Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Travel App That City Slickers Will Love!

image courtesy of porbital/
Love an urban expedition, but don't know where to start?  We've found the perfect app for families  who love to explore cities: Urban Adventure Quest!  It's more than just a travel guide or self-guiding tour; it's an interactive, educational adventure with all the fun of a scavenger hunt... all guided from any smartphone!

Urban Adventure Quest is available for 30 U.S. cities, with more added all the time!  So before you and your family start pounding the pavement of your favorite city, download this amazing app and see just how much fun exploring and learning can be!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tips and Tricks for Packing Your Car!

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/
Love road trips but hate packing for them?  We've got you covered!  These helpful guidelines will help you streamline the whole packing process and speed you on your way!
  • Pre-pack purge and prep: Before you start packing, remove everything from your car (including the trunk!). While the vehicle is empty, check that you have a jack and spare tire, and that both are accessible and in good working order.  Give the whole interior a quick wipe down and vacuum!
  • Insist on the list:  A list is a great way to ensure you have packed everything you need, without over-packing; it will also serve as a great tool when you pack up for the return trip, potentially saving you from inadvertently leaving something behind - so make one up before you start throwing stuff in bags!
  • Bottom's up: Pack what you will use last on the bottom or in less easily accessible areas, then work upward and forward, making sure the items you pack on top or toward the front are the ones you will need while en route (i.e. snacks, games, first-aid kit, medicines, wipes, extra outfits in case of emergency, maps, etc.). 
  • Change up: Always keep cash handy; and it never hurts to bring along a few rolls of quarters in case you have to stop and do a quick load of laundry on the way!
  • Chill out: Consider packing a cooler for items that need to be refrigerated;  use frozen water bottles, juice packs,or GoGurts® as ice packs.
  • Prescription for success: If you are packing medicines be sure to bring a copy of each prescription and follow storage directions (i.e. keep out of sunlight, refrigerate, etc.); also, be sure to carry a list of any allergies or medical conditions for all family members.
  • Safety first: Don't forget to bring along emergency preparedness items, such as: a basic first aid kit, a roadside emergency repair kit, bottled water, a cell phone, your motor club membership card, and a travel childproofing kit for overnight stop-offs along the way!
  • Think outside the box: Free up precious car space by using vacuum storage bags instead of traditional luggage. Vacuum storage bags are perfect for packing clothes, pillows, jackets, and other bulky items more compactly! Smaller size slide lock baggies are also great space savers; store everything from toiletries to snacks!  Best of all, once the contents have been used or removed, the slide lock baggies can be re-purposed for storing wet items until they can be dried or disposed of (bathing suits, wet diapers, wipes, trash, etc.).

Safe and happy travels!

-Destination Mom

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Happy 3rd Anniversary "Baby's First Vacation"!

Three years ago we crafted Baby's First Vacation, a collection of helpful guidelines and tips which we hoped would make travel easier for first-time parents. This throw-back Thursday, we invite you to check it out and share it with friends who may be facing their first summer with a new little family member!

After all, something as simple as an extra few minutes spent making a list ahead of time and childproofing your "home away from home" will result in a much more relaxed and enjoyable first vacation experience for everyone!  So check out Travel-Tot's free, printable e-book featuring all these pointers and more - it's the perfect resource for planning your Baby's First Vacation!

Safe and happy travels!

- Destination Mom

Friday, April 18, 2014

Destination: The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum

images courtesy of
The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum
Over the past few years, The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum has emerged as a top historic attraction on island of Nantucket. Along with the popular Nantucket Whaling Museum, the Shipwreck Museum is a must see in Nantucket! Guests of all ages can enjoy guided tours, films, new exhibits, family-friendly programs, special events and more. With attractions indoors and out, the Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum can be a quick stop during an afternoon shower or a day of fun for the whole family. 

The museum is open Memorial Day - Columbus Day annually from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Accessible by car, NRTA Shuttle and the Polpis Bike Path. Admission costs are free for members, $6 for adults, $4 for youth (5-7) and free to children under 5. 


