One of the things I was most excited about on our trip to L.A. was the chance to walk around through the canals of Venice, CA — which was easy to do time and again as we stayed a mere half a block away at the Inn at Venice Beach (you can read my hotel review here).
If you haven’t made it to the secret little world of the canals yet, you can get a sneak peak with my video. And the next time you make it to L.A., remember the canals are less than a block from the Venice Beach boardwalk, with an entrance on Washington Blvd.
This post is part of Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby.com. For more Cheap and Free California vacation ideas, see the links below.
Related posts and pages:
Cheap & Free…
San Diego – Balboa Park with kids
I wanted to give you all a head’s up about a great new site for discount family hotel packages and our new Spotlight Sponsor at TravelswithBaby.com: FamilyGetaway.com
I’ve already been emailing their auction links to friends and family on everything from an Italian villa with a swimming pool that would be a dream for a family reunion to a certain hotel in Anaheim that’s walking distance to Disneyland where we could get two connecting double rooms (sleeping 8 total in beds) and it would be such fun to share with friends who have kids of similar ages!
They’ve got discounts up to 65% already, and now through September 30, 2010, you can save $100 extra on your booking with our promo code FGTWB100 . (Valid for one use per customer. Not valid for use with any other coupons.)
Here’s what I like best about FamilyGetaway.com:
Auctions and “Buy it now” prices – If you’re like me and love the idea of getting a bargain, you’ll love this section of the site. I keep finding myself back on the auction pages just to see what new options have come up, with family-friendly hotels and resorts across the U.S., in Europe, Central America and more. Want an even better bargain? Try the $1 Mystery Auctions! Right now I see a $1 Mystery Auction going on a 5-night Mexico All-Inclusive stay for a family of 4 in a suite… only 2 bids so far!
Relevant results – If you get tired of seeing vacation deal prices listed at a Per Person Rate based on two adults, then having to dig through to see what the price really translates to for your family—and if children can even fit in to the room, you’ll appreciate this. FamilyGetaway.com uses your family info for number of children and their ages to show only the bottom line package price—in our case for a family of 5, which can be hard to search for on some other sites. Want to find accommodations to fit your family plus the grandparents? No problem.
Valuable extras included – FamilyGetaway.com doesn’t just provide great discounts on the accommodations, but they usually include additional perks like dining credits, gift cards, cooking lessons (some even for kids!), boogie board rentals, breakfasts, and other valuable additions depending on the property and location.
The family-friendly details – As one who pores over the painful details, including whether or not cribs are available, babysitting, children’s programs, kiddie pools and the like, I also appreciate the at-a-glance family-friendly hotel amenities they clearly spell out for each property. When you look at a package, you’ll see the “Families should know” section to the left side of the screen.
If you’re looking for vacation inspiration, try these links for starters:
Thanks to FamilyGetaway.com for creating this useful new site and for their sponsorship this month.
This post was sponsored by FamilyGetaway.com – Thank you!
I was explaining to a friend the other day that it seems like car travel is actually easier now that we have a baby plus two young children than it was with just one baby. (I won’t say it makes it any easier to pack or actually get out of the driveway though!)
Facing backward, Baby #3 sees his sisters in their car seats and doesn’t seem to question being buckled in among them—most of the time. His big sisters also help entertain him both in the car and during road stops when he burns off energy trying to keep up with them.
Still, spending miles and miles in the car can get to any little traveler, whether he’s got siblings in the car or not. Here are a few easy ways to help keep yours happy in the car on your next road trip.
1. Decrease the recline of your rear-facing car seat. Though infant car seats often show levels to help install at the recommended 45 degree angle needed for a newborn and young infant, older babies who have good control of their neck muscles no longer need to ride in such a reclined position—in fact, if you watch you may see your child straining her neck muscles to lift her head up from the position and get a better look around the car, and possibly out the window. Hours of that can get exhausting. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can decrease the recline of your rear-facing car seats for toddlers and babies with stronger necks to 30 degrees.
2. Get a (sippi)grip. During summer road trips especially, it’s important for everyone to stay hydrated—especially babies, who become dehydrated much more quickly than older children and adults. But sippy cups and bottles seldom stay at their passenger’s seat. I like the SippiGrip strap to help keep bottles and cups with the kids, and as you can see in the photo above it also helps provide entertainment in some cases. Filled with cold water, it wasn’t a problem when Theo discovered he could douse himself as we drove through some very hot areas. Attached to a SnackCatcher, he was also able to feed himself puffs as we drove. As you can imagine, the SippiGrip also works well with toys.
