Friday, August 1, 2014

10 Simple Ways To Make Your Travel Accommodations Child-Friendly!

image courtesy of stock images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Traveling is one of life’s greatest joys; and, while sharing the traveling experience with your child can certainly add to the thrill of the journey, it can also be stressful. Investing just a bit of time to make certain that your accommodations will be safe for your child helps ensure as relaxing and enjoyable a trip as possible for everyone.

It can be a real challenge to be removed from the controlled environment of a home living space. Hotel rooms, cruise ship cabins, rental properties, and even family member’s homes often lack the basic child-proofing measures to which parents have become accustomed in their own homes. Moreover, because cleaning standards vary from place to place, there is no guarantee that objects or surfaces that the guests preceding you may have handled were properly disinfected, which could result in you or your children catching someone else’s cold, or worse.  So what can you bring along to help make your room more child-friendly?

You can easily provide a basic level of protection from many of these hazards in just minutes' time with a few simple items (like those conveniently provided in the Travel-Tot Childproofing Kit!) including; outlet covers, doorknob protectors, cord guards, door pinch guards, and safety latches.  If you don't mind investing a bit more time, tools such as sanitizing wipes, a bath thermometer, and portable gates or guard rails can help provide additional protection from common hazards.

The bottom line is that when you are traveling with a toddler, a little planning goes a long way; it could be the difference between an enjoyable vacation and a travel nightmare.

10 Simple Child-Proofing Measures For On-The-Go!
   
Here are some simple steps you can take to make your home-away-from-home safe and relaxing:
  1. Get down on your hands and knees and explore the room from your toddler’s perspective; be sure to thoroughly check under beds and furniture for stray pills, buttons, pins, or other items that could pose a poisoning or choking hazard.
  2. Arrange furniture away from windows or doors to prevent accidental escapes or falls.
  3. Use guards to tie up electrical and blind cords which can pose a choking hazard to your little explorer.
  4. Secure low cabinet doors shut with pinch guards to reduce risk of injury.
  5. Ensure that all locks and latches on exterior doors are in working order and secure them to prevent unsupervised access to stairs, balconies, and terraces.
  6. If your little traveler is curious about the toilet, be sure to place a doorknob protector on the handle to prevent unsupervised access.
  7. Sanitize surfaces, door handles, faucets, remotes, phone handsets, light switches, and any other object from which your toddler could potentially contract germs with disinfecting wipes.
  8. Check water temperatures before you give your child a bath; the water may be hotter than what you are accustomed to at home and could pose a burn hazard.
  9. If your toddler is a restless sleeper or is new to sleeping in a “big bed,” you may want to pack a portable guard-rail, or move the bed against a wall and use a chair along the open side to prevent a fall.
  10. Finally, be sure to arrange the furniture in a way that allows for some play space; a room full of “no-nos” will result in a bored and irritated toddler, which will lead to a stressed and anxious parent!
- Destination Mom

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sites We Love: Parent Faves!

It can be a real challenge to find brilliant childcare products, and big-box stores can often be overwhelming. Having particular criteria can add to the challenge.  Are eco-friendly or organic products on your 'must-have' list?  Trying to support companies dedicated to domestic-manufacturing?  Dedicated to purchasing exclusively educational products?  We have your perfect one-stop shop: Parent Faves!


Parent Faves is a small family owned business; one small enough to care about the products they sell, the children who use them, the environment, and about their customers.  They carry a vast array of new, innovative products, including: eco-friendly and organic products, products manufactured in the USA, and educational products. Parent Faves is proud to feature many products invented by moms, dads, and grandparents to solve a problem, simplify life, or just make a child laugh!

So how do products earn the "Parent Faves" designation?  The family's personal experience as parents, as well as that of friends and family, lots of research, and customer feedback help determine which products make the cut. They are dedicated to selling only products that they would buy for their own families. Best of all, Parent Faves is an authorized retailer for all of their products, which means they have new stock, the latest styles, and full backing by the manufacturer for warranty and product support. 

So next time you're looking for that perfect baby or toddler item, save yourself time and frustration and check out Parent Faves - you'll be glad you did! 


Friday, July 25, 2014

Destination: Montauk, NY


Situated on the southeastern-most point of Long Island, Montauk is a beach-lover's paradise, seemingly untouched by time.  The atmosphere of this charming village belongs to a by-gone, simpler time, when strangers struck up casual conversations while waiting in line for ice cream or invited one another to evening bonfires on the beach. But its more than just its resolutely casual air that differentiates it from its posh Hampton neighbors. Montauk has a multitude of family-friendly features such as: accommodations that are child- and budget-friendly, a wide variety of seasonal activities, and a myriad of beautiful beaches.

