Selecting Travel Destinations With Children In Mind When traveling with small children, try to keep your child's likes and dislikes in mind when selecting a destination. Some children will happily visit "boring old places," but many will not. Most children, however, might be more willing to sit through the boring spots if they understand that they'll get to go to "someplace cool" afterwards. Remember to think through the destinations, too. While an amusement park--with the rides, costumes, food and fun--might sound great, children might disagree when they're too small to actually ride the rides. How much fun is it to sit in a stroller while the older kids ride the roller coaster, or to wave to Mommy from Daddy's arms on the shore as her paddle boat passes by? The reverse is also true; while the younger children will happily explore a petting zoo or pony ride, the older children might spend the entire visit wishing they were anyplace else and hoping that pictures of them feeding a baby goat won't get back to their classmates. Some children will be thrilled by a museum, while others will not. The fossilized skeletons and stuffed hunting cats will fascinate some kids and terrify others. Many museums have interactive areas that provide a hands-on learning experience. National parks and other outdoor attractions attract kids of all ages. The younger ones will appreciate the chance to run around and play, while the older ones might be interested in the science or history of the site. Keep in mind the attitudes and feelings of children, too. They might say they're looking forward to visiting a cave, until they realize that "exploring the cavern" actually means "climbing down into this really big really scary dark hole in the ground." Sensitive children might just cut the exploring short when they see what it involves. Ten safety tips when traveling with Children Traveling abroad is a great learning experience for kids and parents. Here are 10 tips to help keep your family safe, and ensure everyone has a great time. 1. Fill out all emergency information on your passports. Make sure family members wear their passport on their body at all times. Children should carry the phone number and address of at least one trusted adult back home. 2. Read, understand, and follow all travel warnings issued for the area you are visiting. Do not travel to unsafe areas. 3. Make two copies of everyone's passport id page. Carry one copy with you in a separate place from your passport, and leave the second with a trusted friend or family member back home. Parents should carry additional copies of children's passports. 4. Always carry current photos of your children with you. 5. Leave a copy of your travel plans with family or friends at home. Include hotel names and phone numbers. Have your children carry a copy of travel plans with them, as well. 6. Learn local laws and customs before you leave for your trip. Be sure your children understand them as well. 7. In airports, bus depots and train stations, never leave your luggage unattended. Instruct your children not to touch other people's luggage, or pick anything up from the floor. 8. If you will be in a foreign country for more than two weeks, contact the embassy or consulate in that country. This will make it easier for officials to find you in case of emergency back home. 9. Do not wear expensive jewelry, or clothing that stands out. Don't carry more money than you will need. Consider credit cards or travelers checks. 10. Make sure you exchange money at authorized places. If you have any questions or get in trouble, contact the closest embassy. What To Do If Your Hotel Is Over Booked Nothing is more maddening than checking in to your hotel after a long trip to find someone has made a mistake and the hotel is over booked. With tired kids, and tired parents, keeping your cool is difficult, but doing so will go a long way to helping you get through. Be polite. Yes, a mistake was made, but it's likely that the person you are talking to is not the person who made the mistake. If you are calm and polite, the desk clerk is less likely to refund your deposit and send you out to find another hotel. If possible, have your spouse or adult travel partner take the kids for a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant or to the parking lot to run off steam. Working out a solution will be easier if your children are not next to you reminding you how tired they are. Ask to speak to the hotel manager. He or she may be able to send you to a neighboring hotel. Remember that the hotel you have reservations with is under no obligation to keep your reservation under emergency circumstances. Understand that in very small towns, there may not be another hotel. In that case, the hotel manager may ask you to share a room with another guest. Obviously, not an ideal situation, but if the next town is seventy- five miles away and you are exhausted, you may not have any other option. In that case, approach it as an adventure, a chance to meet someone you would not have met otherwise. Be gracious and understanding toward your roommates. They are in the same situation that you are. Check the local business directory for a nearby bed and breakfast. If you leave the hotel, don't forget to get a full refund. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, refunds are forgotten. Staying In Hotels With Children Staying in a hotel with your children can be enough to frazzle any parent. Close quarters with not much to do and neighbors on the other side of the wall can be a recipe for disaster. Especially if the kids get loud and restless. But, it doesn't have to be all bad. You and your kids can make the best out of hotel travel with a few simple ideas. Before you leave home, call several hotels in your destination area and shop for the best price. Many hotels offer "kids stay free" weekends. Some have even adopted the policy for all but their busiest times. Also, if your children are older, check into the availability of adjoining rooms. The kids will be close by, but mom and dad can get some privacy as well. Not all hotels offer cribs, so be sure to ask when you call. In addition to staying free, kids can eat free, too. Continental breakfasts, kids menus, and time locked specials mean your hotel may offer free food for your little one to. Most hotels have heated swimming pools. Be sure to bring swim suits and take advantage of entertainment and exercise you may not be able to access at home. Not only will the kids have fun splashing around, but they'll sleep well, too. In today's techno-centric world, most hotels have free cable television, and a many offer video game rooms and free internet access. A few travel hotels offer game and book libraries where bored kids can check out board games or good books. Depending on how long you're staying, evaluate your family's need for a kitchen. Some hotels offer rooms with small kitchens, while others do not. With a little research, you can make your child's hotel experience fun, without annoying others on the floor. Baby Proof Your Hotel Room After a long drive, a nice, quiet night in a hotel room sounds perfect. Unfortunately, after that long drive, the toddlers might not see it the same way. If parents don't want to wake up in a room decorated in Early Baby Wipe with Hotel Shampoo accents, a bit of baby-proofing might be in order before settling down to sleep. First, take anything that can be opened and sprayed or spilled, like the tiny hotel soaps and shampoos, and move it out of reach. You might leave the bar soaps as a distraction, since a couple of scattered soap bars are a cinch to pick up compared to finger-painting in conditioner. Likewise, move any toxic or messy substances you brought with you out of reach, as well. Check the dresser drawers, too, for things left in the room that could be torn up, or for helpful items like pens and notepads that could be used for redecorating. Bring along a pack of baby electrical outlet plugs, so that any free electrical outlets can be locked down. Check for lamp power cords that reach out where small fingers can yank on them, and double-check the settings on air conditioners and heaters. You might consider blocking off a play and sleep area with luggage, depending on the child's climbing ability. Also, keeping the bathroom door shut at all times might not be a bad idea either. It's much easier to contain the child before, than clean up after. Make sure the child can't open the front door, and if he can, keep it locked from the inside. Make sure that all windows are locked and can't be opened far enough for toddlers to squeeze through. A few minutes of forethought should be enough to make sure that every member of the family can spend a safe and comfortable night in the hotel room. Hotel Crib Safety Hotel cribs can be a real time and space saver. With limited room in the vehicle and long hours driving, it's always nice to arrive at your hotel and find baby's crib set up and waiting. But, to ensure baby's safety through the night, take a few minutes to make sure the crib meets safety standards before bedding your little one down for the night. The crib should be assembled and set up correctly. The hotel crib should be sturdy and not sway or rock when you shake it. If the crib has wheels, make sure they are locked. Crib mattress should be well supported and fit in the crib snugly. There should be no space between the mattress and the crib walls. The mattress should be firm. If possible, check the date of manufacture. Very old cribs do not meet today's safety standards. Older cribs are less stable, as well. Make sure baby can not get her head caught in the slats and that the sides of the crib operate correctly. Check weight limitations. Be sure your child is not too large for the crib provided. If the child is too heavy, it could cause the crib to collapse. Do not put soft or fluffy items in the crib with your child. This includes crib bumpers. Place the crib away from windows, where your child can not reach window blinds, cords, lamp or lamp cords, or any wall plugs. For mesh or travel cribs, double check that the sides are in the correct position and locked. Your baby could get tangled in the mesh and suffocate. Consider bringing your own sheets for a hotel crib. Your child will feel more secure with familiar sheets, and you will know they are clean. Take the extra time to double check safety and you and your child will sleep better. Obtaining a Passport For Your Children When traveling out of the United States, your child, regardless of age, will need his/her own passport. To obtain a passport you will need to go to your local passport office and fill out the required forms. You will be required to show proof of identification for yourself and your child. You can apply for a passport at most city offices. Check your local government listings for exact locations. When you fill out the passport application you will need to have with you proof of US citizenship, proof of identity, two recent pictures, and the correct amount in fees. You must have certified copies of all birth certificates submitted. The passport office will take your birth certificates with your application. They will be returned to you, by mail, with your new passport. Photographs must be exactly 2 in X 2 in. and no more than 1 3/8 in from the bottom of your chin to the top of your hair. The image must be of you alone and no less than 1 