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I grew up outside of Washington D.C. (Arlington, to be exact) but left when I was 20. My immediate family still lives there — parents holding down the fort in the same house with the green trees and southern-style wraparound porch that I grew up in — which means I still visit for holidays and family events.

Although I decided, long ago, I’d never want to live there (too many politicians, I like to joke), going home always brings back nostalgia and excitement about popping by some of my favorite Washington D.C. spots. Ours is a love-hate relationship: as such as I wanted to get out, D.C. it still has a personality unlike any other; one that really influenced who I am today.

All this to say, my version of D.C. isn’t full of the hippest brunch spots (D.C. loves a good brunch) or latest cocktail bars, but rather a collection of the best-kept secrets and local hidden gems that make up its core personality. Below are my favorite Washington D.C. gems and D.C. travel tips that I, as a native, (but no longer a local) will be visiting when I go home for the holidays. Click to continue…

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The house echoed with little feet running across wood floors. My niece sprinted around the long kitchen island, hands waving wildly, on a private mission.

In one kitchen corner, my little sister and sister-in-law’s heads bent together, looking at pictures on a cell phone. At the long table nestled in by windows overlooking Coeur D’Alene lake, my two tall brothers stretched out, drinking coffee.

The front door opened, closed with a bang. Little bare feet pattered, shaking the light fixtures, as my nephew ran from one end of the house to the other.

A few weekends ago, my scattered family gathered from both sides of America. One brother flew in from Anchorage with his family. My other brother and his new wife flew in from Washington D.C. We converged on Coeur D’Alene, a town nestled by a winding kidney-shaped lake in Idaho’s heart to celebrate my little sister’s weekend wedding.

Leaning against the kitchen island, I sipped coffee and watched my family. More than four years have passed since we’ve been under the same roof at the same time. Over a decade ago, we crammed into a station wagon and roadtripped the East Coast, surviving on music piped into individual headphones, and an ability to mentally separate into a private world.

I grew up traveling with my family. Not all trips were smooth — but every trip was worth it.

Here’s how you can have a successful family trip.

Traveling With Young Kids

Daphne Earley is roadtripping across America with her husband and three young children.

With young kids, it can be hard to explain why you’re traveling, or help them understand the importance of seeing the world.

Daphne’s secret?

“Our favorite thing is to tell them bedtime stories of the places we’re going to and the fun things we plan on doing. With my older child, we have him research online for interesting places that he might want to see. And we pick one of the things he finds for one of our go-to destinations. It can be as simple and fun — like finding a popular ice cream shop in one of the cities we are visiting. Which is exactly what we tasked him to do in Sedona, California.”

Traveling as a family is fraught with excitement. And traveling with young kids is that on a higher level. But Daphne believes it’s worth it.

“We travel because we believe that we are more than just the place we choose to live in. We are citizens of the world. Earth is our home. Because of this, we feel we have a responsibility to show and teach our children other ways of being and living. We want them to form connections with people from all walks of life. So one day, when our children go out and try to find their way in the world — no matter where that journey takes them — they’ll know they are always home.”

Click to continue…

We’ve all heard, “It’s what’s on inside that counts,” right? Well, I hate to break it to you, but that saying isn’t about your morals, or values, or ethics.

It’s about your underwear.

Packing in just a carry on requires you to streamline your packing list, make sacrifices when you can, and ask articles of clothing to either work hard, or do double duty. Packing the right travel underwear might just be the best way to keep your bag light and your… junk dry.

So, to make sure you have the best bits for your bits, I personally took a look at three of the best travel underwear on the market today. I wore ’em, I biked in ’em, and I showed ’em off to my friends.

Here’s what I found:

Men’s Travel Underwear Reviews

ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go 3” Boxer Brief Travel Underwear ($20)

travel underwear

I’m a long-time boxer brief fan, especially when it comes to travel underwear. Boxers are too big and bulky—especially in hot climates—and while it might not seem like that big of a deal, any extra fabric is exactly that—extra. Briefs, however, are just too damned small. “Tighty whities” will always make you look like you’re still in junior high. Unless you’re European. You guys play by different rules.

I like a pair of underwear I can walk around a hostel in if I have to, or a pair I can feel comfortable sleeping in without showing off too much sexy man thigh. Boxer briefs are also a great stand-in as a makeshift bathing suit in a pinch.

Boxer briefs are the Goldilocks of men’s travel underwear, that’s why I opted for this pair. However, Ex Officio offers the full range of men’s travel underwear. They might even have some old-timey long johns if that’s your thing. Click to continue…