There are many types of lodging options available in the downtown area, and most cater predominantly to families. Everything from luxurious spa accommodations to simple ocean-front cottages is available and price points vary accordingly.  Many properties boast a pool in addition to beach access and many are no more than a few blocks' walk to the downtown area.  Part of the timeless charm of Montauk is that the vast majority of structures in the main downtown area do not exceed two stories, so first-floor lodging is widely available (and far easier for families with young children to navigate than high-rise properties!).

Montauk boasts far less traffic than more inland towns, making it a great place to explore on foot or by bike. Families with children of all ages will find it easy to walk into town to grab a quick bite or shop, or to venture down to the beach, mere blocks from downtown. There are also some great state parks for visitors who enjoy hiking, such as: Shadmoor State Park, Camp Hero, and the Montauk Point State Park (featuring the majestic Montauk Lighthouse!), and miles of open road perfect for biking!

But if exploration is the name of the game for your family, Montauk offers quite a few opportunities to go beyond the traditional hike!  Horseback riding, whale watching tours, fishing charters, golfing (regular and mini!), and boat rentals are just a few of the fantastic adventures available to summer visitors.  There are also a number of great boutiques located in and around the downtown strip as well as at Gosman's Dock.

Finally, Montauk boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on Long Island, with everything from broad swaths of sand to rock and pebble shores.  Some of the most popular beaches include: Ditch Plains (great for surfers!), Gin Beach (gentle water and soft sand), Kirk Park, and South Edison. Lifeguards are on duty at all public beaches from 10 – 5 weekends starting Memorial Day weekend, then daily from Mid-June – Labor Day, and then on weekends until the end of September, except as noted for certain beaches.

From its beautiful beaches to its timeless charm, Montauk offers families with children of all ages a chance to kick back and relax and enjoy good, old-fashioned quality time together! There is truly something for everyone and adventure is only a stone's throw away.  Safe and happy travels!

-Destination Mom

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Perspective is Everything!

image courtesy of  Sebastien Beliveau/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Looking for a way to get your children more involved on your next family getaway?  Try giving them each a disposable camera (or an old digital camera if you happen to have one laying around) with which to snap shots of your vacation; you may just be surprised at what develops!  Seeing a family vacation from the eyes of your child can give you great ideas of what they enjoyed the most and where they might like to visit in the future!  Happy snapping!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Destination: Branson, MO

This week we are pleased to feature an article by Joseff, an online publisher for Thousand Hills Golf Resort in Branson, MO. Joseff loves to share tips about the best places to visit in Branson and outdoor activities like golf, travel, and vacations.

Summer is the best time to explore Branson, Missouri because the weather is ideal for frolicking and merry making. Branson is best known for its shows and festivities, but its hospitality is also world renown! The tourism board (along with locals!) prepares the whole city for a big summer celebration making Branson popular around the world as the summer capital in the Midwest.  If you are looking for a memorable summer vacation for the family, be sure to book a holiday getaway in Branson. Here are some of the things that your family will enjoy while spending summer there:

Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival in Silver Dollar City
The event begins in May and is culminated in the 1st of June. If you’re in the city during this period, you and the family can witness top Bluegrass musicians perform songs from this genre. While enjoying great music, your family can sink their teeth to the most delicious barbecue in this side of the country. The House of BBQ in Red Gold Heritage Hall is renowned for the best barbecue and grilled foods.

Father’s Day in Branson
Branson celebrates fatherhood by providing shows and events to honor fathers. Restaurants, cafes, and theatres all take part in this celebration. Father’s Day Brunch at Keeter Center is a great way to start the day for fathers out there. In addition, dads can take part in a little adventure when they book a trip on the Father’s Day Cruise prepared by Main Street Lake Cruises. And if Bluegrass tops dad's list of likes, there’s a show in Eureka Springs featuring top and emerging bluegrass talents.

Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner & Show
Dixie Stampede offers shows the entire month of June. They are very popular among tourists and families, so advance booking is recommended. Each show is guaranteed to provide quality entertainment for the whole family and guests of all ages will enjoy the amazing cuisine prepared by their chefs.

4th of July in Branson
Branson celebrates Independence with a bang. That’s right, if you are looking for a 4th of July getaway for the whole family, Branson is definitely the place to be. Your family can witness an amazing fireworks display in Big Cedar Lodge and in Table Rock Lake. There are also hot air balloon rides for the whole family in Stockstill Park. In addition, live music and BBQ are available at Chateau on the Lake.

Super Summer Cruise at Shepherd of the Hills
This car show, traditionally held in August, will definitely heat up the summer! Apart from amazing displays of old and modern cars, contests are held as well, and a variety of entertainers are present.

ABBA Tribute
Relive ABBA’s journey in this amazing musical tribute. Listen and reminisce as entertainers sing ABBA’s amazing hits such as Mama Mia, Dancing Queen, Waterloo, and more. The show is available throughout August.

