiday travel. This is a time when a lot of families will be gathering up the crew and heading away to visit loved ones or just go on the annual vacation. It also tends to be a time of high-stress. I mean, let’s face it, traveling with the family is not always easy.

That’s why I was so delighted to be a part of Residence Inn by Marriott when it invited me and a few other traveling moms and travel editors this summer to listen to our tips on what we consider would make for a hassle-free travel experience.

I have my “must have” list for any hotel that would qualify as family-friendly in my book, and I have always enjoyed my stay at Residence Inn by Marriott during our family travels. I know quite a bit about what families can expect when they visit there as I have checked out a few of them first hand.

You can read more of my reviews on our Residence Inn experiences during our stays in:

Alexandria, VA

Asheville, NC

Memphis, TN

Nashville, TN

New York, NY

And because I have stayed at Residence Inn so many times during our travels, I already know that they are pros in helping families have the best experience possible and I am pleased to share with you what me and a few other traveling moms had to say to help other families in planning a hassle-free trip of their own.

Here are the top 10 “Residence Moms” tips for stress-free travel:

Tip One: Soar on flights

“When we’re flying, I go to the 99 cents store and I buy each kid 5 toys they have never seen before, and then when they get on the airplane they get to pick one out of the bag, and it/s exciting because they’ve never seen it before and it keeps them busy. I also always wait until everyone gets on before getting on with my kids, so there’s no extra wait time.” – Laurie McDermott (LA Examiner and LA Family)

Tip Two: Get your children involved in the planning

“Involve your kids in as much of trip’s planning as possible. Let each child choose at least one favorite, must do activity.” – Joyce Shulman (Macaroni Kid)

Tip Three: Rest your head in a comfortable bed

“When traveling, the number one thing that appeals to me is a good night’s sleep. Meaning that I need a comfortable bed to rest my head. It is one of my favorite things about my house, so I feel more at home when the bed measures up to what I’m used to.“ – Laurie Cooper (Clueless Mama)

Tip Four: Room to relax (without the kids!)

“When I travel, I look for suites that have a door that closes between the bedroom and the other rooms so I don’t have to go to bed at 7:30pm at night. It’s also nice to have a balcony or patio, because then the kids can go to bed and my husband and I can sneak out and have a glass of wine and talk without having to whisper.” – Colleen Lanin (TravelMamas)

Tip Five: Compliment your stay with a complimentary breakfast

“A complimentary hot breakfast is key when traveling with kids. Having organic food options or grocery delivery is great; apples, strawberries, and grapes are great for my daughter.” – Sarah Chang (Stroller Ballet)

Tip Six: Full size fridge ahead

“We have to bring a lot of food for food allergies, so we always call ahead to see if there is a refrigerator and microwave in the room, which is helpful. It’s nice when there is a full freezer and fridge.” – Shelby Barone (OC Mom)

Tip Seven: Choose hotels that are child-friendly

“Great hotel experiences I have had are where the staff acknowledges my children. I love it when they treat my children as guests as well.” – Carol Cain (NYCityMama)

Tip Eight: The inside scoop on where to go, eat, and visit

“It’s important to plan or find child friendly restaurants in the area. I have always thought that hotels should have sample itineraries when they know families are coming with some great places that other families have enjoyed – a great cupcake shop, restaurant suggestions for kids and for date nights – the gems of the city. To have it all on one cute little card would be great.” – Andrea Fellman (SavvySassyMoms)

Tip Nine: Regroup and recharge in spacious lobbies

“I love great seating areas in the hotel because when I’m with my family I like to have our own space to regroup and chat for a few minutes.” – Chelsea Skaggs (SomedayI’llLearn)

Tip Ten: Quality first

“The most memorable trips we’ve had, and the hotels we’ve liked, are the ones that have offered good quality all around. Sure you want a nice room and stuff, but when the restaurant is awesome and there’s a clubhouse where you can grab a great burger it makes all the difference. People like good food and it can make a trip. What differentiates hotels is the service.” – Jill Seiman (Glamamom)

With more than 620 locations across the U.S., Canada and Europe, and free hot breakfast, spacious suites, swimming pools, laundry facilities and a complimentary grocery service, Residence Inn truly makes moms’ lives easier.