in. Additionally, you must not be wearing any type of head covering or dark glasses, unless they are certified religious or medical in nature. Also, for your children you will need proof that you are the child's parent or guardian, including a notarized statement signed by both parents or evidence you are the child's only legal guardian. The US Department of State will provide you with these forms. Keep in mind, the child must accompany the parent to the passport office. You can not apply for your child's passport without them. Plan well ahead and allow at least eight weeks to receive your passports. When you turn in your application and supporting documents, you will be given a website address where you can check on the status of your passport.. Prepare Your Children For Airport Security For small children, new airport security measures are scary. In the innocent world of children, they can't imaging someone would hurt them or their family. The strange sights of airport security can terrify them. Not used to seeing people in uniforms carrying guns, some children might be afraid of the armed security guards. They might be afraid of walking through the metal detectors. They will wonder why all their things have to go through that 'big x-ray machine', or why mom and dad have to take their shoes off. They could even fear being taken away from their parents during security checks. Parents need to be sensitive to the way a child's mind and heart works and prepare the child well in advance of the trip. Spend plenty of time talking with your child before your trip to the airport about what they will see and hear. Practice handing over beloved toys to go through a pretend scan. If possible, consider taking your child to a local courthouse or municipal building to go through the metal detector and see a security x-ray machine before your flight. Explain to your child that the x-ray machine helps the security people make sure someone doesn't sneak something dangerous on the plane. Tell your child these things help keep them, and everybody else on the plane safe. Don't discuss terrorist attacks or tell your child security are looking for bombs or guns. The harsh realities of air travel can be terrifying for adults, children are not equipped to handle the complexities of travel security today. If security asks you to remove your shoes, tell your child that sometimes people try to take things on a plane that they're not supposed to have, and taking off shoes is one way to help them be safe. Reassure your child the security people will give your shoes back. By taking the time to talk with your child and practice going through security measures, you will alleviate your child's fears and make the process easier for both of you. Navigating Airports With Small Children Airports are crowded, busy, and dangerous places. With today's airline security restrictions, it is almost impossible to get through check in and boarding quickly. You can do a few things to make your airport experience as pleasant as possible. Call the airline or check your national airline security website to find out the acceptable size and weight of your luggage. Also, double-check the items that are allowable in your carry on and stowed luggage. These standards change from time to time. Get to the airport on time. The old advice was to arrive at the airport several hours before your flight is scheduled to leave. Now, however, this depends on the level of airport security. Be sure to check with your airline carrier the day of your flight. Airports are a kidnappers dream. Busy, distracted parents and bored, excited children are the perfect combination for disaster. In order to give your child your full attention, carry as little as possible. Either bring along a luggage carrier, hire a skycap, or have a friend drive you to the airport and help you with luggage. Know where your departure terminal is. It's no fun to think you know where you're supposed to be, only to find that you're at the wrong terminal. Sprinting through an airport and dodging crowds with kids in tow is not fun and is a good way to miss your flight. Remember, your child will have to go through airport screening procedures. Explain the process to your child well before the trip. Spend time discussing what will happen and practice going through an imaginary metal detector. In depth security checks are random, don't assume that you will be skipped just because you are traveling with children. Even babies and pregnant women are not exempt. With a little forethought and preparation, navigating the airport in preparation for your flight will be easier and virtually painless. Navigating Airport Security With Children Over the last several years, airport security measures have changed quite a bit. If you haven't flown in a while, there are a few things you should know. Strollers, car seats, toys and all other objects must go through the security X ray machine. Fold your stroller and make sure to remove small toys or other items from storage pockets before putting it on the conveyer belt. Put them in the plastic bins provided This way nothing gets lost. Make sure to warn your child about the process and reassure them you will get your items back. Never put your car seat through the metal detector with your child still in it When going through the walk through metal detector, you will probably need to remove your baby from sling or baby carrier so the baby carrier can be inspected. Instruct your children to empty their pockets before going through the metal detector, also remind them that the security check point is not the place for games or loud, boisterous behavior. Have your older child go through the metal detector in front of you so that you can keep visual contact with her/him. Carry younger children. You are not allowed to pass your child to anyone else while you are going through the metal detector. If the metal detector goes off and you are carrying your child, both you and the child will further examined by security. You will probably be asked to remove your shoes and they may scan you and your child with a wand. Never hand your child to the security guard to hold. If traveling with a baby or toddler, you are able to carry breast milk or formula in your carry on bag. You can request a private security screening if you are traveling with more than one child, or if your child has a disability and requires special care. A Guide to Security Changes In the Western Hemisphere American security requirements seem to change frequently. If you are a US citizen traveling the western hemisphere by air with your children, there area several things you need to know before you and your children leave the United States. Starting January 23, 2007, most citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda will need to show their passport when entering or re-entering the US by airplane. If traveling to or from the US from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, South America, Central America or the Caribbean you will be required to have your passport with you. This includes children. Make sure you apply for your child's passport several months before your scheduled trip. The official processing time is 2 - 8 weeks, but sometimes it takes longer. When you receive your passports, be sure to fill out the emergency information page for all family members. Make copies of your passports and leave the copies with a trusted friend or family member who is not traveling with you. You and your children should carry your passport on your body at all times to avoid loss or theft. Additionally, have your child carry documents identifying you as their parent or guardian. Include your name, passport number, local telephone number, hotel information, home telephone number and the name, number and address of an emergency contact not traveling with you. This way, if you and you child become separated, local authorities have several ways to contact you. Parents should consider carrying a current photo of each child traveling with them. You can purchase special pouches especially for this purpose, or make your own. The identification pouch should lie across your body in such a way that it can not be easily taken from you. Always wear it under your clothes, next to your body. If your passport is lost or stolen while you and your family are traveling, you can contact your country's Embassy or Consulate for assistance. However, obtaining replacement passports are costly and you may not be allowed to travel until you receive your replacement. Packing A Carry On Bag With Children In Mind It's eternally frustrating to find yourself in a position of needing something only to root through your carry on luggage bag to and not find it. With airline security rules becoming stricter, knowing what to bring on the plane can be difficult. Always consult the airline before packing for your trip. There are a few things which, as a general rule, you should keep with you at all times while traveling. Keep this list handy while you pack your carry on bag. It will help ensure you don't forget anything important. Diapers -- Figure one diaper per hour in the air. It's likely you won't need this many, but it's always better to have too many than not enough. Baby wipes -- Wipes are convenient and versatile. Not only are they great at cleaning diaper messes, but also work wonders on messy hands and faces, too. Comfort items - Flying can be stressful for young children, so it's important to bring along their favorite snuggle toy or blanket Small blanket - Depending on where you are in the plane, it's possible your child will get cold. While most airplanes do have blankets, they are not usually washed between flights. Better to bring your own. If breastfeeding on the plane, be sure the blanket is large enough to give you some privacy Snacks - Many airlines are not serving snacks anymore, so bring your own. Good airplane snacks include crackers, cheese sandwiches, a favorite dry cereal and cut fruit. Drinks - Airplane air is dry. Be sure to bring plenty of bottled water for you and baby. Don't forget the sippy cup or straw, if baby uses them Activities - Let's face it, there isn't much to do on an airplane. Bring coloring books and crayons, books to read, and a favorite toy. Clothes - Spills and accidents happen. Remember to pack at least one change of clothes for each of you. Keep Your Child Occupied On an Airplane Being on an airplane with a bored child is not a fun experience. Young children cry or whine, older kids might try to run up and down the aisle or annoy the person in front of, or next to them. Parents can ensure a more pleasant trip for themselves and those surrounding them by planning ahead and packing engaging activities for their children. For older children, consider bringing a deck of playing cards. There are many card games children enjoy playing. 