Most of us have been there and done that. I completed several internships while a college student. But for those of you who are just getting started in new internships, there are a few things you should be aware of to make the ride as smooth as possible. Here are few tips that helped me during the intern years.
ProfessionGal is looking for two interns to add to our growing team. If the below openings sound like a fit for you, please contact our intern coordinator via email. Please include the following:
Subject: I’m THAT Gal!
A paragraph explaining why you’re perfect for this internship
A few things that showcase your awesomeness (professionally and personally)- maybe it’s your awesome blog, your Twitter profile with thousands of followers, an article you wrote that was published on Huffington Post, or a picture of you wearing a crazy costume (and the story behind it, of course).
We can’t wait to hear from the new Gals!
The editorial intern should be creative, hard working, and able to learn quickly.
Familiarity with Megan Broussard’s work, the voice and tone of the site, and a desire to contribute to the growth of the site is mandatory.
Interns must have a sense of humor and convey that sense of humor through writing. She should be comfortable writing feature-length articles in addition to punchy roundup pieces, using resources like HARO to find sources for stories. She should also be willing to share personal views, experience and insight on topics through opinion pieces.
Reading ProfessionGal daily
Working with social media to contact individuals and brands who are mentioned on the site
Contributing to and creating site content
Managing content submitted by guest bloggers
Attending weekly (virtual) editorial meetings
Planning and managing giveaways
Assist beauty and fashion editors with special projects and creating content
This opportunity is virtual, unpaid and requires 10+ hours/week.
Social Media Intern
The social media intern should be highly motivated, experienced in a variety of social media networks and sharp in identifying potential partners and relevant influencers to further build the ProfessionGal brand via social media. In addition, she should be well versed in the latest trends in the social space and be able to spot relevant news content relating to our community. Having advanced writing skills is also a must. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate extensive social media experience, actively participating in a wide variety of social media activities and is able to drive followers and traffic to/from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more.
Manage our daily social media strategy to engage customers and grow our community.
Find relevant content for all social media channels.
Create/find graphics/videos relevant to our audience.
Implement social campaigns to set us apart from the competition.
Manage analytics and identify influencers.
Be responsible for driving traffic from social channels.
Increase fans and followers month over month.
This opportunity is virtual, unpaid and requires 10+ hours/week.
An intern is supposed to make your life easier, right?
But, going through the process of hiring one for the first time can be so confusing that you might start to feel like you should just give up and do the work yourself.
I sure did. In my case, I was looking for a community management intern to help me with my social media efforts. But as a one-woman show and a hiring rookie, I didn’t really know how to navigate the process. And, as it turns out, there were a lot of things that I believed about bringing on an intern that were completely and utterly incorrect.
But, I made it through the process, and came out on the other side with a new intern and a lot of knowledge I didn’t have before. Read on for the biggest misconceptions that held me back from getting help so that you can move forward more quickly than I did in finding the perfect set of extra hands.
Misconception #1: I Need to Have a Registered Business to Have an Intern
Says who? That’s what I learned.
For some reason (probably because legal matters are often murky waters, intimidating those of us who didn’t go to law school), new entrepreneurs tend to think something official like being a registered business or having a copyrighted site is a credential that’s necessary in order to legally take on an official intern.
But, after spending too much time dragging my feet on hiring someone because I thought this was true, I learned that it is absolutely not.
I sent an email blast with my concern to a few women with sites similar to mine who have interns and asked them to give the rundown. (We help each other from time to time, sharing shortcuts that we wish someone would have shared with us.) Most of them chuckled at my questions with an, “Oh, Megan! You’re such a worrier.” But, they did admit they also wondered about the same thing in the beginning.
Essentially, what I learned is that anyone willing to mentor and train an intern can take one on. There are only rules to follow if your intern is requesting college credit, which would mean you’d have to follow the guidelines of that specific university’s curriculum (some require that you do have a registered business, for example). And, if you are offering compensation, you have to be sure you’re paying minimum wage (more on that in a bit).
