Congratulations to Julie, winner of the Hands-Free Beam N Read LED 3. Her tweet re: how the travel light would help her take potty-training 3-year-old to the latrine was the winning entry selected by Random.org. Julie, please contact me within 3 days to claim your prize!
If you’re joining us late, you can find out why I call the Hands-Free Beam N Read (worn around the neck, not the head, with adjustable angle for your path) the ultimate travel-with-kids light in my review. You can also find the 3-light Beam N Read LED model and Beam N Read LED 6 Extra Wide & Bright online at Amazon.
Thanks to ASF Lightware Solutions for sponsoring our Beam N Read LED lights and this giveaway. Keep watching for more giveaways coming soon.
Last week I had the honor of joining Rona Renner for my third radio appearance on Childhood Matters–how time flies! If you missed the live broadcast on San Francisco’s 98.1 FM, you can listen to it here perhaps while you start packing your bags or work on your pre-trip shopping lists.
Also, this is the last call to enter to win the hands-free Beam N Read travel light, which makes it oh-so-much easier to walk those little ones to the campground potty in the dark (and use it), find your way around the hotel room after your tot goes to sleep, and read that map in the car after dark (which I’m sure you won’t need to do, but just in case). Head over to the review post to see why it’s better than traditional head lamps and enter for your chance to win by midnight tonight. (batteries & red night filter included).
Last week I returned to ABC 7′s The View from the Bay to discuss hotel babyproofing tips–with a few funny photos you might recall from here in the blog. If you missed the segment live, here’s your chance to watch!
Included here are some more tips for those of you gearing up for hotel and vacation rental stays with babies and toddlers, including things to know before you go, and what you can do on arrival to help ensure a safe and hopefully relaxing stay with your family.
Good things to know before you go:
• Will there be a balcony? Are the railing balusters safely spaced for small people (don’t assume they will be even at U.S. hotels), and does the door offer an extra lock for safety to ensure your child can’t open it alone?
• Are the windows child-safe? Not such an issue in most chain and international-type hotels, but smaller inns, vacation rentals, and hotels abroad may have very old windows or charming large windows that can be a problem with small children.
• Is there a heater or AC unit with controls down at your child’s level?
• Also, will the hotel provide a portacrib or pack ‘n play? You can use it to help two ways:
1. A safe place to put your child at times when you don’t want them having free access to the room, such as while you’re doing the initial childproofing or using the bathroom, etc.
2. A blockade to certain temptations like the minibar, heating or AC unit, in-room electronics and cords, or other issues.
Tip: Visit the hotel’s website to see pictures, read reviews from customers who have also stayed there with children (TripAdvisor.com is great for this), and don’t hesitate to call and ask the hotel directly.
Some of the biggest concerns to check immediately upon arrival:
• Windows and doors are latched and locked securely. Use that extra chain or lock up above to help keep your toddler from sightseeing without you!
• Cords and outlets are out of sight and reach. Check especially around desk and dataport areas, floor lamps. In many cases you can lift the extra cords up above tables and slightly move furniture to block access. Don’t be afraid to rearrange furniture!
• The bathroom door lock will not be a problem. You can add a “finger guard” if you want to prevent your toddler or preschooler from locking it closed or getting fingers pinched, or add a door knob cover if you don’t want your toddler opening the door in the first place. Both options are small and travel easily.
• Do a basic sweep to make sure there aren’t any coins or other hazards hiding under furniture out of your sight-but not necessarily out of your child’s!
For more tips on Babyproofing On the Go, see related sections in Chapter 2 and Chapter 10 of Travels with Baby.
I just wanted to take a moment to introduce and thank Baby Travel Pros–this month’s Spotlight Sponsor over at TravelswithBaby.com. If you have been to the website lately, you may have noticed the new Spotlight Sponsor box featuring businesses that are geared toward helping families travel better.
As most of you know, I’m a big fan of renting baby gear, and so I was pleased to hear about the Baby Travel Pros organization, which helps support independent baby gear rental agencies (non-franchise) by giving them access to affordable business insurance and other benefits, while also ensuring that their members all provide clean, safe, quality equipment to renters like us.
Baby Travel Pros members can be found at many locations across the U.S., and in a growing number of other countries as well. Click here to find a location.
If you’d like to find out more about the Spotlight Sponsor advertising op at TravelswithBaby.com, head on over to our advertising page for details. Thanks for your support, Baby Travel Pros—and best of luck to you!
This post was sponsored by Baby Travel Pros – Thank you!
When I first decided to write the Travels with Baby guidebook, I knew that the rules when traveling with babies and toddlers are quite different from traveling with older children (or no children at all!). The same could be said of visiting bear country with very young children. I was already working on a post with general tips for travel to bear country when a reader wrote in:
What did you do about the car seats at Yosemite? Did you leave them in your car or take them out? We’re heading there in a few weeks and I’ve been busily devouring your blog for ideas and travel tips.
