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Showing posts with label packing tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label packing tips. Show all posts

Jun 27, 2016

Road Trips With Kids - What To Take Along


Road Trips With Kids - What To Take Along

Last weekend, we took a road trip to NJ to pick strawberries. On the way, my daughter got sick all over the car seat. It was all over my arm, herself, the doll - you get the picture. It was not pretty. It made me seriously re-consider what we stash in the car.


Also, now that she’s getting older, she needs something entertaining. (Before she would just zonk out and it was glorious!)

Below is a quick survival kit that you can stash in the car or bring with you:

On the Go Potty - Below are our picks:
Kalenco Potty
Cool Gear Travel Potty
Boy portable Potty 
Folding Seat Cushion
While you are at it, get some toilet covers for older kids and yourself

Disposable wee wee pads - when my little one got sick, these came in handy! The car seat was wet so we padded with this sheet and threw one over her (new) clothes just in case of another accident. They are also great for potty training! These are a good value on amazon: http://amzn.to/1UXio5H Don't worry that they say Pet or have a picture of a dog, they work great for kids too at the price :)

Hand Wipes - I really wish I stashed more! We needed a ton. I use these: Babyganics Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizing Wipes

Baby Wipes - You never know what kind of situation may arise but you bet your baby’s bottom you’ll need at least a pack

Change of clothes - Refresh every 1-2 months dependent on child’s age to ensure it will fit. Basic items like leggings, bodysuits or t-shirts, underwear, socks and a change of shoes are a must

Tablet holders - Cars with entertainment packages built-in are overrated and expensive. Make your own unit by getting a tablet holder like this: http://amzn.to/1UXi0nR

Charger - Our car has your standard cigarette lighter so we bought a converter for a USB and can use our regular chargers in the car: Satechi® Smart Converter USB Port Cigarette Adapter


Related articles:
Family Trip to DR - What To Pack
Aruba Vacation - Kids Gadgets and Accessories
Aruba - First Family Trip South - Summer Continued
How To Travel Light With Your Family To the Beach
More below..

Toys and Games - Below are a few of ideas for each age group

2 and under:
Brica Mirror
Pull vibrate toys
Toy Arch
Baby Einstein Musical Toy
Electronic Books

2 and over:
Tin Magnet Puzzles
Melissa and Doug Stickers 
Fisher Price Doodle (LARGE)
Fisher Price Doodle (SMALL)
On the Go Color blast - LOVE this
Portable art studio

Trays and containers - a tray and a few spill proof containers will reduce the mess you’ll need to clean up, plus it gives them space to draw, color and play. Win Win!
This tray has it all: http://amzn.to/2606uDr

Spill proof containers are perfect for little hands: http://amzn.to/265BcHP


Car protection gear
We outfitted our leased car with several of these items to protect the vehicle:
Kick Mats: http://amzn.to/2605lvP
Sun Visor: http://amzn.to/1Ub8FJw
Seat protector (works well for rear facing kickers too!): http://amzn.to/1tynjEo
Car Seat Sun Protector (we didn’t want her to touch hot buckles): http://amzn.to/1XYnENu

Emergency Medical Kit
When we travel, I bring any necessary meds with us and do NOT leave it in the car. If you have to, put them in a cooler (extreme hot or cold temps can mess with the meds). You should keep a basic First Aid Kit in the car all the time. It is great to have in case of a scraped knee or cut. This one is perfect for any medical emergency: First Aid Kit 115 Piece for Car

And of course, let’s not forget, snacks and drinks! Bring at least 2 bottles per person of water and a variety of snacks in ZipLocks or individual portions. Granola bars, nuts, goldfish, puffs, cheerios, crackers and other dried snacks are always perfect on the go. Grab some peeled and cut bananas, apples, and other fruit as well in a cooler!

Enjoy the trip and let us know where you went!



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May 31, 2016

How To Travel Light With Your Family To the Beach


Summer Beach Packing Guide

It's Summer Time which means lugging a million things to the beach or pool, right? WRONG.

Here's my quick guide on how to travel (relatively) light with your infant or toddler to the beach this summer!