So, know that the option to get an intern exists no matter if your site or business is “official.” Your internship program will be as official as you make it.
To add a little extra credibility, try following the standard procedures used by most university-approved internship programs, like setting up weekly status meetings and taking time out to provide mentorship to your intern for his or her overall professional development. You also can provide onboarding materials beforehand to get your intern off on the right foot—for me, a style sheet with a list of language dos and don’ts was in order, as was a spreadsheet of login usernames and passwords for my social media pages. Finally, have a performance evaluation after the internship session is over.
During the summer before my senior year of college, I interned on Wall Street. It was a big deal to get that i-banking internship; the process began several months before and involved a gauntlet of meet-and-greets, tense interviews and impromptu trips to New York. What I didn’t anticipate was how many questions I’d have when I got there, the least of which was “what do I wear?”
I sheepishly admit that some of my outfits likely fell in the “what was she thinking?” category, such as the army green button down and beige polyester pinstripe pants from a mall store that will remain nameless. Yikes. In the years since this fashion disaster, I figured out the rules, but, like many young professional women, settled for super-corporate charcoal wool suits and button downs, certainly suitable for the office, but never to be worn outside the 9-to-5. Frustrated by this, I co-founded Tailour to provide women with a stylish, flattering alternative that transitions from the office to your life.
With Tailour, my partner and I are committed to not only helping women look and feel their best with our clothes, but spreading advice that we wish we had on our first day in the office. To that end, we created our first Tailour Intern Guide with advice from some of our most successful friends and customers, tips on how to dress for different work environments, and our favorite after-work venues around the country. Check out our Intern Guide on our blog.
We’d love to hear from you: What do you wish you knew in your first job?
Chrissie Gorman is the co-founder of Tailour, an ecommerce line of versatile, flattering work apparel that takes professional women from the office to after-work drinks. She developed the concept while getting her MBA at Harvard Business School. She has also worked in management consulting and in entertainment at MTV Networks and Creative Artists Agency. Follow her on Twitter at @c_gorm.
Looking for an internship this summer or fall? 58% of executives interviewed by The Creative Group said their agency or firm does not offer an internship program. But there is a silver lining: among companies that offer internships, 63%provide compensation.
Go ahead, jump the gun. Get a leg up on the competition by starting your internship search early. Research organizations of interest, work with your university career center, scour job boards, and reach out to members of your personal and professional networks well before the school year ends.
Be prepared. Most employers require a resume, cover letter and portfolio from internship applicants — so make sure yours are in tip-top shape. In addition, have a business-appropriate outfit ready should you be called in for an interview.
Consider your options wisely. While internships that pay well are attractive, it’s also important to consider whether the position will provide exposure to a range of projects, people and experiences. The most valuable internships offer plenty of opportunities to learn and acquire skills that support your professional goals.
Put yourself in their shoes. Managers are stretched thin and appreciate those who listen actively, exercise sound judgment and don’t require constant feedback. In your application materials and in interviews, emphasize your ability to take direction and work independently.
Demonstrate strong social skills. Work teams communicate in many different ways today: via email, instant messaging, social media, conference calls and in-person meetings. Show you know how to collaborate effectively and professionally both online and off.
Have you had an internship? What are your tips for standing out from the competition?
The following is an article I wrote for The Grindstone as a contributor.
Last week, reports of Tony Blair’s no-payment policies for his company’s interns sparked serious controversy in the UK, especially since the former prime minister, known fondly as the Labour Prime, was the one who introduced the minimum wage for low paid earners in the first place.
Now, he’s crumbling under pressure from government agency Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and minimum wage advocates to hand out paychecks after the careers website Graduate Fog exposed an alarming accusation from a former intern candidate, the DailyMail reports:
As your summer internship comes to a close and you’re packing up for a trip back to the dorm, snag this GO-GIRL promo code just for ProfessionGal readers that will give you 20% off of its best-seller: The Dorm Diva Kit. The code is GOGIRL and is good now through Thursday, Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. PST, so hurry and take advantage of this deal by purchasing here. Your parents will be so proud of your financial maturity.
