Why you should travel with you children

I have recently learnt that traveling with kids, particularly young kids, is never easy. As parents, we need to re-think how we travel, and a lot of it is letting go of our own expectations of ‘the perfect trip.’ Instead of expecting perfection, we should just be as well prepared as possible and know that any hiccups will only add to the stories you will remember at the end of a trip.

So how does travel help our children?

Travel breaks down barriers and enhances connection. Travel also shows your children that though we all look different, we are the same. It is a great opportunity to teach our children about diversity in the world and interact and even make friends with children that come from different cultures, places and experiences. Travel is also an opportunity to leave behind the technology that feeds out childrens’ hands nowadays and reconnect with life, family and the world. If you keep technology and the news of the day to a minimum and enjoy each other’s company and conversation, you can teach your kids that the best things in life are free.

Travel broadens our perspective and enhances developmental milestones. Whether you travel to the next town or around the world, moving out of a comfort zone or everyday routine will enhance your family’s understanding of our world and the lives of our fellow citizens. Travel helps children experience a wide repertoire of sights, smells, sounds, colors, faces and languages from an early age. Travel opens up endless possibilities in their tiny minds and they become open and used to trying new things.

Travel builds character and helps kids become more adaptable and flexible kids. Traveling with young children exposes them to a new ‘normal.’ It allows them to be more adaptable to changing situations and be more flexible in their habits. They are used to sleeping in their beds, sleeping in prams, sleeping on an airplane seat, sleeping in a crowded shopping mall or outside, under a blanket. It also provides an opportunity to model what matters most – delayed flights, weather changes, poor service or a rocky road help all of us learn to live in the moment, share resources, manage unexpected consequences and see the bright side of the occasional travel mishap.

Travel is inspiring and educational. Travel with young kids means exposing them and making them interested in geography, world maps and airplanes early on. They start to form a better understanding of their environment and the knowledge that it’s a big world out there. They are interested in learning capitals of the different countries they visit, and being able to look for it on a map.

Travel helps ignite children’s imagination. Travel encourages children to engage in creative play – skills that they develop during childhood. Feed your children’s natural curiosity through travel. Do they yearn to learn more about art, history or science? Whether you opt for magnificent museums, nature’s classroom or immersive experiences, expand their knowledge (and your own) by exploring new ideas and destinations together.

Where to cool off this summer!

No doubt that summer heat has sunk in… and for those of us living in spots around the country with hot hot temps (like NYC) so where can we go to cool off this summer both near and far?

NYC
Central Park, N.Y – Who says you can’t keep cool in the city? Park yourself alongside the Bethesda Fountain in Central park or take to the Lake in a rented rowboat from Loeb’s boathouse.
Rockaway Beach – Take the subway, a beach shuttle bus or the ferry to the free, Queens beach that is filled with plenty of affordable food trucks as well as great bars and shops.
Robert H. Treman State Park- Take a dip in the stream-fed pool beneath the 115-foot Lucifer Falls, at Robert H. Treman State Park in the Finger Lakes

Missouri – Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park – Play in the shallows of the East Fork of the Black River or shoot through “Mother Nature’s hydraulics” in the natural swimming holes at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in Middle Brook, Missouri.

Pennsylvania – Ohiopyle State Park – Cool off on the natural waterslides, courtesy of Mother Nature, the Youghiogheny River Gorge and thousands of years of erosion.

CT – Brownstone Park – This adventure center in Portland, Connecticut, provides an adrenaline-pumping plunge into the water from a zip line. Spend the rest of the day rock climbing, cliff jumping, swimming, kayaking and more

Texas – Blue Hole Regional Park – Picture yourself plunging into Blue Hole from a rope swing… This good ol’ fashioned Texas swimming hole became a 126-acre regional park in 2005.

NJ – Delaware River – Flowing for 330 miles from New York through Pennsylvania, families typically float down the Delaware River from Frenchtown, N.J., where they rent tubes, canoes, kayaks or rafts.

