International flights are brutal.  Adding a small child into the mix can make things, well, interesting.  I’ve taken three long-haul international flights with Jellybean in the past year.  For two of the three flights it was just Jellybean and me flying to/from Boston for my sister’s bridal shower.  I learned a lot about traveling with a young child on those two flights!  And, lucky for us we are currently gearing up for two more international flights in August.  Oh, the life of an expat!

It takes 24+ hours (give or take) to fly from the States to Bangkok, including layovers.  I found the idea of such a long international flight with a toddler to be quite daunting.  Being well prepared for long-haul flights makes things easier.  I’ve learned something new on each of our flights and thought I would pass along what we’ve learned.

Survival Tips for International Travel with a baby, toddler, or young child | airplane, flights, international travel | Life's Tidbits

Here are our survival tips for flying internationally with a baby, toddler or young child:

1. Bring a Carrier (Skip the Stroller)

After flying alone with Jellybean in May, I realized it was so much easier to wrangle a toddler and our stuff by strapping her to my chest.  Having the free hand was an added bonus and helped ensure Jellybean didn’t make a break for an empty plane upon boarding.

2.  Overnight Diapers

The seatbelt sign and ability to get up and around can be as unpredictable and the timing of Jellybean’s inflight naps, therefore diaper changes may occur less frequently when traveling.  If your child is still in diapers I highly recommend using overnight diapers when flying internationally.  A dry baby is a happy baby who might sleep longer – a mother can wish!  These are our personal favorites {tip: go up a size for better protection against blowouts!}.

3.  Skip the Car Seat on the Plane

Car seats are heavy and are just one more thing to shlep through the terminal.  And, unless your child is a car seat napper, they are really more trouble then they are worth.  I have found it much easier to buckle her in for take off and landing.  This allows her to stretch out during the flight and sleep on her seat and on me, or in some cases the free seat next to us … winning!

4.  Pack a Quick Access Bag

This would be the bag you place under the seat in front of you.  All essential items should be in the quick access bag.  The last thing anyone needs on a long flight is for the ‘fasten seatbelt sign’ to be on and your child requiring a snack or their lovie.  For us the quick access bag includes things like: lovie, snacks, iPad (and charger), headphone, diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, and a couple of small toys {like this and this}.  Everything else goes in the roller bag and is placed in the overhead.

5.  Snacks, Snacks and More SNACKS

Plane food is not the best and if you have a picky toddler/child on your hands you don’t want them to be hangry. Our favorite snacks to pack for flights include: pretzels, goldfish, cheese sticks and raisins.  On our flight back to Bangkok Jellybean refused to touch any of the plane food.  She lived off the snacks I brought with me and nothing else.  Clearly it wasn’t the most nutritious day we’ve had, but we made it through the flight.

6.  Bring a lot of Activity Options

A bored child is a loud child.  It’s really as simple as that.

7.  Pack a Change of Clothes

Drinks spill, food splatters and blow outs happen!  Typically I pack 3 changes of clothes for Jellybean and 1 each for the hubby and myself.  Sometimes we go through all the clothes, sometimes none – but it’s best to have them on hand.

8.  Flight Schedules are Important

It’s impossible to perfectly schedule flight times around naps and bedtime, but the chances of having a smooth journey increase if you start off with a well-rested child.  If it’s possible, book your travel for first thing in the morning.  Second best is a late night flight where bed time coincides, as closely as possible, with when you are taking off.  The kiddo will hopefully be tired and drift off to sleep quickly.

9.  Normal Rules Don’t Apply

Juice not allowed?  Screen time is limited?  Snacks are only doled out in moderation?  Forget it ALL.  Keep that toddler hydrated, entertained and with a fully belly by any means necessary.  It will make your flight more enjoyable, trust me.

10.  Comfort Items are a Must

Does your kid have a favorite stuffed animal, lovie or blanket?  In our case Jellybean has all three.  We pack them all in the carry-on.  They make her feel more comfortable and, hopefully, encourage a nap (or two or three!).

What tips do you have for international flights with a child?


In early June we made our third flight to Krabi.  We had previously been to Koh Lanta and Railay, but this time the plan was to stay in Ao Nang.   We were meeting up with one of my oldest and bestest friends in the world and her husband.  They were traveling around Southeast Asia and planned to stop by Bangkok before their flight home.  But I couldn’t wait to see, them so we traveled to Krabi for a long weekend beach vacation.  We all stayed at the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi.

The closest airport to Ao Nang is Krabi.  Taxis from the airport to Ao Nang are a flat rate of 600 baht and the drive takes about 40 minutes.  Hotels often offer a pick up service, but in my experience the price point is much higher.  It is usually best to secure a taxi once you’ve arrived at the airport.  We also coordinated a pickup from the same taxi driver to take us back to the airport a few days later.  The taxi drive agreed to a slightly discounted rate of 500 baht on the way back.