(Links below are affiliate links, meaning that TTG receives a commission on sale of products sold as a result of clicking on the link. We strive to provide honest opinion and links to products that believe to be of quality and useful to us as travelers and others. By clicking on this link for your Amazon purchases, you're helping us out but not paying anything additional for your purchases)

Gear:

Schylling Infant UV Playshade – it’s a must – under 2 lb and becomes huge. Like a little playhouse that’s protected from harmful rays, harsh sun and has ventilation: http://amzn.to/248q6lpb An adult or two children can fit in there comfortably. A perfect place to discreetly breastfeed too or put a baby down for a nap. Or just fill it with sand and toys and your little one has a little play area sheltered from the sun. You can even get a little pool (like this) and fill with water. Instant fun!

Swimways Baby Spring Float (Pool only): http://amzn.to/1rr0Rfj
We used this only in the pool. The waves at the beach made me skeptical. It protects the baby from the sun and allows them to safely float and move their legs and arms. Folds flat.

Apparel:

Imse Vimse Water Shoes (Infant): http://amzn.to/1VH5RJf
Super cute and perfect for tiny feet. Keeps early walkers safe in the sand and the shoes float!

Swim shoes (toddler): http://amzn.to/1Tm7x8j - little feet are very sensitive and even the softest sand may have a sharp sea shell, we don’t take chances. Get those with a strap, the pull ones are too hard to put on

iPlay Hat with TIES: http://amzn.to/1TfRvcl If it is windy, you will certainly want to make sure the hat doesn't fly or float away. We've lost more than 1 hat before.

Rashguards: http://amzn.to/1Tm73iB - cute and comfy – guarantee the baby won’t burn the shoulders and back which are most sensitive to exposed sun – we didn’t bring any traditional swimsuits – they either do not cover or are impossible to take off if your little one is not potty trained.

Sunglasses: http://amzn.to/217auwc In the water, on the way to lunch, she always wore shades. Go for something lightweight and comfortable

Swim vest: http://amzn.to/1Tm7jxO Yes, floaties are cute, but this keeps the child above the water at all times and gives them mobility in the arms – she wore it every day to the ocean

Toys:

Toys, toys and more toys! http://amzn.to/1Qk1oEdand http://amzn.to/1PDeS0L aka FREE BABYSITTER - bring tons of shapes, shovels, and buckets – guaranteed 30 min of peace ;)

TIP: when getting sand toys, get a mesh bag so that even if wet or sandy, it will all shake out before you get home. Also, try to get buckets that stack into each other to maximize space

Care items: diapers, sunscreen and other musts:

Swim diapers: http://amzn.to/1Tm7b1y Save on space and get swim diapers instead of disposable. Not recommended if your child tends to go #2 in diapers

Swim diapers (disposable): We've tried them all, Pampers has great disposable ones. They are softer than Huggies and more durable. I recommend a fresh change after every hour in the water. Bring about 10 for 3 hrs of beach time. Put them in a quart Ziploc and squeeze air out.

Baby Powder: http://amzn.to/1OeHAkz You will thank me later! It takes off all the wet sand so you can reapply sunscreen without issue!

Noodle & Boo Sunscreen we love it: http://amzn.to/2174QKk

LureLux Natural Bug Repellent: http://amzn.to/1SIEwAt

Natural Hand Sanitizer Spray Original Scent: http://amzn.to/1TFZ2UU

Thermos Sippy Cup: http://amzn.to/1SGjVjN
Love this! We have it and the thermos straw bottle. It’s perfect in hot and cold weather, especially at the beach when sippy cups warm up extremely quickly

Hooded towel: http://amzn.to/1sRSytW Adorable and so functional. After the beach or pool, I quickly put this on my little one and they are dry and warm. Its very light and folds thin so there's no bulk of the beach towels

Snack holder: http://amzn.to/1Z3Bw5X I was THAT mom with flimsy Ziploc bags that quickly turned into a mess in the sand. These prevent snacks of coming out of the container and has easy access for little hands.

For the mom and dad:

Beach umbrella: http://amzn.to/1TLQxJx It weights around 9 lb but is super sleek and can be carried on a shoulder with built-in strap. Expands really big. Great shade

Sand Repellent Blanket: http://amzn.to/1WXp6PL I hate pesky sand that gets on the blanket or towels. This blanket is really cool and dries quickly and sand doesn't stick to it.