California Coast – The entire coastline is booming in the summer months as temps reach a nice high in the day but cool off at night. Consider SD which has a combination of breezy beaches like La Jolla Shores and buzzing nightlife. Or stay in west LA and checkout Malibu’s cliff-side beaches like Point Dune, known for it’s gorgeous tide pools.

Hawaii – From Maui to Kauai to O’ahu, Hawaii boasts plenty of beautiful beaches but there are also hiking trails to explore. Once you reach the end of the trail, take a dip in one of the cool, refreshing swimming holes before heading back down the mountain.

San Diego

The sunny city that I cant quite compare to anywhere else – San Diego really does have it all from sports and shopping to surfing and sensational dining. On my recent trip with family, I made a point of hitting up a few new spots that have been on the ‘must do’ list for a while.

The nightlife hotspot – King and Queens Cantina
If you are looking for a dinner spot with friends or family that packs a punch in music, vibe and cuisine – look no further. King and Queen Cantina brings a Latin flavor to San Diego’s Little Italy with colorful skull décor and a Dia de Los Muertos theme all year long. Seat yourselves at the downstairs bar or follow mood lighting upstairs outdoor bar where you can take to the San Diego skyline as you sip hand-crafted cocktails at this modern Mexican cantina. Creative owner and founder Jorge Cueva brings the ‘Mexican Cantine’ style and hisipanic popular menu from Orange County’s hotspot Tempo Urban Kitchen to create an eclectic menu from sushi to tacos as well as popular Latin dishes combined with inspiration from around the world. My choices include the sHISHITO PEPPERS (Soy glazed, malted salt, lime crema) the NO TORTILLA TACOS (Stuffed tempura jalapeno, spicy tuna, cheese, spicy aioli, pear and cucumber slaw, radish, cilantro, wrapped in jicama tortilla) and the DIABLO ROLL (Avocado, cucumber, crab meat, and shrimp tempura, wrapped in seaweed and rice, topped with spicy tuna and crispy onions.) Pair these with their famous Margarita Flight or a couple Modelas – and your set for a unforgettable night.

The ambient spot – Havana 1920
Havana 1920 brings Hemingway’s Cuba to life with authentic Cuban dishes, drinks and entertainment. Located just south of Market Street in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, you will find an atmospheric hideaway and hotspot serving up a most entertaining evening. Start your night with an aged rum, overlooking the street scenery from the upstairs balcony – and dig into their CEVICHE TROPICAL (shrimp, grilled pineapple, jalapeño, cucumber, tomato, onion, and cilantro.) For mains dig into the classic SANDWICH CUBANO (Cuban Sandwich Slices of slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban Bread) or a BISTEC HAVANA 24 (Angus skirt steak topped with our own chimichurri served with grilled Cuban bread, plantains and a side Caribbean avocado salad.) Once your done, head downstairs for a nightcap and soak up the buzzing scenery.

The brunch spot – The Mission
The Mission is a casual, local eatery with a brunch choice for everyone. Their concept specializes in simple, healthy, tasty food with a whimsical edge and a focus on artful presentation at an affordable price. By focusing on the use of simple and fresh ingredients, this vibrant urban bistro promotes living in an increasingly health-conscious world – which includes everything from classic pancakes and sandwiches to modern Chino-Latino cuisine! A few of my favorites include the SOY CHORIZO BURRITO (Black beans, crispy rosemary potatoes, scrambled eggs, jack cheese, cilantro, scallions, tomatoes and chipotle crema in a large whole wheat tortilla) and the ZEN BREAKFAST (Scrambled egg whites, braised tofu, brown rice, grilled zucchini & squash with tomato & onion garnish) but if you want to indulge there are every kind of pancake imaginable from blueberry to banana. This concept in healthy dining, combined with pleasant surroundings, is The Mission’s specialty and has made The Mission a huge favorite among local San Diegans and travelers from around the world.