The museum features an impressive permanent exhibit boasting items collected and donated by Robert Caldwell, a native Nantucket-islander who returned home after serving on board the United States Coast Guard Cutter Spencer during World War II. Deeply affected by his personal experience and intrigued by stories of the Coast Guard and its roots, Caldwell began collecting objects related to Nantucket's history of shipwrecks, life-saving and rescues. In 1967, he donated his collection and a piece of his property for what was to become the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum.  

New for 2014 is the exhibit "Throw Out The Life-Line," which focuses on past and present Maritime lifesaving practices, procedures and pastimes. Featuring hands-on activities for children, such as a replica of a Massachusetts Humane Society hut to “hide” away in, a yardarm to balance on, a breeches buoy to climb into and out of, a “mast” to scale and a replica of a surfboat to row, this exhibit continues the museum's proud tradition of offering fun, educational experiences for all ages.

Family Days

Family Days at the Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 16 and Wednesday, August 13. In addition to the daily guided tours and films that are available throughout the season, other activities will include crafts, a scavenger hunt and maritime games and music in which children may participate.

Family Day (for Families with Identified Special Needs)

On Friday, July 25, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. the museum will be open exclusively for families of individuals with any disability or special need. In conjunction with Kim Horyn of Autism Speaks, this day will be filled with activities, crafts, music and tours tailored specifically to the interests and needs of your family. All families are always welcome to the museum at any time; it is our hope, however, that by offering this additional, designated day we are able to offer you the opportunity for your entire family to enjoy the museum at the leisure and pace you choose.

Visit from Award-Winning Children’s Book Author

Stay posted as, in early August, visitors are invited to come meet award-winning children’s book author Sara Hoagland Hunter. She will spend an afternoon on the lawn of the museum entertaining children and adults alike with her newest book, Every Turtle Counts – the story of a child with special needs and an endangered sea turtle. Sara is also the author of additional books for children, including The Unbreakable Code, the true story of Navajo veterans who invented a code that was never broken during the Pacific island battles of World War II and The Lighthouse Santa, based on the story of historian Edward Rowe Snow who, for close to fifty years, dropped presents from his plane to all the children living in New England’s remote lighthouses, including those on Nantucket.

So make some time for this fantastic spot on your next trip to Nantucket; a beautiful island for a fun-filled family getaway!  Wishing you safe and happy travels...
-Destination Mom

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Safety On The Road!

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month Thousands die needlessly each year because people continue to use their cell phones while driving, handheld or hands-free. Join the National Safety Council this April in urging those you care about to:
  • Stop using cell phones while driving
  • Recognize that hands-free devices offer no safety benefit
  • Understand the dangers of the cognitive distraction to the brain
  • Tell others about the dangers of cell phone distracted driving
And just as importantly, be sure that you are prepared in the event that you and your child are involved in an accident.  If you happen to become incapacitated, Emergency Contact Information could be the difference between life and death, particularly if your child is unable to communicate.  To ensure that vital information is readily available, download our handy Infant Car Seat Emergency Label and apply to your child's car seat; Travel-Tot is proud to have introduced this brilliant and free download over 2 years ago!

Provided by The National Safety Council

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blogs We Love: Traveling Families!

image courtesy of vongvanvi/
The internet can bring the world to your fingertips... literally! The web is heavily saturated with amazing travel sites, many geared specifically toward family travel.  But family travel blogs are as unique as the families whose adventures they record; so it can be hard to figure out which sites offer the best content for your needs. After all, some sites offer  valuable expertise, some motivation to start your family's trip, and some, simply heart-warming tales of the lives of those who have chosen to explore the world as a family!  This week, I've chosen four of my personal favorites to share; check out these inspiring sites created by families who have generously chosen to share their experiences exploring our amazing world:
  1. Travel Mamas - With a beautiful, clean, fun layout and articles on topics from family travel to great grown-up getaways, Travel Mamas delivers a ton of invaluable information!  Don't miss the comprehensive packing lists and helpful travel tips.
  2. 100 Routes Across America - Another outstanding resource; with amazing road trip itineraries for all parts of the US and phenomenal tips, reviews and pointers for great food along the way!
  3. Two Kids and a MapA riotous account of one family’s travels through the good, the bad, and the ugly; whether down the street, across the country, or even around the world, this site will leave you entertained and informed.
  4. Pit Stops for KidsA place to share reviews of the places you’ve stopped during road trips, and to benefit from the experience and information other parents have to offer!  This community of parents shares a goal as well as a philosophy; find great stopovers and destinations for kids, after all, it’s as much about the journey as the destination!
Each of these fantastic blogs offers invaluable information, inspiration, and perspective; so if you aspire to a life less ordinary, take advantage of the wit and wisdom of these bloggers and get inspired to set your family travel plans into action!  Wherever the road may take you, may you always enjoy safe and happy travels!