Survival tin contains: Eye Mask, laundry bag (not shown), “Maid Service” door hanger (not shown), detergent, tooth brush, popcorn, mouthwash, tooth paste, tissues, make-up wipe, shaving cream packet, tampon, gum, sewing kit, safety pin, loose buttons, ear plugs, bath sponge, 4 adhesive Polka Dots, 4 sheets of Lint-on-the-go-Sheets!®, 4 strips of Hem-Help, a pair of Bug’N-Out Nipple Concealers, and a Smudge-Sponge.
Wait – there’s more!
GO-GIRL is looking for self-motivated, outgoing and responsible part-time interns for the Fall semester as part of its Campus Rep Program.
They are seeking students who are passionate about beauty and fashion. Experience in communications, promotions, public relations, sales, and/or marketing is also a plus. This internship will be what you make of it. You will not be going out and getting coffee, and you will be treated as an employee. They are looking for natural leaders and creative minds, and much of the work may be done from home/dorm. Additional information and application here.
When I first read ProfessionGal’s blog post about a growing “workstyle” phenomenon for independent workers, I was all up in arms getting ready to protest a crucial missing component to her blog. Okay, I wasn’t really up in arms, per se. But I did want to point out the missing piece of the phenomenon. So after catching up on a few episodes of Dexter and Homeland I posted a response.
Imagine my surprise and delight when ProfessionGal responded by asking me to guest blog for her. “Heck yes!” After a few emails back and forth (one involving a discussion about pantyhose), I had my angle. I decided I would talk to ProfessionGal’s readers about something spectacular they’ve created – let’s call it a “secret club” – but from a man’s point of view.
We men (a.k.a., non-members) just call this club “the world of the independent working woman”. And we men do notice how you maintain near indestructible networks that even your corporate cubicle dwelling colleagues don’t understand. It’s an unspoken bond you all share that, frankly, is downright impressive and inspiring, if not somewhat intimidating. Once upon a time, some of us non-members thought that perhaps you were getting your directives from Sex and the City…but the series finale and movies threw us off that scent!
Nowadays it’s easy for you to stay connected and informed. You read the blogs (like ProfessionGal’s), “Like” the Facebook pages, follow Tweeps, and join other online communities where you share tips or “secrets to success” that allow you to juggle your roles as busy independent working women. Secrets often involve time management tricks, multitasking skills, motivational techniques, proper work attire, counter espionage training and much more.
But get this: I’ll bet you didn’t know that your secret club of independent working women contains another element – a splinter group whose intentions are not to be subversive. Truth is, they are gradually realizing their very existence. This so-called secret element I’m referring to is an international phenomenon. Some of you reading this may already be members. Many of you are not. But that’s okay. There’s always room.
Joining this secret international splinter group is more about self-discovery after sitting down to work near another like-minded member. In most cases, you could probably relate to that person because she took a familiar path to membership. You know this because it was your path too.
In case you’re hearing this for the first time, see if you can relate (or if you’d like to):
Despite having a home office complete with everything you need for work, you’ve tried everything in your power to make a go of it. The problem is, it’s tough to jumpstart your day when you’re still wearing your comfy jammies and favorite slippers, the dog is being a bigger diva than a Beyonce/Celine hybrid, and if your nosey neighbor knew you worked from home she’d never let you get anything done. You love your work, but not the baggage that comes with working from home. You need a change; a place somewhere between a cubicle and your living room. Where do you go?
You pack up your laptop and everything else you need for work, and you head out to the closest, most convenient coffee shop. You set yourself down at a table, buy your favorite beverage, plug in your laptop and get down to it.
This is the global splinter group I was talking about. It’s known as The Coffice – it makes your home office seem like last night’s bad idea and the mere thought of a high-rise cubicle even worse.