The happening hotel – The Kimpton Solamar
This hotel boasts both a great location and great presentation- explore, indulge and recharge right in the center of the Gas Lamp District. This Kimpton offers an all-inclusive vibe with rich décor. Our regal-meets-vibrant, urban refuge provides modern comfort, a rooftop pool oasis, dazzling dining destinations, genuinely engaged service, plus a central location ideal for exploring some of the city’s latest dining trends and sizzling nightlife options. Of course, being a Kimpton, expect all the generous quirks – like happy of complimentary wine for guests at night, cold brew at 6am in the lobby and dog cookies for traveling fidos. By far, one of my favorite spots to stay in SD.

The activity – The San Diego Zoo
This is a great activity for all ages, aside of beaching it and shopping. Set in Balboa Park, The San Diego Zoo houses was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats. Walk around the park, jump on the Skyfari aerial tram or hop on a guided bus tour of the entire zoo – and experience live talks, feedings, and demonstrations. Meet over 4,000 rare and endangered animals, and over 650 unique species from all over the world in this 100-acre site.. You’ll get up close to koalas as well as gorillas, elephants, crocodiles and more in exhibits from the African Rocks to the Australian Outback!

Making summer travel easier for parents…some tips!

Let the kids help plan travel

It’s certainly one way to avoid problems – let the kids plan the family vacation. Have them decide where they would like to go and what to see. Maybe they would like to stay in a tree house, or see the world’s largest ball of twine. If you provide a map and a little information, you can let them have some input into planning a road trip. If you’re thinking of a beach vacation, most all-inclusive resorts have kids’ programs where they can learn to surf, snorkel or sail. This gives parents a little time to themselves.You can use a travel booking website to find deals and have the kids look through ideas with you online!

Time is key

When it comes to summer travel with family, time is your most valuable asset. If you’ve traveled 10-plus hours and only have a few days to explore, don’t try to do it all on your own via google, especially when you have kids. You’ll most likely end up in touristy areas, waiting in long lines or even worse: a big red bus with 85 other tourists doing the same thing. Instead, pay a little extra and find a local agency who can create experiences that save you time.

Choose easier destinations with a bit of everything

Look at destinations that aren’t as ‘wild’ but respectively have a bit of something for everyone; consider a resort or resort style city like San Diego (zoos, beaches, bars.) Choose places and are easily accessible from the USA or even within it. Less is sometimes more; Instead of trying to see the top 20 best sites in a city, focus on strolling the streets and picnicking in a park. Over plan meals and under plan the schedule.

Get Finances Straight

Plan well ahead, sometimes 9 to 12 months in advance to get the best rates and availability. Airline companies will run flash sales months in advance. Taking advantage of these sales will expand your budget for hotels and tours. Also, be clear about budgets especially when traveling as an extended family with different budgets. Work with a tour company or travel agent and ask to pre-pay for as much of your trip as possible. This will allow everyone to relax and be on vacation with no worries about compounding expenses.

Prep well and pack smart

Pack the bare minimum when you travel with kids because you can always buy what you need in your destination. Roll clothes and stuff socks and underwear inside shoes. Wear your heaviest clothes on the flight. Encourage kids to choose and pack their own clothes to minimize complaints and to teach travel skills. Select versatile and comfortable clothes and color-coordinated separates so if something gets dirty you only have to change part of the outfit. And pack bags with what is needed first on the top — a change of clothes for dinner, pajamas, or what is needed during the day including a change of clothes in case of accidents

Art Bar, Boston

Set on Cambridge’s Charles River – Art Bar is a hidden hotspot for an al-fresco brunch, bar-bite and cocktail, or even a romantic dinner. Attached to the Royal Sonesta, Boston, you might be suprised to find this little gem. ArtBar’s creative, seasonal, American cuisine includes ingredients that are native to the region and New England area. Dishes such as their (jumbo lump) Crab Cakes with spicy remoulade or their Lobster Roll with lemon aioli – set the tone for the best of Boston. 

Dishes are beautifully composed using both seasonal and regional ingredients, perfectly accommodating everything from a quick bite to a happy hour repast, a romantic dinner or a communal feast with friends. Surf and turf are both on the menu, but not to miss are the Pan Seared Sea Scallops with sunchoke puree, shaved radish, snap peas, pancetta crumbs and micro herbs. And did I mention they also have a vegan menu? Yup, serving everything from vegan tacos to burgers and desert (their Coconut Milk Ice Cream – with vegan peanut butter cups – is to die for!)

