This question was posted to the Travels with Baby facebook page by Jaime. I’ve included some of my own thoughts below, but I hope that any of you reading this who have also faced the single / twin travel stroller dilemma to add your comments and experiences below or in the new Travels with Baby facebook forum.
What’s your recommendation on whether to take a single or double travel stroller when traveling through southern Europe for 2 weeks this summer with a 3.5-year-old and 6-month-old (also flights from US connecting through London to Nice, Nice-to-Malaga, and Malaga connecting back to US)? If we can get away with carrying one in Moby/Ergo, single stroller is lighter and saves space. However with the heat and long days, perhaps it’s worth it to have space for 2 in the stroller? Thanks for any advice!
Jaime, there are a few ways you might choose to go. While there are some decent double strollers for travel (my recommendations here), and I’m sure you could probably manage with one stroller and the baby carrier for your trip, there are some questions I’d encourage anyone facing your dilemma to ask themselves before deciding. One family’s trip to southern Europe can be completely different from another family’s!
1) Where will you spend most of your time?
Will you be in a place where it’s very difficult to use strollers in the first place? In an ancient city with narrow corridors and/or steep stone staircases? Or will you be in a more level resort town? Will you be staying in a more modern building with an elevator that will fit a double stroller if your two tots are snoozing in it, with pleasant walkways beside the sea? A single stroller may be challenging enough in some destinations, but a double could prove completely useless.
On the other hand, a lightweight twin travel stroller may be no problem, or a front-and-back model with air-filled tires (like the Phil & Ted) may be just the thing for the cobbled streets and narrow alleys. Or you may be very glad to have just a single lightweight stroller with a shoulder strap you can “wear” every time you take the stairs while holding your toddler’s hand.
2) How will you get around?
If you’ll be using public transportation in a European city, make sure you bring a twin stroller you can easily fold when needed with a carry handle or shoulder strap (I favor the Maclaren Twin Triumph – more recommendations on the double / twin travel stroller page). Or if you’ll be somewhere that’s a short walk from most places you want to visit – a beach, restaurants, etc., will you prefer for your toddler to walk most of the time and be glad to not have the extra bulk to manage in small cafes, etc.?
If you only have a couple of days planned where you’ll be out and about or in museums, etc., for long periods of time, where a double stroller may save your sanity and back, consider bringing two singles that can be joined with stroller connectors when desired. You can leave one stroller at your room all the times when you don’t want the extra seat or bulk.
If you’ll be somewhere that the sun and heat is quite intense, you might welcome the option of your portable shade mobile, especially during naptimes. A lightweight twin with an extra sunshade extension like the RayShade could be a big help.
Other parents – what do you recommend? What stroller worked best for you and where in Europe? Leave a comment below or join the discussion in the Facebook forum.
As readers of Travels with Baby already know, we’re big fans of using carabiner clips during travel. Here are just a few of the ways these simple, inexpensive mountaineering clips may save your sanity on your next family adventure.
Use a carabiner clip to:
1. Secure your child’s Snack Trap to his car seat or stroller strap.
2. Attach a noisy toy to your baby backpack when hiking in bear country.
3. Attach a quiet toy to your child’s overall strap for general travel and especially when you’ll be changing his or her diaper in the lavatory or restroom (keeps their hands busy in a helpful way).
4. Attach your diaper bag, day pack, car seat travel bag, jackets by their hanging loops, or any number of extra items to your rolling suitcase handle for swift passage through the airport
5. Attach your toddler’s safety “leash” to your belt or belt loop as a back-up safety measure when you might otherwise need your hands in that crowded airport line or restroom stall (ahem).
With most carabiner clips priced around $1 each, you have to admit it’s a lot of bang for your buck (click here to see all the various types available) – and likely one of the best deals going on baby travel gear.
Sure, there are probably a dozen more ways you can think of to use your carabiner clip(s) during travel, and I’d love to hear any of your great brainstorms or tried-and-true methods in comments below or on the Travels with Baby Facebook page.
Picture me in Kauai on the other end of this camera, pulling my hair out, during these first attempts at photographing the new Huggies Hawaiian diaper in paradise.