500 Rummy, War, Old Maid, and 21 are great to pass the time. Pocket versions of popular board games will entertain the kids and won't take up much room in the carry on bag. Most pocket or travel versions of board games are magnetic to minimize the risk of pieces getting lost or falling off the board during play. Self-contained drawing games, such as Etch-a Sketch and Magna Doodle, allow your child to draw, write, or play games such as hangman without burning through a lot of paper. Coloring books and crayons are light and don't take up a lot of room in the carry on bag. They're great for children of all ages. Be sure to bring along your child's favorite books. Reading a well known and loved book is comforting and will help your child feel more secure on the plane. Parents and children can take turns telling each other a story. One person starts by giving one or two lines of the story, the next person continues with the story until they have no more to add. Continue around until the story is finished. It might be fun to record the story on tape recorder or cell phone to listen to later or share with family and friends at your destination. With a little planning, your child can stay busy and have fun. Who knows, you and your child may come to enjoy flying and playing games together. Helping Your Child Deal With Ear Pressure When Flying When flying with babies and young toddlers, the most difficult part of the flight is likely to be take off and landing. As the plane gains altitude the cabin pressure changes, making the air pressure around the inner ear off balance. This causes pressure on the inner ear drum, uncomfortable enough for an adult, but usually very painful for a baby or small child who can't pop their ears. Experienced traveling parents know there are a few tricks you can use to help minimize the pressure and keep your child comfortable. While making take off more pleasant for your child doesn't guarantee a peaceful, relaxing flight, it will to a long way to making baby's flight less stressful. First, try to plan ahead and schedule a fight close to your baby's regular feeding time. Breastfeeding is the most effective way to calm your fussy baby and minimize that inner ear pressure. If you don't breastfeed, or are uncomfortable nursing in public, offer baby a bottle or pacifier as the plane takes off. For a toddler, try putting earplugs or cotton balls in their ears before take off. The earplugs will help equalize the pressure. Be sure your child's favorite comfort item is not under the plane. Stash it in your carry on bag and give it to your child before take off and landing. Having a familiar cuddle item will help your child cope with the odd sensations in their ears. Older children can chew gum and make funny faces, opening their mouth as wide as they can. Also, before the flight teach your older child to pop their ears by holding their nose and blowing. By taking a few simple steps to eliminate the pain of take off and landing you will ensure a more pleasant flight for your baby, yourself, and your fellow passengers. Avoiding Jet Lag In Children Jet Lag leaves adults tired, cranky and many times, physically ill. For children the adjustment from one time zone to another is even more difficult. Young children, especially, are very sensitive to any changes in their schedules and react poorly to sudden time differences. Avoiding jet lag for your children makes good sense for everyone. If traveling by air, try to travel during your child's normal sleep time in the new time zone. It is likely they will nap during part of the trip. Push fluids. Keeping well hydrated will go a long way toward alleviating symptoms of jet lag. Water is best, sports drinks are good, but avoid carbonated sodas. Avoid junk foods. Sugar and high fat carbs like cookies and chips will make blood sugar unstable and make your child more fussy. At the same time, try to keep the child's diet as close to normal as possible. Try to get your child prepared for the new time zone by adjusting their schedule gradually over a week or two before the trip. If this is not practical, have your child go to bed in line with the new time zone the day before the trip. When you arrive at your destination, let them nap, but keep them on the new time. Physical activity will help your child's body deal with the jet lag. Take them for a walk around the new city, a swim in your hotel pool or let them run through a park when you get to your destination. It will also help to let your child walk around on the plane often. Parents should remember jet lag effects adults and children equally and that children are not as psychologically able to push past the physical effects. Children may need extra nap time for a few days upon arrival at the new destination. Safety For Children Flying Alone Sometimes the kids have to fly alone. Maybe because it's too expensive for the parents to fly a round trip to drop off the kids with grandma, or maybe there's an emergency where the parents have to put the child on the plane by themselves. Regardless, there are times when the kids have to fly by themselves. Fortunately, the airlines recognize that this situation happens, and they do try to assist the parents as best they can. Most airlines will assign a flight attendant to the child, and that person will make sure the child is comfortable on the flight, makes his connection to the next flight, and will hand the child off to the responsible adult at his destination. If you need to send the child on his way, think ahead. Don't saddle the kid with carry on baggage that weighs as much as he does. Try to pack light, with perhaps just a backpack containing a change of clothes and some favorite books and toys. Don't forget medications and contact information, either. The child shouldn't have to remember the name, address, and phone number of the relative he's going to visit; he should be able to just hand over a sheet of paper with all of that information. Think about security, too. You might want to establish a code word, a secret password that only the relative on the far end will know. Besides the obvious--"yes, this is the right grown-up"--the code word will also help to comfort the child, as a link to his parents ("My parents really did talk to them and give them the secret word, that means they know where I am and everything is going to be okay."). Most of all, reassure the child that they will make it to their destination safe and sound, and return home when the trip is done. Planning a Train Trip With Children Let's face it, if children were to pick their favorite ways to travel, trains would likely come in dead last. They ride along, staring at the same sibling across the car for the length of the trip. Kids can only stare out the windows at passing telephone poles for so long before they get bored. Forethought and planning are a necessity, in order to help mom and dad keep their sanity to the end of the line. Infants are fascinated with new things and places, so they often handle traveling surprisingly well. Toddlers and preschoolers require a bit more thought. When planning the trip, keep the kids in mind. While adults and older children might be able to handle a twelve hour layover without flinching, younger children will get tired of sitting in the same place for so long. If a layover is absolutely necessary, try to plan some kind of distraction, like a trip to a local park. Keep in mind that after being cooped up in a train car all day, they will likely have a lot of energy to burn off, so parks and playgrounds will probably work better than museums or theaters. With most young children, the best time for the boring part of the trip--the actual traveling--is during the night or naptime. The rhythm of the train and the boredom will combine to put most children right to sleep. If nighttime travel isn't an option, then be sure to bring along things to entertain and occupy the kids. When selecting these items, gather a variety, rather than one or two favorites, because even a favorite book can get boring after the sixth reading. Even the most boring of train rides doesn't have to be a disaster. With careful planning ahead of time, most children will enjoy the "quality time" spent with their parents along the way. Safety On Trains And Buses When traveling by train or bus with small children, safety is a crucial factor. In the station lobby, keep children close by. Places like crowded airports and bustling train stations are very popular hangouts for purse snatchers and pickpockets, and an unsupervised child might be a very tempting target. Don't let your luggage out of sight, either. With a family-sized pile of baggage, one small piece might not be missed until the family is a hundred miles from the station. Put your ID on all of your luggage. While you're at it, make sure every child is also carrying ID, including name, address, itinerary, phone numbers, and if possible, the contact information for the person the child is going to see at their destination. That way, even in the unlikely event you and your children are separated, they should be able to contact either you or someone at the destination. Supervision of children is also critical when boarding or leaving the vehicle. Bus and train stations are very active places, with vehicles moving in all directions, and a child could very easily step into danger while the parents are wrestling with a stroller or heavy bag. Bus or train rides that last longer than a few minutes will require moving around, even if only for restroom breaks. Since the vehicle will be moving, children may need help to keep their balance and footing while working their way to and from the restroom. Place children in window seats on buses whenever possible. Not only will this give them something to look at during the trip, it will also make it more difficult for them to wander away down the aisle if mommy or daddy falls asleep because they would have to crawl over or under the adult. Trains and subways can be very crowded at times and small children can get lost in the commotion. Be sure to keep the children close when the ride becomes "standing room only." Games For a Long Dive With Kids Long drives are a challenge for kids. Kids want to be active, and sitting in a car for a long drive can really test their patience. One way parents can help to make the time pass more easily is by having a wide variety of games and activities in mind for the trip. After all, a driver can only listen to so many rounds of "Ninety Nine Bottles of Juice on the Wall" without trying to drown it out with some heavy metal from the car stereo. Depending on the age level, something as simple as "I Spy" would work. One player selects an item outside the vehicle, and says "I Spy something Orange!" The rest of the players take turns trying to guess what that person has chosen. Some children might enjoy Round Robin Storytelling. One parent starts the story, and each person adds a sentence or two. This rapidly becomes "The Adventures of Quinn and his pet Octopus in Underground Trashland After Dark." Keep a tape recorder handy! With a little preparation, games such as Make and Model Bingo can use up several hours. Lay out a dozen Bingo sheets, and randomly fill the squares with car descriptions. For younger children, use "White Truck" and "Blue Car," and for older children, add more detail, like "Purple Ford" and "Yellow Humm-Vee." Laminate the sheets so that crayon can be erased, and toss them in the car. Since the driver can't watch their sheet, they get to watch the road and call out the vehicles to mark. Finally, for inspiration for older children, watch a few episodes of "Whose Line is it Anyway?" and borrow some of their games. For example, two players have to make up a conversation where every phrase has to start with the next letter of the alphabet: "I would like a hamburger." "Just a moment please." "Keep the change." "Look, a flying saucer!" Packing For A Road Trip With Infants When taking an infant along on a road trip, there