Vacationing in Ao Nang, Thailand at the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi | Beach Vacation, Travel, Travel blogger, expat in Thailand | Life's Tidbits

The Centara Grand Beach Resort can be accessed two ways: 1) by a ‘monkey trail’ which is a wooden pathway that leads you up and over the edge of the mountain to Ao Nang Beach. 2) by boat to the hotel’s private dock.  The hotel provides a free shuttle boat that runs from morning until late at night.  A reservation to ride the boat is required so planning ahead is essential.

Since we went during low season, the free shuttle boat wasn’t running very often and therefore the boat was crowded.  People were pushing their way forward as the boat approached to secure a seat, as many appeared nervous there were more people than seats.  Overall I was unimpressed with the boat service especially when I was informed upon checkin they informed me they were at 90% occupancy.

Vacationing in Ao Nang, Thailand at the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi | Beach Vacation, Travel, Travel blogger, expat in Thailand | Life's Tidbits

The Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi has a private beach and is secluded in its own bay called Pai Plong Bay. The hotel is nestled into a small mountain range in a well-preserved National Park.  A gorgeous resort for a long weekend holiday with friends and family.  The hotel room was stunning and Jellybean immediately made herself at home in the gigantic bed.

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Beach Vacation | Life's Tidbits

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Hotel Room | Life's Tidbits

I loved the tranquil, quiet beach and impressive pool located at the Centara Grand.  The food and mixed drinks, especially, left something to be desired.  If we go to the resort again I would definitely BYOB as well as try to venture off the property for dinner.  Downtown can easily be accessed via the Monkey Trail.  Though the monkey trail isn’t ideal for those traveling with small kids and toddlers.  I wish we had brought the baby carrier so we could have made the trek out with Jellybean safely on our back.

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Breakfast View | Life's Tidbits

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Pool View | Life's Tidbits

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Pool View | Life's Tidbits

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Beach | Life's Tidbits

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi in Ao Nang, Thailand | Beach | Life's Tidbits

We had a grand time at the Centara Grand Resort in Ao Nang, Krabi.  I definitely recommend this hotel for a peaceful and low key vacation, but if you are looking for someplace with hustle and bustle you will want to stay downtown.


My little sister is getting married.  Eeeekkkk!!!  It still doesn’t feel quite real that my baby sister is getting married this summer.  Seriously, when did she go from being a little girl with wild banana curls to a beautiful, (and very grown up) young woman?

For as long as I can remember my sister has loved the color pink.  Sometime during the planning of my own wedding, I made an off hand comment that when she got married her bridal shower theme would be ‘Think Pink’.  So when the bridal shower planning began it seemed only fitting to follow through with ‘Think PINK!’ theme.

Creating invitations is one of my favorite creative things to do in preparation for a party.  Invitations set the stage for an event.  They serve as the guests’ first glimpse of what is to come.  So I wanted to give the guests a small taste of the event while providing them with all the details they need.

After reviewing a ton of invitations, which provided ample inspiration, I started designing the Think PINK bridal shower invitation.  The bridal shower invitations took a few iterations.  All the details of the invite from the font and color to the wording and design had to be spot on.

Here is the final product:

Think Pink! Bridal Shower Invitations - Front of Invitation | Life's Tidbits

Think Pink! Bridal Shower Invitations - Back of Invitation | Life's Tidbits

With the bridal shower invitation I enclosed a recipe card for each of the guests.  My sister has been getting into cooking over the past few years; this seemed like the perfect way to build her recipe collection.  Originally, I had planned to design and print custom recipe cards, however time got away from me and I ended up purchasing recipe cards online instead.

Think Pink! Bridal Shower Invitations - Front of Invitation with Recipe Card | Life's Tidbits

Think Pink! Bridal Shower Invitations - Back of Invitation with Recipe Card | Life's Tidbits
Here’s the copy for the back of the invitation {it’s kind of hard to read in the pictures}:

One small request that won’t be too hard…

Bring a Recipe

{Bride Name} & {Groom Name} will soon say, “I do.” They’ve got lots of love, but they’ll need to eat too!{Bride Name} might like to try your favorite cake, or that dish your friends always ask you to make.

So don’t forget the recipe card on this special date. Fill it in now, don’t hesitate. At the shower will be a recipe box to fill so bring this card or mail it back if you will!

All in all, I am very happy with how the invitation turned out.  My sister was very pleased with the bridal shower invitation design, which was the most important thing.


Bangkok now feels familiar and very much like home.  There are so many things I love about this city!  Though I would be remise if I didn’t say there are also characteristics that drive me absolutely batty, like the traffic and, more often than not, the humidity.  But, like most things in life you take the good with the bad.

We’ve been in Thailand for nearly a year!  Coming up with bits about Bangkok has become, well, a bit more difficult recently.  I think could be due to already sharing a number of tidbits as well as how everything now feels commonplace.