As most of you are aware by now, I’ve had the honor of being spokesperson for Huggies’ Every Little Bottom campaign these past few months, offering vacation travel tips, tips for diapering during travel, and spreading the word about this great program benefitting the National Diaper Bank Network and Foodbanks Canada.
As the limited-edition Huggies Hawaiian Diapers and Wipes program comes to a close, with Huggies donating a day’s worth of diapers to families in need for each pack sold, I had to look back on some of the lighter moments… like this.
My little guy was so jazzed to finally be wearing “The Hawaiian Diaper” he’d heard us talking about for months - in this very exciting place also called Hawaii! – he would not hold still for a picture. Not a chance. On a wide open lawn framed by tropical flora, he raced and laughed, chased his sisters, raced and laughed some more. The clouds moved in, the sun lowered, the photos blurred. He would not hold still.
Days later, I got the great photo *I LOVE,* which you may have seen here. Though you’ll see he’s still on the move in that photo, too!
There’s still a little time left to get your hands on Huggies Hawaiian Diapers and Wipes in stores and online – and remember it’s about more than a cute diaper. For every pack sold during this campaign, Huggies Every Little Bottom is donating a day’s worth of diapers to families in need — up to 22.5 million diapers!
- How to diaper a squirmy toddler on an airplane
- Tips for changing diapers during road trips with baby
- Simplify diaper changes on airplanes with a handy “diaper purse”
Need tips for planning your family’s travels to Hawaii? Don’t miss these:
- Big Island – Hiking at Vocanoes National Park while pregnant or with little ones
- Kauai – Kauai’s best beach for babies and toddlers
- Kauai – Visiting the National Tropical Botanical Garden at Poipu
- Oahu – Oahu’s 5 Best Beaches with Kids Under 5
- See more Hawaii family travel tips and advice in destinations
If you’ve ever stumbled onto something so great while traveling that you can’t wait to tell all your friends, but then you pause to think, well maybe just my best friends, you’ll have a good idea of how much we enjoyed our visit to Kauai’s Salt Pond Park. Well, friends, here’s what we found. (You’re welcome.)
While Kauai’s best known beaches lie on its north, east, and southeast shores, Salt Pond Park is located in the southwest of the island off Highway 50, just past Hanapepe Bay. The park is named for the still-active “salt farm” near it, which you can see from the entrance to the parking area.
If you plan to drive to Waimea Canyon during your stay in Kauai, Salt Pond Park makes a great stop along the way with easy swimming in fairly calm waters–particularly during low tide. Just be sure to bring your snacks and essentials as it’s off the track and away from any restaurants, shops, or resorts (part of the magic).
With jetlag on our side, we were able to time our first visit to Salt Pond to coincide with an early morning low tide. This was absolutely the best timing we could have had, as there was only one person, a camper, at the beach when we arrived.
We discovered that the large rocky formation that broke the small waves coming in was like its own small planet teeming with marine life. We immediately spotted banded coral shrimp, crabs, pipe fish, anemones. We discovered three types of sea cucumbers within a couple of feet of each other. And as I tried to stay ahead of the kids taking pictures all the while, I suddenly froze in my tracks.
I realized this harbor seal was snoozing peacefully behind me in the sand! We hurried away to leave him alone.
As the tide slowly turned, it brought in more and more little fish and a perfect waveless wading area began to deepen between the rocky ledge and the sandy beach. To the kids’ delight, a small waterfall began trickling of the rocks into their private swimming lagoon.
As the morning passed and the tide crept in, more people arrived on the scene, mostly local families coming to enjoy a beautiful Sunday at the beach. It had become one of those lovely places you can sit in calm water beside your splashing toddler and little kids afloat on their “looky boards” (highly recommended – available at Snorkel Bob’s) watching for fleeting fish.
You should note that when we returned later that day, during high tide, the scene was quite different. Nearly every parking space was taken. The cove beside this lagoon was dominated by water sports enthusiasts, and the lagoon itself was awash with small waves and bobbing swimmers, while bigger waves splashed over the rocky ledge. Still, it was a beautiful place, and calm enough for mediocre swimmers. If possible, I strongly recommend visiting Salt Pond Park on a low-tide morning. Bring your kids, bring your snacks, bring your beach goodies, and definitely… bring your camera.