are many things to consider. Prepared parents will have a smoother trip, and a much happier baby. First off, try to plan the trip during baby's normal nap time. If you're lucky, your little bundle will peacefully sleep the trip away and arrive at Grandma's well rested and ready to play. The most important thing you will have with you when you travel with your infant is your diaper bag. Before your trip, stock the diaper bag with diapers, wipes, several changes of baby clothes, baby's favorite blanket, snacks for both you and baby, and several of your baby's favorite toys. Don't forget to pack bottled water, formula and bottles, if your baby uses them. For extended travel, the plastic, disposable bottle inserts are probably best. You can throw them a way and don't have to worry about washing or sterilizing bottles. For the breastfeeding baby, you'll need a medium sized blanket for nursing rest stops, extra breast pads for mom, and your portable breast pump, if you use one. If baby uses a pacifier, be sure to bring an extra or two Think ahead to your destination. If there is a significant temperature difference, be sure to include clothes appropriate to the area. A baby sling or other wearable baby carrier is essential when traveling. Baby may feel insecure or afraid in unfamiliar surroundings. Wearing your baby will allow you to carry and still have your hands free for other things. A baby sling can also double as a nursing blanket or comfortable place for baby to nap. Be sure never to wear your baby while driving in the car. Every baby should be strapped safely into an approved car seat while traveling. If you baby is taking solids, be sure to pack some of their favorite easy to eat snacks. Crackers, dry cereal, and soft fruits work best. With a little planning, you and baby can arrive at your destination with a minimum of stress. Packing For a Road Trip With Toddlers Going on a road trip with toddlers can be stressful, but if you think ahead and anticipate what you will need you and your child can have more fun and arrive at your destination calm and relaxed. If you don't have what you need, it will make the trip a lot harder on both of you. Keep things you will need while driving in a centralized location. Usually, bringing your diaper bag and placing it in the passenger's seat or on the floor between the front seats is a good idea. Pack the diaper bag with all the necessities: diapers for the trip, wipes, your child's favorite blanket, toddler safe snacks, water, non-spill cup and toys. In the trunk, be sure to pack several full changes of clothes for your child and a change of shirt for yourself. Be choosy when packing for the long car ride. Only take your child's favorite toys and favorite books. If you are unsure what to bring, tell your child to go pick the toys they want to take with. Weather is always a key factor in planning for your trip. Be sure to check the weather forecast for area you are traveling to, bring clothes that will match the temperature and keep your toddler comfortable. Also, if your toddler is breastfeeding, remember to bring a blanket or cover up, for privacy. Choose car snacks carefully. As you pack your food, consider what will be easy and least messy. Sliced soft vegetables and fruits make for a great healthy snack. Crackers and dry breakfast cereal work well. They are easy to eat and easy to clean up. Remember to cut your child's snacks into small pieces to prevent choking. A little planning goes a long way to making road trips with your toddler fun. Packing For A Road Trip With Preschoolers When you are on a long road trip with preschoolers, things can get a little noisy. After hearing "are we there yet?" thirteen times in two miles, you might begin to wish you and your kids had just stayed home. But, weary traveling parent, relax. There is hope. Planning is key when introducing your preschoolers to the joys of the road trip. Provide entertainment - The night before the trip, ask each child to choose three to five toys or activities to bring along. Helping choose the activities make the child feel a part of the trip, and they are likely to pick activities they will enjoy. In addition to the child picked activities, mom or dad should pack a few activities as surprises. Unexpected toys will help break the monotony of road travel. Coloring books and crayons, books, pocket games, window markers and play clay will help keep your child occupied. When the toys and games from home lose their ability to entertain, turn to fun and interesting road games. See who can find more blue cars in two miles, or count out of state license plates. Older kids will have fun counting how many license plates have the letter "C" or the number 4. Parents and kids can take turns telling a story, round robin style. One person starts, telling the beginning of the story and then passes it on to someone else. The next person continues the story, and then passes to the next. It's inevitable, one hundred miles from nowhere your child will pipe out with, "Mommy, I'm hungry." And, we all know, a hungry preschooler is a whiney, unhappy preschooler. Be prepared for middle of nowhere snack requests with fun, easy to eat snacks prepared and waiting in a cooler. Sliced apples and peanut butter, celery stuffed with cream cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches cut into fun shapes, veggie sticks, or bananas make great on-the-road snacks for preschoolers. Choose drinks with a minimal amount of sugar for the trip, you don't want your kids hyper and restless because of too much sugar. Juice boxes or pouches are not good choices in the car. When your child squeezes the container, juice will spray the entire car. Road trips with your preschooler can be a fun chance to learn about and with each other. Plan ahead with healthful snacks and fun activities and make the trip memorable for all of you. Keeping Children Occupied During a Long Bus Or Train Ride Long rides aboard buses or trains with children can be especially challenging. Even the best behaved children will struggle with the monotony of being trapped in the same rail car or uncomfortable bus seat for hours on end. The simplest solution is to schedule the trip during the night, allowing the children to sleep away the trip; but that's not always and an option. Parents who think ahead will be better prepared to deal with the situation. Technology can provide one answer. The price of Portable DVD players has dropped considerably. Mini CD players and hand-held video games will provide at least a few hours of entertainment for the kids (and peace and quiet for the parents). However, for those children too young for the gadgets, and for all children when the gadgets get boring or the batteries die, make sure to have other things on hand. A stack of books is always welcome on a long trip. Pack a variety of books appropriate to the ages of the children, from picture books for the youngest to magazines or novels for the oldest. An added advantage of books is that one book can occupy more than one child -- all of the children can listen while an adult reads aloud, or an older child can read a book to a younger one. Make sure to bring a collection of toys, too. Younger children can entertain themselves for quite a while with a stuffed toy to cuddle or a doll to chat with. Art supplies are one thing most parents don't consider, but for a child who loves to draw, washable window markers and cling plastic stickers are the perfect tool to turn their window into a work of art. Most importantly, don't neglect the value of "quality time." Just a pleasant conversation or a rousing chorus of "Ninety-Nine Bottles of Juice on the Wall" might be all that's needed to turn a boring train ride into a memorable family vacation. Business Travel and Children Do Mix When traveling for business, it's usually a good idea to leave the kids at home in the care of family or close friends. There are times, however, when you must take your children with you on a business trip. When planning such a trip, keep the age of the child in mind and select a hotel that provides activities for your child's age group and interests. Look for hotels that offer babysitting services, as well. Before leaving home, find out if your company provides on-site child care for employees at the destination office. If not, check into daycare providers nearby. You might also consider hiring a nanny or au-pair to accompany you and your child on the trip. While this is a more expensive option, you will have greater peace of mind and the child is likely to be feel more comfortable, as she will be spending her time with someone you have selected, as opposed to being left at a strange day care center. Spend time with your child. Meet for lunch, go out to dinner, do some sightseeing, or take in a movie. Even though you are on a business trip, plan to do some vacation type things with your child. Arrange for activities while you are working. Hire a local teenager, (ask local co-workers for names) to take your child to a local library or museum while you are gone. If you travel to one work location frequently, you may even be able to share a local employee's day care provider while you are there. Finally, some companies understand the need for their employees to bring children along and have arrangements for the asking. Amenities like company rented houses, babysitting co-ops and onsite day care can make the trip more enjoyable for your child and more productive for you.
Travel With Your Mentally Ill Child Traveling with a mentally or emotionally challenged child has it's difficulties. Your child may not understand why you are traveling, or may be bothered by the sights and sounds of the road or airport. Other people may react poorly to your child or be less than sensitive to your child's condition. Take extra care in preparing you child for the trip. Start at least one month in advance by talking about places far away. If going to visit family, play tape recordings of extended family talking to your child. Familiarity with the voices will be reassuring when you arrive at your destination. Talk about the upcoming trip, even in you're unsure how much your child understands. If you will be flying, try to get permission from your airport to have your child tour the airport and watch planes take off and land at least a two weeks before your flight. Let your airline carrier know your child has special needs. If your child is calmed by music, be sure to bring a long a personal CD player or iPod. Allow your child to listen to their favorite music to help alleviate stress. Be sure to have lots of comfort items on hand. Talk to your child's doctor and any therapists about the trip. They will be able to give you ideas and suggestions based on your child's specific medical condition and personality. If traveling out of the country, make yourself familiar with the culture and customs of the area. As much as you may not like it, there are still places that are intolerant of those with certain mental illnesses or cognitive challenges. Your child may be subject to discrimination or even hostility in some areas of the world. In those cases, it's best to leave the child at home with a trusted family member or friend. Travel With Your Physically Challenged Child Traveling around town with your physically challenged child can be difficult enough, traveling across the country or internationally can seem impossible. But, with