How To Travel With Toddlers Stress Free

With summer here, our thoughts turn to family holidays. Clear blue seas, golden sands and balmy temperatures are just around the corner, but there is just one problem because to reach that idyllic location you are going to have to travel. No problem you may think, it’s all part of the experience. Think again. For when you are a parent of one or more travel averse toddlers, this can prove challenging at best.

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Children love family holidays. It is a time to spend quality time with their parents and siblings, enjoying all of their favourite activities in the sunshine. Swimming, playing ball on the beach and building sandcastles – what could be better. What they seem to forget, is that you have to get there first.

Taking a flight, however long with children can be stressful. It is difficult for your little ones to understand that they have to remain seated sometimes for hours at a time, seatbelts on with nothing much to do.

Unless you are one of the lucky ones who start your vacations with private jet charters, most of us will embark on our journey in a cramped economy class cabin full of strangers.

Tempers fray, stress levels rise, and even the shortest of flights can turn into an endurance test that you would rather forget.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. With thorough preparation and careful planning, you and your toddlers can have a calm, stress-free flight, and they might even learn to enjoy it.

Do the groundwork

If your toddlers haven’t flown before make sure they understand what to expect. You can even recreate the scenario at home by lining up a few chairs and playing ‘aeroplanes’ with them. Explain that they have to remain seated but emphasise the positives. Tell them that they will be able to watch TV on the plane and get them involved in packing their cabin bags too.

Give yourselves time

Calm parents equal calm kids, so make sure you allow plenty of travelling time to get to the airport. You will avoid unnecessary stress and reach the boarding gate feeling relaxed.

Distractions

Make sure you have plenty of activities that you can bring out when needed. Drawing, pocket games, ipads or a story for when they feel sleepy will help pass the time.

Take plenty of snacks

There is no better distraction for a young child than their favourite snack. Make sure you take plenty and try not to get anxious about what they choose to eat on board. It is only one flight, and at least it will keep them quiet.  Remember to pack some lollipops for when you are coming into land. Children can suffer terribly with pressure pain in their ears so take along something they can suck, a comforter or even their favourite teddy.

You made it! Hopefully, you will have had a great flight and can now enjoy your holiday. Just remember the advice for the return leg of your journey and your family vacation will be one to remember for all the right reasons.

Things You Must Do In Roanoke

If you’ve never heard of Roanoke before, here’s a bit of background history; It was established in 1585 in what we now know it as North Carolina. It has the nickname of “The Lost Colony” due to shipments being stopped randomly, and then the colonists disappearing.

Now, however, Roanoke is a fabulous place to visit. It’s especially good for getting the kids out and about without them becoming bored! Here’s a list of the things you must do on your visit.

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  1. Dolphin Tours

    Let’s be fair, who doesn’t love dolphins? Take up this opportunity and sail with the dolphins. The dolphin watch is truly incredible to see, with a tour guide giving you lots of useful and exciting information, it’s a once in a lifetime experience that you’d be mad to miss out on!

  2. Elizabethan Gardens

    Enter these luxurious grounds and marvel at the beauty of the memorial the town created for Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. It was made to keep her entertained and has remained there since. It’s open all year round, but it’s best to check what times they are open as this does vary.

  3. The Lost Colony

    While you’re there, why not take in the history of Roanoke and see a reenactment of the lost colonists that happened over 400 years ago. Feel like a part of the culture, and it’s yet another family friendly activity!

  4. Pirate Adventures

    Arrrrr matey! A fun family day trip that includes face painting, sailing on a real pirate ship and much more! Take the kids (or just yourselves if you don’t have any children) on this super fun day out.

 

  1. Ghost Tours

    You may want to find sitters for your children for this one. This is a long walk around the outer banks of Roanoke with ghost stories at night. A fabulous experience for those with the thrill.

  2. Tram Tours

    This is one for those of us that love being up and close with nature. The tour takes you along the land and gets you close to the wildlife including alligators and red wolves.