- Destination Mom

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Snapshot: Memories With Perspective!

Looking to keep school-aged kids occupied on a trip? Try giving each child an inexpensive, single-use camera to capture the trip from their own perspective. My 9 year-old daughter absolutely loves doing this; once the photos are developed, she uses them (and other mementos) to create a memory book of her adventure!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lions and Rhinos and Leopards, Oh My!

This week, we are simply ecstatic to share an amazing, family-centered, life-changing, travel opportunity!  Chances are good that you and your family have watched the award-winning program, Travel With Kids on PBS, and if you like what you've seen there - you're going to flip for this!  Below is the official press release for Travel With Kids' latest venture - their Adventure Tours.  Starting this summer, the Travel With Kids family (Carrie and Jeremy Simmons and their sons Nathan and Seamus) is inviting your family to join them on an escorted trip to South Africa!  Read on for more details!!!

-Destination Mom

# # #

Travel With Kids Family is Inviting
You to Join Them in South Africa

Announcing Travel With Kids Family Adventure Tours

Phoenix (March, 2014) – Traveling with children can seem like an overwhelming challenge, which leaves many families planting their feet securely at home. However, the award-winning, visually stunning, Travel With Kids television series maps out the best of each fascinating destination they visit and shows how families can make their trips relaxing and fun while introducing young adventurers to local customs, food, and breath-taking scenery. And this summer, Travel With Kids is inviting other families to join the fun on an escorted trip to South Africa.  Spend time with your family volunteering in the townships, learning about South Africa’s amazing and recent history at interactive museums and from people who lived through it and immerse in nature at wildlife conservation centers and on safari. And the best part is: You can experience it all with the trusted and well-seasoned travelers Travel With Kids’ hosts Jeremy and Carrie Simmons and their sons Nathan and Seamus.

“After traveling all around the globe, filming episodes in South Africa made a lasting impact on us…especially our kids.” says Carrie Simmons. “Ask our kids what their favorite destination is and they will tell you South Africa and with good reason. When we filmed there, not only did we have the chance to see nature in action…rhinos fighting over territory, a jackal sneaking a bite from a lion’s dinner…but we learned history and culture in a kid-friendly, hands-on way. The kids especially loved their time meeting local kids in schools and volunteering their time to help better a community.”

Travel with Kids is an educational and entertaining voyage of discovery through ancient sites, exotic islands, historic cities and vast nature. Designed to educate families about places around the world, the series presents the history, culture and nature of a destination in an innovative manner that keeps viewers of all ages engaged.   This summer other families can experience it first hand along with the hosts of Travel With Kids. With two fully escorted tours in July and August covering destinations such as Cape Town, the Cape Peninsula, the famous Garden Route and Kruger National Park and doing things like meeting local families and visiting schools in townships, diving with great white sharks (optional, but fun!), getting nose to beak with penguins and nose to trunk with elephants, and of course going on safari, there is something for everyone.

Parents will appreciate the pre-trip checklists, FAQs, packing lists and years of family travel experience and tips provided by Travel With Kids parents Jeremy and Carrie Simmons. Kids will enjoy hanging out with famously silly hosts Nathan and Seamus as well as hands-on activities like learning to track animals, scavenger hunts, a special South Africa book, activity kit and more.

