From The Road with Andrea Lacey

Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I used to set up shows in high school and college. I also had a radio show on the NPR affiliate, 88.5 WMNF, in Tampa, Florida. After graduate school, I began traveling with different bands working as a merch person and tour manager. This lead to working as a travel nanny for Mates of State and The Flaming Lips, for a few years. So many long lasting friendships have grown from these days, spent criss crossing the country, months on end. Tour life is just something that’s hard to explain to someone that has never been through it.

It’s no surprise that I went on the marry a musician. Through his labelmates, I forged a new friendship, with Andrea Lacey. She spends a lot of time traveling with her family, on the road. A family that tours is very equipped to share tips on travel, what to pack, places to visit, therefore, I’ve given Andrea full reign to share here, about her travels from the five week tour she’s on now, with a journal from the road. – Erin

“We’re about five days into a five week tour with my husband’s band, Brand New. We have traveled for years with our son, Miles, but this will be the first stretch of time with our newborn daughter, Bowie.  Miles is away at camp the majority of this tour but he will be joining us on the tail end.  We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to travel together and I’m hoping to share how we keep our home setting while on the road, as well as highlight some of our favorite discoveries and places to visit.” – Andrea Lacey
Possibly my least favorite part of traveling, but a necessary evil.  I like to think I have it down to a science, but the truth is you do the best you can and you make do with what you have.  There are very few things we can’t pick up along the way, so I try to remind myself of that while deciding what to bring.
Clothing – Summer travel means less clothing required.  My kids don’t really have “outfits”, just a bunch of shirts, pants, and onesies, and we don’t worry too much about things matching. So instead of getting overwhelmed with packing enough clothes for five weeks, I plan for one week and then do laundry once a week. Hotels and venues typically have washers and dryers available and with that small amount of clothing, it goes pretty quickly. When dressing the kids I find the key is layering so they can adapt to changing conditions throughout the day. Going back and forth from the outdoor heat to the indoor A/C can be tough and will quickly give you a sick kid, so I just try to combat that by keeping them dressed appropriately and hydrated.
Eating – Luckily with an infant this young we still nurse 100% of the time, so I pack the Medela swing pump for the off chance that Bowie and I are apart for more then a couple hours (ha, that won’t happen, but I always like to prepare for “just in case”). Another thing I added to our baby gear list this time was a clamp on camping high chair.  Even though she doesn’t eat solids, it’s nice to have her at the table with us, and this is much more portable than any high chair. We went with the Mountain Buggy POD High Chair, and from the looks of it, it’s a winner, but we’ll have to report back after some usage.
Getting around – Our car seat has been super easy to travel with. I know everyone has their opinions on car seats/strollers/etc., but I can’t say enough about how much we like all of our UppaBaby gear. We use the Vista system and the Mesa car seat, which we’ve used in dozens of cabs and rentals cars now, and have found easy to use even when one of us is traveling alone with the infant.
When not in the stroller, I’m a big fan of the both the Solly Wrap and the ErgoBaby carrier.  Both are small and easy to keep at the ready while traveling. The Solly wrap is also incredibly breathable! The first few days of tour were very hot, and very dry, so just a diaper and the wrap was a perfect combo.
Downtime – So this is sometimes the hardest part. There is great deal of sitting around and waiting while on the road, and when you aren’t eating or sleeping, time can pass very slowly.  Babies this age are funny and can be fickle. Luckily, Bowie is an easy going gal and is happy with a couple options of entertainment.  We bring the Jolly Jumper, which is her favorite, and while it’s not compact we luckily have a bus luggage bay to store it in. We also bring a baby walker, an inflatable baby pool which seconds as a bath, and a couple simple floor pads that she can roll around on.
The last essential item on the packing list, and one that is very specific to touring, are the Banz Baby Earmuffs that we use to protect Bowie’s little ear drums when it gets loud. She actually likes wearing them, but as she gets older I imagine they may be difficult to keep on her. We’ll see! But for now they work great, and she gets compliments from all her friends.
This week we visited Salt Lake City, Denver, and Kansas City. We’ve spent most our time just settling in and hanging around the venues, but we did duck out and eat at a great vegan restaurant called FÜD in Kansas City (definitely kid friendly). After we ate, we walked around its beautiful neighborhood, Westside North. It’s probably not much fun for the older kids but if you’re a fan of residential architecture, it’s an incredible area, and I’m sure your smaller babies would enjoy the stroll.
Nap time is about over so I’ll wrap this up for now, but hopefully we’ll be back soon with some info on the cities we visit during our travels, and maybe a rundown of a typical day for us. Safe travels to you all and your kiddos!!