For more information or to book a stay, please visit: www.residenceinn.com; www.marriott.com or call 1-800-MARRIOTT. For business travel tips, breaking news on the brand and to connect with other business travelers, like Residence Inn on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/residenceinn.

Visit Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) for company information. For more information or reservations, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com.

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Making the case for the “newbie” blogger

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When I started blogging, in 2008, I inadvertently joined a world that I was completely unaware of and unprepared for. What started as a way to talk about my life in NYC with my then toddlers and tween, while also sharing what there was to do here when you visit – specifically targeting my family out-of-state – turned into a step into a digital world I never even knew existed.

I confess, I hadn’t really read a blog. I didn’t know the key players, I didn’t understand this ever-changing landscape, and I wasn’t really sure what to do. All I had in my pocket were the years of working in public relations, an industry which itself hadn’t really caught up with blogging either, and a lot of sudden noise online.

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Bringing the Family Together in The Kitchen This Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is one of our most celebrated cooking holidays at home. For years my children have associated Thanksgiving as a day when our family enjoys dishes not only from their father’s American culture, but also from their mother’s Latino culture – and it’s a great way to get them excited about where we both come from, even if we aren’t traveling there for the holiday.

One of the ways in which I have been able to get my boys interested in not just feasting, but also in preparing for Thanksgiving, is by explaining to them why each dish is so important to us. So, for example, my husband loves green bean casserole, a dish that he enjoyed growing up and one that I make only around that time of year. Explaining to our sons that this was a dish that their father enjoyed when he was their age not only encouraged them to give it a try, but also to learn to shop for all the ingredients when at the store and help in the prep work in the kitchen.

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What The Unexpected in Travel Teaches Kids About Life

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Driving out to the beautiful Catskills with images of apple picking and fall colors filling our heads. The kids are excited. I worked a whole week to get them there in preparation for the trip. My week at work has been tough, and for my husband as well. We wanted this.

Forty minutes into our trip, our car breaks down. Again. Last time that happened we were on our way to the airport for a long weekend at Myrtle Beach.

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The “Suite Family Package” at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

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So how many of you are ready for Mother’s Day? I know, seems too soon to even think about, except that I needed to tell you about a fun package being offered by The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows which is making it easy for families to celebrate moms.

Suite Family Package” provides elegantly comfortable accommodations at this historic property in the heart of Santa Monica.  This package must be booked by May 31, 2012 and is valid for stays through September 30, 2012.

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Falling in love with Asheville, NC

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Before beginning our amazing 2010 Road Trip Adventure, my husband and I had decided that our last stop would be Asheville, NC. I had never been. Almost went last year for a conference, but had to cancel last minute. My husband kept telling my about some amazing attraction or another, but honestly, I didn’t really think much of it.

There are travel writers who will say that before you go anywhere, especially if it is somewhere you will write about, that you should research it. I however like going everywhere without researching it at all. I want to come with a completely fresh perspective and even a bit clueless. It’s part of the journey for me. And so when we planned to stay only one day in Asheville, it wasn’t something we had thought would matter. Until I got there. Or rather until I saw it the next day (we arrived so late the night before I saw nothing).

I have always heard that Asheville is beautiful, and it didn’t disappoint. A town surrounded by mountains, it has been called the San Francisco of the South. Artsy, laid back, with a friendly feel, it’s no wonder so many great things are said about it. I spoke briefly to a few people, and it seems everyone is from somewhere else but absolutely love living there.

The downtown area is small and full of cute shops, busy restaurants featuring a variety of cuisine, and bars. You can also enjoy museums, theaters, and art galleries all located nearby.