All the best,
This is SUCH a good question for anyone visiting Yosemite National Park with small kids or other areas where “bear rules” are strictly enforced, and you must scour your car for any last scented antibacterial hand wipe pack or goldfish cracker and make sure it is out of your vehicle before leaving it parked over night. When road-tripping to the Yosemite with toddlers in the car, this can be especially challenging.
It’s good to keep in mind that each year curious bears really do open cars like cans of spam and help themselves to things that look and smell of interest. We had a good reminder this last visit when Tim walked past a bike rack at Curry Village in the early morning and saw a bicycle that had one-third of its seat bitten off! There it was. Or wasn’t. Our car was parked a short distance away with all 3 car seats, thankfully, still in place.
Staying in the lodges and hotels
When visiting the Yosemite Lodge, my reservations agent who was also a mother, recommended we bring the car seats into our room, which we did. That was also the trip when we had one of our most memorable arrivals at the park—when my daughter, who had been snoozing through all the windy curves of the decent into the valley—woke up in the tunnel with a hurl. (I tell you, those travel trays I’m always raving about are helpful in more ways than one, but the car seat still needed an additional cleaning.) We also carried all three car seats into our cramped room at the Wawona Hotel, but didn’t bother at Tenaya Lodge or Evergreen Lodge where it didn’t feel necessary.
Staying in tents
When tent camping in Yosemite, however, your tent is probably the last place you want to stash your car seat. If you only have one reasonably-sized car seat, and few other things that need to go into your bear-proof storage box, you may be able to stick it in there if it will help you sleep better (see bear box photo above for reference).
Preparing for the trip
Otherwise, your most reasonable other option is to keep the car seat—and car—as clean and scent-free as possible. We have a rule now that the kids cannot snack in the car on the way to Yosemite, which lasts about 35 minutes, but makes them much more careful when they do snack during the drive thereafter. I find the Snack Catchers to be helpful, but not foolproof. Ideally, we take a good snack/meal break outside of the car, and keep them drinking only water in the car.
Before visiting Yosemite, now with our three small kids, we thoroughly clean the car before we leave, including taking the car seats out, removing the covers and dumping them upside down—I won’t tell you what riches we’ve uncovered there, particularly this last time when we were prepping for our third road trip of 2010! It’s a good idea to wash the car seat covers before you go, too, if your tots tend to snack and spill in the car.
The straps are the more difficult part, and using scented wipes or sprays we realized was not the best idea for cleaning them before bear country. If they could use some cleaning, I’ve had luck with just a washcloth and really hot water.
Once you’re there
Related posts and pages:
Tips for biking Yosemite National Park with a baby, toddler, or little kid
The Celebrated jumping frogs of Birch Lake
Roadstop: Oakdale Cheese and Specialties
Travels with Baby Review of Curry Village
Travels with Baby Review of Evergreen Lodge
Travels with Baby Review of Wawona Hotel
Quicklist for camping with Babies and Toddlers
Giveaway in progress: Have you entered to win the travel light that saved us at Curry Village? Click here to find out more about the hands-free Beam N Read light and enter to win.
This Sunday, I’ll be a guest again on Childhood Matters, broadcast live on San Francisco’s 98.1 FM and in Santa Cruz and Monterey on 105.1 FM from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Pacific Time.
Get your coffee and questions ready and join me and host Rona Renner. If you have a great family travel tip of your own, feel free to call in and share.
The number to call is 1-877-372-KIDS.
Some callers will also receive free signed copies of Travels with Baby. I can’t wait to hear from you!
Also, if you haven’t checked out my favorite new travel (and parenting) light yet, don’t miss your chance to enter to win a hands-free Beam N Read travel light to help on your family’s adventures this summer…in the car… on the airplane… in the tent…
Any of you who have tried to juggle a toddler on your hip plus a flashlight while finding your way to the campground potty in the dark—or have held the hands of two very young kids simultaneously while one points a flashlight into the trees and you try not to trip on rocks, will know why I jumped at the chance to test out the new LED models of the Hands-Free Beam N Read lights during our recent stay at Curry Village in Yosemite National Park.
While I expected the lights would be quite useful for us on this trip and others to come, they could not have traveled with us at a better time. Arriving hours behind schedule, in the dark, among puddles of snow melt… we were obliged to empty our car of anything and everything that has a scent or might look interesting to a bear…and carry it through the parking area to our tent cabin on its happy little row in the inner circle. Add to that our usual bags, a Peapod travel bed, our sleeping bags we brought for extra warmth, and it was quite a project at the end of a long drive (and day).
I’ll remind you, we have a baby and two young kids—the smallest of which was strapped to me. These wearable lights, with adjustable angles that light your path with bright, battery-saving LED light, were exactly what we needed. They’re typically worn around the neck (like a necklace) with an adjustable strap you can shorten when reading, as appropriate.