Travel With Kid airs in 150 cities across the United States and in 30 countries internationally. Season 3 will begin airing this spring on PBS stations. Check your local listings for day and times. Travel With Kids is also available on-line through Hulu.com, iTunes, Roku and Amazon as well as on DVD (available through www.travelwithkids.tv and www.shoppbs.org). The Travel With Kids series has won several awards including the Telly Award, iParenting Media award, KIDS First! Endorsement, the Dove Foundation Family Seal of Approval and the Adding Wisdom award. Destinations covered by the series include the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, the United Kingdom, New York, Paris, Ireland, Italy, Florida, California, Alaska, Costa Rica, Peru, Thailand, China, Greece, Vietnam, Fiji and South Africa.

The Travel With Kids Family Adventure Tour to South Africa is operated by DSA Vacations, (www.dsavacations.com). Based out of Tucson, AZ, DSA Vacations is owned by Terry von Guilleaume – a South African now living in the United States. DSA specializes in tailor-made vacations, including family travel, to Southern and Eastern Africa.

Produced by Equator Creative Media, a multimedia production company promoting independent adventure travel for the family, Travel with Kids was created in 2004 and is currently in its 7th season of television production.  The PBS Season 3 airing is brought to you by Travel Assurance Promise, Kuboo.com, Apple Vacations and HomeExchange.com.  Travel with Kids is distributed internationally by Janson Media and by NETA on Public Television in the USA 

To see video from Travel With Kids South Africa episodes, visit:

For more information on the show, or additional interview material and images, visit www.travelwithkids.tv or email Carrie Simmons at simmons@travelwithkids.tv or call 602-326-9048. The on-camera host family is also available for interviews, speaking engagements and appearances.
# # #

About Carrie Simmons:

Carrie Simmons is the Creator and Host of Travel With Kids, a television series airing on PBS nationwide and in 30 countries internationally. The show aims to educate families about the history, culture and nature of destinations around the globe while featuring exciting, adventure activities for families.  Carrie started her career in the newspaper industry where she handles promotions and special sections.  After years in the corporate world, she decided to turn her briefcase in for a backpack and took off on an 8-month round-the-world journey with husband and co-producer of Travel With Kids, Jeremy Simmons. They were both bit big time by the travel bug.

Carrie says, “Once we had children everyone thought we would have to stop traveling, but I couldn’t understand why we would do that. I want to expose my kids to all the wonders of the world and the adventure of traveling.” And so the concept of Travel With Kids was born combining Carrie’s background in writing and marketing and Jeremy’s experience in television production. “We began shooting when the kids were 3 and 1 years old in Puerto Rico. We had no budget, but an amazing idea of what we wanted to do and some very enthusiastic supporters.”

Travel With Kids has been in production since 2004. “Our kids have really grown up on the road” says Carrie. “It’s given them amazing perspective on the global community and a deep-rooted compassion for the world around them.” Travel With Kids has produced 55 episodes on 5 continents around the world. “Australia is at the top of Nathan’s (now 12 years old) list and Antarctica…well that’s in the dream column for now.”

“What I like best about traveling is getting the chance to learn about other cultures and the history of a place. I think that when we travel as a family, we really grow together.” says Carrie. Her best travel advice: “Go now! So many people put off traveling until the ‘kids are older’ or ‘my job calms down’ and then never end up going. Set a date, start planning and do it! Conditions will never be perfect, but the experience will stay with you and your family forever! So, go!”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Products We Love: Aero-Tray - Revolutionize Your Space!

Looking for the perfect solution to creating a comfortable work space while traveling?  We've found it! Aero-Tray is a revolutionary travel accessory, that is perfect for the whole family! A portable, ergonomic work area for laptops, mobile devices, books, magazines and more, Aero-Tray can be used on planes, trains, automobiles, in bed, on your lap - you name it.  Aero-Tray creates ample room for tech gear, food and beverage, and entertainment materials to be used in a comfortable manner in even the tightest of spaces.

But don't just take our word for it - check out this video and see how Areo-Tray revolutionizes your space!

Aero-Tray is available through TravelSmith.com and is offered in two colors; Noir and Camel (retails for $59.95 USD). 

For more information, check out http://www.Aero-Tray.com!