Our kids had a wonderful time at The Health Adventure, a wonderful health and science center located in Downtown Asheville. The boys spent a long time checking things out, building, playing, learning. The center is interactive and the staff is incredibly friendly, engaging children in the various activities they have and helping them think about the exhibits throughout.  Though the center isn’t overwhelmingly huge by any means, it was captivating enough to keep the kids busy on just one section for a long time. So much so, we almost missed checking out The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, one of their newest Summer exhibits.

Another major highlight of our trip to Ahseville was visiting the breathtaking Biltmore Estate. I was very curious about visiting this incredible destination located on 125,000-acre estate which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who has been referred to as father of American landscape architecture and who is the creator of our very own Central Park here in New York City.

The lavishing grounds and home of the Biltmore Estate require more then just one day to take it all in. Even with walking through 4 acres of floor space and viewing 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces, you still walk away feeling you didn’t see it all. We walked through the garden, a masterpiece in itself, and the greenhouses, and sat outside to enjoy a small lunch which we brought with us.

The Biltmore sellsyear-long passes, and I can totally understand why. We only saw but a small portion of what guests can enjoy regularly, which was sad, but gives us an additional reason to return to Asheville.

Our stay was short, and we had gotten a Go Ridge Card (which I highly recommend for visitors looking to enjoy the many activities in Asheville and want to save money in the process). We never expected that there was so much to do in Asheville.

On our last afternoon there we decided to walk around Downtown and take in some of the local scene. We walked right into Downtown After 5, a free concert series that happens weekly through September. And it is in situations like these that I am happiest as a traveler, when I get to sit back and watch the locals enjoy all their city has to offer as well as their community. It felt relaxing, fun, and close to what I would want “home” to feel like.  We had a really good time, and despite the rain that fell on us for a short moment, no one cared. Friends and family came together, laughing, dancing, and talking as the band Soulglass Rebellion played on.

Maybe it was the beauty of the mountain silhouettes that surrounded us. Maybe it was the gratification of having come to an end of another wonderful family adventure. Maybe it was Asheville being the best it could be. Whatever the case, we ended our 2010 Road trip Adventure on a higher note then we could have ever anticipated, and we thank the people of Asheville for contributing to the many happy memories our family has to share.

Family Vacation on raveable

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Complimentary accommodations and access to attractions were provided courtesy of Residence Inn Biltmore and the Asheville Visitor Center. The views and opinions expressed here are strictly my own. For more information please refer to the disclosure page.

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Celebrating Fourth of July in Washington, DC

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Our 2010 Road Trip Adventure has begun!

It was a bit tricky at first. The day before we headed out our car failed us. So we ran to the nearest Hertz and rented what we could afford: a sedan. No DVD, no GPS system, no technology to entertain the kids! But we’ve been there before. Only this time we have a little help. I packed extra goodies (books, games, an a wonderful portable DVD player courtesy of the lovely people from Audiovox).

We left this past Saturday and headed over to Alexandria, VA, where we stayed at the lovely Residence Inn by Marriott Alexandria at Carlyle for two nights, and from where we had planned to head out early on to celebrate fourth of July in Washington, DC.

I haven’t been to Washington, DC in over 13 years and honestly, I don’t remember having that much fun the last time I went. But this time, I went with my kids. And if I have learned anything, it is that my life as an uneven five is nothing like my life before them, and thus traveling with them, even to places I have already seen is like a new experience.

What I discovered, and I suppose many families knew this already, is how incredibly great it is to visit DC with kids as all the museums are free!! I know. I am acting as if I discovered gold.

I’ll write up my review of the places I visited in a few, but for now, I just wanted to mention that even after being there an entire day there is still so much we need to go back to see. We started our day watching the parade, however couldn’t watch it in its entirety as the little ones were getting hot and restless.

We visited a lot of the memorials, but not the Lincoln Memorial as this was closed off for the holiday (fireworks were going to be shot from the area). I also couldn’t get close access to the White House, as this was also closed off for a private event.

