You still have until 11:59 p.m. tonight PST to purchase your $10 tax-deductible raffle tickets for your choice of great prizes in The Passports with Purpose travel blogger fundraiser. The fundraiser benefitting Heifer International has already exceeded its goal of raising $5,000 to help families in need. But Heifer does not simply help feed families in need; its programs help families around the world and in more than half of the states in the U.S.A. to become self-reliant for the long haul.
With livestock resources and training to support oneself and one’s family, parents and children benefit from better nutrition, stability, and often the ability to enjoy other opportunities—such as school—that may have otherwise remained out of reach for many. To me, that is the best gift you can give a family in need, and exactly the kind of change we should all wish to see in the world, including ours here at home. Better still, families benefiting from Heifer’s programs agree to share offspring of their “gift animals” and their training with other families in need, making them equal partners in Heifer’s fight to end world hunger.
It really makes you think when you realize that a $20 donation alone—the cost of two of these raffle tickets—can buy an entire flock of chickens, or ducks, or geese for a family, and will give them a solid source of protein plus added income from selling extra eggs. But the $20 donation doesn’t even end there, because as that flock multiplies, it will create even more flocks for more families in need.
Purchase your $10 Tax-Deductible Raffle Ticket for a Great Prize:
The long list of travel bloggers behind Passports with Purpose have put up an amazing list of prizes for travel enthusiasts, which you can view at this link and select the prize codes only for those prizes you’d like to purchase a raffle ticket for. Choose from great travel gear, cameras and gadgets, cooking lessons and cultural tours, or gift certificates for lodging and travel. Take a look, note the prize codes that interest you most, and purchase your raffle tickets for each at the Passorts with Purpose page here at FirstGiving.com.
As the blogger behind “Travels with Baby Tips,” I’ve put up three prizes that I know traveling families with small children can appreciate. Each of the following prizes also includes a signed copy of my book Travels with Baby. Thank you once again to my generous sponsors!
To see the complete list of prizes offered in the Passports with Purpose fundraiser, click here.
For those who missed the earlier post, we’re looking at “Best holiday travel moments with children” this week. Post your comment to the previous post to share your own moment and possibly win a signed (and gift-wrapped if you like) copy of Travels with Baby. Details in the last post.
This snapshot is from one of my favorite holiday travel moments as a parent, when we very brilliantly took the train with our baby daughter, rather than flying or driving to visit relatives for the holidays. (This photo is part of Photo Friday over at DeliciousBaby.com, check it out!)
Here we are a few Christmases ago, riding Amtrak’s Coast Starlight Express in our “Roomette,” on our way from Willamette Valley Oregon to the Bay Area. The Amtrak Roomette is the least expensive sleeper option available on Amtrak, and two adults are allowed to share the accommodations with an infant. More than one child, however… and you’ll have to either upgrade to the much more expensive family sleeper or go coach.
After watching a lovely sunset over farm fields, we realized–we thought–the folly of our plans. Here we had spent the money for this scenic overnight adventure, most of which would take place in the dark of night. How scenic is that? We did enjoy some passing Christmas lights as we ate dinner in the diner (included with Amtrak’s sleeper accommodations, but no filet mignon for infants riding free), but it was after dessert that the real magic began.
A full moon rose above us as we chugged through snowy mountains, illuminating the snow and flocked forests for miles on end. It was spectacular to say the least. Our baby daughter snoozed at one end of our lower bunk, but we couldn’t stop watching and enjoying the snow globe view view out our window.
For tips and advice on planning family train trips by day or overnight, in the U.S. or abroad, check out Part 6 of Travels with Baby. I’ve included recommendations for scenic day trips by train, all about sleepers and family arrangements, best discounts and rail passes available for families and children (in the U.S., Canada, and across Europe), baggage details and advice, and more.
Also, don’t miss these holiday travel tips in my new post over at Examiner.com:
Passports with Purpose update: We’ve raised more than $4,000 for Heifer International so far! Thanks to those of you who have already purchased raffle tickets for the Passports with Purpose fundraiser! There is still time to enter to win the:
> $100 gift certificate to Babies Travel Lite (prize ID K05)
> Sit ‘n’ Stroll travel car seat/stroller (prize ID K06)
> CARES child aviation restraint (prize ID K04)
…each with a signed copy of Travels with Baby. To see all the great prizes for travel enthusiasts, head over to the Passports with Purpose prize directory, then purchase your $10 tax-deductible raffle tickets at our page at FirstGiving.com.
Traveling with children during the holidays can add a few challenges of its own, but it can also be a great joy when you stop to recognize your good fortune in being able to travel with your child, in having extended family and friends to call upon, and how you’re undergoing a trip that can simply never be repeated. After all, your child will never be this same age or stage at the holidays again.