some planning and preparation, you can minimize the hassle and both of you can enjoy the trip. First, if your child uses a wheelchair or other mobility aid device make sure let the airline when your purchase your tickets. All airlines make accommodations for those who need extra assistance. Also, take advantage of pre-boarding and preferred seating, if available. Have your child use the restroom before boarding the airplane. It is difficult, if not impossible to maneuver the aisles with a wheelchair, walker or leg braces. Also, if your child uses a urostomy or colostomy bag, be sure to empty those minutes before boarding, as well. For the child who uses diapers, you may want to plan your flight with a lay over long enough for you to take your child off the plane for a change. On the plane, use pillows and blankets to help position your child comfortably. Reposition often to avoid pressure spots. Take all the child's medications with you in your carry on bag or purse. Keep written prescriptions in a separate place, in case you carry on gets lost. Have emergency phone numbers for your child's regular doctor and any specialists on had at all times. If your child eats specially prepared food or takes formula through a feeding tube, be certain you have enough with you in your carry on bag. Sometimes luggage can get lost in transit, it would not due for your child's prepared foods come up missing. Also, you might want to call ahead to medical suppliers at your destination and order supplies in advance. Changing brands of vital supplies can be stressful on your child. When calling for hotel or taxi -cab reservations, always inform the company of your child's unique needs. Most people are willing to help. If possible, travel with a second adult. Caring for a disabled child can be stressful at home. With the added strain of travel, the main caregiver will need a break. Traveling While Potty Training Potty training doesn't have to stop when you have to travel. Preparation is key when continuing potty training on the road. First off, bring your child's stand alone potty chair with you. If it comes down to it, you can always pull off the road and set the child's potty chair up in the passenger side seat. Be sure to bring inserts or small plastic bags for lining the potty. It will make clean up a lot easier. If you bring the potty, be sure to remember paper or wipes for your child. Bring whatever it is she uses at home. A long trip is not the place to experiment. Have your child wear one of the many disposable training pants that are on the market. This will protect clothes, car seat and tender little feelings from the occasional accident. Try to limit fluids and high water content foods on the road. Hydration is a good thing, but you don't want your toddler to have an accident because you can't find a place on the two-lane road to pull over. And don't forget to stop often so your little one can use the rest areas bathrooms. Just bring the child's potty seat in to the restroom with you. They may be afraid of the toilet, so don't be surprised if your little on insists on using the full potty chair. Also, it is normal for there to be potty training backslides during periods of high stress or travel. So, don't be to hard on your little one if they suddenly start having more accidents than at home. When you arrive at your destination, try to encourage you toddler to get back on their normal potty routine as quickly as possible. You will both feel better when you get home and back to Avoiding Child Motion Sickness While traveling the open road with kids in tow, there is always the possibility someone will get carsick. In the confined, close quarters of a family car, that is not a pleasant experience for anyone. By taking a few simple precautions, parents can help their child feel better, and make everyone happier. For an older child, consider speaking to your doctor about one of the many medications for motion sickness. Use caution, though, the medicine is likely to make the child sleepy. If possible, travel at night. A sleeping child is less likely to become ill. Keep the child as cool as possible. Open a window or run the air conditioner. Parents in the front may be chilly, but the child in the back will feel better. Hand held fans that spray water may help, as well. Have the motion sick child sit in the front passenger seat, they're less likely to have problems there. If that's not possible, the next best place is the middle of the back seat an look through the front window. Plan to stick to freeways and major straight roads, when possible. Twisty, bumpy roads will aggravate motion sickness. When you figure travel time, allow for frequent stops. Know how long your child can ride in the car before getting sick, and try to stop before then. Some children can avoid motion sickness by eating small, frequent snacks during the trip. Other children shouldn't eat all while in the car. When packing snacks, choose small, easy to digest foods. Crackers, bananas, apples, and ginger cookies are good choices. Ginger of any kind is known to help ease the stomach, but stay away from carbonated drinks, the bubbles will most likely make nausea worse. Try to keep the child occupied to help keep his mind off his turning stomach. Consider bringing along hand held video games or a portable DVD player. Martha's Vineyard For Kids When you think of vacation in Martha's Vineyard, seldom do you picture happy, active children enjoying vacation with mom and dad. But, that is just what you'll find. Martha's Vinyard isn't just for adults anymore. Younger children will feel right at home watching the ebb and flow of the Atlantic Ocean from the lawn of Winnetu. Or, take your kids for a ride on an authentic 1940's era fire truck. While mom and dad explore the galleries, your kids will have a blast and feel catered to at one of the many programs designed just for them. From sports clinics just for kids to arts programs, Martha's Vineyard has something to engage and thrill just about every child. Children can even become a "Farmer For a Day on a self-sustainable farm. Kids get to tend to the crops, care for the animals and even attend a birth, if mom or dad say it's okay. The Farm Institute also runs a week-long farm camp for children 4 years and up. Your teens might enjoy having their own personal trainer. Or, maybe, biking paths and kayaking are more their style. Weather permitting, teens will enjoy gathering on the beaches, lounging by one of three pools, or engaging in a game of life-sized chess. No teen hang out would be complete without get togethers, movies and video games. Boat lovers will enjoy watching model boats racing their way around the turtle pond. There's even short history lesson as steamboats show adults and children alike the early boats of The Vineyard. Six mornings a week, mom and dad can take a private stroll as the children enjoy a morning of supervised play. Martha's Vineyard may be known as the place for a romantic getaway, but parents don't have to leave the kids at home to enjoy all The Vinyard has to offer. General Playground Safety When Traveling Many kid friendly hotels and restaurants boast play areas for your children. While these playgrounds can give harried traveling parents a few minutes respite and give kids with cabin fever a way to burn off some energy, parents need to keep a few safety tips in mind. First, check with the staff to be sure the play area wasn't painted with lead based paint. Wood playsets are generally treated with chemicals, so be sure to have kids wash their hands after playing on them. With either type of outdoor play set, be sure your children don't put their mouth on them. Keep the play area surface in mind. Wood chips, play mats and other "spongy surfaces" are safer than gravel, dirt, and grass. Because the soft spongy materials absorb energy better, your child is less likely to break a bone when they fall. Watch very young children around wood chips. They are just as likely to taste them as to play in them. To reduce the risk of serious injury, children under 5 should not climb more than five feet off the ground. Make sure to remove any jackets with hoods before they reach the playground; hoods can easily become choking hazards in the heat of the moment. Other hazardous clothing can include loose pants, pants that are too long, and untied shoes. Ball Pits were all the rage a few years ago, but they've fallen out of favor because they're very difficult to keep clean, and many places have simply removed them. There's no telling what could be lurking down below all of those brightly colored balls, so keep the kids out of them. Spinning merry-go-rounds have likewise faded from playgrounds, but if you happen to find one, make sure your kids understand that they can go flying off! At any playground, children should behave. Pushing and shoving not only lead to hurt feelings, but at the top of a slide or fireman's pole, they can lead to injury also. Dangerous Animals When Traveling With Children Unless the entire vacation is going to be spent locked in a hotel room and lobby, chances are, the family is going to encounter some local wildlife. Fortunately, the vast majority of wildlife is harmless. The most dangerous animal in the world, statistically speaking, is the mosquito. Most breeds of mosquito come out at dusk and remain active throughout the night. Mosquitos can spread encephalitis, deng fever, and most commonly, malaria. When travelling in areas with lots of mosquitos, make sure to use a good repellant (test it first for allergic reactions), loose clothing, and netting over the bed. Pay special attention to the ankles, because tube socks can prevent quite a few mosquito bites. Other dangerous insects include scorpions and spiders. Make sure your children know not to go flipping rocks and rotten logs hunting for treasure, because the treasure they find might bite! Fortunately, most scorpions and spider stings are not deadly. Other insects, like fleas, ticks, bees, and ants, are generally more nuisance than dangerous. The exception to this is allergic reactions. If your child is allergic to insect stings, be prepared for it with antihistamies or epi pens. The second most dangerous animal in the world...is the dog. Don't let children pet or play with dogs they don't know. Besides the risk of rabies, some dogs might have a short temper, and dog teeth can do quite a lot of damage to small hands. Cats and kittens, too, can do damage or spread disease with scratches or bites. Make sure your children understand the difference between Winnie the Pooh and the family of bear in the wilderness. Sure, the cubs look fun and playful, but they can still do a lot of damage, and there's always momma bear to contend with. Under no circumstances should children approach a bat. More than half of the rabies deaths in the last thirty years have all been traced to bats. Coping With Your Child's Food Allergies While Traveling Childhood food allergies can be deadly. Take care to protect your child while traveling. If possible, make sure your child knows and understands the foods they are allergic to and what happens when they eat that food. If traveling to visit friends or family, be sure to inform them of the child's allergy. Ask them to be diligent in reading labels while your child is visiting. Some airlines list flight meals on their website. Most airlines provide special meals for those with food allergies, if