“Coffice” is a conjunction of the words “coffee” and “office”; a term to describe the local coffee shop that is utilized as a place for performing daily work-related tasks; a location for non-office (or occasional office) dwelling workers to create non-traditional work environments in which to conduct their business.
Members of the splinter group of independent working women who may already frequent the Coffice are known as Cofficers. And as Cofficers, you are part of a community of professionals (not just women) that is growing by leaps and bounds the world over, yet is largely misunderstood by the masses.
Non-Cofficer colleagues, family members and friends don’t realize that, like getting off the elevator in a downtown high-rise, Coffice devotees are on a first-name basis with all the people who work at their regular spots – they are the Coffice staff – including the managers, baristas, and many of the other Cofficers there. Outsiders would be shocked at the amount of networking actually done at The Coffice – and the business opportunities brought by that networking.
Veteran Cofficers have nearly perfected their Coffice experience. They shrug off and occasionally chuckle at the bewildered, sometimes judgmental glances from caffeine-starved customers buying their lattes before rushing downtown to full-time cubicles and glassed-in corner offices.
The managers, VPs, directors and C-suite key holders dubiously staring at the sea of laptops have no idea what Cofficers are about. They’re clueless as to the level of thought and strategy that goes into choosing a Coffice location. They’d be amazed at how much work goes into packing briefcases and laptop bags with the Cofficer’s tools.
If Cofficers actually sat down with all of these people and explained how the Coffice infrastructure is harnessed to our professional advantage – sometimes with robotic precision – laptop sales would boom, wifi use would explode and maybe…just maybe…stress management programs, seminars, and professionally-focused self-help books would become near obsolete.
In lieu of miracles happening, it’s time for the pashmina of mystery shrouding the Coffice to be yanked off; with a flourish, no doubt. (Not the pashmina you keep by your desk for those chillier than usual days or when your building’s A/C is on for no apparent reason. No, no. Keep that one on! Those goose bumps won’t go down themselves…)
To all of you current Cofficers, the next time you’re in a Coffice and spot someone giving you a puzzling glance, send her to ProfessionGal’s site so she can read what you’re reading now. Welcome the tentative and confused working woman and make it known to her that the Coffice community continues to grow as fast as her shoe collection!
If you happen to spot a co-Cofficer, someone who also happens to belong to the other secret club, please remember to use the proper secret signal. I’d tell you what it is, but that’s part of the fun of being in a secret club.
So now that you know you may not just be incredible independent working women, you may also be incredible Cofficers, I welcome you to The Coffice! Please pass it on!
Sam Title is not only a dedicated Cofficer, but Chief Executive Cofficer of The Coffice. Based in Toronto, Canada, when not writing about The Coffice or building his Coffice community, he is a marketing communications professional working on various client engagements, a dad to two beautiful daughters (secret club members in training) and the husband of one of your members. She’s often referred to as Wonder Woman (seriously!). You can find him at: [email protected]; http://www.facebook.com/thecoffice; http://www.twitter.com/thecoffice; and http://www.thecoffice.biz.
Please note: Sam’s moustache is not ironic – it was a Movember photo update. As well, no pantyhose were harmed in the writing of this blog – ask his wife.
* For more insight into the lives of female Cofficers, read below as two of Sam’s friends answer these questions:
How do you prepare when you know you’re going to be spending a day working from a Coffice? What do you take with you in your bag?
What advice/words of wisdom would you give to independent working women who want to give The Coffice a try?
Brooke Miller, Cofficer
I bring everything and beyond with me to the Coffice! I often leave some things in the car and trade out if I get a project done, but it’s way easier to be prepared. I also pack a lunch — if I spend money on a coffee, then the people at the Coffice are usually really cool with me having my own endless snacks for the day. I also NEVER forget my headphones. Sometimes it’s nice not to listen to music, but the second “that guy/girl” sits down — you know, the one who thinks it’s okay to have an hour-long conversation on the phone right next to you — it’s torture without the headphones.
