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Taking a Restorative Break – Relax Into a Cultural Experience

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Editor’s Note:  This lovely post was written by Kerry of Trusting Traveler.  Please check out her bio and site at the end of the post!  Thanks Kerry!

Regardless of how much you love your job – your health, happiness, and continued job performance depends on you taking meaningful breaks from it now and then.  Nobody benefits when you are too exhausted, discombobulated, and stressed out to be at the top of your game.  So, no matter how indispensable you are, you have to give in to taking vacations.

Vacations are necessary to restore our overcharged minds; and I believe a longer vacation serves that purpose much better than a shorter one.   In today’s work world, you can’t just walk out of your office and disconnect yourself from your job; you need more time; time to let all the people you are connected with know that you are on vacation; time to wean yourself off the connection engine; and time to ease and relax into a much slower pace.

If you have an employer who offers a work schedule that permits two or more weeks off at one time, you are very fortunate and should take advantage of the opportunity to take a longer, more restorative vacation.  With that said, all vacations are not created equal in terms of their restorative qualities.

If you are a father or mother, it’s not likely that you can just stay home and relax for a few weeks.  You will end up working in or around the house, arranging play dates for your kids, chauffeuring them around, or else listen to them complain about being bored!  Your time would be much better spent going away someplace so you can spend quality time with your family.  I’m not talking about an expensive weeklong trip to Disneyworld; that would hardly be right to restore your to your former balance.  No, you would need a vacation from that type of vacation!  I’m not knocking Disney in any way, in fact I love it – it’s magical; it just isn’t restorative.

What would be good for you is a more relaxing and gratifying vacation; one that has the power to remove you completely from your daily, perhaps obsessive routine; one that is sure to be memorable and please your whole family.

The most pleasurable and rewarding times I have ever spent with my family have been on our international home exchanges, all five of them.  The length of our trips, the caliber of our accommodations, and the incredible cultural advantages of these vacations have been so much more than I ever expected to be able to experience and afford.  But, afford them we have; we’ve afforded a total of fifteen weeks over the last five years, and have reaped tremendous rewards as a result of it.  I consider these vacations my single greatest accomplishment, because I believe the benefits to my family, my children especially, have been so significant.

I have been sharing my enthusiasm for international home exchange with everyone I know, for years, hoping to inspire them to give international home exchange a try; to experience its wonders like my family has.  Now, I am in the process of sharing my enthusiasm with people I don’t know.  It’s too good to keep to myself and my close circle; so I’ve started to spread the word.

The Economic and Cultural Benefits of International Home Exchange

International home exchange has been around for over six decades and has proven itself to be highly reliable.  Today, there is a whole new travel market emerging as a result of its reliability and consistency; it’s called Peer to Peer or P2P.  Yes, that’s what it all boils down to; peers trusting their peers; and it works beautifully.  Right at the center of this P2P craze is international home exchange, the heart and soul of it.

Included in the P2P markets are services to both save travelers money and satisfy their craving for richer cultural experiences. One such on-line service allows you to make a reservation to go to the home of a local, and to dine on an authentic meal they have prepared for you.

Major travel industry research suggests this trend and this market is going to continue to grow.  It seems more and more people are looking for affordable, culturally rich travel and they are opting to learn to trust their peers in order have that.

Just this week, Travel and Leisure (.com) posted two articles “On the Joy of Snail Paced Travel” and “The Anti-Tourist Travel Rules” that overwhelmingly favor the style of travel that international home exchanges are built on because they deliver in spades!  Links to both articles can be found on my website, The Trusting Traveler. The mission of The Trusting Traveler website is to provide families everything they need to live a life rich in culture and travel.  That is the philosophy I want to share, along with the practical information and advice families need to achieve that.

Honestly, I don’t even remember where I found out about home exchange; but am I glad I did!  I’m also glad that I had no qualms about it; like so many people who hear of it seem to have.  I can’t believe how remarkable it is.  The phrase “nothing in life is free” simply does not apply to home exchange.  Not only is the home free, but it usually comes with other amenities such as pools, cars, and your own personal travel consultant (your home exchange partner).  With a home exchange, as opposed to hotel, you experience the area like a local, not like a tourist, and this makes for a much more enjoyable, culturally enriching experience.