3. Keep company. If you don’t have other children to keep baby happy in the back seat, take turns with your partner between driving and riding in the back seat with him. Your rear-facing baby will appreciate the company as you read, play, sing, or simply are within his view, and the driver will no doubt appreciate having you back there to attend to his needs while he focuses on the road—and possibly an audio book.
For more help planning your road trip with baby, from pacing your journey to surviving car sickness, and from dealing with diapers to renting campervans… see Part 4 of Travels with Baby.
Related posts and pages:
Tips for road trips with babies
Think outside the car seat
Remember the Penguin
Quick list – Road trips with toddlers
Recommended car seat accessories
Best infant car seats for travel
Giveaway in progress: Win a Go Hybrid portable car seat ($199 value)! Ends 8/11/10.
I just finished up my review of the Safety 1st Go Hybrid travel car seat at TravelswithBaby.com, and now it’s your turn to weigh in on how you think this car seat might help a traveling family such as yours with a chance to win your own (a $199 value)!
To enter to win, just read the review then add a comment below this post completing this phrase:
“The Go Hybrid Portable Car Seat would make travel for my family oh-so-much easier when we… [your answer].”
Travels with Baby subscribers only (use the subscribe box above if you’re new), and U.S. residents only, please. Leave your comment below before 11:59 p.m. PST on Wednesday 8/11/10. The winner will be announced the following day, with 3 days to claim the prize, so make sure you check back! (Anonymous entries will not be considered, so make sure your nickname or OpenID is on your comment.)
You can also get up to 2 extra entries per subscriber:
1) Facebook: Post your comment to the Travels with Baby fan page, then add a second comment below this post telling me you did so.
2) Twitter: Tweet “I want to win a portable car seat from @travelswithbaby,” then add a third comment below this post telling me you did so.
Related posts and pages:
Review of the RideSafer travel vest
Review of the Sit N Stroll car seat
Best toddler car seats and boosters for travel
Car seat travel bags and carriers
Car seat alternatives
Car seat travel questions
Travel with tots can be daunting enough, but during the potty training years? Whew. Been there, done that, still doing that…
Take it from me, you can never pack too many “pairs of underwears.”
Happily, I’m adding the “TENA Bathroom Finder” to my travel planning quick links, which makes it really simple to enter your destination city and, SHAZAAAM, see all the available toilets in the area. This should make it much easier to build-in potty breaks to your family’s sightseeing itinerary–or road trip.
Need to know on the go? You can get the same technology, powered by SitOrSquat, for your iPhone, iPod Touch, or BlackBerry, or get SMS text instructions to the nearest bathroom. Click here to “go” mobile.
Gearing up for a family camping trip with your baby, toddler, or little kid? Get some helpful tips from this View from the Bay segment and the related posts and pages below. For more tips on planning trips with happy campers of your own, including back-country camping, see chapter 2 of Travels with Baby.
Related posts and pages:
I’m often asked by parents if there is some way to hire a babysitter during their family vacation—and know it will be someone they can trust and feel comfortable with. It’s a tough question. Yet for parents with babies or active young children, just having one relaxing (and dare I say “romantic”?) dinner together during a vacation—or the opportunity to set out on an afternoon’s snorkel trip together—or catch a Broadway show—can do wonders for a marriage.
Many large hotels offer a list of local babysitters, and some resorts offer private “in-room babysitters” for infants too young for children’s programs, but in these arrangements it may be difficult to screen the caregivers ahead of time—or even guarantee they’ll be available when you need them. So what’s a parent to do? I recently put the question to an expert on this very topic: Katie Vaughan.
Katie is the founder of Westside Nannies (www.westsidenannies.com), the Los Angeles-based agency you may have seen featured on Dr. Phil or Entertainment Tonight, which is responsible for assigning nannies to many high-profile and celebrity families. Here are her tips for hiring a nanny or babysitter for your family vacation.
5 tips for hiring nannies and babysitters on your family vacation
1. Find a reputable agency – Insider Tip: The International Nanny Association, www.Nanny.org, provides a state-by-state listing of reputable agencies around the US
2. Make sure the agency understands your needs – For example, do you require a nanny with infant experience for your newborn or an energetic camp-counselor type babysitter for your 5-year-old twins?
3. Verify qualifications – Make sure the agency sends you a resume, references and proof of a background check and CPR certification.
4. Check the references!
5. Make sure to provide the nanny with emergency contact information
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