Prefer to visit for brunch? No problem; brunch is served Saturday & Sunday, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, where you can find everything from Eggs Benedict to Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast. 

ArtBar is proud to be named one of BostInno’s 50 Best Patios in Boston and was included in NECN’s Boston’s Best Patios segment. ArtBar was also named one of the best for outdoor dining in Cambridge by Zagat. It’s certainly worth a try if you are in the area!

Traveling with children; keeping safe amongst the measles comeback

As a new mother, even as a travel expert, traveling with my baby can be a scary proposition. Generally speaking one can base travel risk on vaccinations but occasionally something slips through.

As of April 25, the number of measles cases reported in the United States hit 695 — the highest number in a year since the disease was eliminated in the country in 2000, the CDC said. Worldwide, the number of cases in the first three months of 2019 were triple the amount recorded in the first three months of 2018, according to the World Health Organization.

So what does this mean for babies and young children traveling? In a normal scenario, children first receive the MMR vaccine when they are between 12 and 15 months old. A booster is given when the child is between 4 and 6 years old. The CDC recommends that babies between 6 months and 11 months receive the vaccination before international travel or if they are in a community that is affected by an outbreak.

Infants younger than 6 months are not given the MMR vaccine, because it is believed there are still antibodies present that have been passed on from the vaccinated mother in the third trimester. Because the MMR shot contains a live virus, the antibodies would make the vaccine ineffective.

What can you do as a parent?

1) If a child has not been vaccinated, is older than 12 months and international travel is planned, the initial MMR shot and a booster can be given within 28 days of each other. Traces of immunity are detectable within a few days, according to the CDC, and a person can be fully protected within two to three weeks.

2) If a child cannot be vaccinated due to an immunosuppression, the CDC says, travel should be delayed because the child is more likely to experience severe complications if they get the measles.

3) If the baby is too young to receive the vaccination or wasn’t able to as an infant, you can help minimize the risk of infection by – washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, avoiding crowded places, keeping your child away from people who are visibly sick and putting a cover on an infant car seat and putting surgical masks on older children.

4) Mothers who are nursing should consider continuing to do so through the trip, because breast milk contains antibodies.

No matter where you are traveling or the age of your child, be sure to double check with your pediatrician before embarking on any lengthy or long distance trips. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

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Making the most of the 2019 holiday weekends – MLK, Presidents Day & beyond….

Winter is in full force and there is nothing like travel to brighten the longest, darkest days of the year. It may be time to take advantage of the upcoming vacation days around Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day.

According to flights tracking apps like Hopper, most Americans tend to take two to three trips each year, often around holiday weekends – but holiday weekends can also be the most expensive times to book flights. However, if you’re thinking about a winter getaway around the upcoming MLK Day weekend, you’re in luck – flight prices are low this month, with domestic roundtrip prices averaging $220 throughout January, according to the app. So where should we look?

  1. Sunny Destinations – Right now, you can still score average roundtrip airfares (originating within the U.S.) during MLK and Presidents Day Weekend weekend to sunny destinations such as Los Angeles, Dallas or Fort Lauderdale, for under $300, according to Hopper. Consider LA – with something to do for everyone, from hiking to biking to surfing and site-seeing. Even there where the sun shines nearly 300 days per year, summer is technically high season which means travelers visiting January – April get both sunshine AND lower hotel prices!
  • International Spots – Some international flights to London, Paris or even Vienna are also seeing good deals, with round-trip airfares running as low as $500. Austria makes a great affordable winter vacation spot to hit the slopes, especially with Euro tour operators like Contiki (running weeklong ski trip starting at $685 – including accommodations, day trips, and most meals.) Explore Christmas Markets, ice skating rinks and more in their genuine setting.
  • Winter Destinations – There are places where winter is still in full force, but that offer the best of it. Nevada (flying into Las Vegas can still be found for holiday weekends for under $300) is an affordable winter vacation spot that sees mild weather and offers a variety of activities, from casino-going to outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. And according to Kayak, traveling and staying in destinations like Denver in 2019 may also be up to 55 percent less expensive than the average trip cost in 2018.