Best on the go beach bag/diaper bag: http://amzn.to/24ugvVo
This bag has a separate compartment for a cooler which has helped us organize and ensure everything is temperature regulated (formula, milk, snacks, even meds).

Cooler tote: http://amzn.to/1Z3BzyE Light and padded - keeps everything cold without the bulk of a traditional cooler - freeze water bottles before heading out and there's no need for ice or bulky ice packs

Towel holders: http://amzn.to/1Qk1Imv We discovered this on the windy beaches of Aruba and have been using them ever since


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Apr 21, 2015

Cruise Travel: TTG in South America - Packing and Other Travel Tips

Travel Tips From Our Trips

cruise travel tips packing tips

Packing tips:

Diversify - it is not just for stock investing.
Pack essentials in check-in bag as well as some in carry-on to ensure at least some of your essentials make it 100% to your destination.

1 suitcase and 2 carry-ons for 2 weeks for 2 people
Need to save or create more space in your suitcase? Instead of taking more clothes, bring Tide Travel packets. You can quick launder and refresh your clothes and extend their use for duration of the trip. For more space in our luggage, we use Space Saver Bags. We use the the kind that let out air when rolling them up. This way your stack becomes more compact, leaving more space in luggage for gadgets and accessories. The bags can be used on the way to and back and reused on multiple trips.



Make Copies of All of Your Travel Documents
At least three copies of all your travel documents including your passport, itinerary, plane tickets, identification cards, driver’s license, and credit cards. Make sure to copy them back to back and make copies of any info on the back of any documents. It will be easier for you to recover all of your documents, especially if some go missing for one reason or another. Keep each copies in different places to be safe. Here as well, diversification is key.

A Money Belt is great for organizing your money and documents and keeping them secure
Other Top Travel Documents Organizers

Travel tips:

Esquina Homero Manzi restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina is a place I would recommend for a dinner and a show. It is a further than most from the port, though it was well worth it. It has a lot more of a local flavor. The food and the service was great, and the show was very good. They had plenty of tango dancing interlaced with some singing

Dress warmly in Ushuaia. It is the southern most point of the continent which brings it very close to Antartica. The highest average temperature is in mid 50s. It is mostly cloudy with snowy mountains over looking the city.

Do not get a lot of pesos in the beginning when arriving to South America. Exchange rate is often better in stores. The store owners usually round off the rate that they are aware off, and a lot of the time it would work in your favor. The only places where local currency is best, is within the touristy spots like the Plaza Muñoz Gamero in Port Arenas. The vendors know exactly who they are dealing with and they will hike up prices in US dollars. Bargaining with pesos, you have a slightly better chance of walking away with a good deal. Also withdrawing money from an ATM, even with the fees for using a machine that is not your bank's one, comes out better than exchanging dollars ahead of time.

Chile wines, not Uruguayan
While we are not wine aficionados, we have had a great many tastings of variety of wines. Uruguayan wine did not taste good to us no matter how much the wine maker tried to build it up. And it seems that others support that as well as one of the facts the guy mentioned is that 80% of the wine is drank by Uruguayans. I would recommend Argentinean or Chilean wines. These were very good, especially the reds.

Translation - best thing to have on this type of cruise
It is great to have someone translate and communicate everything when in South America. Though not going to find that person on every trip in every country. Translation gadgets and apps come in very handy. One of the best apps recently released is the Google Translate, which works by putting a sign to be translated within your phone's viewfinder and the app will automatically translate to the preset language.
If you would rather not use nor have to pull out your smartphone each time to look up words, there are dedicated translation devices for multiple languages: Top Electronic Dictiories

Travel Insurance
We never travel anywhere that is further than staycation without travel insurance. When you fly or cruise, it provides a great peace of mind. Travel insurance will cover you on your way to the destination, during your trip, and on your way home. It guards you against delays, health and weather related issues, and much more. Don't forget travel insurance next time you pack



Bring a portable power strip
With all of the electronics we bring on board with us these days, most people find cruise ship outlets to be insufficient. You can bring your own charging station or power strip, such as the Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Surge Protector, just check to make sure if these are legal on your cruise line beforehand. Also most of the TVs in the staterooms are now flat screen and these almost always have extra USB outlet either in the back or on the side.

