Gulf Shores Family Beach Trip with Jamie Montgomery

When you’re eager to travel and explore somewhere new, a simple family road trip can easily satisfy that craving. Get the space and change of scenery you need in a vacation rental close to home.

That’s exactly what Jamie Montgomery and her family did: they took a quick 3-hour road trip to Gulf Shores, AL, for a weekend vacation. Jamie answered your questions live on Instagram about her experience traveling right now. Here’s what she had to say!

Were grocery stores fully stocked?

“I will say some of the stuff that we are out of here in Birmingham they were out of stock in Gulf Shores too, so we took a lot of our food. I do that anyway when we go on trips--I like to pre-plan as much as I can so that when I get down there I can just relax. So we brought most essentials, but when we got down there, we did have to do a grocery run. They were out of a lot of the stuff that we're out of, like Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer. So if you are planning a trip this summer or in the next few weeks, just start stocking up now on stuff you need.”

Are restaurants open for dine-in?

“One night we actually did go out to eat and other nights we did takeout. Getting takeout was just so much more relaxing - we were able to run and get it while my youngest son was napping and then came back to enjoy it in our Vrbo home. [The house] had everything we would need for enjoying dinner, real plates, wine glasses, forks and all that great stuff. We enjoyed it on the patio with no crowds and the kids did a lot better that way. So yes, there are restaurants open but I would choose takeout based on my two experiences. I’d just call the restaurants you want to go to and see what their policies are ahead of time!”

What did Vrbo do to keep your family safe?

“[The house we stayed in] did a “closed cleaning” so once it was clean nobody could go into the unit. And if the cleaners were finishing up close to check in time, there has to be so much time go by, so that all the cleaning products could sink into the fabrics or dry on the countertops. So they are definitely taking additional precautions.”

“If you are planning on renting through Vrbo, you can always message the owner or property manager and ask what their cancellation policy or cleaning procedures are--I would just ask beforehand because that would definitely sway my decision.”

“It just made me feel good knowing everything in that house had been cleaned and sanitized following CDC guidelines.”

Is it safe to travel right now?

“Speaking from my own personal experience, there wasn't ever a time I didn't feel safe… I drove down with my sister & brother-in-law and we stopped for gas like normal, used a wipe, hand sanitized when I got back in the car. All the stuff you're doing now to keep your family safe you would just do those things when you're traveling. You would just be smart about it, use your brain, continue to protect your family but still get to go on family vacation… Thinking of all the options we’ve used to travel, going on a road trip somewhere close and staying in a single-family home is the safest option right now.”

What was your favorite moment of the trip?

“I just feel like being in a house you get to enjoy your family, being like they would in your own house. Everyone let loose more, you're relaxed… I don't get to see my sister very much and she got to go with us actually kinda last minute and we stayed up late to play games with her and her husband. It was fun and just the memories we made really [was my favorite moment]. It was nice to be on the beach, but just being out of where we've been stuck the last 3 months, being out in another environment and just relaxing was so nice.”

Are there any deals right now?

“When it comes to large families, instead of getting three or four hotel rooms just getting one house and splitting it [is a better deal]. We've been splitting houses with people for a long time and I remember using Vrbo when I was in college, which was like 12 years ago. So I’ve always thought that was the best deal.”

How did you know this home was the perfect one to book?

“I'm very aesthetic. I mean, shocker, I have a home decor account on Instagram but I looked for aesthetically pleasing. I wanted somewhere that felt bright and happy and I saw the house we stayed in -- I don’t know if y'all saw the story from last weekend, had these beautiful walls. Like, wood, shiplap, very coastal farmhouse and so the pictures really drew me to it… Then when I’m on Vrbo I always search for how many bedrooms we need because I know we need our kids to have a separate bedroom.”

Was it easier to keep your routine with your kids?

“Yes, it was for sure. Like I said, the baby napped during the day really well upstairs. We brought his noise maker, we brought his pack-and-play. In the past I’ve stayed in houses that had pack-and-plays there, but even if this house had one I would have brought ours just with everything going on. But the boys did good. I just love having a kitchen on vacation too. I love cooking something easy or having a big fridge and stove which made it easier.”

Is your family going to get a beach house and rent it out?

“That would be the ultimate dream - Scott and I talked about that actually, when we were down there. That would be such a great investment to get a beach house and rent it out through Vrbo!”

Check out the home where Jamie and her family stayed here!

Follow along with Jamie and her family’s adventures at @montgofarmhouse on Instagram!