you notify them in advance. Check with your airline for details. However, there is no guarantee that your meal will not be prepared or come in contact with something you are allergic to. Avoid potential problems on the road or airplane by making and packing trip snacks yourself. When eating out, be sure to ask servers about offending ingredients and avoid roadside stands and unlicensed eating establishments. Different countries have different food labeling laws. Make sure you know the labeling laws and customs for the country you are visiting. Also, you and your child must know how to effectively communicate the name of the food and severity of the allergy in the language of every country you visit. The food allergic child should wear medical alert bracelet at all times. In an emergency, parents my not be available to give information to medical personnel. Carry your child's allergy medication and emergency injectable with you at all times. The medications should go where ever the child goes. Keep doctor's phone number and local emergency numbers handy. If traveling out of the country consider purchasing pre-printed cards with your child's food allergy information printed on them. You order cards from a company called Select Wisely. Cards come in many languages and cover any allergy or combination of allergies. Feeding The Picky Eater On the Road Traveling can be stressful, and it is very possible that your picky eater will become more picky while on the road. In order to ensure good nutrition while traveling, pack nutrient dense meals and snacks that your child is familiar with and likes. Good examples are 100% nutrition dry cereals, apples and peanut butter, bananas, and granola or fruit bars. For on the road meals, consider cheese sandwiches, homemade baked oven fries, or cold cut sandwiches. If your packed food needs refrigeration, be sure to bring a cooler with ice or purchase on that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter. It's also a good idea to pack a few of your child's favorite treats so you can reward good eating on the road. When dining at restaurants abroad, order from the children's menu and let the child decide what they would like to eat. Take the time to explain to your child what each item is and how it compares to food they eat at home. Try to choose a restaurant that has an interesting dˇcor. Country style and 'oldies' or historical themed restaurants might hold your child's attention. Buffet style establishments may be a good choice. They usually offer a wide selection of dishes and your child can see the food before it shows up on their plate. And of course, there is nothing wrong with the occasional trip through your child's favorite fast food drive through to help encourage them to eat. Do remember that some family members may take offense to your child's picky eating habits. Members of the older generation, especially, tend to feel hurt or upset if your child will not eat the foods they lovingly prepared. Take the time to speak with family members before the trip to explain your child's likes and dislikes. Children Traveling With Family or Friends Sometimes it's necessary to allow your child to travel with a close friend or family member. Maybe Grandmom is spending the summer in Europe and wants to take the grandkids along for a trip of their lifetime. Or, perhaps your child's best friend is going to the beach during a school break and have invited your child along. These kind of trips are usually more stressful for parents than children. To alleviate your concern, speak to the adult who will be in charge during the trip. Be clear on any conditions you may have regarding the trip. Maybe Grandmom can take Suzie to Europe to visit family, but you want to her to be with Grandmom the entire time, no babysitters, even family, allowed. Make these kinds of wishes clear. If your child has food allergies or a medical condition, spend time teaching the responsible adult about the condition. Send written materials with the adult and make sure they have all emergency numbers and medication. Share any medication information with the responsible adult, as well. Educate them on side effects and things to watch for. Get a detailed itinerary from the responsible adult. You will feel much better if you know well in advance where your child will be going and where they will be staying. If they will be staying with friends or family overseas, call and speak to those people before your child leaves. This is especially important if you have never met these family members. Be sure to give the responsible adult medical power of attorney over your child for the duration of the trip. Nothing is more upsetting than getting a call from a hospital out of country that your child has been injured or is ill, but they can't provide medical treatment until you arrive on the premises. Eating Out With Children Eating out when traveling with children can be an experience. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always interesting. If you plan carefully, your family can have a pleasant dining experience without ruining the wait staff's day. First, try to plan restaurant visits during less busy times. Waiting in long lines for a table, slow service and harried wait staff do not make for a pleasant meal for anyone. Small children get bored easily and a bored, hungry child is an unhappy child. Let your children snack before leaving for the restaurant. In this case, it's not going to ruin the child's appetite to snack before hand. A small snack will tide the child over while they wait to order, and wait for their meal. Look for kid friendly places to eat. Many mid-priced restaurants are family friendly. They offer kid menus, crayons and table games, and designated "kids eat free" periods through out the day. And let's face it, eating out with the whole family can be expensive, so free is always good. When you have the whole family in tow, be especially generous when you tip your wait staff. Most servers go out of their way to be friendly to your kids. Acknowledge that and let your server know it's appreciated. Let your child choose what they want from the menu. They're more likely to eat what is served if they ordered it themselves. If you have small children or babies, be sure to clean up after them. It's a fact of life babies and toddlers will spill drinks, throw food on the floor and smear catsup on the table. Be considerate of the restaurant staff. Pick up food from the floor, wipe up the spilled drinks and scrape the catsup off the table. Be a good customer and you'll likely to be greeted with a smile the next time you bring your family in for dinner. Easing Your Child's Fears About Travel The thought of air travel can be overwhelming and scary for children. The idea of putting some of their things in suitcases and getting on a huge airplane, leaving their home, pets, and everything that they love behind can invoke terror and insecurity. They wonder what will happen to their things and their friends when they come home. They wonder if they will come home. Take the time to explain to your child where you will be going and how you will get there. Whatever the reason for your trip, talk to your child about why you are going. If possible, let your child help decide what they would like to do at your destination. Your child will be much more enthusiastic and cooperative while you do the things you have to do if they get to choose things they want to do. To help relieve fears that something will happen to their home or things while they are gone, play a pretend game with your child. Tell your child the two of you are going to tell a story about all the fun things your home and belongings will do while you are away You start the story by pretending to be a toy and say, "Wow, my little girl (boy) has gone on a trip. We toys are going to have lots of fun." Talk about some of the fun things they toys will do, then, turn the story over to your child and listen. Take turns telling the story, and make sure it ends with your family coming home safely to find the house and everything in it just as your child left it. Make sure your child knows who will be caring for any family pets while you're gone and make arrangements for your child to call the caretaker so they can check up on their beloved Fluffy. Alleviating your child's worry and insecurity is the first step to having a fun, relaxing trip with your child Understanding Electrical Conversions When Traveling Over Seas One thing all travelers need to keep in mind is that different countries use different electrical currents. Using the wrong adapter or power converter might have expensive--or even explosive--results. Understanding electrical current around the globe is fairly straightforward. There are primarily two standard systems in use today. North America, Central America, and much of Japan, use a 60 Hertz cycle at about 120 volts. The rest of the world, with a few minor exceptions, operates under a 50 Hertz, 220 volt system. Check the power guidelines for your device. Anything in the range of 110-120 will work for a 110 or 120 volt device. Similarly, 220 volts applies to anything in the 220 to 240 volt range. If your device accepts the local current, but doesn't have the plug for it, adapters are cheap and should be freely available. You'll run into problems, though, if you try to run a 110 device on a 220 circuit, or vice versa. A 220 device fed 110 volts probably won't work. A 110 device plugged into a 220 volt outlet could blow a fuse or burn out. A simple adapter won't work, and you're going to need a transformer. A transformer is a block of iron wrapped with copper wire that "steps up" or "steps down" the voltage that's fed into it. You can use a step-down transformer to reduce the local 220 volt circuit to the 110 volts your device is expecting. There are two things to watch out for, though. One, transformers have limits. If you exceed the wattage restrictions on a transformer, it can catch fire! Two, if your device counts on the Hertz cycle, then it won't work properly. American alarm clocks, for example, will lose ten minutes every hour if they're plugged into a British electrical system and transformer. Pay particular attention to hair dryers, because when the voltage isn't matched, they can overheat, melt, or even catch fire. Traveling To Move With Children Moving house is difficult enough, but moving long distances and having to travel to arrive at your new home presents special challenges. Prepare your child well in advance for the move and the trip by talking about it, play acting, and reading books about moving, traveling, and the city of your new home. Find something about the new city your child finds interesting or exciting and remind your child that you will see or do that that activity when you get unpacked. Use the power of the internet to view webcams in your new city, talk to current residents or a message board, or join an email group. Try to find your child a pen pal who is close to their age. Feeling like they know someone in the new city will make the move less scary. As you are packing your child's room, remind the child they will see their things again on the other end, in your new room. If possible, let your child help with the packing. Talk about how the moving men will come and put all your boxes on the truck. Let you child know their things will be safe. Let your child choose a few things to go in the