If what I just described is what you are looking for; and it is absolutely the way I have grown to enjoy my travel, then you must give home exchange a try.  When I visit a wonderful place, it is not enough for me to see it; I want to immerse myself in it and become a part of it, for a little while.  Extended (two weeks or more) home exchange vacations allow us to relax into a place and really savor it.

One final note:  If you crave anything in life, such as I craved to travel Europe, find a way to satisfy your craving. You will be amazed how good you will feel about yourself when you accomplish something you never dreamed possible!

Kerry Ascione, The Trusting Traveler

Providing Families Everything they Need to Embrace a Lifestyle Rich with Culture & Travel

www.trustingtraveler.com

December 19, 2013 |

Taking the Kids to London – A Mom’s Guide

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Frequently Asked Questions A Moms Guide for Trip to London

With a lot to discover, London welcomes kids of all ages. However, traveling and moving around with kids is not so easy. This is the reason that one requires to plan the trip sensibly so that neither the kids become restless nor the parents hamper their enjoyment.

Here are a few of your answers to all the queries that a mother comes across when traveling to London with little ones.

Which area in London is suitable to stay with kids?

Central London is the best area to stay with kids. This will enable you to reach most of the famous attractions conveniently core most of them are located in the heart of London. Saving your travel time and spending it on rather fun-filled activities is necessary when you have kids along.

In addition, carting the little darlings back and forth and taking break during sightseeing often becomes possible only if you are staying in an easy location. However, cost of accommodation in this area is a little higher than the countryside.

What kind of accommodations is available in Central London? Do they have kitchenette facility?

Almost all types of family hotels, ranging from cheap to luxury are available in London. Many of these hotels offer microwave, refrigerator and electric tea kettles, if not the kitchenette. Easy preparations like pasta and porridge can be prepared for your kids. Kitchenettes are available in apartment hotels which may cost you higher if you are in London for less than a week.

Accommodation

Should I book hotel in London in advance? Is it safe to book online?

It is completely safe to book online and always better to book your room in advance to avoid non-availability at the last minute. Several websites offer discounts on  online bookings and have secure payment mode to make online transactions.

Some of the best websites offering hotel bookings are lastminute.com, laterooms.com and travelsupermarket.com. However, there are some less renowned but efficient websites offering attractive room rates on family hotels. Try browsing through londonnights.com or londonhotels4u.com. These are selected websites with their focus dedicatedly on best hotels in London available at the most competitive prices.

What is the best means of transportation to move around London?

Bus network is much easier than the London tube if you are travelling with kids. Because bus network is on street level and so, one does not need to hike up and down a flight of stairs. The buses also contain a space for strollers inside the back door that makes it convenient for the parents to load.  However, learning the routes may be a bit daunting. Spend some time with someone who can explain you all. London buses application allows you to access the route though iPhone if you have one.  In addition, beautiful cabs may catch your eye, but regularly hiring will drain your pockets.

Where can I dine with kids reasonably and comfortably?

Although London is popular as an expensive city, it offers some of the most reasonable options for dining too. There are plenty of food choices ranging from falafel shops, pizza shops, burger joints and noodle houses that will delight your kids. Some of the favourites of mom who have earlier travelers to London are Wagamama and Tidbits in Covent Garden Market. River Cafe is equally popular among visitors.

Bus Tours

Can we relish some realistic sightseeing with our little ones?

Prioritising is the key when you have kids along in a big city like London. Consider how much time is required to see sights and how long it takes to travel from one place to another.  Some of the favourites that can be visited with kids are:

  • Tower of London: Let you kids explore the historicity of the capital at this 1000 year old structure with lively yeoman storytellers.
  • Covent Garden: This is an ideal place to visit with kids since they can sit, relax and eat here. The street entertainers always delight the little guests visiting London. London Transport museum also lies here.
  • Big Bus Double Decker Tour: This typical London experience offers an overview of the city.
  • Tower Bridge: If your kids love the rhyme “London Bridge is Falling Down”, do not let them miss this one. Let them know how actually it falls down.
  • London Eye: You kids will not spare if they are aware of this huge Ferris Wheel located in London. Take a flight in one of its capsules and let the little ones have en experience of lifetime.
  • Hamley’s: If you would love to buy some awesome toys and games for your kids, this is one stop destination for you. They produce toys themselves and shopping for kids is real fun here.