We’ve often spotted this amphibious adventure vehicle around San Francisco, usually leading to an explanation for the kids of how it can travel over roads and also into water, leading – in our case – always to the inevitable question from the kids, “Can we go on it??!!” Leading, in our case, always to the inevitble answer from their parents: “No, that’s for tourists.”
Until recently that is, when our “San Fran Staycation” led us straight to the heart of all things touristic in San Francisco: Fisherman’s Wharf. With a friendly invitation to Ride the Ducks for review, the kids couldn’t believe their luck as THEY were handed the “golden quackers” and led up the ramp into the too-tall vessel boarding directly across the street from the Fisherman’s Wharf sign.
With a lot of humor and a necessary tip of the hat to safety considerations – including the life jackets stored above us (with some sized for children and infants), our Ride the Ducks tour was off and rolling along the Wharf, everyone quacking merrily to an Overture in Quack Major.
The kids were overjoyed, and as we made way through the most touristed parts of the city: China Town, North Beach, Union Square, I had to admit is was nice for once to be the lazy observer rather than the defensive driver sharing these sights with visitors. The elevation of the Duckmobile also allowed for some nice perspective for photos I’d have gladly taken en route, but for the need of hanging onto my enthusiastic toddler who took a firm position that, “He who quacks leaning out of the open side of the Duck quacks loudest.”
Fortunately, by the time we were ready to make the transition from land vessel to Bay Cruiser, the seriousness of what we were about to do set in with a loud clanging and a lurch as the motor raged into aqua gear and we drove, yes, straight into San Francisco Bay. For the first couple of minutes, it felt as if we continued to sink down into the water, and I realized the surface of the bay was the same level as my feet resting on the floor. For a moment, I thought that perhaps it wouldn’t be too much to ask the riders to actually wear the life jackets that were strapped farther from our heads than the water was beside us.
Too late. The duck lurched and motored on and I was glad for a day without whitecaps. In fact, we couldn’t have picked a better day to Ride the Ducks than this uncharacteristically sunny, windless summer day in San Francisco (Hint: you will most likely want a warm jacket before heading out on the Bay – or to San Francisco in summer, when we’re usually socked in with fog). We cruised right up close to and around these two WWII ships and, to the delight of the Giants fans onboard, right along the back side of AT&T park where you can actually see into the park.
Older children were allowed and encouraged to take turns driving the Duck in its water mode, though mine were too shy. Back on land, we made way back to our point of departure as our driver-guide pointed out yet more interesting facts and stories, including some I’d never heard before, about San Francisco and its famous residents. This is when we started to feel the 90 minutes of the 90-minute tour. The toddler was done. His quacker was not.
While the tour is a bit long for the average active toddler (for which there are no restraints), everyone else onboard seemed to enjoy every moment of the adventure. It’s definitely a novel way to see the city, and one you’ll never forget – especially when your kids break out their souvenir quackers on a rainy day. I remain very glad we went, and it was a definite highlight of our San Fran Staycation.
TIPS: If you do Ride the Duck(s) in San Francisco, plan to board your tour before noon and you’ll save $5 per adult ticket and $3 per child (4 to 12). Children 3 years and younger ride free. Also, make sure you know ahead of time where you can get additional discounts during the day when you present your Ride the Ducks ticket (includes the nearby Rainforest Cafe and its gift shop) - click here for the list. With young kids, you’ll want to be sure to use the restroom prior to boarding for the 90-minute journey, and you’ll find well-maintained public restrooms across the street in the parking area behind the famous Fisherman’s Wharf sign.
