Summer is finally here and with the cold, wet spring (and winter) we just survived, I couldn’t be more thrilled for a season of weekend getaways. The best thing about living in the Bay Area is its proximity to some of the most picturesque areas of California, like Tahoe, Big Sur, the Monterey Bay Peninsula, the Russian River, and of course, wine country. And because these spots are just within a couple of hours from San Francisco, there is no shortage of beautiful homes in the vacation rental market. Searching for the perfect vacation rental can be fun and addictive, but also challenging. Ever since my husband and I acquired two miniature sized traveling companions, ages 1 and 4, our search criteria have modified. Kid friendly homes are a requisite, pools are a must, large kitchens are a luxury and an outdoor fire pit is a huge bonus. Just a couple of weekends ago, our entire family escaped to an adorable rental in Healdsburg that fit the bill. Our little weekend getaway was ideal, but not without a few housekeeping and travel tips that I’ve learned along the way . . .

Tip #1. Travel with two essential cleaning products: disinfecting wipes and a multi-surface cleaner. I love Clorox‘s new Scentiva bleach-free products because you can clean, disinfect and deodorize all in one step, giving us more time in the sun. My family teases me for my overly heightened sense of smell and so you can trust me when I say the Tuscan Lavender & Jasmine scent is my favorite. I like the combination of lavender and sandalwood, along with the peach and citrus notes. Also, Clorox Scentiva products kill 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. If you knew of all the colds we suffered through earlier this year, you’d understand why this is essential! Whenever I check into a rental, the first thing I do is give the kitchen and bathrooms a quick wipe down. And then the disinfecting wipes stay within arms reach, in the bathroom, because KIDS.

Tip #2. Bring toys and books from home. When we travel by car, I try to bring as many toys that can fit into a medium sized basket and about 2 books per night’s stay. If we’re traveling by plane, I only pack whatever fits into Quincy’s small backpack. Either way, it makes the world of difference in helping the kids feel at home.

Tip #3. Add your own simple touches. I like to bring flowers from home or pick up flowers from the local market. Placing flowers in each bedroom adds that extra bit of coziness. Also making sure the bathrooms are stocked with essentials like cotton swabs, toilet paper and extra towels means you can spend the rest of the weekend relaxing and not replenishing.

Tip #4. Bad reception? No problem. Weekends are short and getaways are sweet. Take advantage of the time you have with your friends and family to be together, to read a book and to drink wine.

Happy summer, friends!

(Images by HonestlyWTF. This post was created in partnership with Clorox. All opinions are my own)