Have a nice holiday with kids during their vacation!!!

Author’s Bio: Sonam writes to share her past travel experiences. An active contributor to a leading travel website, she regularly posts informative and interesting write-ups on the web.

 

 

 

 

August 10, 2013 |

Sustainability and Function: How the Travel Industry Has Changed

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A big thank you to today’s guest post author: Sam Marquit!

The travel industry has always received some negativity for its invasive practices on the environment and local communities. Working as a commercial contractor, I’ve noticed the lengths that many businesses will go to be completely sustainable. However, most businesses only want to be LEED certified. While this is a great step forward, it shouldn’t be the end of eco-friendly and sustainable policies for your travel business. There are a lot of initiatives around the world to help businesses and a few hotels that are also doing something more for the environment.

Go Green is an initiative that helps businesses, homes, schools and organizations with training to spread the culture of conservation. As society grows, we need more initiatives like this to help people learn about ways to be eco-friendly that aren’t expensive and to also provide businesses with the technology to recycle, waste less and build sustainable facilities. In addition, Go Green helps children to learn more about eco-friendly practices as well. The organization works on a national level by establishing standards and promoting environmentally responsibility.
In North Carolina, the Ritz-Carlton has done something very different in order to be eco-friendly. On top of the hotel, there is a rooftop garden with two beehives, which are home to 60,000 bees. These bees help the local community by pollinating the flora and fauna. In addition, the Ritz-Carlton has low-flow toilets and water saving showerheads. It’s amazing to see a hotel as big as the Ritz-Carlton doing something different and recognizing the drop in the bee population.

Las Vegas is home to over 100,000 rooms. Millions of people travel to Vegas every year to live in luxury, party at big casinos and explore all sorts of entertainment. However, there’s also something else about this great city that no other has. The Las Vegas Palazzo Hotel and Resort offers guests an eco-friendly experience. That must be why it was named the “Most Eco-friendly Hotel in America”. By building a solar energy heating system, using water reuse programs and waste recycling, the hotel has become a beacon of eco-friendly policies for hotels in this big city.

It’s amazing to see so many organizations coming together in response to our Earth’s future being in trouble. It is important for the eco friendly trend to continue. This trend is especially evident as new green Las Vegas hotels are continuing to be built. More cities need to catch on however. I’m proud to be apart of that movement as a contractor and work hard to incorporate sustainable building into my own work.

More about Sam Marquit:
I am an entrepreneurial independent contractor and home renovation/remodeling expert in New York. I’ve made it a point to share with my readers a day in the life of sustainable building. Forecasting the possible application and implementation of new green building materials and technologies is just one small part of my effort to reduce everyone’s carbon footprint.

 

June 18, 2013 |

Family Activity of the Week – Mount Washington Cog Railway

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This week’s featured family activity is the Mount Washington Cog Railway!

Located at Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the Cog Railway brings you to the top of New England’s highest peak on the world’s first mountain climbing train!

We love:

  • Watching how the trees get shorter and more twisted as the elevation increases.
  • Seeing the view from the summit (and drinking hot chocolate at the summit house!)

For more information, directions and operating schedule, check out the Mount Washington Cog Railway website!

June 9, 2013 |

Five Essentials When Traveling With Kids

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So many parents have big plans when it comes to traveling the country or the world with their children. They want their kids to experience exciting, interesting, fun, and even educational places. But the thought of bringing kids along on these vacations can be daunting, and many parents give up on the idea before they even try.

Here are five tips to keep in mind to ensure you and your children will have a great time, wherever you decide to go.

1. Bring Snacks/Drinks (but not too many)

This tip is universal. Whether you’re taking a half day road trip, flying to Paris, visiting New York City, or heading out to Adelaide in Australia, traveling to your destination is often the most difficult part of the trip. The travel time becomes much easier if you have snacks to keep the kids quiet when they get bored or hungry. Dole them out sparingly, though, because in this circumstance, the purpose of the snack is to distract your kids, not fill them up. And that goes double for the drinks – you want just enough to keep them hydrated, but you certainly don’t want to add any extra “I have to go to the bathroom” breaks. Water usually serves the purpose well; they’ll drink when they’re thirsty, but probably won’t drink to excess since it’s only water.

