Category: Travel Essentials

The coolest travel journals for kids to help them remember every awesome moment

Travel journals for kids are such a brilliant idea. I mean, what kid doesn’t want to remember every detail of a family vacation in his or her own way? A little drawing of the world’s largest yoyo you saw in California, a ticket from the museum in Madrid, or a list of things you want to see when you land in NYC for the first time–they’re all amazing memories, and they deserve to be preserved in a really cool journal. Here are some of our favorite travel journals made just for kids, from DIY projects to ones you can...

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Cool, colorful carry-on luggage – should you be able to tear yourself away from black.

I was never a colorful carry-on luggage gal; I’ve spent most of my life fairly satisfied with black, until recently when I was forced to check a bag–then watched at the carousel as about six people picked up my bag and put it back down before it got to me. Eep. Clearly a cool luggage tag or tying a ribbon around the handle won’t always cut it, so here are a few great options for chic, colorful carry-on luggage that gives you plenty of inspiration to pack light.     I discovered the Hideo Wakamatsuta Jellybean Carry-On several years...

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The luggage tag that says hands off. Pretty clearly.

Having recently spent oh, a good twenty minutes at a luggage carousel in a panic that my bag wasn’t out yet and that it happened to be the exact same shade of black as every other, with a black luggage tag that blended right in, it’s time for me to move beyond tying a red ribbon to the handle. Which is why I think I may be in love with this Jonathan Adler Luggage Tag.  The color, the type, the message…everything about it is perfect. And also the sale price: it’s currently 1/3 off at Nordstrom. It would also...

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Two awesomely lightweight car seats your biceps will thank you for

Getting ready for baby #3 has required many a trip down to the basement to dig up all the gear we used with babies #1 and #2. Our old car seats were the size of woolly mammoths, though, ugh! Fortunately I’ve discovered two incredible new infant car seat systems on the market that may finally give arms a break. Long gone are the days of the really bulky car seats, at least when it comes to the Maxi Cosi Mico AP and the Nuna PIPA. Both boast a very lightweight frame, which is very helpful because even one pound...

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Bella and Harry: Books to take children around the world in 35 pages

My kids are increasingly fascinated by travel and different cities around the world, but alas, I’ve yet to find that spare million in my old jacket pocket that will allow us to travel the globe every year. Still, this new book series for kids is a really wonderful way to get kids excited about the culture, history, landmarks and foods of the great cities of the world.  The Adventures of Bella and Harry are a series of 10 books by Lisa Manzione in which our heroes, two cute chihuahuas, hit one city at a time. They books read less like...

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The cutest backpacks and bags for little kids just got cuter

Back to school shopping season gets earlier every year, doesn’t it? I have to say, there’s something about a shiny new backpack ready for new learning and new adventures that makes the season more fun. I mean, for the kids. Of course. We’ve loved, owned, and cherished Beatrix NY kids’ backpacks, wheelie bags and lunchbags since the day they launched. And while the adorable owl and the dinosaur are old friends, I’m happy to see some new designs added to the menagerie. The new little kids’ backpacks add some slightly more feminine options, like Katarina the Frog (Katarina was...

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Cool Mom Picks loves Kids Place Live

It’s not a secret that we’re big Kids Place Live fans here at Cool Mom Picks. In fact, I’m pretty sure there would be a mutiny in my care if I tried to change the channel, especially during the Absolutely Mindy show, our afterschool staple. So when my daughter Quinlan and I were invited to be guests on her show, there was a fair amount of squeeing. From both of us. If you’re an SiriusXM subscriber, or know someone who is, tune in to Absolutely Mindy’s show (3-6pm EST) today and listen to us chat about vacation travel tips...

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High quality, kid-friendly SPF to go. Ooh la la.

I tried carrying a tube of sunscreen in my purse once. Once. And then I got a new purse. So I’m head over heels for individually packaged, safe sunscreen for kids that even I can’t spill. Bonus: it works. And smells great. [Don’t miss a chance to win this wonder sunblock, after the jump!] If you’ve ever wished for a kid-friendly sunscreen that can’t be spilled, can fit in your pocket, and actually works, we’ve got good news. These Sun Protection Wipes for kids from Le bébé Coo are practically perfect in every way. Each box includes 40 packets, and each packet includes a...