  3. Wings Over Wildlife Festival

    If you’re lucky enough to be visiting in October, why not head on over to their annually held Wings Over Wildlife Festival? It has loads of activities and caters for all ages! Because it’s during an off-peak season, it’s super cheap to visit too!

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There are loads of things to do in Roanoke; it’s tourists heaven! If you’re interested in looking at what else the lovely island can offer, why not check out these 64+ activities that you can do in Roanoke.

No need to panic about where you can stay either, the island offers many hotels and B&B’s for visitors to stay. A popular choice of hotel is Cambria Hotel & Suites Roanoke that offers plenty of amenities and can also give advice and recommendations on what to do in Roanoke.

Roanoke is a place with lots of history and plenty of activities to do. Be sure to visit!

A Fun Holiday In The Mile High City Of Denver For Kids And Families

Situated in the north of Colorado, lies the metropolis of Denver. A great city for holidays with kids as there are lots of family-friendly activities to do. It’s a remarkable urban environment, and there’s no doubt about it, the city has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the 19th century. Thanks to the investment by the US government and real estate companies, there are so many cozy neighborhoods with friendly locals who can’t wait to tell you about their city. There are lots to see, eat and enjoy as many different parts offer, hiking, rafting, skiing as well as some mouthwatering restaurants. The downtown area has also been given a makeover, and now possess some of the cleanest streets in the state, as well as safer bicycle routes for greener transportation. Denver is aptly nicknamed the Mile-High-City, and one can see why because it sits approximately 5280 feet above sea level. There are a few notable spots that family adventurers must see while in this gorgeous city.

Fluidly getting around

Travelling with children can become taxing as their enthusiasm might be misconstrued for impatience. Denver’s urban investment has brought the standard of public transportation to the highest level it’s ever been. However in the modern world, wherever there is investment there are entrepreneurs to be found. Gliding around the city has never been faster and easier with Ridester at your fingertips. Unlike a traditional taxi, there is no waving down or waiting. Simply download the app, book a journey and your car will arrive. The neat thing about the app is that your journey can be planned, with the distance and estimated time, equating the proposed price before you even set off.

Photo credit – Children’s Museum of Denver

Children’s museum

The children’s museum is great fun for the little ones who want to play and learn while adventuring in a new city. The complex just recently got a whopping $16 million expansion, with new materials, colors and designs more fitting for the modern child. It’s one of the most sought after spots in the town and has children clambering to get in line. One of the highlights is the enclosed three-story structure that provides children with the fun of climbing it with safety in mind. Children also have cooking classes available to them when they visit, and that’s sure to occupy their full attention.

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Cooks Fresh Market

The best connoisseur’s congregation spot and by far the best deli in the downtown area. Great for families and reasonably priced, eating on the go has never been more delicious. The attention and purely quality of ingredients are obvious in all the items they sell. Their salads are famous throughout the city for the best selection of soft cheeses, and everyone loves their soft and fluffy pastries. Brilliant gourmet cooking with a handy selection of great picnicking spots in the park just around the corner for the family to sit and enjoy.

Gifts for kids

Hope Tank sells cool and fun gifts perfect for children who want a physical memory of their trip to Denver. Handcrafted jewelry, t-shirts, and many Colorado state souvenirs. All the items are created by local artists; however, the great thing about each sale is that some of the profit goes to helping nearby charities. Playful magnets, coloring books, key chains and bouncy balls are great fun for the kids and something they can keep to remind them of the fun they had in the metropolis Mile-High-City.

Family Days Out Could Be The Way Out Of Vacation Stress

No one can deny that traveling with children can be a lot of fun. Nothing beats that excited look on their faces as the plane lands, and they spot their first palm tree. But, there’s also no getting around the fact that taking children abroad can be stressful. You have to keep them amused and deal with their moaning about the heat. Oh, and then there’s the price of food and board. By the end of your time away, you’ll feel more exhausted than you did before you left!

If your time abroad stresses you out more than a day at the office, it might be time to change tack. Instead of jetting away, why not spend your next family break close to home? Days out are an amazing way to enjoy your time together. Of course, as with a holiday, a successful day out does involve some planning. That’s why we’ve put together a sure fire list for a hassle free experience.

