Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Unique of the Week: Orlando Stroller Rental!

Renting baby equipment is becoming increasingly popular among families travelling with young children!  That's why, this week, Travel-Tot is proud to feature one of our favorite stroller rental companies: Orlando Stroller Rentals (OSR)!  Conveniently located in the sunny family vacation Mecca of central Florida, Orlando Stroller Rentals offers its clients the best in convenience, value, safety, and comfort! Boasting the endorsement of the Disney Moms Panel, and rave reviews from their clients, Orlando Stroller Rentals provides stroller-rental service complete with delivery-to and pick-up from Orlando-area hotels!

The company is the brainchild of Shannon Tanner; who cleverly identified the industry niche when her life-long love of Disney inspired her to bring her own school-aged children to experience the Magic Kingdom, only to find that all the walking proved exhausting to the kids.  The next day, they elected to rent a stroller on Disney property; which she concedes "worked well, until we went to exit the park and were required to return the rental; our five year old daughter was very tired and my husband had to carry her back to the Beach Club Resort where we were staying, and our six year old son was not very happy walking back either." After renting a stroller for three more days, Shannon knew there had to be a better alternative for parents like themselves; parents who sought a stroller that could accommodate a high weight capacity, was easy to push, reclined, had a large sun canopy, was easy to fold, and which would be delivered-to and picked-up from Orlando area hotels. And so Orlando Stroller Rentals was born; Shannon left her 12-year elementary teaching career and started up the company!

Orlando Stroller Rentals is a company dedicated to making travel safer, easier and more enjoyable for families. Shannon and everyone at OSR take pride in providing reasonably-priced, high quality, comfortable strollers designed to accommodate one or two passengers. Strollers come standard with large sun canopies, and rain covers are available for a small additional cost.  All OSR rental strollers are carefully cleaned with non-toxic natural cleaning solution before and after each use, and come equipped with theft deterrent features (removable rear wheel). 

But OSR isn't only about strollers!  They also offer the Liberty Special Needs Pushchair, which is cleverly designed to provide stability and a smooth ride, without a medical look or feel; offering children with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy excursions with their families.  Orlando Stroller Rentals has also partnered with Sentry Location Solutions to provide child safety and peace of mind to travelling families with GPS Tracking Rental Units!  Shannon is always looking for opportunities to expand Orlando Stroller Rental's product and service offerings, so be sure to check OSR's website often for the latest updates!

Shannon poses above with one of OSR's double strollers!

For their dedication to providing safe, comfortable, reasonably-priced rental equipment and to making family travel easier and more enjoyable; Travel-Tot is proud to recognize Orlando Stroller Rentals as our choice for Unique of the Week! 

Happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Destination: Washington, D.C.!

Looking for a great family get-away on a budget?  Washington, D.C. is where it's at!  Sporting numerous fun family freebies from museums and parks to historic landmarks, our nation's Capitol has something to offer visitors of all ages.  Throw in the D.C.'s excellent public transportation system (a day pass costs just $9.00 and the Metro travels all over the city!) and you've got a recipe for a ton of family fun!  Destination D.C. compiled a top 100 list of free or inexpensive things to do in Washington, D.C. from which we have culled  these Family Fun Picks:

Family Friendly Museums in D.C.:
  1. Check out the National Zoo - featuring pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian.
  2. Walk among living butterflies at the National Museum of Natural History's Butterfly Pavilion (adults $6/children $5). Tuesdays are free, but timed-entry tickets are required and are available at the Butterfly Pavilion box office beginning at 10am each Tuesday.
  3. Visit the National Museum of the American Indian, where free programming from storytelling and dance festivals to music performances by Native composers and classical musicians is available to audiences of all ages. Check website for performance schedule.
  4. Play pilot in a mock cockpit at America by Air, an exhibition on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
  5. Share a slice of history with your children at the National Museum of American History. The redesigned attraction now offers visitors a rare look at the original "Star-Spangled Banner," the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem!
Family Friendly Tours and More in D.C.:
  1. Tour the National Mall with D.C. by Foot, a walking tour company that gives free, kid-friendly tours infused with games, fun facts and trivia (gratuity is recommended).
  2. Catch a performance of “Saturday Morning at the National,” National Theatre's free performance series designed for the whole family. Shows range from puppet and magic shows to showcases of music and ballet. Seating is limited and tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis 30 minutes prior to showtime. Check website for performance schedule.
  3. Let kids roam free at Friendship Park (a.k.a. Turtle Park), D.C.'s most popular playground, located in the city's Van Ness neighborhood. Little ones love the huge sandbox!
  4. Enjoy one of the many festivals taking place throughout the year. Check Washington.org's event calendar for the latest information on the D.C.'s most popular festivals, full of activities and free-of-charge to attend including the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the D.C. Caribbean Carnival, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and more.
  5. Take a ride on D.C.'s clean and safe Metrorail system to give kids a taste of a train ride, and a break from the summer heat!
Family Friendly Food in D.C.:
  • The 100% wind-powered Austin Grill is a family-favorite offering Tex-Mex "grub" in a fun atmosphere. Kids eat for free on Tuesdays, and there’s a different special every Monday.
  • You can watch the chef make noodles in the window of Chinatown Express before ordering a big bowl to nosh on!
  • The hand-written sign above the register in Ben's Chili Bowl says that loyal supporter Bill Cosby is the only customer who can eat for free. But you can still eat for cheap at this city staple, where the famous chili half smoke is just $5.45.
  • Enjoy a veritable feast each Sunday at the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market. During peak season, there are more than 30 farmers offering items including fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, fish, baked goods and more. Market hours are 9am-1pm April through December; 10am-1pm January through March.
Washington, D.C. offers an inexpensive, exciting adventure for travellers of all ages!  And parents will love the chance to sneak in a little education along the way, disguised (of course) as fun!  Happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Renting Baby Gear

