Friday, November 21, 2014

Products We Love: Technological Treats for Traveling Families!

The holidays are just about to swing into full-gear, and gift-giving season is fast approaching! If your gift list includes any traveling families, or family members who love to travel, you'll want to check out these two awesome products:

Kinivo's Mini Portable Speaker: Take your music with you, wherever you go! 

Perfect for everyone from teens to families with young kids! The ideal product for picnics, hotel stays, camping, etc. This speaker has some seriously full-bodied sound, is rechargeable, fits in the palm of your hand, comes in s myriad of colors, and is compatible with just about anything that plays music and has an earphone port. Best of all, it's under $20 and ships for free with amazon prime. Makes the perfect stocking stuffer!  





iStabilizer Flex: Don't just capture the moment - be a part of it!

A brilliant little device that combines the iStabilizer Mount, a universal clamp that holds a wide variety of smartphones (up to 2.75 inches wide; and an XL version is available for larger devices) and a lightweight tripod with foam-covered bendable legs. We love that the mount has standard 1/4-inch tripod threads, so if you have a bigger tripod or monopod, you can use it with that, too!  Another score at just under $20 on Amazon!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Travel-Tot's Top 10 Road Safety Tips!

As a parent, safety is always a top priority, whether at home or on the road!  Experiencing a breakdown with children in tow can be frightening and stressful. So before you head out on your next family road trip, check out these ten road safety tips to help give you some peace of mind and pave the road ahead for fun!

image courtesy of stockimage/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Road Trip Safety Tips: Travel-Tot's Top 10!

1. Before you leave, give your car a quick once-over: check tires to ensure tread and pressure are optimal, check windshield wiper blades and change if necessary, check and top off water level, engine coolant, and washer fluid, check oil level and change if necessary, and check brake lights, headlights, flashers, and blinkers.
2. Discuss road safety with your children and impress upon them how important it is not to distract the driver.
3. Inspect the back seat and ensure that it is clear of hazardous materials or anything your child can choke on. Remove all possible projectiles and store heavy, sharp, or poisonous items in the trunk or in sealed containers out of the reach of children.
4. Acquire some sort of roadside assistance or auto club plan.
5. Always bring along identification and medical information for all passengers in case there is an emergency; the time saved by having this information handy could be the difference between life and death. Ensure that license, insurance, and registration are up to date as well.
6. Ensure your car has an emergency kit, including;
  • a spare tire, jack, and tire iron 
  • jumper cables
  • a flashlight 
  • warm blankets
  • water and snacks
  • a fully charged cell phone (and a car charger)
  • flares 
  • a first aid kit
7. If possible, share the driving with someone to prevent exhaustion behind the wheel.  Pull over if you feel yourself becoming tired.
8. Take frequent breaks. Get out and let everyone stretch their legs, grab a bite to eat, and have a quick pick-me-up (i.e. coffee, tea, other caffeinated beverage) every two to three hours.
9. Familiarize yourself with your vehicle and always obey all traffic regulations.  Help prevent accidents by letting the navigator handle the GPS, cell phone, and music or other entertainment.
10. Keep an eye on your fuel situation; refuel as often as necessary.

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Friday, November 14, 2014

Safe and Happy Travels This Thanksgiving!

The holidays are upon us, and for many families that means traveling to share in joyous celebrations with far-flung friends and family members! As a parent of a toddler or young child, visiting grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, etc. can often pose a bit of a challenge; childless homes frequently contain hazards that keep you hopping up during visits to prevent your little love from breaking low lying treasures or from injuring him- or herself (i.e. candles, decorative breakables, hot serving dishes, and beautiful table linens just begging to be yanked by little hands!).

While vigilant supervision during any visit is irreplaceable as an injury deterrent, there are a few things you can do to make life a bit easier on yourself (and your child!) during holiday visits.  Investing just 15 minutes to create a "safe zone" for your child to play in could facilitate a more relaxed and enjoyable visit.

Start by visually inspecting each room thoroughly from the vantage point of your child.  Get down low: look beneath and behind furniture, drapes, sinks, toilets, and heaters for loose pills, pins, or other overlooked items that could pose a choking or poisoning hazard - you may be surprised what you find. Also, remove tiny, fragile, top-heavy, burning, hot, or sharp objects from reach (table tops, shelves, hearths, etc.). Finally, be sure cords (electrical, blinds, decorative, etc.) are coiled up out of reach and keep doors to laundry rooms, stairways, kitchens, supply closets, and bathrooms closed or gated-off from access during the visit.

To help create an additional layer of protection, invest in a Travel-Tot Childproofing Kit; the kit components (foam corner guards, outlet covers, pinch guards, etc.) can help prevent injury from some of the most common hazards present in living spaces!  Best of all, the Kit's components go on with a strong, temporary, non-damaging adhesive that will not damage furniture or finishes; and Kit components can be reused!  It is a quick, easy solution you can store in your car for wherever you go; or consider picking one up as a gift for your parents, in-laws, or other friends or family you visit during the holidays! 

Creating a safe play zone in a childless home may take a few minutes, but it will result in greater peace of mind for you and a more enjoyable visit for everyone! Safe and happy travels and best wishes from all of us at Travel-Tot for a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving!

-Destination Mom 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls

Did you know that falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional death? Not many people do. Since Family Safety is a major focus in November, the amazing team at American Recall Center has made it their mission to educate and encourage safe behavior in order to help prevent slips, trips, and falls. To that end, they’ve created the helpful graphic below that outlines how to prevent falls that may cause traumatic injuries. For even more information, visit American Recall Center's webpage at http://www.recallcenter.com/prevent-slips-trips-falls/.
image courtesy of American Recall Center

Friday, November 7, 2014

Destination: Riviera Maya!