2. Have Travel Documents Handy

This is particularly true if your travels involve flying or crossing any international borders. The idea is to get through the check-in and security lines as quickly as possible. The last thing you want is to be held up when you finally get to the front of the line, shuffling through your carryon bag, trying to find boarding passes, identification, or passports. Keep in mind that all children need passports for international travel. Passports often take four to six weeks to process, so plan accordingly.

3. Reserve Appropriate Accommodations

While many people enjoy spur of the moment traveling – figuring out where they will stay when they arrive – this is not a good strategy when traveling with kids. Plan where you are going, and make your accommodation reservations in advance. Imagine finally arriving at your destination, exhausted from the trip, only to be told there are no vacancies. The kids are grumpy, you’re tired and probably hungry, and you have to get back on the road to find somewhere else to sleep. This would not be good. Reservations in advance are critical. Another consideration when making your reservations is the type of place you stay. As tempting as it is to save a few dollars by staying at a lower-end motel, it may be worth it to stay in a nicer place that has a little extra room. Once you finally get the kids tucked in, it’s nice to have an area to unwind and have a glass of wine or enjoy a television show without risking waking the kids. Many nice places such as the InterContinental Adelaide offer larger rooms, suites, or connecting rooms to ensure you enjoy your vacation as much as your kids.

4. Pack a Special Travel Bag

This holds true for kids of all ages, but is particularly applicable to young children. Kids have tons of fun planning what to bring for entertainment when they go on a trip. Allow them to pick their favorite items and let them pack the bag so they know where to find everything. If they are old enough, have them carry their special travel bag through the airports or train stations; this makes them feel grown up. Then when they are not looking, sneak a “surprise” item in the bag so they will have one new toy or activity along with all of their favorites. This trick usually buys several extra hours of peace.

5. Have a Plan

Last but not least, to successfully travel with kids is to have a plan. Plan the time of day, the length of travel on any given day, and the ultimate place of rest, according to the ages and needs of your children. Plan sleeping arrangements, travel documents, and entertainment. Involve your kids in the actual planning of the trip; if they have input on the vacation, they are more likely to look forward to the destination, and less likely to act up on the way. And most importantly, plan to learn that nothing ever goes exactly as planned!

 

 

Doreen Brown is a mother of two and enjoys sharing holiday tips with other parents and making the most out of family time.

May 17, 2013 |

Getting Your Toddler to Sleep on Vacation

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Editor’s Note:  A big thank you to Chris of www.getyourkidtosleep.com for this great guest post!

Getting Your Toddler to Sleep on Vacation

Traveling with a kids isn’t easy. In fact, I know a lot of people that just refuse to travel when they have young kids because to them it’s more trouble than it’s worth. After all, a vacation is supposed to be a time to relax and recharge, right?

But me—I’m stubborn. I need that time. We all need that time. And we also want to expose our kids to the world around us, rather than shutting ourselves into our home where dealing with a 3 year old is much easier.

However, one of the biggest problems we’ve run into is one I’d imagine many parents are intimately familiar with. Sleep. It’s been hard enough to get our little one to get in the habit of sleeping in her own bed at home. But what happens when you’re on the road and everything is different? Maybe you’re crammed in a small hotel room or you’re staying with relatives?

How can you get the toddler to bed so that you and your spouse can enjoy a little alone time rather than one of you having to fall asleep with him?

Things to Consider When Staying in a Hotel

If you’ve had any sleep success with your kid whatsoever, you know it comes as the direct result of setting fairly rigid routines and procedures. You get them to bed around a certain time every night. You go through the same actions, in the same order. Probably something like:

  1. Bath
  2. Book
  3. Song
  4. Sleep

And you’ve probably also learned that any small interruption to the routine will send your cranky toddler into a downward spiral of screaming and crying that could last the entire night.

So the question is, can you stick to that routine on the road? Well, it depends on a few things. First of all, what sort of accommodations do you have? If you’re staying in a little one room motel, odds are you’re not going to want to shut yourselves in at 7:30 pm. But once the little one gets to bed, you are stuck. You might not even be able to turn on the TV for fear of waking him up.