Acrobats of China
Witness amazing acrobatic stunts and tricks performed by the Acrobats of China. These astonishing acrobats will feed your eyes with their daring and breathtaking stunts like aerial ballet and flying trapeze acts.

These are some of the shows to witness and take part with when you visit Branson. For more information about the other shows, visit the official site of Branson, MO.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Safety Alert: Guidines for Preventing Dehydration

image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Summer is filled with outdoor adventures and fun in the sun! But all that activity and prolonged exposure to high temperatures, direct sun, and high humidity, without sufficient rest and fluids, can lead to dehydration. Dehydration is a precursor to dangerous, and potentially deadly, conditions such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Thankfully, there are signs to watch for and steps you can take to help prevent dehydration and keep your kids healthy and safe. Parents, coaches, and caregivers should all be familiar with the following signs of dehydration:

  • fatigue
  • thirst, 
  • dry lips and tongue
  • lack of energy, 
  • and feeling overheated

If any of these symptoms are present, children should be encouraged to immediately:
  • Take a break from activity
  • Seek out a shady spot to rest
  • Drink cool water and sports drinks (before, during and after activity - even if they claim to not be thirsty!). 
Following these simple guidelines can help ensure that children remain hydrated and don't become ill, and can help keep summer safe and fun!

Friday, July 11, 2014

RV Travel With Kids!

This week, we are very excited to share an article by Andi Singer.  Andi works with Indiana RV Connection to share the best RV travel tips. She almost exclusively travels by road, and enjoys visiting new cities as well as rural adventures of hiking and camping.

image courtesy of Stoonn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
RV travel is one of the best ways to have fun with the whole family. It is much easier than car travel because you have so much extra room, and if you plan ahead it can be a great, cost-efficient way to see the country.

Destinations

When you are traveling by motorhome you have a huge variety of destination options depending on your budget, the length of the trip, and your interests. If you’re traveling a week or less, you may want to explore new areas of your home state, or explore the history of your state by visiting museums and attractions you haven’t yet seen.

If you are able to travel for more than a week and if you have the budget to venture farther, you may want to consider visiting some of the landmarks of America like Mt. Rushmore or the Grand Canyon.

With older children who will be aware of the trip, you can consider destinations that are specifically catered to their interests. Say your 5-year-old son is a race car fanatic-- consider including to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana in your trip and watch his eyes light up at the dozens of race cars on display at their museum.

There are American Girl Places (which include shopping, dining, a salon, and a photo studio all American Girl Doll-themed) in many big cities around the U.S. including Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. You don’t have to plan your whole trip around a certain child-friendly destination, but you can research kid-centered attractions local to where you plan on traveling.

RV Camping for the Family

Rural destinations and camping are also hugely popular for RV travelers. If you are renting an RV for the first time, consider heading to a state park for a few days-- most of them have campgrounds with electric hook ups for $30 a night or less.

Camping is a great learning experience for kids. They get to learn how to cook outdoors, visit with nature, fish, and overall it is a very active choice. If you are traveling with younger children, bringing a trailer or motorhome can make camping a bit easier. You can camp in tents if you want or just sleep in the trailer, and you have doors that lock so if you are sleeping indoors you don’t have to worry about a youngster wandering off in the night.

If you have a variety of ages traveling with you, consider letting the older kids pitch a tent a camp outside, while you sleep inside with your infant or toddler. This will allow more independence for the older children, but you will still get to sleep in a real bed, and you will not have to worry about hazards to the younger ones.

Entertainment On The Go

RV travel is usually a lot easier than road trip by car because you have a lot more room and the ability to move around more. It’s important to make sure the kids aren’t running wild because it can pose a distraction to the driver, but you can play games involving standing or moving.

Tablets have become a popular “toy” for children recently, and with RV travel you can recharge your electronics whenever you need. If you are not keen on your kids playing video games for the duration of the trip, traveling in a spacious vehicle is great because you’re not limited in your entertainment options.

There are tons of compact travel games including questions and answers games like “Would You Rather”, or educational games like Brain Quest. With an RV, however, you can also play traditional board games like Candy Land, Scrabble (or Scrabble Jr.), or Trouble.

You can also do easy low-mess arts and crafts with your kids, or make matching or sorting games with tupperware containers and lids. With an RV you have the freedom to sit at a table, or play on the floor or bed.

Safety for Your Child

Travel-Tot brings to light the importance of keeping your children safe on vacation, as well as the hazards that vacationing can bring. Safety-wise, RV travel is great because you always have your home base no matter where you travel. You don’t have to switch hotel rooms and re-toddler-proof every other day. If you are renting a vehicle, make sure everything is safe before you head out-- securing cabinets, electrical cords, and sanitizing everything if it doesn’t look immaculate.


You also have the security of having locked doors and a roof over your head for enriching activities like camping, which may otherwise seem intimidating when you’re traveling with young ones. RV travel offers a unique opportunity for families to travel cross-country without worry.