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Traveling With Children

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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?  






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