For more information about Ride the Ducks San Francisco, and to purchase your tickets online, click here to visit their site. For more ideas of fun things to do with your family in San Francisco, check out some of these related posts:
- San Francisco – Driving loop for north central SF – Golden Gate Bridge, Park, Beaches & More
- San Francisco – Picnic at the Palace of Fine Arts
- San Francisco – Exploring the Exploratorium with kids
- San Francisco – Most beautiful beach to visit – Crissy Field beach and picnic area
- San Francisco – Go Dutch in Golden Gate Park (at the Wilhelmina Windmill)
- San Francisco – To the Lighthouse: Point Bonita (north end of Golden Gate Bridge)
- San Francisco – Fun at Fort Funston – Dog and hang glider paradise
- San Francisco – Tips for visiting the San Francisco Zoo with little kids
Just last week, I left my toddler eating his snack in the kitchen for a few momentsonly to return to find him standing on the kitchen counter with a bottle of children’s vitamins in his hand. I had no idea that he had vitamins on his mind when I left the room, nor that he could so quickly and easily access these things I purposefully keep on a high shelf in the cupboard. Has this happened to you?
And now we pack our bags.
Let’s face it: pills, vitamins, even medicated creams and ointments, are often left in easy-to-remember places–especially in homes without young children. Before traveling to Nana’s this summer, it’s worth asking, “Where?” and having a potentially life-saving conversation with your hosts about how and where any prescription drugs, over-the-counter remedies, pet medications, and vitamins will be stored to ensure they are out of the reach and, just as important, out of the sight of your child during your visit.
I also wanted to pass along these helpful tips and reminders provided by the PROTECT Initiative* on exactly this topic. And after you run through them yourself, you may want to forward them on to your friends and relatives (especially the ones you’ll be staying with this summer!).
1. When packing for a trip, keep your medicines in their original child-resistant containers. Other containers, such as pill organizers and baggies, often lack child safety features and can be easily accessed by young children.
2. While staying in a hotel, secure your medicines and vitamins in a location that your children cannot see or reach, such as a high cabinet or passcode-protected hotel room safe.
3. As a guest in another person’s home, do not be shy about asking them where to put your medicines and vitamins so they are out of the sight and reach of children.
4. Remember to never leave medicine or vitamins out on a table, countertop, or bedside table where your children could reach them no matter where you are – always make sure the caps are locked and put them away every time they are used.
5. Program the national Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, along with other emergency contact numbers into your cell phone, so they are available in case of an emergency.
For more helpful tips to keep little ones safe during homestays and other travels, see “Staying Safe (and Sane) with Friends and Family” in Chapter 2 of Travels with Baby, “Childproofing On the Go” in Chapter 10 of Travels with Baby, check out recommended Safety & Childproofing Products for Travel, and when you get there: Don’t forget the Checking in Safety Checklist in Take-Along Travels with Baby.
Yep, I’ve been there, done that, and here I am all over again.
* The PROTECT Initiative is a collaboration between the CDC and the CHPA Educational Foundation. Click here for more information.
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of diapering your little one in an airplane lavatory, it may be hard to picture how infinitely small the fold-out diapering table might be. By the time your child can toddle down the aisle of the aircraft, he will likely be longer than the diaper changing tray is wide—and holding still for you as you juggle your diapering essentials at 30,000 feet may be the last thing on his list of priorities.
Fear not, my friend. The “standing quick change” can save the day.
Once your child is sturdy on his own two feet, just leave that lavatory changing table where it is. Instead:
- Stand him on the lid of the toilet facing away from you.
- Let him support himself against the lavatory wall, which will help keep his hands busy in a helpful manner.
- Pull the pants to the down position (around the ankles) to inhibit the climbing and kicking reflexes for which squirmy toddlers are famous.
- Remove the diaper, wipe, and replace.
- Return pants to the upright position.
- About face, and give a high five.
If it’s too tricky to wash your hands and your child’s in the lavatory basin, use an antibacterial hand wipe back at your seat.
The standing quick change works best for tots in pants, shorts, or skorts, and when using the “diaper purse” (click here for more info).
What’s better than diapering made easy on the airplane? Making diapering easier for a family in need at the same time! Remember, when you purchase a pack of Huggies Hawaiian Diapers or Wipes, Huggies Every Little Bottom will donate a day’s worth of diapers to a family in need. Click the logo to find out more about Huggies’ contributions to the National Diaper Bank Network and Food Banks Canada, and click here to read all about why I’m helping to spread the word about this great cause this summer.
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