That means you may be more likely to keep your toddler up later before retiring, which could really throw things off. So what you might consider doing is spending a little more on a bigger room that feels a bit more like home—somewhere you won’t mind hanging around. Then once you get your toddler to sleep, you can hang out with your spouse and watch some TV or enjoy the nice Jacuzzi tub with a bottle of wine!

Staying with Family

Now if you’re staying with relative, then it’s easier to have the type of freedom you enjoy at home. If you can get your child to bed on time, you have the run of the house. If you’re lucky, you even have babysitters who will allow you to enjoy some extra alone time.

However, there’s a problem I’ve experienced staying with relatives. Unfortunately, they often tend to interrupt the bedtime routine. Sometimes it’s by putting their own two cents in about how you’re putting your kid to bed. Other times they make you feel guilty that you don’t let the little one stay up because they want to spend time together. Meanwhile, your child is likely not going to want to go to bed even more than usual because he knows he’s going to miss out on all the fun.

Don’t give in. Stick to your guns. All it takes is one night of giving in to set the tone for a vacation of sleep problems.

Stick to your Routine as Much as Possible and Enjoy Your Vacation More

Yes, sticking to your standard sleep routine certainly limits you when on vacation. But you already knew you’d be limited toting your toddler along with you, right? But if you can manage to stick as closely to your routines as possible, you will find that you’re entire family will be well-rested and happier your entire trip.

Have you had any issues getting your toddler to sleep on vacation? How’d you handle it?

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Byline:

Chris is a teacher, copywriter, and dad. After sleep training his three year old with significant help from his patient wife, he decided he’d create a go-to resource for parents dealing with toddlers who simply won’t go to bed. Check out his site for more tips and resources: www.getyourkidtosleep.com.

 

 

February 7, 2013 |

Disney vs. Royal Caribbean – A Tale of Two Cruises Part 1

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In February of 2011 we took a 5 day cruise out of Port Canaveral on the newly built Disney Dream.  It was a fantastic trip – a great getaway from New England in the winter!  This year in February we’re taking a similar cruise on Royal Caribbean out of Miami and I thought it would be fun and useful to compare the two and name a winner!  We’re two weeks away and in this first part, I’ll cover the differences between the two cruises in terms of ships, itineraries, getting booked, and booking shore excursions.  In Part 2 after the cruise I’ll cover our actual on board experiences including boarding, dining, and how we felt about the trip overall!

Ships:

The Disney Dream was brand new at the time of our trip – she had only been in service for 3 weeks!  We had a great time watching the webcam at the Meyer Werft shipyard in the months leading up to our cruise.  We saw the progression as the Dream was built, launched, and put through sea trials.  Very cool!  At 1,115 feet in length and with a capacity of 4000 passengers, the Disney Dream is one of the largest cruise ships afloat.  Despite its substantial size, the Dream is comfortable and accessible, with a layout that allows for easy transitions from the cabins to the dining areas or the decks as needed.  The Dream features the AquaDuck, as well as a waterslide and two pools.  There is a hot tub although it is off to the side of the pool area rather than in the open.  The Dream has all sorts of activities and amenities including a mini golf course, basketball court, Oceaneer’s Club for kids and exclusive hangouts for teens and tweens.  There is also a huge outdoor movie screen on the back of the funnel stack!  For a full tour of all the features of the Dream, check out the virtual tour and slide show on Disney’s Cruise Website.

The Majesty of the Seas is a veteran of the Royal Caribbean fleet, launched in 1992, so no chance to see her under construction!  At 880 feet and a capacity of 2,744 passengers, the Majesty is about 2/3 the size of the Dream.  Majesty underwent a full refurbishment in 2007 to bring her up to date with the amenities and design of the rest of the Royal Caribbean fleet, including a complete overhaul of the pool decks, the addition of a climbing wall and other activities that are standard on newer Royal Caribbean ships.  With two pools (and two whirlpools), a climbing wall, basketball court and kids clubs, Majesty of the Seas has nearly as many amenities as the Dream despite being 1/3 the size and nearly 20 years older!  Here’s Royal Caribbean’s info on the Majesty of the Seas.

Itinerary:

Both cruises include five days total aboard ship.

  • Day 1 – Port Canaveral/Miami
  • Day 2 – Nassau
  • Day 3 – Castaway Cay/Coco Cay
  • Day 4 – At Sea/Key West
  • Day 5 – Port Canaveral/Miami

As you can see, the major difference is day 4 where we were at sea on the Dream and in Key West on the Majesty of the Seas.