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Apr 6, 2015

Cruise Travel: TTG in South America - chilling in Chile

Cruise Travel: 
TTG in South America and chilling in Chile

South America trip has been on our bucket list for awhile. We knew it had to be a longer trip to be worth it. So this year we took a cruise on Golden Princess from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Santiago, Chile.

We flew to Santiago, Chile and then took a shuttle to Buenas Aires. By doing this, instead of direct flight, we saved $800 per person. And it was a cry pleasnt 2 hour flight.

Buenes Aires
In Buenes Aires we took a taxi. And asked the driver for recommendation for a local preferred not so touristy place with dinner and flamingo show. We were not disappointed. The guy took us to one place that was supposed to be good, but turned out to not have a show anymore. He walked is over to another local restaurant that had one. We had a great time, great dinner, and a good bottle of wine that we not only drank there but also bought a bottle on the spot. It was an Argentine Merlot Malbec, very good red wine.


This is also were we boarded our cruise.

What we packed:
1 suitcase and 2 carry-ons for 2 weeks for 2 people. It was tight. But also, as it turns out, too heavy per bag. That is at least according to the not so pleasant ticket agent and LAN airline rules. While we checked and double checked everything while packing, we did not think about checking the weight restriction for carry-ons. Some travel advice from that, always check regulations for each airline. They all vary.

More packing info and tips here

Montevideo, Uruguay (City Drive, Winery)
At this port of call we had a bus tour of the area as there were not that many excursions offered. The tour overall was interesting. Found out a lot of information about Uruguay that changed my perception of this country. One interesting and a bit funny part of the narration was that the guide was trying to sell his country as a senior retirement resort. He several times mentioned low crime rates, great free medical services, calm and serene atmosphere.
Part of the tour was a stop at one of the larger Uruguayan wineries. There, we got a tour of the place, sampling of the wines, as well as dinner and a show. The host, the wine maker, told us that they only make fine wines at the place, that all of his is high quality wine. I don't claim to be a wine connoisseur, though we have had our sampling of wines in many travels (California Tripping, Our Last Hoorah... For Now, Winter trip to summer home of the rich and the famous (Hamptons, LI)). And this wine did not taste good. And then the statistic came out that 80% of Uruguayan wine is drank by Uruguayans. That made a lot of sense.

Puerto Madryn, Argentina (Penguins at Punta Tombo Reserve)
In Puerto Madryn was our first trip to the penguins reservation. Here the Magellan penguin come to lay their eggs from fall to early spring. We were very excited to see some penguins in real life. We had no idea just how up close we will see them. As soon as we got there, there were penguins right off the people path. The further we want the more of them were lining the road. You had to look under bushes and into holes to find some of them. One of the things the guide told us is we should look up to them crossing the path and to make sure to stop way before to let them through safely. At that time they make their trip to the ocean to hunt for food. And if prevented from crossing they will miss their meal. We had just one like that crossing in front of us. Though instead of of just crossing he decided to walk up the human path. It was awesome how he was wobbling ahead with a crowd of people following behind. See it here ...
And more pictures here (link to album)

Port Stanley, FK - Bluff Cove (4x4 and penguins)
On this trip I learned quite a bit. Such as there are islands off of South America continent called Falkland Islands. In 1982, there was a war for these islands between Argentina and Great Britain. British won as they currently have the control. The official currency is pound and language is English.
This was our second excursion to see penguins. This time the inhabitants are Gentoo and King penguins. Instead of holes or bushes these ones were out on the rocks and on the beach. To get to the beach we took 4x4 vehicles, which were all Range Rovers. It was a fun ride through unpaved terrain with many ups and downs, rocks, ditches, and other 'obstacles'. It was a fun adventurous ride in addition to the penguins observation. When we got to the Bluff Cove we saw a sea of penguins. They were running and chirping everywhere. Off to the right there was a small, but not in statue, population of King penguins. Their hatchlings were next to them or under them.