Win a gift book to be mailed next week:
I’m giving away a gift-wrapped, signed copy of Travels with Baby, ready to send via Priority Mail (to Canada or U.S.) as your gift to a friend next week. To enter to win the gift book, please comment at the original blogspot post (go here if you are reading this in syndication) before midnight PST on Sunday, December 21st. Share one of your favorite holiday travel moments with your child (at any age or stage). You needn’t have traveled far, and perhaps the moment was quite simple—sometimes the best ones are. You might consider what made the moment special to you? What did you learn or appreciate in that moment? Was it something your child taught you?
The winner will be picked at random and announced Monday morning, December 22, SO PLEASE SET A REMINDER TO CHECK HERE THEN or follow on Twitter: @travelswithbaby. Sorry to shout, but it will be very important so that you can email me your gift note information and the address where you would like your gift mailed—I will mail your gift book as soon as I’ve heard from you. If you’ll be traveling or unable to check, please send me an email in advance to contact (at) travelswithbaby (dot) com with your entry name so I can follow up with you if you win.
Good luck! I look forward to reading your moments.
Travels with Baby at Examiner.com:
Also, if you haven’t checked out my new column at Examiner.com yet, head over there to see my latest holiday travel tips, including:
More to come!
Passports with Purpose update:
Thanks to those of you who have already purchased raffle tickets for the Passports with Purpose fundraiser! There is still time to enter to win the $100 gift certificate to Babies Travel Lite, the Sit ‘n’ Stroll travel car seat/stroller, and CARES child aviation restraint—each with a signed copy of Travels with Baby. To see all the great prizes for travel enthusiasts, head over to the Passports with Purpose prize directory and purchase your $10 tax-deductible raffle tickets at FirstGiving.com.
Passports with Purpose update:
Obviously, I love traveling with my children. But even I will admit that one of the greatest challenges in traveling with a toddler can be managing the logistics, and bulk, of a toddler-sized car seat on top of any other travel gear, diaper bag, free-range Travel Teddy, and toddler. Fortunately, there are many ways to help ease travels with car seats. One of the newest products for families traveling by airplane is CARES, which stands for “Child Aviation Restraint System.”
Sweet Pea Baby Rentals, which rents CARES by mail to families anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, recently helped us test out CARES for ourselves with each of our daughters. Both girls are within the range of using CARES, and it was helpful to see the differences in using the product with each of them at 2 years apart.
Before I get into the details of our experience, here’s a quick overview of CARES for those who aren’t yet familiar with it:
What is CARES?
CARES is an additional set of straps that fits over an airplane seat back and attaches to the standard seat belt. It converts the airplane’s lap belt into a 4-point harness securing the child against the airplane seat back, and is FAA-approved as an in-flight alternative to car seats. It weighs only 1 lb, and packs into a 6” stuff sack. CARES can be used in airplanes only, not in automobiles.
Who can use CARES?
CARES is approved for use by children who are at least one year old and weigh a minimum of 22 lbs. It can be used for children weighing up to 44 lbs. Children using CARES must have their own assigned seats on the aircraft.
When to use CARES:
The FAA has approved CARES for use during all phases of flying, including taxiing, take-off, and landing.
Where to use CARES:
Since CARES does not block the passage of others onboard the aircraft any more than an airplane seatbelt, CARES can be used in center and aisle seats, unlike car seats which can only be installed in window seats or the centermost seats of jumbo jets with two aisles.
How to use CARES:Lower the tray table on the back side of the seat where you want to use CARES (explain to your rear neighbor if he’s already seated), and slip the red cinch strap around the seat back with the black straps hanging down, buckles facing outward. Slide the red strap down to where it is at or just above your child’s shoulders (or higher if necessary for the seat shape) and tighten this strap. Feed the airplane seatbelt through the loops at the lower ends of the two black CARES straps, and adjust their length as appropriate for your child. Fasten, and tighten the airplane’s safety belt around your child—and don’t forget to raise your neighbor’s tray table back into place!
Our family’s experience using CARES:
I’ve flown with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in many different situations, and I’ve tried a lot of specialty gear first hand. That said, I know no single product out there will make travel hands-down easier for every family traveling with small children. Every family and child is different, and every trip can be just as different.
Traveling at 7 months pregnant this time around, with two children under the age of 5 years, I have to say that CARES was a tremendous help and convenience to us all. With each CARES harness stored in its small stuff sack and placed in each of our carry-ons (a diaper bag and a daypack), we were able to simply place our bags on the X-ray belt and proceed through security and the entire airport without any special effort.
On the first flight, we avoided preboarding, but then had to ask our neighbors behind us to let their trays down while we installed the main strap that goes around the seat. It wasn’t a big deal, but it’s easier to keep track of the toddler before the plane is crowded with passengers shuffling carry-on bags into the overhead bins. On the return flight, we took advantage of family preboarding and had a much more pleasant time getting the CARES harnesses and girls in their places before the rest of the overbooked flight boarded.