Find The Best Places To Go

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At the start of your break, sit down and plan out where you would all like to go. The chances are that there will be some disagreements here. But, granting everyone a suggestion each is an easy way to reach a compromise. If you’re used to going abroad, you may not have any real idea about what’s available. So, take a look at local kid friendly activities to give you some ideas.  Look together, and write down a list of everything that appeals. Then, narrow that list down to fit into your vacation time. Try to keep driving distances in mind here. There’s nothing to stop you choosing activities further afield, but remember that traveling time cuts into your day!

Keeping The Kids Amused In The Car

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Nothing’s worse than the constant drone of ‘Are we there yet?’ when your kids are bored in the car. The downside of day trips is that there will be a fair amount of travel involved. When you go on vacation, you only have to travel there and back. If you’re doing a week or more of day trips, the car hours will soon add up. So, you need to keep your kids from groaning. If they’re bored, they’ll moan and bicker, and will probably be uncooperative when you get where you’re going. Think about easy ways to keep them happy. It may be worth buying them a treat for each day. Something small, like a coloring book, cd, or magazine, is sure to keep them amused for at least a little while.

Take Your Lunch

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During a day trip, time is of the essence. By the time you reach your destinations, you’ll probably only have a few hours in which to enjoy yourselves. You don’t want to waste an hour or two of that time trying to find somewhere for lunch. Instead, take food with you. Picnics are always fun, or you could keep some sandwiches in your bag to eat on the go!

Havana Good Time: Everything You Need to Know for Your Vacation to Cuba

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Summer is approaching and the less organized amongst us will be looking for last minute getaways. So, where to go? Chances are you’re looking for sun, sea and sand. Somewhere to kick back on a sun lounger, bask in the warm rays, take a dip in the sea or a pool and have a refreshing cocktail or mocktail close at hand. Why not try out Cuba? Cuba, officially known as the Republic of Cuba, is the largest island that lies in the Northern Caribbean, where the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet. You get the best of three different worlds! It is renowned for its white sand beaches, hot weather and stunning landscapes. So, if this sounds perfect for you, read on! We’re here to guide you through everything you need to know in order to book the perfect holiday to this beautiful country.

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When Should I Go?

There are two ideal time periods to visit Cuba. These are the months of July and August, or between November and March. If you visit during these high seasons, you are more likely to experience higher temperatures and more desirable weather conditions. This is ideal, but expect to pay about 30% more for flights and hotels. During the shoulder period between April and October, you will be able to find cheaper rates for flights and hotels. So while there may not be the peak weather conditions during this time, you will still be able to have a pleasant trip on a lower budget.

Do I need a VISA?

Entry procedures to Cuba are relatively straightforward and the country’s immigration officials are very used to welcoming international arrivals. If you are a regular tourist, who is planning on spending less than two months in the country, you won’t need any form of VISA. You will receive a tourist card which is valid for 30 days and can be extended once you have landed in the country. Canadians get 90 days as standard plus the option of a further 90-day extension on arrival. If you lose your card, you will have to fork out $25 for a new one and will not be able to leave the country without it. So be vigilant and keep a hold of your documentation.

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How Long Is The Flight?

This is essentially the same as asking “how long is a piece of string?” It depends on where you’re travelling from! But let’s focus on travel from the United States of America. If you live on the East Coast, you’re in for a longer flight. From California, you’re looking at a five and a half hour flight. Travel from central States like Colorado, this is reduced to about four and a half hours. If you live on the West Coast, good news! From States like New York, the flight is just over three hours. Regardless of the time of your flight, try to book the most comfortable options available, especially if you suffer from health conditions. Even three hours is a long time to be sitting in the same space, so if you have experienced circulation problems in the past, invest in a good pair of flight socks. These will have compression levels which help to reduce the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis). If you are going to be traveling with hearing aids, check out your chosen airline’s protocols and measures to help those with impaired hearing. Some lines will be able to text passengers any updates or announcements during the flight and provide monitors detailing flight progress and expected departure or arrival times. If you suffer from a stiff neck or you become cold easily, pack a little travel pillow and travel blanket in your hand luggage.

