Category: Family Travel

8 surprising rules about flying with children that every parent should know

If you’ve watched the news recently, you’ve probably heard a disconcerting story or two about air travel passengers — which can be all the more troubling when the story involves parents flying with young children who were subject to rules that no one knew, or worse, subject to rules made up on the spot. As a new mom, I poked around to get myself informed (and avoid becoming the subject of a viral YouTube clip, eek!), and found some really surprising rules about flying with children. I certainly didn’t know all of these, so I’m posting them here because you might not...

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The wackiest, coolest summer camps for kids. Can we go too?

Summer camps have changed a lot since we were kids. No offense to good ol’ Camp Starfire and the many, many lanyards we made there, but the options for our kids are wildly creative, expertly thought-out, and — sometimes — curiously specific. Circus camp? Spy camp? Zombie survival camp? Check, check, and OMG check. With a list like this, your kids are sure to be happy campers — so much so, maybe they’ll forget to pretend to be homesick. But, before you pack your kids up and ship them off to, say, stunt double training (yes, really), be sure to vet each of these camps yourself....

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How to get free admission during National Park Week

If this gorgeous spring weather has you itching to get outside with your family, we’ve got the perfect excuse to head out to one of our national parks this weekend: it’s free! This year, the National Park Service turns 100 years old, and to celebrate, during National Park Week (April 16-24), admission at all national parks will be free. As in, totally free. For everyone. Whoo!   Related: 22 National Parks and Sites you can visit without hiking boots. Maybe even without a plane ticket. Of course, we’ve been motivated do whatever we can to support to the awesome National Parks program lately, as...

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A Cabo resort for active families: Kiss a camel, swim with angels, or just relax.

Maybe back in your college days, you knew Cabo as the spring break destination or now you think of it as the place fancy people run off to, when they’re hosting fantasy destination weddings. Let me assure you, there’s more to it, especially if you’re thinking of family travel. Cabo is an amazingly beautiful place with so much to do that your family will run out of energy before you run out of options. With my own kids now official tweens at 8 and 10, our vacations have become a chance to get out and experience adventures — in other words, no more holding a baby...

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How The National Park Service is letting families visit free!

I’m all about supporting our nation’s National Park Service in any way we can, especially because of the myriad ways they support us right back. So I’m thrilled to share the brilliant initiative to get even more kids to our National Parks and Monuments around the country: Every Kid in a Park. Created by President Obama to get more children excited about science, nature, and understanding the beauty and history of our nation, the program will grant your family totally free access (yes, free!) to all Federal lands and waters. Plus, you’ll get a massive discount on Amtrak tickets for kids if you’re training it there....

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10 of the best Halloween events for kids around the country: From treats for littles to tricks for teens.

The leaves are crunchy, the air is crisp, the sky is blue, and your kids need to have fun in those adorable costumes too. So we’ve put together a list of we think are some of the best local Halloween events for kids all around the country. So mark your calendars for fun family time this Halloween season! And wow, do we wish some of these would come to our own own towns. Top: LEGOland via attractions magazine | Rogerio Barbosa 2011   Photo: philly.com The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place If you’ll be in the Pennsylvania area between now and October...

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How to plan an awesome long weekend with the kids in Asheville, NC

My favorite fall break destination with the kids is unquestionably Asheville, North Carolina. Even though it isn’t a kid-centric destination per se (no Mickey Mouse for miles), there’s still so many fun, family-friendly activities we can enjoy in the city and surrounding area. Plus, getting a chance to see the leaves change in the Appalachian Mountain region? Stunning. Asheville is kind of like a smaller, quainter little sister to Portland, Oregon. You’ll see hikers coming off the Appalachian Trail, art galleries on every corner, and even a few drum circles. I just love its slower pace and refreshing outlook, plus the cool, crisp mountain air is such a welcome...

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The new Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana review: A family vacation spot where everyone has fun. Yes, even the parents!