Make nice to the baristas — they are your new Coffice-mates. You want them on your side. And they’ll watch your computer like a hawk while you go to the restroom. Plan on not talking on the phone. It’s really rude and you don’t want to develop a reputation. Step outside if you need to make a call. Don’t wear your business attire! Kick off your heels and wear something comfortable. You want to feel professional and good about yourself, but the Coffice isn’t a nightclub. Seriously.
Brooke Miller is an advice columnist, a licensed psychotherapist and the founder of Soapbox Therapy (http://www.soapboxtherapy.com), a unique portal into the world of emotional health, offering a new approach to emotional wellbeing, connecting a fresh perspective and modern voice to mental health while maintaining respected and traditional wisdom.
Laurie Davis, Cofficer
Most days I transition from meetings at the Coffice to a cocktail party, so I either need a stellar day-to-night outfit or time to head home and change in between events. This naturally means that my bag often doubles as a treasure chest of cocktail rings, bobby pins and eyeliner…and on more than one occasion, I could have definitely won a ribbon for Best Dressed, Starbucks Edition.
Other must haves in my bag: headphones so I can change up the background music or watch videos, my USB modem in case the Internet is sluggish, a bottle of water to keep hydrated, and a notebook in case I need to take a brainstorming session to the meta level.
When choosing a Coffice, go for ambiance over utility. Different environments can give new inspiration. While you may just need to get out of the house, it’s much more exciting when you choose a locale for a fresh perspective, too.
Laurie Davis is the founder of eFlirt Expert (http://www.eflirtexpert.com), a service that helps singles establish the ultimate virtual first impression and transition their digital selves to meaningful, in-person dating experiences.
Dog owners reveal the real cost of pet travel, and it might surprise you
Pet travel is more popular than ever. In fact, the U.S. Travel Association reports that more than 30 million Americans pack their pups along with their luggage every year, a stat experts predict will only grow in the future. Chances are you’re probably one of these dog parents (I know I am) who can’t help but bring her fur baby along for the ride — if the price is right, that is. But before you book that flight, there is much to consider.
We’ve spoken to travel experts and frequent-flying pet owners to compile tips that will keep your trip with doggy in tow as low as possible, while also giving you the steps to planning a vacay without surprises (the bad kind).
Traveling by air ($95-$400)
First, you should reference the specific airline’s policy on its website before booking your flight. A small cat or dog under 20 pounds is usually accepted in the cabin (if pets are allowed in the cabin at all). To be on the safe side, always opt for a soft-sided case to make sure it fits under the seat. If your carrier isn’t approved once you get to the airport, there will be accepted carriers available for purchase.
Southwest charges $95 each way for in-cabin pets; Virgin America and JetBlue charge $100 each way; and American, US Airways, Delta and United charge $125 each way. (Ouch is right!)
To reserve a spot for your dog, call the airline’s ticket agents to make sure there is room. For example, Delta allows two pets in first class, two in business class and four in coach on most domestic flights. This number limit differs per airline. Additionally, certain paperwork and proof of medical records may be requested by the airline before your pet’s reservation is confirmed. Once confirmed, you will typically pay for your pet’s travel at the airport.
There are other nuances that could affect your pet’s flight plans. Some airlines do not allow pets in first class at all. Domestic flights are more lenient with pet travel than international flights, so the difference between the two should be noted by the traveler. Pugs, bull dogs and other similar breeds with notorious breathing issues aren’t allowed on some airlines at all because of the liability. Additionally, not all airlines permit pets to fly as checked baggage in cargo at all, like Southwest.
Exception? Service animals: If you have a service animal, the rules usually don’t apply. Your pet will take priority over other pet reservations, can fly free and not be required to stay contained in a carrier for the duration of your flight. Also, the size requirement is usually waived. I’ve seen large golden retrievers and standard poodles sitting at their owners’ feet in the cabin. Again, check airline policies for verifying that your pet is a service animal.
