Tag: 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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5 really important automotive safety checks you should do yourself before getting on the road

Yes there are like so many holidays and official months, it can be hard to keep track. But one that makes a lot of sense to set a calendar alert for is National Car Care Month, which happens to be right now. You know how we all remember to change the batteries in our smoke alarms at the same time we change the clocks twice a year? Well, April is the perfect month each year to make sure your car is in safe running order before the summer travel season begins. That’s why we’re really glad to have a chance to talk...

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An irresistible collection of teeny, tiny, extraordinarily big family adventures

The brand new children’s book, Atlas of Miniature Adventures is the most charming, wonderful, travel-meets-trivia book. Author Emily Hawkins and illustrator Lucy Letherland sure know how get even the most cynical, “can’t we just stay on the couch and play video games?” couch potato excited to explore the world. (If only via Google.) The colorful, engaging pages take us across all 7 continents, with descriptions of fabulous adventures and natural treasures — but the catch is, they’re all in miniature. Irresistible! You’ll find short descriptions of diverse destinations, both natural and manmade, including the exquisite 1930 fairy castle dollhouse in Chicago’s Museum of...

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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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5 fun travel toys for preschoolers who need to stay busy on long flights

I dreaded air travel when my girls were little. Between the two of them, I had a seat kicker, a non-napper, and an impatient whiner. Yeah, I was that parent. So I learned what works, and what doesn’t, to keep my little ones happy and occupied on long flights. Besides packing lots of snacks and lollipops, which helped with hunger pains and air pressure changes, I always brought along toys that were easy to use, not messy or awkward in small spaces, and ones with few parts to avoid missing pieces and ensuing tantrums.   Related: The handiest travel bag for parents? Found it. And...

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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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3 cool ways to display travel photos that inspire you to take another trip soon

My husband and I recently spent two life-changing weeks in Seoul, South Korea, which means I have a zillion gorgeous photographs to show off to family and friends. On that 16-hour flight home, I spent some time scanning Pinterest and geeked out over these cool, creative ways to display travel photos. I can’t wait to get started on these projects. Once the jet lag passes. Related: The coolest travel journals for kids to help them remember every awesome moment As long as you have a steady hand with scissors, this travel photos map at Cut Craft Create (also shown at top) shouldn’t be too hard....

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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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4 amazing beauty wipes you didn’t know could do the job of messier products

There’s no denying to new parents that a bottomless stash of diaper wipes is essential in every way. But what’s awesome is how many beauty wipes are available for adults too, taking the place of messier products you might own to make our busy lives on-the-go a whole lot easier. I’m a wipes fan, but I’m awfully picky when it comes to ingredients. To earn a place in my own purse — and on my body — a wipe has to be non-toxic, gentle, and do a heck of a job, whatever its job. Whether you’re in the car, on an airplane, or sweating through your...

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16 seriously amazing beauty stocking stuffers, beyond nail polish and hand cream.

If you’ve got a stylish woman in your life, I’ve got some really fantastic ideas for you for beauty stocking stuffers. My checklist: They have to be practical, useful, affordable (well, relatively) and yet still totally fun to receive. Maybe things she would love but would never get for herself? In other words, sorry store-brand dental floss. You may be practical, but you’re not making the list. So here are 16 of my own favorite beauty stocking stuffers that include practical tools and special little beauty indulgences, most of which are fixtures in my own handbag and medicine cabinet. They’re guaranteed to...

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Cool holiday gift alert: 10 fabulous personalized keychains you won’t want to lose

Personalized gifts have always been one of our favorite ways to celebrate a loved one, because it turns whatever you’re giving into a special keepsake. Over the years, we’ve seen that personalized keychains are consistently one of our most popular gift ideas here on Cool Mom Picks because, honestly, they’re something pretty much anyone on your holiday list can use and appreciate. But the only thing better than finding a cool personalized keychain to give, is one that won’t ever be lost. Impossible, you say? Nope! Thanks to our sponsor Tile, a Bluetooth tracker that we’ve been recommending for ages now. It makes it super...

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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 Favela Art Project: bettering the lives of kids in Rio through art

During this summer’s Olympic coverage, we all enjoyed seeing beautiful images of fun, lively Rio, and its gorgeous beaches, but there was one major aspect of the city that wasn’t broadcast — the favelas, or slums, which populate Rio and rarely sees electricity, proper sanitation, or a reliable police force. But one woman has been working to transform the favelas for a very long time. Artist, TED talk speaker, and former favela inhabitant Mariluce María has launched the Favela Art Project to provide art education to children living in poverty and make tangible changes in their day to day lives. The group has been painting over violent symbols and graffiti,...

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6 driving distractions people without kids will never understand

Whether you’re hitting the road for Labor Day weekend, or you’re back in the saddle as your kids’ own personal Uber driver, we parents know that driving with kids in the car comes with its own special challenges. Let’s just say it can be… tough.* So I had so much fun putting together this video depicting 6 driving distractions that people without kids will never understand on behalf of our sponsor  ZEISS Better Vision. They make the DriveSafe eyeglass lenses that actually help you see more clearly — especially when you’re driving — so you can be sure to focus on all the other distractions. Like those...

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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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The handiest travel bag for parents? Found it.

I’m not even sure when I got the Baggu tote pack, but over the years (yes, it’s been that long), it has been a huge travel lifesaver for me, time and time again. And even better, it’s currently on super sale. This bag is an upgraded drawstring backpack, carrying just enough essentials for you or your kids, whether you’re on a plane, a hike, a camp, you name it, but in my opinion, much more comfortably (and stylishly). They’ve since added tote handles to the newer version of the bag, which means you can carry it on your back or as a...

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Common mistakes parents make when applying sunscreen on kids and how to fix them.

With four outdoor-loving kids and lots of pool and beach time on our calendar this summer, you can bet I am always stocking up on sunscreen. I’m pretty careful about when and how I slather it on, too, which is why I was surprised to see that I was making a few very common mistakes when it comes to applying sunscreen to kids. Ack. If you’re going to be applying sunscreen to kids — and hopefully yourself — this summer, you’ll want to check these common mistakes parents make and what to do about them. No need to feel guilty; just...

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26 of the best car games and activities to keep kids happy without screens.

I was one of those parents who insisted that I’d raise the kind of kids who would play fun, screen-free car games on our family road trips, or perhaps watching the world whiz by while asking intelligent questions about all the sites and sounds around them. Sound familiar? Yeah. Well after one particularly long road trip, I quickly learned that sometimes screens are really, really useful for making an endless drive feel… not so endless. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve totally surrendered to the lure of electronics. There are times when all the screens need to go off so we can discover other ways to...

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