Booking:

Disney Dream

Pros:  I booked our Disney cruise online and had no problems getting everything the way I wanted it.  The online reservation process was simple and elegantly designed.  Disney’s website is full of beautiful pictures and virtual tours so we could see each stateroom category in detail.  We booked over 9 months in advance (while the ship was still under construction!) so we were easily able to select the stateroom category we liked, the dining time we wanted, etc.  I noticed that the price went up steadily between the time we booked and when we sailed, and the ship was definitely full (not surprising as it was one of the first few sailings of the brand new Disney Dream).  I reserved all of our shore excursions online (again many months early) and had no problems getting the times and selections I wanted.

Cons:  Booking Disney shore excursions meant paging through many many similar listings and trying to pick out exactly what we wanted.  There were at least 15 different choices for Atlantis excursions including a tour, tour plus Aquaventure, Aquaventure plus Dolphin Cay, tour plus Dolphin Cay – it was enough to make my head spin and I spent a lot of time reading the fine print to make sure I was getting the exact excursion I wanted.  The same problem existed in booking for Castaway Cay.  Everything from a float tube to a Jet Ski tour was listed separately which meant a lot of time spent reading and paging through all the options.

Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas

I started to book our Royal Caribbean cruise online but had questions about the stateroom choices that weren’t clearly solved by the online booking system.  Royal Caribbean’s online reservation system is not bad but it is not as elegant and simple as Disney’s.  I ended up calling and making the reservation over the phone.

Pros:  That process was easy and the salesperson was exceptionally helpful.  She double checked for discounts, told me about the ship and helped me understand why there were so few balcony options (Majesty was built when suites with balconies were not the norm for the majority of staterooms).  Once I booked our room she sent me an email and I was able to login to the Royal Caribbean site and manage the rest of my booking online.

Cons:  The shore excursions booking process was easier in some ways (fewer options at Atlantis, so no confusion about which one to pick), but the interface is definitely not as clear and simple as the Disney interface.  I couldn’t book the Jet Ski tour on Coco Cay when I made my reservation (it said “inquire on board” which I took to mean that it was sold out) however when I checked back in a few weeks later I found that I could book the driver option but not the passenger.  Two days after I booked the driver reservation, the passenger option became available.  I only discovered this by repeatedly returning to the website to check.  I also found that I couldn’t reserve “anytime” dining options and will need to do that on board.

In both cases I was able to easily walk through the online check-in well in advance, and print out a nice summary of my reservation, all of my shore excursions, etc. as well as my Sail Passes to bring with me to the ship.  Both Disney and Royal Caribbean sent me luggage tags in advance to be sure our luggage was properly marked for our stateroom.  So now we are booked and ready to go!  Stay tuned for a review and comparison of the two cruises after we get back!

Happy Travels!

 

 

 

January 31, 2013 |

Day Trips with Toddlers

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Editors Note:  A big thank you to Toddlers on Tour for this wonderful guest post.

Whether you’re on holidays or heading out for the day at home, a day trip with a toddler is a scary thing to embark upon.  First of all what do I need to pack and then how do I keep an active toddler entertained for the day?  We have a few tips to help alleviate your anxiety.

What to Pack

Before you head out for the day you need to ensure you have enough items packed to ward off most issues you will encounter during the day out.

1.       Change of clothes

  • If your toddler is not toilet trained ensure you take a sufficient amount of: nappies, wipes, nappy sacks, and a change mat.
  • If they are toilet trained well… accidents happen.  Take a spare set of clothes and underwear.

2.       Drink

  • Take a bottle of water for everyone.
  • If your little one still has a midday milk then ensure to take one with you or at least an empty bottle/sippy cup to put freshly bought milk.

3.       Snacks

  • Children and especially toddlers are constantly hungry and their eating patterns change daily.
  • Be prepared, take healthy snacks including: dried fruit, rice crackers, muesli bars, sandwich, fresh fruit, squeezie yoghurts, and don’t forget a treat.

