Now that so many of us are traveling for the holidays, we’re thinking a lot about how to do it better next year — whether that means saving money, making the most of our reward programs, finding apps that make life easier and keep you organized, or just, you know, surviving that trip with kids in tow.

So we really love closing out this year with a terrific chat with Shellie Bailey-Shah, travel journalist, intrepid traveler, and the editor and founder of KidTripster, an online family travel resource. She’s given us SO much fantastic information to help us get inspired to travel more, and even save some money on our next trip.

Be sure to listen now. Hey, maybe you’ll even consider finding an affordable family trip for 2018 right now as your 2017 Christmas gift!

And hey, don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast so you never miss an episode. It’s easy! And free. Perfect holiday gift to us. Plus, we love hearing from you, too. Drop us an email: spawned@coolmompicks.com, find us on social media, and if you love our podcast, we’re always grateful for your positive reviews.

Our awesome sponsors

The ZTE Axon M smartphone is the revolutionary new foldable smartphone with dual screens, that completely reinvents the mobile experience by enabling true multitasking and unlimited potential. It’s made for multitaskers and the way life is today.

In fact, see it in action here — and laugh a little at how Liz is using it!

Learn with Homer | Sponsor

For educational screen time that helps kids 2-8 learn to read, parents turn to Homer. They’ve built custom reading pathways around your own child’s interests, with personalized lessons and activities to get them even more excited to read every day. A recent study conducted by the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education even concluded that just 15 minutes a day with Homer can increase early reading scores by 74%. So it’s not only fun, it’s incredibly effective.

Parents also love that a subscription includes hundreds of printables, activity sheets and other educational tools, so you can take the learning offline, too. Especially on those family road trips.

Special offer for Spawned listeners: Sign up for Homer right now through this link and get a 60-day free trial, which is double the regular free trial period.

Helpful links mentioned in this week’s episode

6 smart travel apps to help you save money

– The Hopper app

Momondo

Skyscanner

Autoslash

Dosh cash-back app

TripIt Pro app

Love Home Swap

Knok travel network for families

House Carers home sitters

Note: After recording this podcast, the Airlines Reporting Corp annual report came out with information that the cheapest day to book flights online is now Sunday, rather Saturday.  Also, the cheapest days to depart on international flights is now on Thursday or Friday; for domestic travel, prices vary too widely to make an accurate prediction. Which is why the apps recommended here can help!

Our Cool Picks of the Week

Cool Mom Picks is an Amazon and rstyle affiliate. 

Scratch-off map at Mappinners

Shellie: Scratch-off maps from Mappinners is a cool way to get kids excited about seeing the world, the nation’s national parks, or even just Texas!

Carbon Crusaders Pencils

Kristen: Check out our list of smart, practical  teacher gifts which are perfect for the holidays or all year round. One favorite: these custom-engraved pencils from The Carbon Crusader.

Kat Von D Metal Matte Mini Eyeshadow Palette

Liz: Kat Von D Metal Matte Mini Eyeshadow Palette, is so perfect for the holiday season and staying affordably on-trend. It’s exclusive to Sephora and Sephora Inside JCPenney (who happens to be a current sponsor, which is how she found this kit, and now she’s obsessed).

We look forward to being back after the new year with episode 100 – whoa!

Top image: Ross Parmly via Unsplash

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