It’s not hard to install a CARES harness, and it really does only take a few minutes, but we found that the specific shape and even upholstery of the airplane seat can present some challenges (and it was different for us on each flight). For example, with an airplane seat that has sides curving forward from the back, it was easiest to install the main strap higher on the seat than at or just above the shoulders, as recommended. When it was placed lower and closer to the shoulders, the seat’s shape worked against it the red CARES strap would actually stick out from the seat center and kept sliding down. Moving it up higher did the trick and didn’t seem to be a problem for our 2-year-old. Leather (or faux…) is more slippery, so we needed to adjust the main belt much more snugly around the seat back than we did when flying with a fuzzy, upholstered seat.
The main drawbacks we found were that neither girl could see out of her airplane window when seated on the grown-up airplane seat, as they might have been sitting in a car seat. This would have been a non-issue if they weren’t seated in window seats, hoping to look out. Also, when both girls were very tired and I hoped at least one would snooze, the straps did little to comfort or support them in that respect, whereas a car seat with deep sides and a slight recline might have aided in the nodding off. While it was also more difficult for both children to reach their trays (it was easiest on the first airplane, where the tray extended toward the seat), it also made it impossible for them to kick the seat infront of them (bonus!).
The real moment of truth came when we discovered our gate had changed to an entirely different wing of the Phoenix airport—and was supposedly already boarding. Countless people-movers later, exasperated from prodding on the two little girls and Traveling Teddy at a pregnant-lady and preschool pace, I was ever so thankful to have a 1 lb. CARES harness tucked in my diaper bag rather than the weight and bulk of a car seat.
Who could benefit most from CARES?
Families traveling with twins & multiples may not only enjoy the substantial lightening of their loads (flying minus two or more car seats), but they may also appreciate the greater flexibility in seating options onboard aircraft.
Pregnant travelers who have enough of a load as it is. Interestingly enough, Louise Stoll, the creator of CARES, first conceived the idea as she met her own daughter at the airport… who was traveling at 7 months pregnant and juggling a toddler and car seat. (Thanks Louise! You certainly had the right idea!)
Families renting or borrowing a car seat at their destination. It was quite liberating to travel so light and know our “vacation car seats” would be meeting us on the other end. And sure enough, we arrived at the airport’s rental car counter to find Sarah from Sweet Pea Baby Rentals standing by with the exact car seats I’d requested (on a luggage cart for us, no less!).
Rent CARES – Wherever you live in the U.S. or Canada, you can also rent CARES by mail from Sweet Pea Baby Rentals if you’d like to try it out. If you are flying into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), you can event rent it for free with their current special (see details). In Canada, you can also rent CARES by mail from Wee Travel.
Buy CARES - Buy CARES online at Babies 1st Amazon.com or SAVE A BUNDLE on our new CARES Bundle with FREE shipping
Win CARES - You can also enter to win CARES (plus a signed copy of Travels with Baby) in the Passports with Purpose fundraiser I’m participating in this month. SORRY, CONTEST CLOSED.
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby
SAVE MORE – Get 10% off from Amazon + an extra 10% off when you buy from “Travels with Baby Books”
I’m so excited to announce the three prizes that Travels with Baby is contributing to the Passports with Purpose travel blogger fundraiser that kicks off today! Proceeds benefit Heifer International’s charitable programs in the U.S. and around the world. Click here to find out more about why I support Heifer International. And here are the prizes…
PRIZE 1: $100 Gift Certificate to Babies Travel Lite
You can use your gift certificate for Babies Travel Lite’s worldwide delivery of baby and toddler supplies (diapers, formula, shelf-stable milk, sun block, snacks), or spend it on their great travel gear like the Gogo Kidz Travelmate and Peapod Plus travel bed. Read more here. Sponsored by Babies Travel Lite http://www.babiestravellite.com/. $100 value + a signed copy of Travels with Baby. Prize ID – K05. Buy a $10 raffle ticket!
PRIZE 1: $100 Gift Certificate to Babies Travel Lite
Known as the ultimate traveler’s car seat, the Sit ‘n’ Stroll converts from stroller to car seat at the curb, ready to strap into the taxi without even removing your child from the 5-point harness. The sunshade is included (not shown). Read more here. Sponsored by Lilly Gold http://www.lillygold.com/. $250 retail value + a signed copy of Travels with Baby. Prize ID – K06. Buy a $10 raffle ticket!
Click here to purchase your ticket(s) and designate which prizes interest you! Thank you so much to my generous sponsors, and to those of you who participate in this fundraiser. There are also many more great prizes up for grabs as part of Passports with Purpose,
Purchase your tax-deductible $10 raffle tickets before December 31st, and winners will be announced in early January. Each of these prizes also includes a signed copy of my book Travels with Baby.
Click here to purchase your ticket(s) and designate which prizes interest you!
Thank you so much to my generous sponsors, and to those of you who participate in this fundraiser. There are also many more great prizes up for grabs as part of Passports with Purpose,check them out!
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children
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