4.       Snuggle friend and a few toys

  • Take their favourite snuggle friend for when things all get a bit too much and they need calming down, or for when they are tired and need to nod off to sleep.
  • Only take a couple of toys or activities to keep them occupied.  Take into account where you are going: the beach – take a bucket and spade, the playground – maybe some monster trucks for the sand, somewhere they will have to stay seated – colouring.

5.       Clothing for weather changes

  • If it’s likely to get cool take a jumper for everyone,
  • A hot sunny day have a hat and sunscreen ready,
  • Likely to rain take raincoats and an umbrella.

What to Do

Take a pram.

Whether your child happily sits in the pram or not, take the pram.  I find it so useful to carry all those items you have packed.  When you buy goodies along the way, you now have somewhere to store them.  If your child wants to walk let them (it will help burn off energy) when they are tired they can hop back into the pram.

Work within your child’s routine.

Stop for snack and meal breaks when they are hungry.  If it’s nap time recline the pram, or schedule in a drive to the next destination.

Plan a stop at a playground.

Try and coincide this with the meal and snack breaks.  Advise your child that there is a time limit and give them a count down before it’s time to go.  This will helpfully reduce tantrums when it’s time to leave.  You may want to let them know when the next playground stop will be, however that could introduce more issues of nagging, make a judgement call depending on your child.

Transport.

Consider how you are getting about for the day.  If you are hiring a car don’t forget to include car seat hire or bring your own.  If you normally drive, consider public transport – kids love the adventure of using a different mode of travel.

Be flexible.

Flexibility really is the key to having a good day out with your toddler.  As anyone who has a young child will tell no two days are the same.  Your toddler has moods just as we do; sometimes they are extremely hungry eating non-stop all day, another day they are tired and just loll about for the day, next they are bouncing off the walls.  So just go with the flow and work with what you are given for the day.

Try to relax and enjoy your day out as a family.

 

“Toddlers on Tour” have tips and advice for travel with kids to share with you.  We have guides starting from how to plan and research your holiday with kids through to tips on travelling by airsea, road or rail.  We also offer helpful hints on packing, choosing the right family accommodation and eating out with children.

January 24, 2013 |

Family Activity of the Week – Tennessee Aquarium

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Our family activity of the week this week is the Tennessee Aquarium!  Located in downtown Chattanooga, the Tennessee Aquarium is home to over 10,000 animals!  Founded in 1992, the aquarium just celebrated their 20th birthday!  We love:

For more information, hours and directions, visit the Tennessee Aquarium website!

January 20, 2013 |

Winter Vacation Ideas

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New England is beautiful – I’ve lived here almost all of my life and I never get tired of watching the seasons turn.  Just when the summer heat seems unbearable, fall comes with brisk breezes and foliage fireworks.  As the trees pass from gorgeous into grey, the snow and frost hide the dead leaves and brown grass under a white carpet and decorate the tree branches with icicles.  When crocuses push their way up through the rime of ice and snow, we all get a reminder of how small and fragile things can survive and bring beauty even in the harshest of places.

It’s pretty easy to fall in love with New England…  except in February.  It’s the shortest month, why does it feel so long?  It’s cold, it’s dark, and it keeps on snowing.  So any year that I have a dollar to work with, I plan a February vacation.  Here are my top 3 February vacation ideas and I’d love to hear yours!

  1. The Bahamas – About 4 hours by air from Boston, anywhere in the Bahamas feels like a whole different planet.  Blue skies, warm water, soft breezes, and the sun.  It’s the closest, warmest respite as winter rages on back home.
  2. San Diego – If you want a little less beach and a few more attractions, nothing compares to Southern California.  It’s warm and you can choose from a wide range of activities from Disneyland to the San Diego Zoo, or hit the beach if you’d rather.
  3. Quebec – Yes I know, I’m suggesting you go somewhere even colder?!  The fact is that the folks in Quebec are experts at having fun in the snow.  If you can make it there for Carnival (which usually ends just before school vacation), you can have more fun in the cold than you’ve ever had!  Ice sculptures, sledding hills, hot chocolate, music, crepes, and more make it well worth bundling up and strolling around outside, and then you get to come warm up by the fire or better yet in a hot tub!

This year we’ll be headed to Nassau on a Royal Caribbean Cruise.  It’s 3 years after we went on a similar cruise with Disney, so I can’t wait to compare the two.

Where are you going to escape the cold this winter?

 

January 13, 2013 |
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