Category: Travel Essentials

Flying with kids just got easier. Now if only we could each have a row to ourselves.

To be clear, I’m not planning on solo air travel with three children anytime soon. However, I’ve got friends planning vacations (lucky dogs!) and on my recommendation list is the Portable Playtime backpack. This streamlined mom-designed pack allows kids to carry up to 20 toys along with snacks and other goodies with ease. Then once you’re airborne, it transforms into a tray mat for play time and germ-free snacking. Not only can your kids pack and carry their own toys, they won’t have to bug you to reach under your seat or worse, in the overhead compartment every five minutes. Anything that...

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Aaah toilet paper foam: Because you-know-what happens.

I will admit, there are times I am envious of my girls’ use of diaper wipes instead of regular old TP. What? It’s refreshingly indulgent! But of course, wipes aren’t flushable, they’re expensive, they’re terrible for the planet, and…well, yeah. They’re diaper wipes. Maybe in another 40 years for me. I recently had the chance to try something called Aaah, a “toilet paper foam” you pump onto the Charmin to make it more effective, absorbent, and soothing for you–or, if you prefer, turn it into a more eco-friendly alternative to wipes for the kiddos. The stuff is all-natural and...

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Traveling Overseas with Kids: Do you dare?

The last time I checked, becoming a parent didn’t mean automatic revocation of your passport, yet many of us with younger kids are extremely reluctant to leave the country. Not only do we have to make sure we have everything the kids need, it can be hard to determine where our offspring will be welcomed with open (and possibly stroller-friendly) arms. Dust off your traveling shoes and get ready to go abroad, thanks to two parent-savvy resources we’ve found. First, visit Baby-Friendly Boltholes, the “second baby” of British travel-agent-turned-parent Sian Williams. A clean, easy-to-navigate legend helps you find out...

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Your Very Own Family Travel Muse. No Resemblance to Sharon Stone.

You know those people who have a second home and visit it every vacation? Well, that isn’t me. If we are going to pack up our family of five and go somewhere, I need to figure out where we’re going, where we’ll sleep eat and what we’ll do once we get there. Travel magazines are fine if you’re not on a budget, and community websites are useful until you find a hotel that 90% love but 10% warn “do not stay here if you dislike bugs in your bed”. New to the scene is a website called TravelMuse, and...

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Summer Travel With Kids Just Got 10% Easier

As a wife of a pilot who takes advantage of the perks and does a fair bit of traveling alone with two kids, I’m always on the lookout for travel helpers that make the experience a bit more tolerable. First tip: A bag of jellybeans. Second tip: Mom Kathy Drury’s invention, the Tray Bien – a smart in-flight organizer that hangs over the seat tray turning it into a flying diaper bag. It took me all of two seconds to get past the punny name and onto the thoughtful design. It includes two front pockets for books and games, plus...

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JetHeads: Helping Kids Sleep Better On the Plane Without Benadryl

After reading a New York Times article about how often airplanes wash their blankets and pillows  and what exactly can be found in those seat back pockets…shivers. I may just have to reconsider my status as confirmed non-germophobe. And I may have to reconsider how excited I get when the airplane has one pillow left and they toss it my way. How brilliant that someone – a mom, of course – finally invented a disposable pillow case for airplane pillows. Called JetHeads, they’re inexpensive at $4.95 for a two-pack and they’re made of that soft fabric that those airline...

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Jimeale: Keeping The Things that Keep You Pretty, Pretty

When I first got my hands on Jimeale New York’s celeb favorite diaper bags, I was impressed with how sturdy and practical and not blingy and pretty much un-Hollywood they were. (Go Isla Fisher and Naomi Watts! You chose wisely, mamas.) Now that I’m checking out their new line of cosmetic bags and travel accessories, I’m raising my eyebrows and nodding and making that  high pitched “hm” sound that I make when I’m liking something. And that the sigOth makes fun of me for. The shiny pink styles are easily my favorite, and I especially like the jewelry or cosmetic case which comes with an extra zippered compartment and a little change purse sized bag inside that velcros in and out – great for earrings, rings, or even a spare binky for the kids. One more reason I’m liking the pink? 15% of all the profits from them goes to Boarding for Breast Cancer. Terrific. –Liz Congratulations to Megan K, winner of the Jimeale gift...