As a first-time to Punta Cana vacation-goer, and with a gaggle of Nickelodeon fans, I was thrilled to be invited to visit the brand new Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana on its grand opening week. This new property from Karisma, whose Mexican resorts I’ve visited and loved, is aimed at providing parents with a truly adult vacation, while still giving their kids lots of fun things to do too. If that sounds magical and exactly what you’ve always wanted, then you’ll want to read on about my experience. Don’t miss the special offer below Related: Our review of the Azul...

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4 reasons to consider an ecotourism vacation for your family. (Besides being awesome.)

The idea of combining education and conservation with a family vacation is super appealing to parents, which is why ecotourism is such a fascinating concept for me — and maybe for you. If you’re not familiar with ecotourism, it’s aimed at providing travelers with environmental awareness by offering experiences that also support conservation. But in my own research, so many ecotourism vacation options involve heavy travel, often internationally, which can definitely be costly for families — especially for my family of five. That’s why I was so thrilled to learn about Jekyll Island, a small spot off the coast of Georgia,...

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From space exploration to circus arts: 10 outrageously cool summer camps we wish we had as kids

For many of us, summer means heading off to our go-to camp where our kids spend their days playing outdoors, going on nature hikes, swimming in ponds, and singing goofy camp songs with all their friends. But if your kids would prefer a less-traditional or even totally off-the-wall summer camp experience, we’ve found loads of the coolest, most outrageous summer camps — both day camp and overnight — that fit every child’s idea of fun. Whether or not you take the plunge, or just fantasize about what your kids could do one day, these are all pretty awesome. But before you pack...

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Budget family travel tips: 5 smart do’s and don’ts to save you a ton on your next family vacation

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to celebrate my 40th birthday with a big trip, but whoa, family vacations are certainly not cheap! Especially when you’re traveling with kids — or in my case, four of them. Even though I’d been saving for a while, I was determined to keep my spending down as much as I could. After scoring a great deal on plane tickets (hooray for off-season vacations), I did some research to figure out how I could stick within my vacation budget while still having a great time. And, it worked! So I’ve put together 5 simple do’s...

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6 smart tips to help prevent distracted driving and make car rides safer for families

With the busy travel season upon us and so many families planning spring and summer road trips, keeping our kids safe while we’re driving and preventing distracted driving is a huge concern of ours. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to be on a long haul to to the beach or the mountains to be easily distracted; most of us are still getting phone calls, text messages, and those non-digital requests for snacks from the backseat, even when we’re just playing chauffeur to and from after-school activities. That’s why we’re pleased to help spread the word about the new #TravelSafe campaign from...

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Museum Day Live: How to visit more than 1,200 museums for free. Well, not all at once.

You know that museum in town you’ve been meaning to take your kids to but you just haven’t gotten to it? Yep, I have one too.  Well turns out you have a chance to do it free. Because on September 26 this year, tons of museums, zoos, aquariums and science centers across the country are participating in Museum Day Live! and opening their doors to visitors for free and we think that’s just awesome. If you visit the page on Smithsonian.org — which is a pretty amazing site to explore with your kids, by the way — to print out a ticket you can take to a participating...

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22 National Parks and Sites you can visit without hiking boots. Maybe even without a plane ticket.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of the National Parks Service and the Amex EveryDay Credit Card which helps you make the most out of…#EveryDayMoments. (You guessed it.)     When I think of the US National Parks, my mind tends to go right to places like Niagra Falls, Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone Park. (Or Jellystone, if you grew up watching Yogi Bear.) The crazy thing is, living in New York City, I realize there is so much amazing stuff right here, or just a short drive away. I mean, Ellis Island and Liberty Island — I see them looking southwest from my Brooklyn neighborhood...

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Planning family resort vacations: 6 essential questions to ask yourself before you book.

So, you want to go to a resort with the fam on vacation? Lucky you. I just did it and I can help! But first know, that as with most anything that involves tiny humans, tweens, teens — or any combination of them — you’ll need a clear plan. And the best way to start building one is to ask yourself an important question: What kind of vacation do you want to have? Are you going for easy or adventurous? Do you want it to be laid-back or structured? Basically, what’s going to leave everyone giddy and smiling? (Except for maybe any moody,...