This week we are thrilled to present a guest post by Amber Kingsley on beautiful Riviera Maya, Mexico! Amber is a writer who lives in Southern California when she's not exploring the world. After traveling extensively throughout North America, she hopes to see more of Europe and Asia in the near future. Happy reading!

Beyond Cancun

While a trip to a Cancun resort is a great relaxation option for parents, it might not be the exact type of getaway you want when the entire family is along. When it comes to traveling with your family, you may want a location that has a little more activity and a little less relaxation … but only a little less. After all, you still need some relaxation time.

You can maintain the feel of your favorite Cancun resort while adding to the activity level with a visit to the Riviera Maya. As shown by the attached infographic, this Mexican resort provides many of the same relaxing benefits of Cancun, while adding the option of exploring nearby historical ruins and enjoying water sports. (You don’t have to tell the kids that the historical ruins of this vacation spot might provide some educational benefits too.)

First, the Relaxing

The Riviera Maya has much of what you’d expect to find at a resort in the Cancun area, offering swimming, sailing, golf, and other resort amenities. The weather in this Mexican region is great as well.

The evenings provide a mixture of relaxation and shopping options in this area. Many areas offer live music, for example, including a local jazz festival called Playa Del Carmen. The most popular shops and restaurants are found in this area along Fifth Avenue.

Then the Exploring

Archaeological sites are found in the area of Riviera Maya, giving you a chance to explore. The entire family will get a good workout while visiting the sites, while still having the ability to return to relaxation mode at any time! Two sites you’ll be sure to want to visit when at the Riviera Maya include:
  • Tulum. This archaeological site was created in the 13th century, and it is likely the largest draw of any of the ruins in the area of Riviera Maya. Guided tours are available at this attraction, which may provide even more educational benefits. 
  • Xcaret. This site opened to the public in 1990, and it provides a combination of ruins to explore as well as natural attractions. The cave system found at Xcaret is 51 miles long with 28 different entrances, and a Guinness World Record was set in 2010 when a swimmer traveled 490 feet with one breath of air.
Finally, the Water Sports

If an archeological site doesn’t interest your family, Riviera Maya has additional activities beyond exploration. Many of the activities in this area are centered on water sports, such as:
  • Sea life. The area has the world’s largest population of manatees, numbering about 1,500. You’ll also have the option of seeing dolphins, turtles, and a large variety of tropical fish.
  • Snorkeling. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System is available for snorkelers and scuba divers to find some amazing natural formations. This reef is 600 miles long. 
  • Fishing. Numerous types of fishing are available in the area, including deep-sea fishing with a charter boat. You even can find tour guides who can help you learn how to perform another type of fishing, such as sport fishing. Visit the area during May and June for the best fishing.

Even if you’re traveling without the entire family, Riviera Maya can provide a nice change-up to Cancun. No matter what type of activity you want to enjoy – even if it’s an educational type of activity – this area has it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Get Out The Vote!

image courtesy of taoty/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Today is Election Day, so remember to get out and vote!  

Need to find your polling location?  Check out Vote411!

Your vote counts, so get informed and make your voice heard!

Friday, October 31, 2014

November is Child Safety and Protection Month!


image courtesy of greenphile/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Parents know that the struggle to keep our children safe is an on-going, ever-changing battle.  As children grow and change, so do the types of protection they require; Child Safety and Protection Month is a great opportunity to re-evaluate the safety measures you already have in place, and to look forward to make sure you are prepared for the next developmental stage!  After all, whether your child is taking his first steps or preparing to take her first spin in the car with her new license, parents always strive to keep their kids safe from harm!  To that end, we would like to offer the following tips with links for keeping your child safe:




Childproof:  Whether you are home or travelling, childproofing is critical, particularly for infants and toddlers who are more likely to encounter hazards that could result in choking, pinches, strangulation, poisoning, or other injury.

Use car/booster seats: While laws differ by state, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following guidelines: rear-facing car seats for all children under 2 years of age (or maximum height and weight requirements for the seat), forward facing car seats until children reach the maximum height and weight requirements, and booster seats for children between the ages of 8 and 12 until they have reached a minimum height of 4 feet 9 inches.

Emergency preparedness: The keys to staving off panic in an emergency are proper preparation and planning.  FEMA offers numerous fantastic publications for specific different types of natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.).  In addition, having your emergency information centrally located can help reduce the response time in the event of an emergency where you may be separated from other members of your family.

Vigilantly supervise children around water: Drowning is one of the most common hazards for children, whether around open water (lakes, rivers, oceans) or pools.  Vigilant supervision goes a long way toward preventing injury, as does adhering to proper water safety practices (i.e. fences, life-jackets, swimming lessons, approved floatation devices, etc.).

Insist on helmets for bike-riding school-aged kids:  Again, laws vary by state, but all children should wear properly-fitted, protective headgear when riding bikes, scooters, skateboards or other wheeled vehicles.  For more details and statistics, visit the Children's Safety Network.  

Educate high-schoolers about safe driving practices: While our kids wait their whole lives to get that coveted driver's license, we (their parents) are filled with equal parts joy and panic when the big day finally arrives.  In addition to the many dangers that any seasoned driver faces when they get behind the wheel, new, young drivers (whose judgement and experience are less well-developed) face an increased risk of injury from a growing number of distractions.  From over-loud music that can drown out emergency sirens, to cell phones, to intoxication,  new drivers need to know how dangerous distracted driving is, and parents are the key.

Parenting is a constantly morphing landscape of hurdles; by taking time to evaluate what you are doing, you may be able to put better practices into effect and plan ahead for whatever waits around the next corner.

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom