TAG | General Travel With Kids
May 28, 2013
Kids of all ages are bombarded with electronics – from TV to video games to iPads. They are in our schools and in our homes and it is increasingly difficult to unplug and relax without a screen. There are even reports of kids needing therapy to overcome their iPad addiction. Travel is a perfect time to gradually wean kids (and adults) from the screens that invade our lives.
- Vintage Wire Puzzles from Schylling: A retro favorite that still entertains restless kids. These are great for solo play or race each other to see who can solve them first.
- Mr Mystery Invisible Ink Books: Invisible Ink books are favorites for kids of all ages – I love these for travel because they are both solo play and interactive.
- BlendyPen Activity Books from Melissa & Doug: BlendyPens add a fun twist to traditional coloring activities.
- Magnetic or Vinyl Cling PlaySets: An all time travel favorite – playsets spark the imagination!
What are your favorites?
December 3, 2012
There are times when the hardest part of planning a vacation is deciding where to go. Our friends at FlipKey have created this fun guide to help you pick your destination. Start with the shoes on your feet and take the fist step toward a fun a memorable family vacation and be sure to bring TravelKiddy along to make the journey at least half the fun!
October 29, 2012
It’s no secret that fall is a wonderful time to visit Disney World – the weather is cooler, the crowds are down but the magic is in full force. In October, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party is the place to be!
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a Halloween-themed special event held from 7 p.m. – midnight on select dates in in the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. In 2012 the ticket prices ranged from $50 – $65, depending on the date of your visit.
Disney describes the event as follows:
During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. Even better, you can collect delicious candy as you trick-or-treat around Magic Kingdom theme park.
In addition to many favorite Disney attractions, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is filled with special entertainment, including:
- Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade—including Disney Characters and the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction. The parade begins with a spook-tacular ride by the Headless Horseman.
- Happy HalloWishes—a spectacular fireworks show where the Disney Villains go trick-or-treating in the sky.
- Many favorite Disney Characters and Disney Villains in special Halloween costumes.
- Special lighting, music and theming effects transforms special areas of Magic Kingdom theme park into happy haunted hollows.
The tone of the event is, well, “Not-So-Scary”, and is appropriate for children of all ages.
As with everything involved with a Disney vacation, this is not a cheap experience but, in my opinion, it was well worth the price. Here are some tips and tricks to make your Halloween trip a blast!
- The event get more crowded (and more expensive) the closer to Halloween you get. The week before Halloween is a perfect time to visit – close enough that you already have costumes but far enough that it isn’t overly crowded.
- Leave the trick or treating until the end. When you first arrive, you will find lines at all the candy stations but virtually no lines for the rides. We literally would get off a ride and run around to the entrance and hop right back on – a rarity on rides like Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. A few hours in, the candy stations have plenty of candy and no lines – plus you don’t have to lug the candy around all evening.
- The parade starts near Splash Mountain and this is a great place to find a spot and watch. There seem to be a lot of really little kids that don’t venture to the back of FrontierLand.
- The Spooky Mansion is the most crowded ride – get there early!
- The dance parties are fun if you are in the area where they are being hosted; however, one is probably enough.
- I loved the Villain’s show but if your little one is scared of the Disney Villains, it’s best to avoid (it isn’t scary but sometimes seeing them on stage is enough to trigger nightmares).
- The crowds really begin to thin after the 8:15 parade and 9:30 fireworks. With the park open until midnight, these last few hours are some of the best you will ever spend in the park – no lines and candy everywhere!
- There is a limited amount of Halloween themed merchandise available for sale each night so if you see something you simply must have (the orange ears, for example) buy it when you see it!
- For younger kids, consider a quiet period from around 4 – 6 (maybe catch a Disney movie in your hotel room) so they have plenty of energy for the party. Also, plan on a late morning the next day to give everyone a chance to recover.
- HAVE FUN!!
July 17, 2012
Jet lag is the bane of international travel (or any travel that crosses multiple time lines) – add a few kids and it can break a trip. These tips will help smooth the transition.
1. If possible, pick flights such that you land in the early afternoon. When you get to the hotel, grab something to eat and head out for a walk around town. Plan on an early dinner and early bedtime -but no naps for kids or adults (babies should nap as necessary).
2. The first day is usually filled with the excitement of being in a new place – capitalize on this by scheduling time to explore the city. A good combination of walking and riding will help work off the excitement without having people tire too quickly.
3. The second full day is always the worst. Make it an easy day – no early morning or evening plans. This is a great day to hit a local park, zoo or aquarium. Expect tired (and fussy) kids and a lack of patience from the adults and try to mitigate it with fun activities and frequent snacks. Giving kids a little space (such as solo baths) will also help prevent bickering.
4. Meals are tricky as you transition through time zones. Be sure to have plenty of sweet and savory snacks on hand for off-hour hunger (including in the middle of the night!). Try to plan for more frequent, smaller meals (afternoon tea or quick stops in a pub make Europe perfect for this tip!).
5. Consider the time change when planning outings. For example, when traveling to Europe from the US, you are likely to awaken earlier than normal. Plan for this by booking tours early (even if you are not traditionally an early morning family).
6. Use the sun – kids naturally feel more awake when the sun is shining. Use this to your advantage by getting up with the sun and going to bed with the sun (especially in the summer).
What tips can you add?
July 8, 2012
I must admit that the thought of eating out every single meal while on a family vacation is daunting. Relaxing meals with four kids (at home or away) are rare. Here are our tips for conquering the meal time blues without electonics:
- Pack an activity kit. It doesn’t need to be large – a coloring/activity book, colors, stickers and a few small toys will suffice. At home, we use the BusyKiddy and while traveling the TravelKiddy Return Pack works well.
- If you are going to a restaurant the kids might find icky, let them eat before you go to the restaurant and have dessert while you enjoy a meal.
- For longer meals, have the kids’ meals come out first and order them dessert when finished. While you likely have to skip the appetizer course, it will give you a bit longer to enjoy the entree (and perhaps even a class of wine!).
- Look for restaurants on a square or park. This is quite common in Europe and makes for a pleasant dining experience with the kids playing and running around while you enjoy the meal.
- Resist the urge to snack the kids right before a meal but also be sure to stick to regular mealtimes (or at least as close as possible). Overly hungry kids are terrible dinner companions.
- Don’t stress – sometimes a glass of wine makes the meal go much smoother!
What are your tips for dining on the go?