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Cool summer camps for kids that go way beyond swimming and archery

With spring break in the rearview mirror, our kids are already looking forward to heading off to camp. So we thought it would be fun to explore the coolest summer camps out there. We were blown away by what we found — from camps with long histories and cool new programs, to camps with activities that we had no idea you could even do at camp! It’s sure come a long way since we were kids and your choices were pretty much limited to art, music, or sports. Now we just wish we were young again, so we could...

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13 really smart tips for ensuring a great Disney World vacation with a baby.

Thanks to a Disney-fanatic grandmother, we’ve just returned from our fourth trip to Disney World since my kids were born. And yes, I know we are lucky! However while it is indeed a magical place, there are definitely some challenges if you’re thinking about taking a Disney World vacation with a baby. There isn’t much time to relax and recharge your batteries in the parks, and there are a lot of long days and complaints about tired feet. But with the right planning, I’ve found it can still be a whole lot of fun. I’ve now taken two Disney World trips with babies and...

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Macaroni and Cruise: A totally different kind of family cruise featuring some of our favorite bands

If you’re looking for a family gift this holiday that blows a lot of ideas out of the water, I’ve got one to float by you: a cruise. We did it a couple of years ago, and the kids were thrilled when they realized that the box full of sunscreen, snorkels, and travel brochures meant that they’d be hitting the high seas later in the year. Kristen and Liz have checked out the Disney Cruises with their families. But now there’s one more and it’s not like Disney at all. This year’s gift vacation hit for me is the new Macaroni and Cruise family vacation, a four-night...

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Kid-friendly Chicago activities: The best museum exhibits for kids

This year my husband and I loaded everyone up (even the grandparents) for a long weekend over fall break, and flew to Chicago, one of my very favorite cities, in search of some awesome kid-friendly activities. Our focus: checking out all the must-see exhibits for kids at Chicago museums. Lest you think that New York and DC are the only big museum cities in the US, know that Chicago has a ton of awesome options. In fact, it was a lot to tackle, especially with three children in tow, but I’ve survived to tell you it can be done–as long as you embrace the idea...

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10 awesome babymoon destinations, with the luxury vacation rentals to match

Neither of us ever went on a babymoon or even looked at all the gorgeous, luxury babymoon destinations out there. It seemed silly at the time. It seemed indulgent. And yo, we were too busy on message boards asking about lamaze breathing to actually plan one. But if we had to do it all over again? We’d be all, sign me up! We’re going on a babymoon! And now, knowing what we know now about travel deals, we probably wouldn’t be looking at hotels, but at the world’s beset rental properties which offer outrageous amenities at really terrific prices. So...

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Kid and Coe helps you find family vacation rentals right out of a magazine

A week after our summer vacation rental, I still couldn’t get the musty smell of the house out of my clothes. I also couldn’t forget the splintery deck, scary spiral stairs, and tangle of electrical wires that stressed me out as much as it enticed my three- and six-year-old boys. While we’ve covered sites like Airbnb and Home Away as great options for finding family vacation rentals, now there’s one more – Kid & Coe. This new site is made just for family vacation rentals, and they all look like they came out of a shelter magazine.   While the site isn’t as feature-rich as the...

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The best offers for families using American Express Membership Rewards Points. In other words, free trips, whoo!

For those of you who have beheld the frustrating hilarity of my daughter’s kindergarten back to school shopping experience — and seen me turned into a cartoon character — you know I’ve been working with the Amex Every Day Credit Card. And as an avowed Amex evangelist (as in, Member Since…before some of you were born) I think it’s really terrific that this year they introduced a no-fee credit card to help you rack up the Membership Reward points for everyday purchases. (I like Membership Reward Points. A lot.) It is seriously one of the best reward programs out there, which is in part why I...

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Great Sand Dunes National Park: The National Park family vacation idea you might not have considered.