car or plane with them. They will feel more secure. Talk to your child about their feelings. Let them express their sadness about leaving friends and extended family, and their fears about living in a new city and new house. Give your child a chance to say goodbye to friends and exchange addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses. If driving, make the move and adventure. Plan extra time to take sightseeing trips your child will enjoy and remember. Take lots of pictures to share with family and friends. If you take your child's feelings into consideration and make long distance moving an adventure, your child will delight in telling the story of their move. Taking Children's Medications On A Trip With You Managing your child's medications while traveling can be the difference between a full and fun filled trip or cutting the vacation short to go home. Forgetting medications could even result in an emergency room trip in a strange city. Pack your child's medication in an accessible, easy to remember place within the vehicle. Do not store any medicines in the trunk of your vehicle. Depending on the weather, they could freeze or get too hot. Many medicines are changed by extreme temperatures. If traveling by plane, put medications in your carry on bag so they are always with you. If driving, store all medications is a lockable container so children can not get to them. Accidental poisoning is a leading cause of hospital emergency visits. Consider all vitamins and herbal supplements to be medications and treat them as such. Some medications need to be refrigerated, make sure you have a cooler to keep medications at the proper temperature. You can purchase electric coolers that plug into your car's cigarette lighter for this purpose. Or ask your doctor to prescribe an alternative for the trip. If your child has asthma, make certain you, or they, always have their fast acting inhaler on your person. That means carry it in a purse or pocket at all times. If taking an extended trip or traveling far from home, call you child's doctor and request new written prescriptions to take along with you. Also, let your doctor's office staff know you are going out of town. If you need a distant pharmacy to request a refill, your doctor will be more likely to cooperate. If possible, ask your doctor to recommend a physician in your destination city, in case someone gets sick or is injured. Know what over the counter medications can and can not be taken with your child's prescription medications. Taking prescription medication does not have to keep your family from taking an extended trip, with a little careful planning, you can keep track of the medicines and have a great time. If Your Child's Cuddle Toy Gets Lost While Traveling What do you do when the unthinkable happens? What do you do when the family reaches their destination, ready to begin their vacation, only to discover that the most important family member (next to mommy, of course) didn't arrive alongside everyone else? We're talking, of course, of the Favorite Toy--the scuffed and battered teddy bear that shares the secrets and pillows of the toddler, their "bestest friend ever!" When that best friend gets lost on the way to the vacation, what is a parent to do? First off, try to reassure the child that Harold can indeed be found. Then, if possible, take the child by the hand, retrace their steps, and hopefully Harold will be found, happily soaking in the sunshine beside the pool, right where the child left him. If Harold isn't found, though, that could ruin a child's whole vacation...so, use a little bit of forethought and make sure that doesn't happen. Kids should carry some sort of ID in case they get separated from their parents; that ID should have home address, contact phone numbers, and anything else that will help authorities return the child to their family as soon as possible. Parents might consider using Harold to demonstrate just how important the child's ID is--by printing an identical set for Harold, to make sure he finds his way home. "Remember when we printed out the ID papers in your pocket? Well, don't worry, we printed ID papers for Harold, too, remember? If he gets lost, he'll find his way to someone and show them his ID papers. They will see your name on his papers and they'll try to find you at our hotel, and if they can't find you, then they'll put Harold on his own airplane so that he's waiting for us when we get home." When Your Child Gets Ill On Vacation A sick or injured child can turn a fun filled family vacation into a disaster. Prepare for the unpredictable before you leave home. If anyone in your family takes prescription, over the counter medication, or supplements regularly, be sure you have enough on hand for the trip. You may not be able to find them in a strange town. Remember, not all OTC medicines are available everywhere. If there is a specific brand of allergy medicine your child uses occasionally, take it with you. For prescriptions, carry a new written script with you. For each family member write down the name of the medication, the condition it is taken for, doctor's name, patient's age and weight. This is especially important for children. Keep a copy of this list in your luggage, another in your vehicle, and a third in your purse or wallet. Keep the name, address and telephone number to your pediatrician or family doctor in an obvious place. Rescue workers will look in your wallet or on your cell phone first. To identify contacts in your cell phone as emergency numbers use the key phrase ICE with the entry. ICE stands for "In Case of Emergency." If traveling by car, be sure to have a well- stocked first aid kit and reference manual with you. Cuts, scrapes and minor sprains can be treated with basic first aid. For broken bones, head injuries and more serious injuries, treat with first aid until you get to the nearest emergency room. Always keep insurance cards with you, and make copies of the cards, just in case. Have enough cash available for one parent to fly home with an injured or ill child. The odds are, you'll never need to fly a child home because of illness or injury, but it's better to be prepared. Tips For Hiking With Children A pleasant walk is often the perfect way to see the sights on vacation, and most kids will enjoy the journey. Just remember to keep the kids and their needs in mind while out for your stroll. Toddlers will enjoy exploring at their level--poking in the dirt, pointing out flowers and spider webs, basically getting muddy and having a blast. Don't pressure them into hurrying up, just try to move along at their speed. They'll tire soon enough, and when that happens, a good baby carrier--especially a comfortable backpack--will almost be a necessity. Preschoolers will also enjoy exploring at their own wandering pace, though some will balk if the path gets too rough. Encourage them to find their own way over rocks and trees, and they'll feel right at home. They might even want to stop and splash through streams or rain, or collect leaves or pine cones. A diaper bag with a change of clothes or ponchos might come in handy on these trips. As kids tire, and grumble about sore feet, it might help to remind them of the cafe or ice cream shop at the end of the hike. Be mindful of wildlife. Insects might not appreciate the visitors, and larger animals might challenge the family for entering their territory. Walks in town have their own dangers. In some countries, the crosswalk doesn't carry the same stopping power that it does in the United States, and pedestrians are expected to watch out for cars, not the other way around. Make sure the kids are safely contained to the sidewalk and don't dash into roads. Sometimes, depending on the traffic or the local wildlife, the safest place for a kid is up off the ground, in a backpack or daddy's arms, where they can't get hurt or lost. For The Kids At Disneyland Disneyland is a very popular destination for families, and there are an incredible number of things to see and do at the park. For many young children, the highlight of the trip is the chance to shake hands and pose for pictures with a favorite character, like Mickey Mouse. Some of the first things that come to mind in Disneyland are the rides. Disney rides range from extremely tame, like the Bug's Life play area in California Adventures, to the unusual, like "Honey I Shrunk the Audience," to the really fast, like the Matterhorn Bobsled and Space Mountain. Many of the rides have height limitations, which means one adult may be left at the end of the line with the smallest child while the other adult takes the older children onto the ride. Fortunately, the park has a policy that keeps it fair: when one adult is forced to wait for the other, the ride staff will give them a free pass that allows the second parent to go to the front of the line. Start the day by arriving as soon as the park opens. Then, before the crowds arrive, hit the most popular rides, like the Indiana Jones Adventure and Star Tours. In the afternoon, when the lines get long, abandon the rides for a little while, and hit the stage and theater shows, like Honey I Shrunk the Kids, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and the Country Bear Jamboree. When evening arrives, be sure to catch Fantasmic, a spectacular show that takes place on the lagoon. After Fantasmic, and the evening fireworks, the crowds will start to thin. If the youngsters are up to it, this is the perfect time to go hit the rest of the popular rides, like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. In fact, after midnight, it's often possible to dash from ride to ride to ride with no lines at all, before the staff begins shutting everything down at one AM. Destinations -- Universal Studios Hollywood Universal Studios is a great place to take the kids. Not only do they have wild and interesting rides, but you can get a look "behind the scenes" at how movies and tv shows are made. The park is actually split into two parts. The upper part is the theme park, with the majority of the rides, the characters, and the food. It's separated from the lower part with one of the largest escalators in the world. The lower part is the actual film lot, and a tram ride shows visitors quite a lot of it. First, the rides and attractions. Using the same sort of "flight simulator" design as Disney's Star Tours, the Back to the Future ride lets visitors ride in a modified time machine into the past and future, and the tourists almost get eaten by a dinosaur along the way. The ride that dominates the entire park, though, is the Jurassic Park ride. The plot is simple; the tourists are on a boat excursion through the park when the "incident" from the movie releases the animals. The boats are diverted into the waste processing facility, while being threatened by a variety of animated dinosaurs, and just as it seems they're about to be eaten by the T-Rex, they dive beneath his feet and down a huge drop into water. The "you might get wet" warning is an understatement--the ride is designed to soak every rider to the skin. Follow the soaking with the Backdraft attraction. After an intro area that shows how some of the fire effects are created, the crowd is ushered into a mock-up of a factory that explodes into flame right in front of them. There are literally explosions happening twenty feet in front of you, with no more protection than a handrail. The tram