Putting your pet in cargo: Flying a pet as cargo can be more expensive than the cost of your ticket so beware! For example, American Airlines has charged $350 round trip. Delta charges $400 round trip for pets traveling as checked luggage on domestic flights. The heat of summer is something else to consider. For example, American does not allow pets as checked luggage when the temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
To work around these steep prices, Danika Daly, mom to Yorkshire terrier Rajah and frequent flyer, says Frontier Airlines is one of the least expensive airlines she’s used.
“It is a budget airline, so you may have to sacrifice a little leg room, but at $75 each way, it’s not so bad. They also love pets! Rajah is a pretty large Yorkie, but he doesn’t have a problem with less space.”
She also recommends checking your bag versus carrying on. “For airlines that don’t offer a free carry-on, it ends up being less costly to check it, and it frees up your hands, which you’ll need when carrying a pet around.”
Hotel or rental accommodations ($0-$50+)
Daly says Airbnb is her go-to when booking a place to stay while away, saying that it’s less expensive than staying in a hotel in most cases. “And, you get more space! Depending on your destination, sometimes you even get a nice backyard or a good grassy walking street,” Daly says.
On the other hand, Californian and travel writer Cassie Kifer frequents hotels on trips — if she’s not taking her RV for a road trip — since she usually can cut costs by driving.
“The only added cost I can think of is the pet fees charged by some hotels. I always do my research in advance, identifying all of the pet-friendly properties in the area and inquiring about the pet fees. Sometimes the cost can be quite high ($50 per pet, per night!), so I look for properties that either assess no fee or charge one single fee for the duration of the stay,” Kifer said.
Kifer says that in her experience with Kimpton, it does not charge pet fees at their properties. On the budget side, she recommends Motel 6 as she’s never been charged a pet fee. La Quinta Inn, Red Roof Inn and Comfort Inn have selected properties that are pet-friendly with a low or no fee.
Vacation rentals are another solution for those traveling with pets. Think private yards! One to check out is HomeAway, a vacation rental marketplace with more than 258,000 vacation rentals worldwide that are pet-friendly
Pet sitters ($0-$35 a day)
You can find a sitter for your dog (and cat) on sites like Rover and DogVacay (which recently launched CatVacay). These networks connect pet parents with local dog-sitters who are willing to provide in-home care for pups. The cost for boarding is low, $25 to $35 per day.
Alternatively, Kifer has a house sitter come and stay with her dog in her home. While sites like Rover and DogVacay offer this service, Kifer says she joined TrustedHousesitters, an online exchange that pairs traveling pet owners with pet sitters who are willing to come stay at your house for free in exchange for pet care.
“I travel on several extended trips each year, and this has saved us thousands of dollars on boarding and other pet-care fees.”
By the time by son was one, he had already traveled to five countries, survived an international move, and learned how to flirt in three languages. As I write this, I feel inclined to brush his little baby shoulders off — the universal sign of superiority. Unfortunately, he is way too young and clearly not as hip as his mama to understand the true depth of such glorious lyrics.
That and he listens to way better music than me.
My husband and I have always been avid and enthusiastic travelers. It’s one of our greatest passions and we knew it was something we wanted to share and encourage with our children. That and to invest in good whiskey so your friends don’t make fun of you. But mainly, the traveling thing.
Most of my friends think we are insane. Honestly, we kind of are. But that just means we are super fun at impromptu game nights and most book readings. It also makes traveling less scary. It takes a lot to shock us and we are pretty much determined to enjoy ourselves. The Brownlees are always down for an adventure! And drinks. And bear hugs. In that order.
Dawson was pretty excited to meet the queen. She stood him up.
The baby dude was 3 ½ months old for his first international flight. He also decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to cut his first two teeth — in other words, no one liked us on that flight. Our saving grace was definitely breastfeeding. Not only did it help with his ears (that cabin pressure is a real downer), it also helped soothe and relax him — eventually bringing him to a nice little milk coma which lasted a majority of our ten hour flight. I doubt there is a better time to fly with a baby than at that beautiful stage — too small to do much damage and big enough to bounce around on your knee (and who doesn’t love that game?).