With all the United States National Parks for us to explore and enjoy with our families, there are probably certain ones that pop to mind first: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Acadia, Sequoia, the Grand Canyon. But if you haven’t heard of Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, we opted to go there for our own family vacation this summer and I can’t recommend it enough. And yes, I’m biased as a Colorado resident, but I couldn’t wait to tell you about it. If you think that strolling on soft, warm sand and hiking a ten thousand foot mountain pass can’t be done in the same...

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The most helpful family travel tips for parents, from parents who know: Us!

We can’t tell you how many questions we get here at Cool Mom Picks asking us for helpful travel tips for traveling with kids, so I was pretty thrilled when Citi asked me to put together my favorite travel tips together in a video series. Especially since I’ve traveled a lot. With four kids. Alone. (I know!) So here, I’m sharing my best family packing tips and trust us me, traveling alone with four kids all without checking bags tends to make one pretty good at such things. I’m hoping there are a few here you haven’t even considered before. Don’t miss my other videos too, like the coolest road trip ideas or smart tips...

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12 of the coolest HomeAway family rentals for a reunion to remember

Who knew July was Family Reunion Month? Actually uh, we didn’t. But now we do. And with so many families headed out for vacations this summer, it’s not really a surprise. But oof, planning a big reunion can be a huge undertaking, which is why we love that our partner Homeaway at least makes it easier when it comes to finding a family rental property. A nice one. A super nice one. That we  may be potentially drooling over through our computer screens. -Don’t miss the awesome Homeaway giveaway below, where you could win a reunion vacation for your own family!-   So...

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7 outrageous Homeaway rentals that you won’t believe are real

When you think outrageous family vacations you probably think they’re just for the Pitt-Jolie clan. French villa? Private island? Butlers? Yes please. But now with our newest partner Homeaway and their “Million Ways to Stay” Contest, you could travel like the rich and famous too. And even bring the kids. Here, we’ve tracked down 7 totally insane Homeaway rental properties that we think families will go nuts for. And you could stay at any of them if you win Homeaway’s contest – check out all the details below.  And uh, we’ve used Homeaway ourselves to book our own family vacations, but we assure...

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The best things to do in Daytona Beach with families that don’t involve the beach.

Daytona Beach isn’t all NASCAR and college kids on spring break, you know. They also have culture, relaxation, and great opportunities for family bonding, provided you know where to look and are up for adventure.  If your Florida vacation ideas end at Disney World, Universal Orlando, and a crowded ocean hotel, here are some of the best things to do in Daytona Beach with families that you might not find in that soggy brochure kiosk. Having spent some time there thanks to the Daytona Beach Area CVB, I was surprised to discover that Daytona has a lot to offer families with older...

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Family travel tips: How to use Airbnb for your vacation

After checking hotel prices for a recent trip to Los Angeles (yikes), I decided to finally figure out how to use Airbnb for a vacation, after hearing so much about this booming community marketplace for accommodations all over the world. I’m usually a VRBO and Homeaway user for family travel, but after several friends recommended airbnb, I figured it would be worth a try. And I’m thrilled to say that it definitely was worth it. Says my wallet. If you’re planning your family summer vacation or a little getaway with your girlfriends or partner, here’s the inside scoop on some Airbnb booking tips, and...

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Great experience gifts for kids, because memories make for awesome presents.

When we’re asked for ideas for a great gift for the kid who has everything–or even those who don’t–the first thing that comes to mind for me are experience gifts . They don’t have to be expensive at all, or they can be super splurgey. An experience gift can be an activity you do with the kids, or something they do on their own. So broaden your mind if you’re still stumped for gifts–we’ve got some fun idea starters, along with some thoughts on how to package an experience gift so your kids have more to open under the...

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Bike and Roll: Explore Washington DC with the family on wheels

Our family trip to Washington, DC was filled with amazing historical stories, visits to interesting museums…and lots and lots of walking. But we did find a better, zippier way to to see all the major monuments. Take it from our tired feet: this is a fabulous way to sightsee if your kids are old enough to ride a bike. Washington D.C.’s Bike and Roll offers bike rentals (as well as jogging stroller rentals) for folks visiting the nation’s capital. But their guided bike tours are definitely worth checking out if you want to cover a lot of ground, especially with...

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