Friday, March 30, 2012

Blogs We Love!

Spring is in the air, and if you're like me, the warmer weather has you daydreaming about getting away.  Whether you're researching possible vacation spots that are great for tots, looking for clever family travel tips, or trying to find that unbeatable travel deal, there are a few sites (besides this one, of course!) you won't want to miss!  Check out some of our favorites below:

Destination Sites:
Family Travel Files - domestic and international family travel ideas and tips!
Have Baby Will Travel - the premier site for all things travelling-with-baby!
Best Kid Friendly Travel - destination ideas and recommended itineraries!

Travel Tips:
Pint Size Pilot - everything from helpful tips to product recommendations!
Delicious Baby - the ultimate resource: tips, recommendations, it's all here!
Travelling With Kids - great long-distance flying guide and tips!

Travel Deals for Families:
Budget Travel - great lower cost options and ideas for family getaways!
Priceline - destinations, lodging, and transportation at discount prices!
Expedia - great travel and lodging deals - build a perfect family getaway!

Dreaming about and planning the trip can be as much fun as the actual excursion itself!  Don't forget to get the kids involved (if they are old enough); let them help you settle on a great destination, share photos, stories, books and other media that will get them excited for the trip, and encourage them to get involved with packing and selecting attractions and activities that will be fun for the whole family.  Remember, preparing for the journey is half the adventure!

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Travel-Tot Tip!

For versatility in temporary, on-the-go childproofing, nothing beats the Multipurpose Strap in Travel-Tot's Travel Childproofing Kit!  The strap can easily be installed to prevent little hands from opening drawers, cabinets, doors, and toilet lids; it goes on strong, and comes off clean when it's time to leave. The Multipurpose Strap is just one of the many components of the Kit that help to create an extra layer of protection between your little traveler and the hazards present in hotel rooms.  Stay safe as home, wherever you roam with the Travel Childproofing Kit by Travel-Tot!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Memory Keepers: Capturing the Magic!

You've found the perfect family-friendly destination, booked your transportation and lodging, packed everything you could possibly need for the family vacation of a lifetime and now, you're ready to go!  But if your trips are anything like mine, once you get there, the whole trip seems to flash by in an instant.  So, how can you best capture the magic of the trip without missing out on the all the fun?


image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid/

A popular favorite, photographs are a fantastic way to preserve magic moments; but there is an art to balancing being the family photographer  with getting to share in the fun! Tips: try for shots that best represent your trip (i.e. spontaneous fun moments, family interactions, etc.).  Also, take turns with the camera so that there are shots of all of you, and remember to get at least one photo with the whole family!

Home Movies

Videos are a fun way to record living memoirs of what you did on vacation; whether it's playing on the beach, skiing, hiking, or horseback riding, a video will be  fun way to re-visit your trip for years to come! Tips: much like photography, be sure to take turns with the recorder so that everyone gets some screen time!  One fun way to capture the fun is with numerous brief movies that can be spliced together later to create a "snapshot" style movie! 

Mementos and Souvenirs

image courtesy of Michael Elliott/

Mementos and souvenirs aren't just for family and friends at home; they can be used in a variety of ways to create amazing keepsakes your family will treasure!  Tips: set aside time to collect mementos as a family: event ticket stubs, playbills, shells, sea glass, flowers, leaves, rocks, etc. all are infinitely versatile!  Think shadowboxes, sea jars, scrapbooks, and collages; all are fun ways to display and share your vacation experience!  Or, consider visiting a local shop to pick out some souvenirs: picture postcards, car magnets, works of art created by local artists, clothing featuring the place name of your vacation spot; all will be fond reminders of your vacation!


Probably the most labor intensive method to record the events, activities, sights and experiences of your vacation, journals give you a unique opportunity to record not only what happened, but how everyone felt, and what made it memorable!  Tips:  to reduce the effort of documenting the whole trip, try to record a few small things each evening, that way you won't be stuck scrambling to remember what happened when after it's all over.  Also, encourage your children to share a memory from each day and write it down (with your help if they are too young to articulate their thoughts in writing). Journals can be enjoyed for generations to come and can give fascinating perspective not only on the trip, but of what life was like during that time in history.

However you choose to capture the magic of your family getaway, just remember not to sacrifice being a  part of the fun.  Family vacations are precious because your children are only young once and documenting some of the fun formative experiences you share as a family will help cement those memories for all of you as your children grow and change!  Taken an amazing vacation with your family?  Share some of your favorite memories with us on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter!

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Travel-Tot Tip!

Spring is here; if you're looking for great ideas for warm weather getaways, recipes, crafts, outfits, activities, or, well, just about anything, check out Pinterest!  With millions of fascinating ideas to browse through and a convenient search feature, the possibilities are endless! 

For starters, check out all the great products, travel ideas and tips on Travel-Tot's boards!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Destination: Sanibel and Captiva Islands, FL

Just off the southwest coast of the great Sunshine State sit two idyllic islands boasting beautiful weather year round, pristine sandy beaches, and an endless array of family-friendly activities: welcome to the islands of Sanibel and Captiva!

image courtesy of Victor Habbick/

Renown for their white sand beaches, Sanibel and Captiva are also a sheller's paradise (rumor has it the beaches near Captiva and North Captiva for the biggest and best selections)!  But the islands have much to offer beyond their many magnificent beaches; a variety of museums and attractions make for a nice break from the great outdoors! 