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What Currency Will I Need?

Cuba currently has two currencies, which the government is in the process of unifying: pesos (moneda nacionale; MN$) and convertibles (CUC$). As a tourist, you will almost exclusively deal with convertibles. One convertible is worth around 25 pesos. Remember, tipping is important in Cuba. Most workers will earn their wages in pesos, so leaving a tip of one convertible or more will make a big difference to their overall earnings.

Will I Need Health Insurance?

Health insurance is essential when travelling abroad to any country. Cuba is a relatively safe country as long as you are responsible in regards to what you eat and drink. But you never know when an accident or illness might strike, so make sure that you’re fully covered. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

The #Skydeck Experience in #Chicago is Breathtaking!

Our family visited Chicago for the first time over the Memorial Holiday weekend last week.  We had several different places we wanted to visit and see during our short stay in the windy city.  Of course, on our list was visiting The Skydeck Experience on top of the world-famous Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. My hubby is fascinated with skyscrapers and was so excited to be on top of the building that was the tallest building in the world for almost twenty-five years.  We decided to go after dinner so we could see downtown Chicago and the surrounding area at nighttime.


Once we arrived at the top and entered the Skydeck, it was just amazing and breathtaking when we saw the incredible views from over 1400 feet for the first time.  Our daughter really enjoyed the Skydeck Chicago because you can see the whole city and so many different buildings, along with Lake Michigan and a gorgeous sunset while we were there.

This was the highlight of our summer trip to Chicago, so we would highly recommend anyone visiting or living near Chicago to visit the Skydeck Experience on top of the Willis Tower.  You can visit their website, TheSkydeck.com, for more details.

6 Quick Tips for Traveling with Children

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The summer is almost upon us, which also means that it’s almost time for the summer vacation we’ve all been dreaming about since Thanksgiving! Woohoo! However, traveling with a family in tow can sometimes be akin to herding cats, and can need a strong approach to organization, entertainment, and patience. Here’s my quick guide to surviving a vacation without going completely bonkers!

Don’t let them pack their own backpack

It seems like it would be a good way to teach your children about what they need and what they don’t, but take it from me, you’ll likely get to your destination with a rucksack full of tutus, sticker books and cuddly toys rather than the essential junior swim shorts and warm layers. Allow them to have an input into what they would like to take, but it’s good to do an audit before walking out the door. Flying long-haul? Check out my guide for packing hand-luggage like a pro here.

Book ahead of time

Whether you are camping or staying in hotels, it pays to book ahead when traveling with a family. You may have played it by ear and chosen guest houses and hostels on a whim when you were backpacking in your early twenties, but things are different now, and spontaneity won’t seem so fun if you can’t find a pitch or a room and have to hit the road again with a screaming toddler in the backseat!

Give them a camera

Give a small person a robust and unbreakable camera, and you’ll be surprised by what they snap. By doing this, you will be encouraging your child(ren) to be observant about the world around them and give them an interest in colors, textures, faces and nature! Along with photos of feet and wheels, you may be surprised by what they spot from knee-height!

Use public transport

Children are fascinated by the world, and more often than not, traveling by train, bus or boat will be much more exciting than spending hours in the back of a hire car. Not only will the world rolling by outside be a fascinating thing to watch, but you will be able to enjoy the view with them, rather than concentrating on the road and directions.

Encourage them to keep a travel journal or scrapbook

Spend some time each day drawing, sketching or writing down what they saw, enjoyed, or even hated throughout the day. Talk to them about the food they have tried and get them to describe it – this exercise is a great way for kids to remember family vacations, as they will always have something to look back on. If they would rather, help them collect postcards, entry tickets and transport passes so that they can put them all into a scrapbook when they get home!

Brand them

If you are going to be traveling through busy airports and transport stations, write your mobile number on their arm in pen, just in case they get lost. This way, whoever finds them will have an instant port of call to get them back in touch with you.