Renting baby/toddler gear is a great way to reduce stress when travelling with children!  How often have you been packing for a family trip and wished you didn't have to haul so much gear around?  Children's gear can be cumbersome and takes up a tremendous amount of valuable space.  Add to that the hassle of reassembling it all when you reach your destination and you have a stressful start to your get-away - not exactly the relaxing escape we all dream of; but gear is a way of life for the safety-conscious parent.  Renting offers the perfect compromise; safety with the convenience of delivery and assembly!     

One of our favorite gear-rental companies is Little Out of Towners, located in the Charlotte, NC; they serve the greater Charlotte area as well as the York, Chester, and Lancaster counties of South Carolina!  They feature an expansive line of JPMA-certified rental items at reasonable prices and take great pride in providing rental items of the highest standard with respect to safety, cleanliness, and condition!  Travelling outside the Carolinas?  No problem - they have compiled an extensive list of independently owned and operated rental companies spanning the world over, complete with contact information and websites!  The Little Out of Towners is truly dedicated not only to keeping your kids safe when you travel, but also to making travel less stressful and more enjoyable for families!

Below are a few guidelines for renting gear:
  • Get all pricing information up front, including rental fees, delivery charges, fuel surcharges, set-up fees, late fees, and cancellation fees and policies.
  • Be certain to clarify what type of equipment you will be getting. Different companies may define "toddler bed" or "portable crib" differently - don't be afraid to ask questions to ensure you will be getting the gear you need!
  • The renter should be able to provide you with the manufacturer's recommendations regarding age, height and weight for whatever product(s) you may require.
  • Be certain to verify that the company checks for equipment recalls. Even if they do, it never hurts to double-check, so always get the make and model of the equipment so that you may check for yourself at http://www.recalls.org/.
  • Also, verify that their products are JPMA Certified. JPMA is the leader in product safety and usage; certification information is available at http://www.jpma.org/.
  • Ask about the company's cleaning and safety-assurance procedures.
Bottom line: renting can save you time, hassle, and may even be cheaper than bringing your own items from home (once you factor in excess baggage fees, etc.) - so check out rentals for your next family adventure!  Happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

On-The-Go Feeding Tips

Feeding your little traveller on the go can be challenging at times! Depending on your child's age, there are a myriad of considerations to take into account for your young traveller, from allergies to maintaining your regular feeding schedule. Below are a few quick tips for keeping your little explorer satisfied and safe!


Your child is never too young to suffer an allergic reaction, so before you embark on any trip you should be aware of any possible food allergies your child may have and pack any possible medication he or she may require if an allergen is encountered. Stow the appropriate medicines, prescriptions and portable epinephrine injector (“epi pens”) in your carry-on luggage, where you can access them easily in case of an emergency. If you are travelling by air, it’s a good idea to carry a note from your doctor authorizing the possession of an epi pen.

  • For train or air travel, pack a few extra bottles of formula in case of delays. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the TSA's limitations on carry-on liquids.
  • If your infant has started on jar foods or cereals, be sure to pack items he or she has already tried and has not had an adverse reaction to - vacation is no time to discover a new allergy.
  • Never attempt to bottlefeed or breastfeed an infant in a moving vehicle. Infants should always be strapped into an age-, weight-, and size-appropriate carseat when a vehicle is in operation.
  • When bottle feeding, hold the bottle at all times and control the angle to moderate the flow to suit your baby.
  • If baby is with you at the table, be sure to keep sharp or pointy items, hot liquids or dishes, and pills and other small items out of the his or her reach.
  • Also, avoid drinking hot drinks when breastfeeding.
  • Young children should always be closely supervised during feedings, and that can present some difficulty depending on your mode of transportation. Consider packing a portable feeding seat to stabilize and immobilize him or her during mealtimes.
  • To reduce the risk of choking, keep hard round foods, such as nuts and hard candy, out of very young children’s reach.  Cut your toddler’s food into very small bites.
  • Always make sure children eat while sitting down.
  • Keep all pills and medications separate from food items to avoid accidental ingestion by children. Also, watch carefully for loose magnets. If more than one is swallowed, they can attract each other in the body and cause serious injury or even death.
  • Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 if you suspect that medication or poison may have been accidentally ingested by your child. This number will connect you to emergency help in your area. Keep the number in your cell phone.
  • Packing familiar items such as sippy cups, small spoons, straws, and bottles will help your child eat the way they have become accustomed to and can help prevent little mouths from overstuffing. 
  • Also, following your child's normal feeding schedule will help keep you child from experiencing the discomfort of extreme hunger which can lead to crankiness and tantrums.
A little knowledge and planning go a long way toward making on-the-go feeding safe, comfortable, and hassle-free; so spend a few extra minutes on packing and planning, because enjoying the journey is as important as enjoying the destination!
- Destination Mom