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Bring it on home with the coolest summer camp labels for kids

The first thing I learned about summer camp was that kids take a LOT of stuff with them. And all of it needs to be marked with a label if you ever hope to see it again. Here, four cool summer-camp themed label sets that will cover everything your kids takes along for either day or sleep-away camp. And may you never have to suffer the smells from the lost-and-found bin full of sweaty-kid stuff. I love the retro tent-camping design on Kidecals’ Camp Labels featuring a cute tent on a die-cut decal. Made with a super-sticky adhesive that...

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The reusable coffee cup that’s cooler than those other ones

I love that more and more, coffee shops, including Starbucks, are offering discounts for bringing in your own cup. But these might be the most distinctive ones I’ve ever seen. And? On sale. Of course i’m a retro-modern type gal, so the black and white eco cups by DCI are right up my Grande Hazelnut Latte alley. (Use our Fab invitation link if you’re not yet a member and save 20%.) Made out of porcelain with a contrasting silicone lid, it’s ready to stick right under your Keurig and go. Or…stay. Which might be wiser considering they’re porcelain.  –Liz...

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Gorgeous waterproof picnic blankets: if only they kept the rain away too.

Even though it’s not quite summer feeling everywhere just yet, it’s the official start of summer, which means picnics. Yay! We recently featured this post with our top picnic tips for parents with new babies, and number one: Use a waterproof blanket. Fortunately, we found a great Etsy shop selling a ton of them.   Sewn Natural makes lovely handmade blankets of all kinds, but it’s the thoughtfully-designed waterproof picnic blankets I’m really digging right now. In polka dots, chevrons (of course), traditional checks and even Marimekko fabrics, they all roll-up into a super convenient 14″ roll and button closed. They’re...

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The genius idea for packing wine on your picnic

While there’s something to be said for sipping wine out of those big red keg cups in the summer, I admit I always feel a little fancy when my Albarino is an actual wine glass. Unfortunately, if you’re picnicking, glass isn’t going to cut it. So to speak. The Wine Sippy Cup may have a name that conjures up activites that can trigger a visit from child services, but they are definitely not for children. It’s really just a spill-resistant plastic tumbler that looks like a wine glass inside. You can drink it without the lid, or keep it on if...

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Keeping them busy all summer long with fun kids’ games and crafts

Summer break starts in two weeks down here in Atlanta (yes, two weeks!), so I’m already stocking up on cool kids’ games and activities to keep my kids occupied.   My go-to stop on the web: mom-owned Cattiwampus, where I always find a few keepers I know my kids (and yours) will love. Like this Janod Memofrutti game. My kids are already big memory game fans, but this one has a unique twist I know they’ve never experienced: each piece is scented!   For my older kids, I’m picking up these awesome Magnetibook sets, complete with 200 magnets and...

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Traveling in style: swanky passport case, ooh!

A passport case is one of those small indulgences I’ve always wanted but it never seemed necessary. But with a few international trips under my belt recently, and seeing how ratty mine is getting compared with my kids’ less-used passports, I’m ready to the take plunge. This snake-print leather passport case at Hayden and Harnett is calling my name. The snake pattern is so cool right now—but don’t worry. It’s not a real snake. Heck, if you’re going to have a real snake passport holder you’d better have killed it, skinned it and tanned it yourself. (Too much?)  ...

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The water bottle that never leaks. Ever.

I’m kind of floored to admit that the new Active Top Smart Drinking System from SIGG absolutely refused to leak no matter how much I abused it. This new line of bottles for adults and kids has a liner that’s eco-friendly, BPA-free and phthalate-free, plus it’s recyclable and practically unbreakable. It’s designed so that kids can drink out of this bottle without tilting it–not to mention carry it upside down in a backpack full of report cards or fall asleep with it in their lap during a long car trip and wake up with dry pants. And I know,...