Texas de Brazil, Our Best Family Dining Experience Ever!!! @texasdebrazil

We decided to visit Chicago for our summer vacation this year. I have been wanting to go there for a long time since our family has never been there. There are so many places to see we were really excited to get there. While we were planning our visit, we decided to find a classy restaurant in downtown Chicago that the whole family would enjoy. After doing some research, The Texas de Brazil Steakhouse was exactly what we were looking for. They are a family dining restaurant that provided an incredible dining experience for our whole family. First, they have the best salad bar I have ever seen because they have such a great selection including sushi and salmon, two of my favorite foods. Everything tasted so good at the salad bar, we had to remind ourselves to save room for the main course and dessert. We really enjoyed the staff of carvers who visited our table with their impressive selection of meat items including filet mignon, basted beef ribs, leg of lamb, pork chops and other tasty and tender meats. The meat was cooked to our personal preference, for example, I like my meat medium-rare and my hubby prefers his cooked medium-well. Then, we ordered the chocolate mousse for our dessert and it tasted out-of-this-world. The entire staff at their Brazilian Steakhouse was first rate and could not have been better.

We experienced our best family dinner ever at the @texasdebrazil in downtown #Chicago. First we started with the amazing and incredible salad bar that has a huge selection including two of my favorite foods, #salmon and #sushi. Second was the meat carving staff that visited our table with an impressive selection of all types of meat including filet mignon, braised beef ribs and more. Lastly we ordered our dessert that was #chocolatemoussecake and I’m telling you it tasted out of this world!!! The wait staff provided impeccable service by providing us everything we needed. Thank you @texasdebrazil !!! #prochnowstravelingadventures #Chicago #blast #instagood #summer #travel #trip #dinner #dining #family #familydining #braziliansteakhouse #blogger #sponsored #prochnowtriptochicago

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Our family agreed this was the most enjoyable family dinner we have ever experienced. To learn more about Texas de Brazil, you can visit their website TexasdeBrazil.com to learn more about what they have to offer and their other locations they have around the United States and in other countries. Our family gives them our highest recommendation when it comes to their outstanding and tasty food selection and the impeccable service their staff provides to their guests.

@360Chicago & #360Tilt! Ride are a Must See When Visiting Downtown #Chicago

Last weekend was our first family trip to Chicago. We had so many places to see during our stay there for our summer vacation. So, the first place we wanted to see was the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck located on top of the famous Hancock Tower. The ride to the top was quick and easy. After we arrived, we had to decide whether to look at the fantastic views from over 1000 feet above downtown Chicago or to experience their 360 Tilt ride that looked really interesting and a little scary for me since I’m afraid of heights. We decided to enjoy the ride before walking around to look at the different views and to take pictures.

When we get on the ride, we stood facing looking out and grabbed two bars on each side of the window. Then, as the ride started, the floor and window began to lean outwards so we were literally tilting down to the buildings and street below. It was really an amazing feeling because you feel like you can actually reach out and touch the buildings next to the Hancock Tower. My hubby and our daughter said they really enjoyed the ride as much as I did.After the ride, we walked to each side of the observation deck and took dozens of awesome pictures of downtown Chicago, the Lake Michigan beach and many other sites you can see for miles around. 360 Chicago is a much see visit because of the incredible views and the 360 Tilt ride that is like no other ride we have ever experienced. To learn more, I suggest to visit their website: 360Chicago.com!!!

@TheJoeyTag Locating Device for #kids is Awesome!

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Our daughter is active and hard to keep track of sometimes when we are in public or even sometimes around the house.  So, I was real excited to learn about The Joey Tag that is a device she wears like a watch on her wrist which provides a lot of features including a panic button.  For example, I can create an ‘electronic safe area’ on my smart phone within 100 yards of my location so an alarm sounds when she leaves the safe area.  It even sends me an alert if the device is underwater to prevent accidental drowning and can only be removed with a special tool.

I would recommend this for parents or anyone who is responsible for watching young children.  The Joey Tag was sent to me as a complimentary item in exchange for writing this article.