It’s a hot, humid, late afternoon in Venice, Italy when we hop off the water bus for our stop to meet photographer Marta with Flytographer for our family vacation shoot. We’ve been here for a few days now and are just getting our feet under us and kicking our jet lag. I’m still on a high and completely in my happy place – exploring the world with my family. I’m excited to document this trip and chapter in our family’s story and to have someone else do it for me. Why? Because I want to be in the moment with them and have fun and forget about my phone. The girls are growing so fast and I can’t seem to slow down time. I love these amazing humans and the sense of adventure and exploration we’ve built into the fabric of our family.

This trip was special in so many ways. Not only was it our girls first trip to Italy, but it was one of the first since I started this blog 10 years ago that I committed to completely staying off of social media and documenting my trip every second of the day. With the exception of a couple of round-up photo galleries during our time in Italy, I was blissfully uninterested in social bragging about our travel. This trip was about being present, soaking up unscheduled family time, and immersing ourselves in a new sense of place with my favorite people on the planet. We’d walk 8-9 miles a day, meandering narrow, cobble stone pathways, stopping for gelato or a glass of wine and bite to eat. Often, I would pull out my phone to take pictures of a stunning canal, historical building, or to document a tip worth noting for a future post or itinerary – but I would then quickly slip the device back into my pocket or purse.

Our phones have become such a constant part of our culture. Social media is a big part of my work and I have experienced all of the pitfalls that it can produce. I’m also seeing the impact this always connected world is having on my growing girls as they enter the complexities of teenage years. As we work hard to raise strong, confident daughters, my husband and I (who both work in the tech industry) want to be intentional about the impact it is having on both our emotional and physical worlds.

We talk often in our family about the constant need to document our experiences and how it takes a concentrated effort to put the phone away and be present. We also talk a lot about intention when it comes to social media. It’s so hard to strike a good balance and screen time is the one of the things we fight about most, and one of the new and uncharted challenges of parenting in this modern world.

So for two weeks, we unplugged, navigated cobble stone streets and tourist points of interest in a sea of tourists stopping for selfies. We came home with some crazy stories and not all of the trip was picture perfect, but we didn’t feel tethered to our phones or the need to share every moment as it was unfolding – we got immersed in what was happening around us which is one of the TRUE gifts of travel.

[Enter my undying love for Flytographer]

I intentionally booked this Flytographer photo session to take the pressure off needing to create the perfect family selfie to document our trip. I’ve written about my thoughts on this before for a special anniversary Flytographer shoot in Forget the Vacation Selfies, Use Flytographer and on a family road trip in Phones Down for a Family Roadtrip. The bonus? We now also have a great new family photo to hang up in our hallway at home that evokes conversation. And it makes me smile and helps remind us of our amazing trip every time we head up the stairs. Flytographer is a gift from our travels that just keeps giving.

Flytographer has hundreds of photographers in more than 200 destinations around the world. I encourage you to book a vacation photo shoot and pencil it in as a line item in your travel budget. In less time that it takes to do a guided tour, you will have the best souvenir to return to when you get back home (and many Flytographer photographers also give you a quick walking tour to hidden gems in the city to shoot your photos!).

A 30 minute shoot starts at just $250 for a priceless souvenir. Flytographer has made it even easier for you to book and save. If you have spent the time to read this far, thank you. My reward for you is a promo code HTMITALY for $25 off your next shoot.

You can also enter to win a free shoot by tagging @Flytographer on Instagram and using the hashtag #flytographer on Facebook. New winner chosen every month, so enter often!

I also encourage you to read about the story behind Flytographer. Founder and hip mama Nicole Smith is an inspiration and a fellow entrepreneur who shares the same passion for family and travel, and most importantly, capturing the special moments we share together. Because isn’t that what sharing a real life is all about?

All photos are by Marta for Flytographer (THANK YOU Marta!)

Disclosure: We were provided with a complimentary photo shoot in exchange for this blog post and sharing our photos on social media. All opinions including my love and adoration for Flytogrpher, are my own and as always, authentic. 


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