We moved from New Orleans to Amsterdam when Dawson was six months old. And that was much rougher than that first beautiful flight. Since moving to the Dam, we have traveled to England twice, France twice, and Belgium twice. Basically, we have left our fair share of soiled diapers, forgotten pacifiers, and a bit of our sanity all over Europe.
One of the advantages of living in Amsterdam is that we are pretty centrally located to the majority of the cities we would like to visit. And we can get there by train — the best way EVER to travel with a wee babe. No long security lines, no baggage check, no waiting, and sometimes you score an isolated carriage which makes breastfeeding a little more carefree and sanitary. You can also walk around on a train and if people don’t like babies, they are normally more discreet or just get the hell out of your way. I can appreciate that.
Occasionally, we do fly. Sometimes it’s the only way. And short flights with a baby are a breeze — it’s the longer ones that have you in hysterics. The ugly girl crying kind. My specialty. We recently flew back to the US for my son’s first birthday. This was absolutely the hardest flight we have ever had to take. I’m just going to be honest, traveling with a one year old sucks. At least, it really sucked for us. He is at the stage where he just wants to crawl/walk/jitterbug everywhere and the idea of sitting in one seat for ten hours is laughable. He would cry and throw tantrums and then I would sob and bribe him with ponies — nothing seemed to work. I even threw in my boobs as much as I could and they only entertained for a few minutes — drained and sad, they weren’t much fun to be around.
But hey folks, we survived all that and always had a blast once we reached our destination. Traveling with my son has also kind of made me feel like Superwoman. I truly feel like I can do anything. Everyday challenges aren’t quite as daunting and I look hot in a cape.
I wish I had a special leather-bound book filled with all the brilliant advice I’ve gathered to help ensure a smooth flight, happy co-travelers, and blissful days, but darlin’, I’m still learning how this whole thing works. Instead, I will share a few of my best tips to help you prepare for your own adventure and cross my fingers that it all goes well.
1) Invest in a good stroller. Make sure it’s super compact and the wheels are sturdy. It also helps if it comes with a lot of storage space. This is where we stashed souvenirs, baby necessities, lost puppies, etc.
One of my favorite things about these old, medieval European cities is the cobblestone. Not only is it gorgeous, but a stroller on glorious uneven ground will rock a baby to sleep in five minutes flat. And then mama and daddy can wander around the city in a blissful daze. This is also when you play drink the beer with your husband.
2) Pack light. Don’t try to bring every single toy your child has ever shown interest in. He will be just as happy and occupied with a plastic cup and spoon. Also, the more luggage you bring, the more you have to juggle with your baby and juggling a baby is often frowned upon and very hard to do when battling your own sleep deprivation.
3) Be kind. Smile way too much. Apologize when necessary (or to keep people from kicking you). Some people will be annoyed the second they see you with your baby, and there is just nothing you can do about that but grin and make it that much harder for them to hate you. I have often found that even the biggest sour apple will turn to mush when your child turns and gives him a big ole’ gap-toothed smile. All is forgiven. Even the constant poop smell that you just can’t seem to shake.
There will be challenges and little triumphs along the way. I personally think it’s all worth it. My son’s nursery is covered with pictures of him traveling the world. And as I sit and stare at them, I can only see happiness and wonder. The stress and occasional panic doesn’t show — there’s an Instagram filter for that.
So, yeh, it might not seem like the most practical way to live, but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just want to show the world that it is possible. You can absolutely go wherever your heart desires, with baby, and not only enjoy the heck out of your trip, but also come back with some fabulous stories (Dawson’s first french fry was consumed in Paris, that shit is hilarious).
Just be prepared for a few hiccups, the never friendly jet-lag, and a hell of a lot of restroom breaks. Also, feel free to get creative. There aren’t many rules for this kind of thing. Allow yourself to go a little mad, just don’t forget the champagne. Cheers.