The day was hot beyond belief, and the museums really saved us. We especially enjoyed the National Museum of Natural History and found refuge and something to eat at the Ronald Reagan Building, which I thought was architecturally stunning.

That brings another point to mind. I thought the architecture in some of these buildings was amazing and themselves served as museum displays would. We loved walking through them when possible. The Environmental Protection Agency headquarters was one of my favorites from the few I saw that day.

We also happened to be there around the same time The Smithsonian Folklife Festival was taking place, which was really a treat we weren’t expecting. Even the heat couldn’t keep us from tasting all of the good food and when it did, we were able to enjoy music and art from different participants.

As time approached for the fireworks display we found a spot on the National Mall area, where a stage had been set up and the United States Navy Commodors played jazz. I had put aside a nice, big, comfy blanket for the occasion, and then realized too late I had forgotten it back at the hotel. So, we sat on the ground, which was neither soft nor comfortable, but rather dusty and prickly. But the crowd was nice, and the music was great, and when those fireworks went off I almost lost my breath!

Of all the displays I have seen, even on 4th of July in NYC, I have never seen any as wonderful as the display in DC. And there, sitting on the dusty, prickly grass of the National Mall, sun set, cool breeze blowing, the sky lighting up all colors, as music played, I watched my kids and my husband smile and I realized how incredibly perfect that one moment was. I think that the fireworks were so awesome, that I would be willing to endure the heat, the completely incomprehensible DC metro card purchase system, and the INSANE crowds at the DC subway when it’s all over all over again!

Our adventure had begun. With forgotten items and scorching heat, we forged through, as a family, and saw all we could see considering the limitations of the holiday and the heat and we had an amazing time!

Here is a short video of our day in DC. I hope you enjoy watching as much as we enjoyed living it.

Follow our trip by checking out the #roadtrip2tx hashtag on Twitter and please be sure to send or leave a comment here with your suggestions! We are open to checking out anything along the way!

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Press & Seen On

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On this page is a consolidated list of press mentions and features.

For a list of brands we have partnered and worked with, as well as a complete view of GirlGoneTravel.com detailed traffic, demographic, and more please email carol [at] girlgonetravel [dot] com. Proof of legitimate, professional affiliation will be required upon request.

2014

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Adirondack Diversity: A Conversation with Carol Cain

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Meet Carol Cain of GirlGoneTravel.com

2013

Travel Writing 2.0

A Conversation with Carol Cain

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National Parks Try to Appeal to Minorities

 

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Travel the world with these 25 Vine Posts

 

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26 Traveling Moms & Their Top 3 Travel Must-Haves

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National Food Writers Check Out Richmond Dining & Put Richmond Dining in National Spotlight

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 Travel Vines of The Week: Food

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What A List! Best Family Summer Beach Vacation Spots

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Mother’s Day Getaways

Big Blogger Interview: Girl Gone Travel

 

 

Latinas, Escritoras, Trotamundo (Latina, Writers, Globetrotters)

(Orlando Sentinel Spanish)

Has Teen Courtship Gone Wild?

2012

 

 

Interview With a Travel Blogger: Carol Cain of NYCityMama Shares Her Tips on Travel & Following Your Dreams

 

 

 

They’re Sexy and They Know It: Moms strut the runway for Fashion Week

 

 

 

 

Moms Get Real: The Racy Yearbook Photo to Breast-feeding on Sesame Street

 

 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 100 Mom Blogs 2011

 

 

 

Residence Inn by Marriott Delivers a Holiday Gift of Hassle-Free Travel

 

 

 

 

Destination Expert: New York City

 

 

 

 

Inside Travel with Carol Cain

 

 

 

 

 


The Conversation Thread: Moms, Don’t Hit on the Abercrombie Salesmen

The Conversation Thread: Moms, What’s With All the Judging?

The Conversation Thread: Are You Married? Are Your Kids Better Off If You Are?