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Ignoring Your Parents Just Got a Little Harder

Everyone knows that Jet Blue is God’s gift to traveling families. Even those who turn their noses up at TV for kids have to be at least secretly psyched for a few hours of Nickelodeon distraction. But I do admit a little hesitance to stick those earphones on my kids. And not just because I don’t know where they’ve been. Last trip we tried a pair of Air Drives kids headphones and at least some of that worry went away. They were a bit small for me and a bit big for my three-year old but that didn’t stop...

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Gate Checking Your Car Seat Just Got a Tad Less Nasty

Why why why why why oh why did no one tell me about the Car Seat Gate Check Bag until now? Oh, it would have been so handy on those flights where we were promised the airline would block the middle seat for us…and then didn’t. And then we gate checked the car seat. And then it came out on the other side filthy and dripping wet. And then we had to put my daughter in it anyway. Good times. It folds up into a teeny little pouch, and is just under $15 at Tots On the Go, which...

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Chalk Talk

I’m a firm believer that well-behaved children should also be allowed in restaurants that don’t encourage them to color on the tables. But if you’re willing to take that leap, then it’s up to you to keep the kids occupied in ways that don’t require a legion of busboys to clean up after them. Chalk mats are always a good idea, and I really like the new ones from CMP fave Bella Tunno. Called Designer Diners (ooh, swanky) they unroll to a cute laminated place mat on one side, and a handy toddler distracting device on the other. There...

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Just Say No to Airplane Blankets

Thanks to living far away from friends and family, I’m always on the look out for products that make family flights easier (or at least, less painful). Take the handy blanket and pillow sets from Lug, a smart company that creates products catering specifically to traveling broods. Inside the soft fuzzy zippered pouch you’ll find an inflatable pillow, plus a generous blanket complete with a pocket that will keep your iPod, cell phone, or Twizzlers (if you’re me) handy.  It fits easily into any carry-on or diaper bag, and folds back up in a snap. You’ll find it, along with...

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Gotta Get a Dwell

A reader recently emailed asking about cool toiletry cases for kids. My answer was that most of them are pretty lame, and you’re better off sticking with something basic from your local CVS. (Not that he knows it though – my email bounced back twice. Grrr…) But that was before I discovered the beautiful new DwellStudio travel cases at Giggle, like the transportation style shown here. (Get it?) There’s also a throughly modern animal print and each come in smaller sizes as well as matching canvas weekenders. Who knows, maybe a kid-friendly print like this will inspire your child...

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The Friendly Skies Just Got Friendlier

I’ve just returned from our first ever overseas trip with two children in tow. Thankfully (seriously, thank you powers-that-be) they were both exemplary travelers. While I’d like to think that my stellar parenting skills are entirely responsible, I have to throw a hat tip to the FAA-approved CARES restraint system. No traveling parent should be without this genius grandma-invented five-point belt that hooks around the back of the seat and keeps restless kids up to 44 pounds from aisle surfing during take-off. I’d bet it’s especially great for more rambunctious kids, along with the under-two set who can’t be...

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Baby Jail Makeover

As a fairly frequent flyer, I’ve always packed my own portable play yard because, well, you know why. The thought of using a hotel crib or that borrowed play yard that’s been growing mold in your friend’s basement for a few years gives me shivers on top of shivers. Well hooray for the briliance of mom Allison Costa who came up with safe and adorable covers for the things called, simply enough, Coverplayards. They are absolutely perfect for avid travelers ,or parents who are tired of that playpen fabric that was the best of what was available when you registered for it....

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Send The Kids Packing

I spent longer than I’d like to admit searching for a good overnight bag to send with the kid (now kids) to Grandma’s this summer. During that time I made use of old messenger bags, duffels that still smelled like daddy’s gym clothes and even CVS bags. Embarrassing, I know.

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Reinventing the Highchair

I’m pretty low-maintenance in the "carrying baby gear around" category. Okay, I’m pathetic. We rarely remember to bring bibs when we go out to dinner, let alone a portable high chair But as I’ve learned, it does make feeding her a little tricky in a hotel room or at the home of a friend with no young kids.

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A new twist on the coming home outfit

Plane rides with little ones can be a challenge, particularly for those of us who actually feel a modicum of sympathy for the childless traveler who gets stuck next to us. If you weren’t able to procure an entire row to yourself on the Jet Blue flight home from grandma’s this holiday, try diffusing the situation with a little humor.

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