ride is a mostly tame but very entertaining ride through movie history, complete with the Bates Motel from Psycho, the shark from Jaws, and a simulated earthquake in a train station. All in all, Universal Studios Hollywood is a great place to take the kids for a weekend. For The Kids- Whistler Mountain If you're looking for skiiing nearly 365 days a year, then Whistler-Blackcomb is the place to go. Located less than two hours from Vancouver, British Columbia, Whistler will be the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. It has over eight thousand acres of territory, including over two hundred ski trails, and receives thirty feet of snow per year, on average. And, since the peak of Whistler Mountain has year-round snow, a trip in June doesn't mean leaving the skis behind. Winter fun abounds, with skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, heli-skiing (helicopter ride to the top of the mountain), and the Coca Cola Tube park, where entire families can ride inner tubes down the slopes. In the summer, the upper peaks remain snow covered, and the lower hills become the Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Bike Park. The Zipline Ecotour is a fun and exciting way to explore old-growth forest--by zooming across a cable a hundred feet off the ground. Other summer activities include a combination bungee/trampoline, ATV and jet boat rides, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, and a climbing wall. Whistler has one of the best children's ski training programs in the world, pairing the children with the same instructor for the entire week. The ski areas include family friendly slopes with "Go Slow!" flags posted, a ski-through castle, and an Enchanted Forest. Daycare is also available for younger children; the daycare attendants are licensed, and they keep a 1 to 4 ratio for infants and toddlers, and a 1 to 7 ratio for preschoolers. For both groups, the parents are given a pager in case of emergency. Whistler even has a Kid's Night on Saturday evenings for children aged 5 to 12; after all, they deserve a break from their parents sometime, right? Finally, Whistler is Dog Friendly! No need to leave Rex in the care of neighbors or strangers, because even the furry family members are welcome. For The Kids - Club Med Club Mediterranee -- "Club Med" -- is a chain of resorts based in France, based on the concept that the staff should make friends and freely associate with the guests. Their Sandpiper location is two hours from either Orlando or Miami, and was designed to be the perfect "family friendly" Club Med location. The rooms are perfect for a family. They are roomy and comfortable, with large closets and easy access to washer and dryer, and even a sitting area with sofa and chairs. Sandpiper offers specific rooms and programs for each age group. Infants, one year olds, two year olds, three, etc; each one has a room dedicated and a program suited to them. There's even a "Baby Bottle Room," open 24 hours and stocked to handle any child's snack requests. For walkers up to two years old, there are activities like Bubbles Walk and Swing and Slide. Two and three year olds are helped with Plaster Hands, Magic Show, and Discovery Walk. Four to seven year olds can enjoy hat making, trampoline, and the Sandpiper 500, while eight to ten year olds get to start on rollerblading, waterskiing, and tubing (waterskiing on an inner tube). And eleven to seventeen year olds can enjoy trapeze, golf, tennis, sailing and more; just check the activities list posted daily. Every week, the kids join in for a MiniClub stage show, complete with costumes and lighting. And every evening, the kids hop into pedal cars for the nightly Sandpiper 500 race. Oh, and there's stuff for the adults, too. Tennis, trapeze, trampoline, waterskiing, Disco Yoga, sailing, and golf are all available. There's also the Siesta Club, where Sandpiper staff will sit with kids from 8pm to 1am while the grownups get out of the hotel room. All in all, there aren't too many places more family-oriented than Club Med Sandpiper. For The Kids Northern Arizona, USA For sheer variety, there aren't too many places that can beat Northern Arizona for landscape and beauty. First off, select a home base--a place to return to after driving around all day. The Northern Arizona sights are relatively close, but "relatively" still might mean a few hours drive. One of the best home bases is Sedona. It's got quite a collection of shops and restaurants, and also has Slide Rock, in Oak Creek Canyon, just a few minutes outside of Sedona. Slide Rock is a canyon carved out of the red rock by Oak Creek. The algae covering the rocks makes them especially slippery, so swimmers can actually slide right on down the river, like a naturally formed water park. It's a very popular destination, but be sure to check with the park in advance, because they will close the creek to swimming if the algae level gets too high or the water level gets too low. Oak Creek is also great for fishing. With a comfortable home base, the family is ready to make their expeditions to the other Northern Arizona sites of interest, starting with the world's biggest hole in the ground, the Grand Canyon. Carved out of bedrock by the Colorado River, the canyon is a scar across Northern Arizona, and offers some of the most incredible views in the state. Between Sedona and the Canyon is Flagstaff, one of the few places in Arizona where you can go skiing. That's always been an attraction for Phoenix dwellers--the possibility of driving to Flagstaff at dawn to ski all morning, then driving home to jump in the backyard pool. There are several other sites of interest within a few hours' drive from Sedona, such as Meteor Crater, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, and Montezuma's Castle. All of them are worth the trip, and make Northern Arizona one of the most attractive areas in the country. For The Kids, Paris, France If you're looking for destinations in Europe, Paris should be near the top of the list. Like any trip, be sure to plan ahead. September is the busiest month for tourism in Paris, so book your hotel room well in advance. You can visit after September, of course, but if you do, pack extra raincoats and umbrellas, because you will definitely get rained on. Upon arrival, kids with any sense of Europe are going to want to see three very important sites. First, the Eiffel Tower. Hated when it was built as an ugly monstrosity, it's now one of the most famous landmarks in the world. There are four lines to get onto the tower, so look for the shortest one. Don't be afraid to haggle over souvenirs underneath it, and make sure to go to the top of the tower at least once. Second, thanks to Victor Hugo (and Disney's) famous Hunchback, don't miss Notre Dame Cathedral, where Napoleon took the crown out of the Pope's hands and crowned himself. If you don't mind a bit of a wait and a climb up 386 stairs, the view from the bell tower is worth it. And third, the Mona Lisa. This will require a visit to the Louvre, which is like visiting another city inside Paris. Fortunately, like all of the museums in Paris, anyone under the age of 18 gets into the Louvre for free. Buy your tickets online, to avoid a long wait outside the museum (or, if you didn't get the chance to do that, use the underground entrance in the shopping mall. That's where you'll find shortest line). It's easy to get lost in the Louvre, because the museum is huge. You'll never see the whole thing in one visit, so don't even try. Just follow the signs to the most famous exhibits, like the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa, and enjoy the sights along the way. For The Kids, Center Parcs If you were traveling with children in Europe, wouldn't it be nice to have a "home base" to start from? That place would need large, family friendly lodging, with plenty of activities for both kids and parents for those "stay in the hotel" days, and a staff fairly fluent in English. It would also have to be affordable, and located pretty near the spots you're thinking about visiting. Amazingly enough, such a place does exist. Center Parcs has a chain of twenty locations spread across Europe, with resorts in France, England, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. They haven't done much advertising in the United States, so most American travelers don't even know they exist. The distinguishing feature of each of these resorts is the big dome that houses the kid's activity area, restaurants, shops, spas, and pool--though "pool" hardly does it justice, since it has water slides, kiddie pools, wave pools, and more. The restaurants cover the full range from fast food to gourmet specialty, and there's even a supermarket. Each resort offers a variety of kid-friendly activities. They have activities like Baluba and Experience Factory, which are a roomful of play equipment and toys to climb on, plus petting zoo, pony rides, climbing walls, and even snorkeling. For adults, each resort has shopping, saunas, bicycle and hiking trails, swimming and skiing, and more. All of the resorts are located fairly near to landmarks and cities (like Waterloo, Antwerp, the Hague, and Paris), so they make a perfect "home base" from which to explore Europe. What's more, the cottages at each resort are roomy and comfortable, because they were designed to handle a three-generation family. Most have fireplaces, widescreen TV, children's beds, and private balconies. As a special feature, families can even reserve a room with a puppet theater, circus tent, baby bath, and collection of toys. Touring the World Of Harry Potter Of course, everyone knows Harry Potter and his world of wizards and magic doesn't really exist. Hogwarts and all it's characters Hogwarts was created by J. K. Rowling in her fantasy series. But, they had to shoot the movies somewhere, right? So, if your kids (or you, for that matter) are big Potter fans, and your travels are going to take you to London, why not go looking for the real life that helped depict the mythical Harry Potter? Start in Central London, at Kings Cross Station. You can walk right up to platforms 9A and 9B, and just imagine there's a platform 9 and 3/4 between them. The scene where Harry releases the snake from it's cage was filmed at the London Zoo. Next stop: North Yorkshire, and the train station in Hogsmeade Village, admirably portrayed in the movies by Goathland Station. Their website lists a variety of other TV shows and movies that have filmed there as well. Hogwarts, the school of wizardry, is actually a combination of several locations across the UK and some movie sets as well: - Alnwick Castle, home of the Dukes and Earls of Northumberland and the second largest castle in England, served as the Hogwarts exterior in the first two movies. - 1300 year old Gloucester Cathedral provided several interiors. - The medeieval village of Lacock and Lacock Abbey provided more of the Hogwarts indoor scenes. - The massive Hogwarts Library is actually a combination of Duke Humfrey's Library and the Divinity School at Oxford University. - And the Great Hall of Oxford's largest college, Christ Church, is Hogwarts' principal stand-in. All of these places have web sites listing their availability for tourism and attractions. So, the next time you're in England, why not try to chase down Harry Potter's stomping grounds?
InfoBank Intro | Main Page | Usenet Forums | Search The RockSite/The Web