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Lotus Everywhere Crib: Puts “travel” back in travel crib

I’m always amazed to see the vast improvements in baby gear even since my littlest one, only two, was a baby, which gives me hope that they will one day be able to manufacture sleep for us parents. Ha. Until then, I’ll just take little advances, like what the folks at Guava Family have done to the travel crib. The new Guava Family Lotus Everywhere crib has a sleek, compact design, and what’s really special: a handy convertible carrying bag that you can turn into a backpack. As a mom of four, I can appreciate having two extra hands, especially...

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A lovely journal for your little traveler…other than a ticket to Paris

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have a father who traveled for work and could take us with him on many of his trips. The sad part: I don’t have much of a written record of all our flying adventures.  Now that I’m married to a pilot, my kids are afforded a similar luxury, but unlike me, I want them to be able to record their travels. And I think I found just the way for them to do it.  The adorable Children’s Flight Logbook is a creation by Australian mom Bronwyn Darnoc, who got the idea during a long...

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The best portable travel crib? journeyBee is an excellent new contender

Back when my now-tween was a babe, the one piece of equipment I dreaded using above almost anything else was her “portable” playpen. It weighed a ton, pinched my fingers every time I tried to assemble it, and just looked like a big ugly netted cage taking over whatever room in which it was placed. So I am a wee bit jealous, and a whole lot excited, for you new parents who can spend the year traveling a lot lighter with this travel crib that is ready to pop up wherever you go. {Keep reading for your chance to...

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Breaking news: Peapod travel crib recall

Just yesterday, the CPSC and KidCo Inc. recalled all 220,000 of their Peapod travel cribs that have been sold since 2005. We were so sad to hear that the recall was due to a possible infant death (though the cause is unknown), and others being trapped and distressed–however these occurred in some cases due to users placing the mattress on the floor of the tent and not in the pocket as the directions specify. KidCo Inc. is offering a kit so parents who own a Peapod travel beds and Peapod Plus travel beds can fix them, making the cribs safe...

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Buy one, gift one, make someone’s day: kindness comes in travel size

We adore this new trend of “buy one, donate one” products, in the model of TOMS Shoes. And now there’s one more, from a mom of two who took a personal tragedy and turned it into a truly inspiring company. After the near-drowning of her three-year-old son, Laura Metro founded WINK (When In Need of Kindness), a buy-one-give-one toiletry bag company.  When you buy one of her gorgeous toiletry bags, a similar one will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Family Rooms. As Laura writes, “When a parent is in those rooms, things are not good.” These toiletry bags help bring...

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Fashionable scarves. With an emphasis on -able.

At this time next week, I’ll be traveling through Ethiopia with the wonderful humanitarian organization ONE. Yes, I’m excited. Yes, I’m nervous. No, Bono won’t be there that I know of. And yes, you will be hearing more about it. But when I got my informational travel packet from the team at ONE this week, I was thrilled to find a surprise: a small, chic gift that does a whole lot of good. I thought you’d want to know about it too. The stunning scarf from fashionABLE absolutely melted me. Not just because it’s beautiful, which it is, but because...

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32 Ways to Dress a Fox? Is that a personal challenge?

I’m smitten with kittens–of the fox and rabbit variety. And piglets, too. If you like open-ended, simple, beautiful activity books that leave plenty of room for imagination and fun, then you’ll want to buy all three.  That’s a total of 96 outfits, by the way. More than I have in my closet. Just saying. Each sweet new Activity Book from CMP favorite Wee Gallery includes 32 pages of artsy fun. Each image is slightly different, with head, hands, feet, and tail rarin’ for dress-up fun, plus occasional accessories added to help spark imagination. Whether you’re looking to dress a...

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Teaching the kids a little dice

If you’re a Yahtzee fan, but your kids aren’t quite old enough to keep track of it all–or you just have trouble keeping track of those darn pads–you’ll probably love this awesome new dice game, Tenzi. Plus, it’s from a cool little company and I always love supporting the small gamemakers when they come up with something this fun. [don’t miss a fun giveaway after the jump] Don’t be betrayed by the simplicity of Tenzi–my kids and I ended up playing for a good hour. Essentially there are four sets each of 10 colored dice. The basic game requires...