The Conversation Thread: Gwyneth Paltrow Doesn’t Rule Out a Boob Job — Do You?

 

 

 

 

Stray Boots Scavenger Hunt (local NYC deal featuring NYCityMama review)

 

 

 

Vacation Nation

 

 

Blogs We’re Reading feature

 

 

These 20 Twits Know What’s Up in New York, NBC Says

 

 

 

Necessity Is The Mompreneur Of Invention: How NYC Parents Are Dreaming Up And Making Children’s Products Their Own Way

How Was Your Trip? NYC Families Share Highlights—And Snapshots—From Their Favorite Getaways

 

2010

 

 

Performance with A Purpose: Carol Cain of NYCityMama

 

 

 

Latina Bloggers Courted by Spanish TV Network V-Me

 

 

 

Road Trip With Three Kids? Yes to Should!

 

2009

 

 

 

ALSO SEEN ON:

 

On CBS – The Couch

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AT&T Foodspotting

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See full article at Wanderfly.com

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NBC – THE 20

View more videos at: http://www.nbcnewyork.com.

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Partnerships

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Girl Gone Travel is a favorite among readers worldwide and the site is making more and more friends daily! To learn how you can be a part of the adventure just email me at carol[at]girlgonetravel[dot]com for a media kit and info on advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER

AMBASSADORSHIPS: a voice and a face for your brand

Every once in a while a great company comes along with a great brand or service that I love and they need an ambassador (i.e. a face and voice to help promote their message). Please email me at carol[at]girlgonetravel[dot]com to discuss further.

As a travel and food site, I am most interested in working with brands that help me represent that. Brand Ambassadorships have included:

 
Expedia Viewfinder 2014 – ongoing
France Wine Travels Ambassador (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) with Atout France
Embassy Suites Ambassador 2015, 2016
Canon Bring It in Brooklyn Campaign 2015
Sony Club Ambassador 2013
Travel+Leisure Global Bazaar Ambassador 2013
Residence Inn by Marriott Resident Mom 2012
MasterCard “Priceless NYC Insiders” 2012
Expedia Kids in The City
New York City Partners in Preservation / American Express
California Strawberry Commission

 

I have also partnered with brands to help cover their events, both offline and online, and have featured them on my site as well as broadcast them via my social media networks.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

I am available for speaking engagements (in either English or Spanish). Please visit our Disclosure page to learn more about our blogging standards. Speaking engagements have included:

Women’s Travel Fest NYC 2016
Opening Keynote
 
TBEX Florida 2015
Opening Keynote
 
We All Grow Latina Bloggers Conference 2015
“Niche Monetization: creative Business Models that Work”
 
TBEX Athens 2014
“Bloggers, Brands, and Agencies: Tips from a PR Pro Turned Blogger”
 
Social Media on The Sand 2014
“Tips for a Successful Rebrand”
 
Type-A Parent 2014
Closing Keynote Panel: “Legends of Blogging”
 
SUNY-ESF’s Symposium Towards a more diverse Adirondack 2014
Diversity: Perspective and Blind spots
 
New Media Expo 2014
“Diversity and Blogging: Making the multicultural connection to tell your story”
 
TBEX Dublin 2014
“Multicultural Travel Bloggers”
 
Women’s Travel Fest 2014
Creating Your Travel Fairytale
 
New York Travel Fest 2014
Panelist, “Family Travel”
 
Macaroni Kid Family Travel Expo and Blogger Conference
Moderator, “Working with PR Best Practices”
 
Blogher
 “Honoring Your Culture. Celebrating Your Community.”
 
Engage! Conference and Expo
Panelist, “Marketing in the Digital Age”

WHAT I DON’T DO:

I don’t accept link exchanges as a substitute for paid advertising. 

I don’t consider exposure as a replacement for payment.

I don’t honor blind requests for rates or media kits. An official, legitimate, business affiliation and contact information must be provided with request.

Thank you and I look forward to partnering up with you!

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