Bits Of Bangkok Part 4 | Tidbits about living in Bangkok, Thaliand as an expat from USA | Life's Tidbits

I’ve been keeping notes in my phone and I’ve compiled a list of some new tidbits about Bangkok …

  1. Shops on wheels {see picture above}.  From brooms and dusters to food and spices, each navigates their way through the busy streets of Bangkok.  All the while blaring a horn to ensure all potential patrons know they are a-comin’!  I often wonder how much they actually sell considering I’ve rarely seen anyone purchase something.
  2. To keep with the shopping theme, there are an abundance of pop-up shops in malls.  The goods available for sale are always changing.  I’ve seen everything from clothing, shoes, food and books to motorcycles.
  3. Water is incredibly affordable.  This is probably because the tap water isn’t potable, but either way I will take it!  Buying a bottle of water from 7-11 will run you about 10 baht (about 30 cents).
  4. Many places like restaurants, department stores and the malls don’t open until 10am.  I often forget that places aren’t open at 9am and have found myself sitting outside the mall (not so) patiently waiting for 10am to roll around.
  5. The Thai national anthem plays everyday at 8am and 6pm.  It plays on the radio, television as well in the BTS/MRT.  I’ve only been on the BTS once when it played – Thais and foreigners alike stopped walking and silently stood to show respect until the anthem concluded.
  6. Napkins are more like tissues … okay they are tissues.  Thailand needs to change this STAT!
  7. Let’s talk butter for a moment.  Do you prefer salted or unsalted butter?  I’m not talking about when you’re baking or cooking.  In Thailand, butter for your toast is always unsalted.  It tastes kind of strange to me without the salt.  Are we heavy handed in America with salt?
  8. Booze can only be purchased during the hours of 11am-2pm and 5pm-12am.  Between the hours of 2pm and 5pm – no buying booze from stores for you.  :)
  9. Check-in kiosks are virtually non existent.  In the states they always want you to check-in for a flight at the kiosk and only if you have an issue or need a baggage tag do you speak to an airline representative.  In Thailand, more often than not, check-in will be a personal affair, not online or at a kiosk.
  10. Scrambled eggs must be ordered dry, else they come out runny, very wet or undercooked … at least by American standards.

What’s your favorite tidbit about Bangkok so far?

Incase you missed it, please check out the firstsecond and third installment of Bits of Bangkok.  More of our Bangkok adventures, to date, can be found here or please follow along on Instagram.



Songkran, the Thai new year, is a legendary multi-day water festival that happens all over Thailand.  And lucky for us, the Thai new year afforded the hubby a few days off from work.  We decided to book a last minute Songkran holiday in Phuket.  Last time we were in Phuket we stayed at the Le Meridien.  It was a fabulous hotel, but we wanted to try a new place this time around.

The JW Marriott Resort & Spa had been recommended by a few friends so we decided to give it a whirl.  And, we certainly weren’t disappointed. The room we booked was spacious with plenty of room for a pack-n-play (not pictured – to the right of the king size bed) as well as space for Jellybean to play.


Our days at the resort went a little like this …

We found it was better to go to the beach in the morning when the trees provided some shade and cover from the sun.  The tree swing was a welcome little perk and provided more toddler entertainment than I thought it would.  The beach was beautiful, picturesque and fairly quiet.

Private Beach at the JW Marriott in Phuket, Thailand | Life's Tidbits



When we were all beached out, we would head to the pool for a dip. I wish I had taken more pictures of the fabulous pool, however this one of JB really encompasses the pure and uninhibited fun our toddler had.  Another thing not pictured is the indoor kid area.  It was a great way to escape the heat, while also allowing JB some playtime.  She kept asking to go back to the kid zone … the hubby and I preferred the beach and pool!


Hanging out at the pool was usually followed by lunch and Jellybean’s nap.  Having lunch pool side was fantastic.  Highly recommend the pizza, it was delicious!


After Jellybean’s nap we usually went back to the pool and then grabbed dinner at one of the hotel restaurants.  There weren’t a lot of restaurant options within walking distance of the hotel, which was a bit disappointing.

The hubby got me a selfie stick for my birthday, which came in handy to get this fantastic family photo!  Yes, a selfie stick … ‘When in Rome’ (or, Asia in this case) and all that.

Family vacation JW Marriott Phuket, Thailand during Songkran | Life's Tidbits

Sunset View from the JW Marriott in Phuket, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

It was a fabulous Songkran holiday!  The JW Marriott got a big thumbs up!  It was very toddler friendly, had a fabulous pool and an amazing beach.  My only complaint with the resort would be the food is just okay especially with a higher price point for food and drinks.

I would like to say ‘until next time, Phuket,’ but I don’t think we will be making it back to Phuket before moving back to the US of A.  Thailand has so many other amazing places we have yet to explore!


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