Family friendly exhibits and programs await at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Center, Old Town Sanibel, and the Sanibel Lighthouse!  In addition, Sanibel Island is also home to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the U.S., famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations. The Refuge features a free Visitor Education Center with hands on exhibits for kids; in addition, for a small fee, you can enjoy a Wildlife Drive (Saturdays through Thursdays only)!

And if you have a long enough to stay to build in a day trip, consider these fantastic spots less than 15 miles away in beautiful Ft. Myers:

No matter what you choose to do, Sanibel and Captiva Islands are a family vacation paradise!  Been here?  Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter and share your favorite attraction or activity!

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Travel-Tot Tip!

Whether you are simply headed to the park for some recreational activity or the airport for a family trip, make sure your child is equipped with emergency identification information, especially if they have severe allergies or are too young to know their own full name, or their parent's names or cell phone numbers.  One of our favorite ID products is the SafetyTat; temporary tattoos on which you can hand-write emergency information or even create a QR code tattoo that can be scanned with your smartphone!  Check it out!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Great Children's Books for On-the-Go

image courtesy of stockimages/

One of the best ways to keep kids entertained while travelling is with books!  No matter whether your children can read or just enjoy looking at pictures, there are literally countless options for kids of every age; below are some of our favorite picks by reading ability (along with a few recommendations for kids by kids!):

Girl or Boy Pre-Readers and Early Readers:

Busy Town books - With pages crammed with comical characters, words, concepts and loads of objects , these books are bound to captivate the minds of inquisitive youngsters.  The jaunty style of the late Scarry has timeless appeal to young minds.

I Spy books - With dozens of variations on the "can you find this object" theme, these books are good for hours of entertainment

Girl or Boy Fluent Readers:

Magic Tree House books - This series features the seemingly endless adventures of a young brother and sister who are skirted of to far off, lands and times courtesy of a magical tree house they discover.  With stories ranging from dinosaur adventures to mummies in Egypt, there is something to captivate any young mind!

Harry Potter books - This fantastic series follows the life of a young boy who discovers he is actually a wizard; and a famous one at that!  His fantastic adventure begins as he heads off to wizarding school where he becomes a pivotal character in several epic battles between good and evil.

Some other great options for fluent readers (a.k.a. selections from our kids and their friends!):

Boy Fluent Readers Recommend:

Girl Fluent Reader Recommend:

Books are the perfect addition to any trip; they are relatively light, compact, portable and can provide hours of entertainment!  And remember, it's never too early to foster a love of reading, including the pre-reading skills that the I Spy and Busytown books encourage!  Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter and share some of your children's favorite books to bring along on a journey!

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Monday, March 5, 2012

Travel-Tot Tip!

Always leaving baby's bottles or snacks in foreign fridges when you visit friends or family?  Here's a great tactic that will help ensure you retrieve them before you hit the road: leave your keys in the fridge with the items you need to remember to pack back up... we promise, you won't get far without them!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Great Tools: Discover Pinterest!

No doubt, by now, you have heard of Pinterest; but if you haven't checked it out yet, you may not realize what a fantastic resource it can be!  Skeptical?  Concerned that it's just another vacuous time-sink? I understand, but give it a chance - after all, 10.4 million registered users can't be wrong! Check out our newbie guidelines below for the basic "whats," "whys," and "hows" of using Pinterest to help get you started.

The "What" and "Why" of joining Pinterest:

I know, I know, you're already on Facebook and Twitter, why join Pinterest?  What is it, anyway? Well, in a nutshell, Pinterest is a fantastic way to organize a variety of different parts of your life and share your inspirations with others in your social circle!  As described on its own site, Pinterest is "a virtual pinboard," but it is really so much more; you can backlink each photo you "pin" to its website of origin where more extensive information on the featured item may be found. What's more, you can include a brief comment on each picture you pin, as well as price where applicable!  The sky is the limit; you can create boards for everything from home decor to your favorite books - whatever your passion, Pinterest provides a way to connect with others who have the same interests!

The "Hows" of navigating Pinterest:

Some users report that they found navigating Pinterest can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming at first, but if you take it slowly and spend some time looking around, I think you'll find it fascinating and fairly intuitive. As with other social media sites, you begin by creating a profile.  Once you have done that, I would recommend that prior to establishing your own boards, you go to the "everything" feed.

The link to the "everything" feed (among others),  can be found at the top center of the page beneath the logo (note:  this cannot be done from your home page, you must click the Pinterest logo at the top center of the screen to access the link lists below).  Once in the "everything" feed you will be able to see what others have done; there are literally thousands upon thousands of boards that can inspire you and get your creative juices flowing!

Once you get a feel for what you want to create - get pinning!  Access your Pinterest home page by simply clicking on your icon in the upper right-hand corner.  Your page will feature your boards as well as a feed on the left which contains all of the recent pins of the people you follow. It is important to note that everyone who follows you will see everything that you pin in their feed.  To pin an item or create a new board, simply click on "Add +" (which may be found to the left of your icon in the upper right) and a pop-up menu will appear to walk you through the process. 

A few other neat features to consider when you're ready to get started:
  • you can "like," "repin," or "comment on" other people's pinned items by hovering over the image with your pointer and a menu will appear at the top of the image offering these three options.
  • there is a "gift" feed (access it at the same location as the "everything" feed link) where items that have been pinned along with a price in the comment section will appear; a great way to feature lesser-known, regional, or local vendors that you love!
As with all social media, practice makes perfect, so give it time, be patient, and have fun inventing your Pinterest persona! I hope these tips have helped and that once you are on and running you will stop by and check out some of the pinned items on Travel-Tot's Pinterest Boards, and don't miss us on Facebook and Twitter too!

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom