Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Keep Your Family's Identities Safe!

Identity theft is increasingly common, and stolen credit cards, Social Security cards, and insurance cards can result in disastrous consequences for cardholders who were unaware of their loss. Below are some valuable tips on protecting your family member's identities that every adult, and especially parents, should be aware of:

  • Carry only what you need in your wallet or purse; store all non-essential information in a safe place at home
  • Never carry spare house or car keys in your wallet or purse (also, never label keys)
  • Make a detailed list of the items you do carry with you and store it in a safe place
  • Keep photocopies of your wallet's important contents (license, registration, credit cards, ATM card, etc.) stored in a safe place
  • Never carry your or your child(ren)'s Social Security numbers or cards in your wallet or purse
  • Never carry birth certificates, passports, or employee ID cards with valuable personal information (Social Security number, date of birth, etc.) in your purse or wallet
  • Never carry account numbers or passwords in your purse or wallet
  • Keep the contact numbers and information for all your financial and personal information in a secure place so they are readily available
  • For PDAs and smartphones: use password protection so that if the device is turned on by an unauthorized user only a log-in screen will appear along with instructions on how to contact you to return the device. You should also keep a backup of your data to use as a starting inventory should it be lost.
If your wallet or purse is stolen or lost, this site features a comprehensive list of the steps you can take to help keep your family safe and deter identity theft, credit fraud, insurance fraud, home invasion or auto theft. 

Safe and happy travels.
-Destination Mom

Friday, July 26, 2013

5 Organization Tips for a Stress and Mess-Free Vacation

Vacations are one of the best parts of summertime, but packing for a trip tends to be more stressful than enjoyable.  To stay organized and to save time searching for items during your next vacation, whether you’re taking a day trip or flying halfway around the world, use the following travel organization tips:
1.       When you’re packing up the car for a big road trip, don’t just throw things wherever you see a space for them; you’ll end up with a big mess that will make it difficult to find things later on. Instead, use trash bags to keep items together that you won’t need until you reach your destination, like beach toys and towels, and keep them at the bottom of your trunk. Place bags of items you’ll need during the trip on top within arms’ reach for easy access.

Similarly, use sandwich bags to keep kids’ crayons, stickers and road trip snacks in one place. You’ll be less likely to lose things and can hopefully keep your car a little cleaner.

2.       Important documents like travel itineraries, boarding passes and passports can be an enormous hassle to replace if they get lost, so be sure to keep them somewhere safe. An easy way to keep your documents in order is to store them in folders or gallon-size plastic storage bags. Not only will they all be in one place, but plastic bags will also keep them safe from spills.

3.       Bring trash bags to the beach to hold any sandy items you don’t want contaminating your backpack or beach bag. They’re also a great way to keep your car clean if you drive home after a day at the lake or beach and won’t have access to a washing machine. Additionally, trash bags are good to have on hand if you’re bringing food to the beach—you’ll be guaranteed a place for your trash even if you can’t find a trash can.

4.       Keeping iPods, watches and cameras in plastic bags while you’re at the lake, pool or beach this summer will help you avoid water damage to pricey electronics. Make sure you identify specific pockets in your bags and suitcases for your electronics so you always know where to locate them, and to keep them away from messy liquids.

5.       When you’re going through airport security, don’t be the person who holds up the entire line while you search for your liquids and electronics. Liquids are required to be in quart-size plastic bags but it’s a good idea to keep electronics in their own plastic bags, too. This way, you can dump your camera, keys, jewelry and phone out of your bag and into the security bin as soon as it’s your turn.
A few simple packing hacks can save you tons of time and stress during your vacation. Staying organized will make it easier to relax and enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Katie F. on behalf of Hefty®. Visit www.hefty.com for more travel packing tips and products like sandwich bags to storage containers.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Capture 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?


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

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

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tools for the Traveling Parent!

The Travel-Tot team is always on the lookout for travel tools that can make traveling easier and less daunting for parents, and that's why we LOVE these two amazing products:

image courtesy of CARES
CARES airplane safety harness: This ingenious device is an FAA-approved harness that secures your kid in the plane seat.  It's comfortable, portable, and far les bulky than a booster or car seat!

image courtesy of RideSafer
RideSafer car vest: This vest is the perfect travel must-have, especially for parents traveling with multiple children; the vest meets all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and safely secures your child in a car!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Destination: Myrtle Beach, SC!

While a trip to the beach is a must when visiting the Myrtle Beach area with its 60 miles of sun, sand, and sparkling Atlantic coastline, the fun extends beyond its spectacular shores to thousands of area activities and attractions. With its wealth of restaurants, beaches, and attractions, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is the perfect spot for tons of family fun! This popular summer beach town is one of the most visited beaches on the East Coast and offers something for everyone. But with all there is to do in Myrtle Beach, how do you know where to start? Some of our favorite, not-to-be-missed family friendly attractions:
Located along the Intracoastal Waterway in beautiful North Myrtle Beach, Barefoot Landing combines beauty and nature with the fun and excitement of shopping, dining, entertainment, and special events for the entire family. Enjoy live shows, big name entertainment and great attractions, including one of the largest reptile parks in the world. Hear live music or have a picture taken with a live tiger! The carousel and fish feeding are popular with younger visitors, and boardwalk entertainment and weekly fireworks amaze visitors and locals alike from June 1st through August 31st!

images courtesy of Family Kingdom
Family Kingdom and Splashes:
What says family beach getaway more than an amusement park by the sea?  Family Kingdom features more than 30 thrilling rides, and this year, they've added four exciting new rides including the Twist 'n Shout steel roller coaster! Splash down on the Log Flume, free-fall 110 feet in the Slingshot Drop Zone, bounce a bit on the bumper cars or hit the Go-Kart tracks! And don't miss Family Kingdom's Oceanfront Water Park, Splashes, just across the street, featuring exhilarating water slides, water flumes, and relaxing lazy rivers!

image courtesy of Blue Wave Adventures
This organization is dedicated to providing families with a most unique outdoor experience (note: children must be over age 3 to participate). Blue Wave Adventures offers visitors the opportunity to share their love and enthusiasm for the ocean and it's many fascinating inhabitants by providing safe, ecologically responsible dolphin tours.  In addition, the company offers private island kayak trips and private charter trips.  If you're looking to make some truly special memories, a dolphin watching tour is a great choice!

So if you're ready to hit the beach with your family this summer, Myrtle Beach is teeming with opportunities for family fun and chances to make memories that will last a lifetime! 

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Monday, July 1, 2013

Family Fun for the Fourth!

There are a million fun ways to celebrate the Fourth of July with your family; from a traditional barbecue to taking a Patriotic Pilgrimage to one of America's historic treasures, the possibilities are endless!  If you are looking to get away and explore America's colonial past this Independence Day, you'll want to be on the lookout for fun family events in great historical spots, like these:
Washington D.C. and Williamsburg, VA

Boston, MA

Wishing you all a safe and happy Fourth of July!