I came across this snapshot while looking for a cute camping photo for my previous post (Camping with your Baby or toddler? Remember these tips). While it’s fun to see how tiny my big girl was on her first camping trip (3 mos, near Big Sur), I have to admit it’s a complete shock to see how much younger I look in this photo. I mean, it wasn’t THAT long ago, was it?
(I can hear my mother, who camped with me as an infant, chuckling in the distance…)
Perhaps it was the sheer simplicity of going on a weekend trip as a family without trying to work it into a guidebook or blog post or article. Sigh. I’m happy to say that’s exactly what I’m about to do. Well, for the most part.
Sure, some work will still follow, but when I’m not working, I vow to be in the moment. Well, when I’m not behind my camera taking 500+ photos of my amazing children, I will definitely be, for the most part, in the moment. In fact, maybe I’ll even be in the some of the photos this time around?!
There are times I just have to put my foot, and the camera down. But I’m so glad for photos like this!
How about you?
Are you or your partner able to disconnect from work when you travel with your family? I know many of you travel for your work – do you have any tips for carving out some sacred “family time” in the middle of work trips with kids in tow?
This post is part of Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby.com.
It’s that time of year again! Are you planning to camp with your baby or toddler this summer? Here is a list of some of my best tips online to help with your planning. And don’t forget the tips in Travels with Baby (Chapter 2 / camping trips, Chapter 7 / managing mosquitoes). I’ve also tucked in this segment I did on View from the Bay just before our first camping trip with baby # 3 – when I think of all I’ve learned between this first camping trip with a baby (above) and setting out on the one I mention (below), it nearly makes my head spin.
- Three campsites to avoid when camping with young children
- Tips for first camping trips with babies and toddlers
- Five easy foods to pack for camping trips with little kids
- Scorpions, ticks, and bears – oh, my!
- Why and how to practice camping with your little kids
I hadn’t flown Alaska Airlines in quite some time, so I was pleasantly surprised by what I found on our recent flight to Kauai (and no, they did not sponsor our travel or this post).
With so many rants about airlines, toddlers and their parents in the blogosphere (often earned, but rarely helpful), I thought it was worth pointing out what Alaska is doing right by travelers with toddlers and young children. Maybe some of the other airlines will take note – but I’m sure those of you parents reading this will. And feel free to share your own recent experiences in comments below.
- Alaska Airlines, as I discovered in that cold sweat that comes every time you discover your family has been split between two or possibly three rows on the aircraft (with your three-year-old next to strangers), reserves two “family rows” in most flights to help ensure families with young kids stay seated together in case of last-minute seat shuffles. A simple phone call to reconfirm my flight was all it took – they were able to group us back together again, saving my sanity and surely that of the folks who might have been seated next to parentless children on the 5-hour flight.
- Alaska’s fleet, to my knowledge, is not equipped with in-seat TVs. However, most Alaska Airlines flights over 3.5 hours offer “dig-e” digital in-flight entertainment players with over 75 movies and children’s programming built in. The cost for these is $8 or $10 per flight, depending on flight length (the flight to Kauai it was $10). Each dig-e player takes 2 headsets, so one is all it takes for 2 kids.
- Food for purchase includes a surprisingly healthy (and pleasing to my extremely picky eater) Kids’ Choice snack basket for $6 on all flights over 1 hour. Pirate’s Booty, turkey snack stick, squeeze apple cinnamon applesauce pouch, organic strawberry yogurt & honey graham, fruit chews and… Wikki Stix!
- Alaska Airlines still offers family preboarding—even before the rock star frequent flyerati, encouraging those who will lug their car seats or need to set up their CARES harnesses to get on board and get set up before the rest of the passengers fall into place. Who benefits most from this? Well, I don’t think you’ll hear any complaints from the aisle seat passenger who got whapped in the head by a passing car seat on his last flight.
- Sure, these days most parents are happy just to be seated together with their children during domestic flights. The rest here is gravy. So how did they really hit a home run with this flying family? A round of free mai tais for the grown-ups and warm cookies for all before landing. “Aloha!”
Thanks, Alaska Airlines, for keeping kids (and their parents) in your sites. Keep up the good work!
Friendly Trip Planning Tip: When you have a choice, choose wisely! Remember the airlines comparison chart in Travels with Baby to help find the most baby-friendly, toddler-friendly, and family-friendly airlines when choosing between carriers for your next big trip.
How about you?
Have you flown Alaska Airlines with your kids? What’s your favorite airline to fly with your baby, toddler or little kids?
If it’s been a while since your last flight with your young child, you’ll have one more thing to look forward to as you pass through airport security points within the U.S. Children 12 years and younger are no longer required to remove their shoes. When I think of the absurd moments of travel over the past several years, including the pat-down of my entire family after we’d already cleared security and once being told to remove my infant’s leather booties, it’s nice to know that, well, maybe things are getting a little easier for travelers with young kids.
Though we’d had the new procedure explained to us previously (after I already had all my children’s shoes off), I was delighted to see this silly sign greeting everyone at the Kauai airport. Are you flying soon?
Remember the quick tips for flying with your baby and toddler on the Air Travel help page!
This post is part of Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby.com.
Having survived thousands of miles of road trips with diaper-clad co-pilots, I can tell you one thing with certainty: diaper changing facilities are few and far between along America’s great highways. Rest Areas are generally not equipped, and it never fails to surprise me how even the fast food restaurant with the 2-story play structure and high chairs lining the wall never seems to have a place for changing diapers in the restroom.
Not to worry. When you set up your own quick-change station in your car, you’ll be good to go. To prepare for diaper changes on your next road trip:
- Stash a few diapers, a travel-pack of diaper wipes and pack of antibacterial hand wipes in your glove box for quick access during front-seat changes.
- Keep a baby blanket or changing mat handy (flannel-backed vinyl works well) to protect the seat.
- If you have “bucket seats” or an emergency break in between the front seats of your car, bring along a firm pillow from home to even out the surface beneath your changing mat (also helpful for bottle- or breastfeeding breaks along the way, and napping).
- Have a large slide-lock plastic bag on hand to stow away diapers when a waste bin is not immediately available.
- Use the antibacterial hand wipes to freshen hands afterward.
And remember, if you pack along these vacation-ready Huggies Hawaiian Diapers and Wipes for your trip, Huggies Every Little Bottom will donate a day’s worth of diapers to families in need for every pack purchased this summer! Read all about it in my post Dressed cute for a cause in Kauai.
Want more tips for road trips with your baby or toddler this summer?
- Do not pass go, but head directly to the “Travels by Car” tips page for more quick tips and advice.
- Find all the planning help you can handle for successful family road trips with young children in Part 4 of Travels with Baby, and in related sections on temperament, packing, and more.
- As you travel, keep hundreds of on-the-go tips at your finger tips to help in the car, in restaurants, in hotel rooms, in airports, on airplanes, in foreign countries, and more with the pocket-size Take-Along Travels with Baby.
How about you? Do you have a great on-the-go diaper changing tip? Please share in comments below!
We have a winner!
Review of the RideSafer travel vest
What if your big sister got to see her name in all of the national parenting magazines and some big-name newspapers, made several television appearances, and was a welcome guest in thousands of homes between multiple continents? You might be a little jealous.
I’m a little sister myself, so when I think about the quieter launch last year for Take-Along Travels with Baby, the on-the-go companion to Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide…, it occurs to me that as the mother-author, I should be sure to make it clear to all of you who know and love Take-Along‘s big sister why you will want to be sure and slip little sister into the side pocket of your carry-on, your diaper bag, or even into your glove box on your upcoming road trip. And remember, one copy is included with the RideSafer travel vest I’ll be awarding one lucky winner tomorrow (click here for your chance to win)!
(Excerpt from Take-Along Travels with Baby: Hundreds of Tips to Help During Travel with Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler by Shelly Rivoli)
How to Get the Most from This Book
While Travels with Baby (The Ultimate Guide and bigger sibling to this book) helps with all aspects of planning trips before you leave home, this slim counterpart is designed to help you on the road, in the air, at the hotel, and virtually everywhere your family finds itself once you get out the door.
I can honestly tell you this is a resource I wish I’d had for myself on many occasions. So I’m as happy to know that this neatly bound copy will be in my bag the next time I travel as I am to know it will be in yours, too.
Here’s how I recommend using this guide to get the most from it as you travel:
Before you go – Keep it handy, especially near your computer, as you lay your travel plans. Your customized Trip Notes begin on pg. 121, and you can simply fill in the blanks as you make decisions and reservations. That way, whenever you need to access that confirmation number or hotel address, for example, it will be much easier to flip to your trip details and see them at a glance rather than dig back through emails or boot up an electronic device (that may or may not have lost its charge).
Also, be sure to update any emergency contact information (pg. 139) and your children’s current weight and height details (pg. 144) before each trip.
As you travel – Consult whichever sections you need as you travel, whether it’s how to keep your tot entertained at the airport (pg. 60), determining whether or not you need a locking clip as you install a car seat in a vintage taxi (pg. 44), or consulting the Traveler’s Guide to Ear Infections when you can’t get to a doctor right away (pg. 105).
Also, whenever you find yourself with some lag time, on the train or perhaps by the pool, jot down a couple of details about your journey so far, including those favorite family moments, trip quotes, and invaluable “Notes for Next Time.”
As you add your family’s personal notes from each trip you take together, plus your child’s travel art as she morphs into a budding Picasso (pg. 66)—then add a few ceremonious spills and a couple of dog-eared corners—this pocket guide will earn its rightful place as a keepsake for your family.
After your return – You may want to keep this book in your diaper bag for reference by you or your child’s caregiver during daily outings. With small children, a trip across town can sometimes be as eventful as a trip overseas. Good thing you’ll be prepared.
Previous post: Tips for visiting San Francisco Zoo with Little Kids
Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Crookedest Street, and clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf aside, there’s much to do on a San Francisco family vacation that’s off the main tourist track. If you’re planning a San Francisco vacation with your kids, I hope you’ll consider paying a call to its lovely zoo out by Ocean Beach. A trip to the San Francisco Zoo can also be a springboard to other nearby sights that are also fun to visit with children (included below).
Here are my SF Zoo tips if you plan to go:
1. Arrive early, but not too early. The San Francisco Zoo is open 365 days a year (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. most of the year, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during summer), so you can cross the city after peak morning traffic and still arrive in time for a good parking space.
2. Do not trust GPS to get you to the right gate for the San Francisco Zoo. There is an unfortunate guard who spends each day redirecting GPS-guided tourists arriving at the staff parking entrance to the front visitor’s entrance. Stay on Sloat Avenue until you see the sign to turn off for the zoo. You can click here to see it on the map.
3. Bring warm layers – even if the morning seems warm. The San Francisco Zoo entrance is actually right across the street from the Pacific Ocean–and not the Pacific Ocean they have in San Diego. While this makes it nice and easy to work in some sand castles and a beach picnic after your zoo visit, keep in mind that on a cooler day (which we get many of in San Francisco, particularly in July) there will be a coastal breeze blowing through the zoo. Make sure everyone in your family will be warm enough to enjoy their time outdoors.
4. Plan a strategic play break at the sandy playground. If your toddler begins resisting the stroller, or refuses to stay near you as you walk, just make a pit stop at the massive playground area for some free play time. The playground has suitable areas for toddlers as well as big kids, not to mention family restrooms that include diaper changing tables beneath heat lamps (yes, believe me on point 3!).
5. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, head to the “South American Tropical Forest,” where a warm and balmy indoor world awaits many a chilly traveler. Just watch out for the enormous yellow anaconda – I can’t imagine what they’re feeding it.
6. Rent a wagon or a stroller for your visit. Wagon and stroller rentals are available at $10 / day, available on a first-come first-served basis.
7. Check the daily schedule if you’d like to attend the penguing, pelican, or giraffe feedings, or see snack time for the grizzlies. In addition, the San Francisco Zoo is offering these summer events, from June through September:
Summer Programming in the Children’s Zoo
10:30 a.m. Barnyard Stampede – Family Farm
11:00 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Nature Trail is DAILY starting June 9, then weekends only through Labor Day – Children’s Zoo
11:15 a.m. Hatchery Tour – Family Farm
2:30 p.m. Incredible Insects in Action – Insect Zoo
3:30 p.m. Pond Feeding – Family Farm
4:00 p.m. Keeper Talk: Raptors! – Hawk Hill
Wildlife Theatre (June – September)
2:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
8. Combine your visit to the San Francisco Zoo with a stop at these other favorites in the same vicinity:
- Fort Funston – Dog and hang glider paradise, just south of the zoo.
- The Wilhelmina Windmill at the west end of Golden Gate Park – next to the kid-friendly Beach Chalet/Park chalet restaurant (more info in linked post).
- Driving loop for north central SF – Golden Gate Bridge, Park, Beaches & More
- More San Francisco recommendations from Travels with Baby
For more information about the San Francisco Zoo, visit their website at: http://www.sfzoo.org/.
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