I also love that they use batteries so much more sparingly than traditional book lights and other flashlights (made to last at least 120 hours with four AA batteries, which are included). And the optional red filter is perfect for tiptoeing around on tooth-fairy detail and at other times when you want a softer light.
Of course, the 3-light model has numerous other helpful travel and childcare applications as well. Here are some of the best as I see them:
- You need to tiptoe around a dark hotel room without waking your child.
- You finally get a chance to read (or perhaps knit) on the airplane, but don’t want to risk turning on that overhead light above you and your sleeping child.
- You are orientationally challenged on a road trip and need to consult the map.
- You want to find your way around the campground without blinding everyone in your path—a common problem with the “head lamps.”
I also like how it’s small and packs flat right in the side pocket of my favorite carry-on.
Win Your Own!
Could you use one of these handy lights, with batteries and red filter included ($19.95 value)? I am giving one away to one lucky reader who leaves a comment below completing this sentence:
“The Beam N Read LED 3 would help me…[your answer]”
I can’t wait to read your comments! Leave your comment by Wednesday, June 23, midnight Pacific Time, and I’ll announce the winner the following day. U.S. only, please.
Thanks to ASF Lightware Solutions for sponsoring our Beam N Read LED lights and this giveaway. You may also want to check out the Beam N Read LED 6 Extra Wide & Bright, which has 3 additional lights, and comes with an optional orange filter and magnifying lens (great for doing detail work and in case of emergency–and dare I say could make an excellent Father’s Day gift for the fly-tying enthusiast in your life?).
Get more chances to win when you also:
1. Facebook – Leave your comment on the Travels with Baby Facebook page, then leave an additional comment below this post telling me you’ve done so.
2. Twitter – Tweet “I wanna win the ultimate travel light from @travelswithbaby” with a link to this post then leave an additional comment below this post telling me you’ve done so.
I have another giveaway just around the corner, so keep watching — plus your chance to chat with me live on the air…
My name is Alexandra, I am planning to travel to Paris in July, so I will need a lightweight stroller. My baby will be 8 months by then. In the meantime I have a Bugaboo Cameleon which is breaking my back (so heavy and difficult to handle when you have a C-section!) and I have a Peg Perego carseat.
I saw the Peg Perego Vela at Babies R Us and found it really smooth and convenient, also liked that it is car seat compatible. The only thing I was not sure about was the folding measurements, Maclaren Quest folds smaller and easier… Do you have any feedback for the Peg Perego Vela?
Thanks a lot,
I’ve been considering the Peg Perego Vela for my list of recommended lightweight travel strollers, but I haven’t decided yet (if any of you have experience with it and want to share your opinions please post below). That it only weighs 10 lbs., has larger rolling wheels which help a lot on bumpy terrain, AND is compatible with a very popular infant car seat are definitely in its favor. I also like the large, accessible storage basket and child’s tray—two things you don’t often get with a lightweight travel stroller.
However, when it comes specifically to taking the Paris Metro with its many stairs and generally getting around the city with a stroller—during which time you probably won’t have any use for the car seat—this may not be your best bet. To answer your question, the Vela folds to 39” x 23” x 12” deep, whereas the Maclaren Triumph (weighing 1 lb. more) folds to 10” x 10” x 41” and includes a shoulder carrying strap, making it a much easier package to wear through turnstiles and tote up and down stairs as needed, while keeping your hands free for tickets and/or baby.
Some other lightweight travel strollers with shoulder carrying straps: Combi Savvy (and other lightweight Combi travel strollers), UPPAbaby G-luxe. We did well in Paris with a Combi Savvy ourselves, in spite of the small wheels (also like the Triumph with rubber wheels). With the exception of the Savvy, which I was sometimes able to insert our infant car seat into with the stroller seat fully reclined, most of these strollers aren’t made to carry infant car seats. The lightweight Combi Flare, however, can be used with the Shuttle car seat.
If you really like the modern / streamlined design and want the flexibility of snapping that car seat in sometimes, you might also consider cashing in your Bugaboo and going with the Quinny Zapp, the most compact folding stroller I know. You could actually buy this whole travel systm / bundle, including the compatible Maxi-Cosi car seat , with what you might get for resale on the Bugaboo (and still have money left over for pan au chocolat).
What about the rest of you? Have you seen Paris by stroller? Share a comment below!
BTW, that’s mon homm pictured in Paris with our babe in the Combi Savvy—which he swears is still his favorite of the travel strollers we’ve tried. This post is part of Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby.com.
Related posts and pages:
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guidebook Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children
http://www.travelswithbaby.com/ twitter facebook
P.S. These are my independent recommendations — no one paid to be mentioned here.
- "99 of the Best Travel Blogs" from TravelBlogs.com "10 Best Family Travel Blogs" from Blogs.com "Top 10 Family Travel Blogs" from TripBase.com "Top 25 Travel Blogs for Families" and "#2 for Insider Tips and Tricks" from Babble.com
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