Cape Horn, CL
One of the scenic swim bys on the cruise. It was a nice view of the ridges and peaceful nature. However, neither of us thought it was magnificent. It was nice. We got some great shots and took a look for a few minutes, but that was it. It also was freezing cold there. We were wearing 3-4 layers and it was chilly.
____________________
Quotes from the trip:

Q: What country you all from (to bus group)?
A: Ohio
Tour Guide: penguins swim out to feed and get food for their babies
Q: from bus passenger 2 min later - do penguins live near water?

On tender
P1: Who painted the Mona Lisa?
P2: umm
P1: O, you know, we went to his house to see the painting...
P2: O I think it was Galileo, (me - Michael...) I mean that guy, Michaelengelo
P1: they are all like spaghetti to me
____________________

Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego) Argentina
End of the Earth. It is the most southern part of the continent. It was one of the most scenic stops on the trip. This place of dreary skies started out as a prisoners colony, but grew into residential area with skiing resorts and robust tourism.

Punta Arenas, CL
Originally, we were going to visit another penguins colony, though after seeing the last two it was a lot of penguins. And it would be Magellans once more. Instead, we did a tour of the city on own. It was interesting to see the town and we go to see more of it then most tourists. We did start of with very touristy portion, the Plaza Muñoz Gamero. It has many stalls with the local selling a ton of touristy chuchkies, "wool" clothing, magnets and so on. Around the square there were several museums. Originally we wanted to see Museo Palacio Braun Menendez, which we did. However, by a lucky mistake, we first ended up at the house of Braun Menendez, Casa Braun-Menéndez. It was a small mansion with some of the original furniture and other historic artifacts. The actual museum, is actually much smaller with less stuff in it. Right off the plaza is the restaurant, La Tasca, that is recommended, but not the easiest to find. When we came across it, we were not even sure if it was it. It is located on the second floor of a white building. And unless you can spot the small sign, you would walk right by it. When we went up their for lunch it looked like a 2 story walk up building in NY. But then on the right side is a full restaurant. There was no one there at the time. We were the first. We has a great selection of seafood and a pisco sour. As we dined, local patrons came in for lunch as well as other tourists.


We also got a great 360 degree view of Punta Arenas when we climbed up the steps in the middle of the town. The walk and the climb was well worth the view:



Amalia Glacier(scenic Cruising), CL
The weather and therefore the ocean were ruff at the time we were supposed to sail by that glacier. And captain made a call to bypass it and sail around it. While a few folks were disappointed, considering the number of green people walking around, it was the right call. Plus at dinner the night before we saw pretty awesome glaciers that looked even better from my view then the one we missed.

Puerto Montt, CL
This excursion was the most scenic and grandiose. First stop after a short bus ride was at the Emerald Lake. So named for the color of the water which looks bright green. Here we took a very scenic ride on a ferry. It lasted 45 minutes, though it seemed to go by much quicker. We sailed by the Osorno volcano. Seeing it from several sides. We later saw even more sides of it driving to next destination on the bus. The weather was crisp and sky clear, so we got a good view of its snowy top. The water was calm and just as green as the name suggested. We got a lot of great pictures:
Second stop of the tour was a lunch break on a local farm. They had great food and drinks, and we had great time chatting with other folks on the tour. They also had animals grazing near by and we got some up close shots of a bird that looked like Emu, saw sheep, hawk flying by, and goats.


Valparaiso, CL - Errazuriz Winery
Here it was a bus tour through out the area. We drove through the city making a few very short stops for pictures and stretching. One of the most scenic views was up high of the entire city.
The great part about this excursion, besides the tour, was that it also acted as our transfer from the cruise ship to the airport. At the end of the excursion, they dropped us off right in-front.




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Oct 8, 2014

What Should You Do Before Your Next Trip

What Should You Do Before Your Next Trip


Came across this article What Should You Do At Home Before Coming to Rome, Italy, and Europe and knew it would be a great one for our readers. It provides great step by step travel tips that would let you enjoy your trip from start and throughout.

"For many travelers, the greatest amount of stress is NOT the trip, but preparing for the trip."

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