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Traveling to France with the accessories, but not the plane ticket. Le sigh.

I’ve had Paris on the brain lately. Leave it to Petunia Picklebottom to come out with new French-inspired prints on pretty new accessories and make me even more wistful. In fact, you don’t even have to be a mom to carry these. The Strolling in St Germain fabric rounds out the gorgeous city print collection to make an even dozen. I love it on the new boxy diaper backpack from Petunia. It’s so beautifully classic and sophisticated. The crimson-and-navy coated cotton fabric coupled with hand-embroidered accents make it a piece reminiscent of some $400 scarf you might find on Rue St Honoré. It’s...

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The pros and cons of 4 popular cleansing wipes

Traveling as much as I do, I don’t know why I wasted so much time agonizing about 3-ounce bottles of leaky cleansers and travel-sized samples of sub-par skincare brands, when there’s a whole world of fantastic cleansing cloths out there. I’ve been playing around with a few brands over the last year, and here are 4 great picks for all kinds of skin types, that definitely beat using the hotel soap on your face. (Been there.) For Regular Skin: Comodynes Makeup Remover Wipes for Normal Skin I grabbed these off the shelf at Ricky’s in a panic before a...

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A Truffle you’ll love, without all the calories

Lately, my handbag has become a bottomless pit, full of everything from loose business cards to computer cords and bottles of milk and lip gloss. And my idea of using old make-up bags to keep everything separate was brilliant until I couldn’t remember what I had put in each one.  But now thanks to these beautiful see-through pouches, I can find everything I need, without having to unzip or rifle.  {Don’t miss the exclusive limited-time discount after the jump!} The Truffle No 1 clarity pouch is a busy mom’s dream, with a sturdy waxed cotton canvas trim, clip zipper,...

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A bike helmet so cool, we can’t keep it under our hat… or can we?

Reading the recent Cool Mom Picks post about awesome family-friendly bicycles had me dreamily clicking through images of families on bikes and imagining myself pedaling my kids through our neighborhood. Only, with the most awesome bike helmet ever made. And that’s exactly when I first saw it: the bike helmet of my dreams. Now, I have always been a helmet-wearer. Hair-, image- and outfit-be-damned. But I know there are people out there who have more fashionable priorities. And I get it.  (Kind of.) Helmets are ugly. They’re bulky. And they don’t match cute outfits. Until now. These amazing helmets...

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Bakfiets – Bikes for you and your brood

Let me tell you why I’m Bakfiet crazy: when I had kids, I really wanted to keep up my exercise routine and just have them fall in line. I got a double jogger, which was great. But I really wanted to bike with the kids in tow, I just didn’t feel super comfortable putting them in a bike trailer behind me. I wanted them to be within reach, just in case–and now I realize that the solution was here all along. I fell in love with the Babboe Bakfiets at first sight. It’s a Dutch import but I became acquainted...

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Are we freaking there yet?

Are we there yet? It’s one of those perpetual jokes paid forward by each generation. You’re going to torture your parents? That’s fine. One day, your kids will torture you in turn. And that day is now. And even your noise-canceling headphones and some yodeling Gotye can’t stop it. But at least you can enjoy the freaking ride in style, right? It’s kind of amazing, how much one pretty luggage tag can affect one’s mood while traveling. I know that when I see the little mod pear dangling off my blue rolling suitcase on the conveyor belt after a...

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5 must-haves for chic summer travel

If you haven’t yet checked out the beautifully designed online style mag, CeciStyle, from the custom stationers of Ceci New York, we think you might like it. In fact, today is a pretty good day to do that very thing. Not coincidentally, we’ve even contributed a little piece about our 5 must-haves for chic summer travel. If you’re looking for the links to the items, find them here: 1. Longchamps Le Pliage Bag2. TKees Leather flip-flops3. An ereader + a great case4. A Sony Cybershot or other camera that didn’t come as part of your smartphone5. Sunscreen Swipes by...

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