But prices like this won’t stick around since jet fuel prices are expected to rise. 7 percent in February (to $235) on average and will continue to gradually rise through May. So get booking!

Record Breaking Holiday Travel – tips to survive!

I probably say it every year, but this year holiday travel is actually set to break some records!

Numbers released last week by AAA show that 112.5 million people are expected to be traveling in the air and on the roads; that’ s a  4.4 percent increase over last year’s number. Broken down by transport, 102.1 million people are expected to travel by car, 6.7 million people will travel by air and 3.7 million will travel by trains, buses and cruise ships.

So what’s the best way to beat the madness?

Timing is everything; the earlier you leave the better. That goes for every kind of transport. If your flying be sure to get to the airport at least two hours ahead of time. Drivers should note that data released by AAA shows that Thursday, Dec. 20 from 9:30 – 10:30 p.m. will be the worst time for travel in New York City. 

Get some handy apps stocked up on your phone, like WAZE, that use real time traffic data and also show alternate routes for you to consider based on traffic and time. 

3  Consider traveling on the actual holiday itself when there is usually the least amount of traffic and (for the risk takers who haven’t booked already) flights, trains and such can have price drops. Re flights in particular, be sure to download tracking apps like Hopper which will let you know when those deals strike.

4 Drivers, never hit the road with less than a full tank of gas, especially if you’re driving an extended distance. Its also smart to pack a driving kit with blankets and gloves, drinking water and flashlight with extra batteries, and healthy snacks for the journey. 

5  Keep update on weather reports, as this time of year weather can cause mayhem to travel plans. If you are driving, make sure you check weather conditions, have a working radio and your vehicle is prepared for any circumstances that may arise. If flying, be sure to keep an eye out for ‘winter storm warnings’ or severe delays,. This is particularly important if you have a connection somewhere that may be subject to temperamental weather you would not otherwise be. 

6  Stay calm, as he holidays can be stressful enough. Try and make the best of  journey ahead, no matter what it may bring (and know that a little extra preparation goes a long way.)

Saving money with holiday travel is possible!

Saving money with holiday travel is possible!

It’s not too late to save some money when it comes to traveling over the coming holidays. Here are some great money saving tips to help you save both on booking and on getting from A to B….

Sign Up For Flight Alerts and use your miles

Use flight tracking apps like Hopper and sign up for flight alerts which will email or ping you notifications as prices drop or when deals become available and ultimately let you know the best time to book. Also It’s never too late to become a frequent flyer. Take advantage of your unused points to get flights or hotel stays for the holidays. Some credit cards will even get you special rates on rooms and upgrades, and a points-purchased business class flight could even be a gift to yourself for the holidays.Posted On:By: misstravelguru

Don’t Fly Straight To Your Final Destination 

While a straight shot to your destination may seem like your best bet, you may be surprised to find out that it might be cheaper to create your own layovers using one-way flights. Consider building your own itinerary which can be cheaper than basic roundtrip fares and also consider surrounding airports. (Added bonus – if you cancel or change one leg of the trip you’re only dealing with the one way ticket!)

Be Mindful When You Rent A Car

Use rental sites to compare prices and book the cheapest car available, then try to negotiate for a free upgrade when checking in at the car rental counter. And you can skip the rental car insurance to save even more money. Many credit cards cover the cost of car rental insurance. Depending on your destination, this could save you hundreds of dollars.

Consider your travel days and return home

A big way to cut costs when traveling over the holidays is to fly on the holiday itself. Also don’t be in a rush to get back especially if you are looking to come back over a weekend (when flights typically run higher.) Consider as well taking your holiday days AFTER the holiday rather than before which will not only will it save you some money, but you could opt for slower travel options, like taking the train or going on a road trip.

Pack light

An easy way to save money on holiday travel is by not checking bags. You’ve likely seen swarms of people with stacks of suitcases and bags waiting to check into their flights. Instead, ask yourself a critical question before you start to pack – do I really need to bring all this stuff? Get smart with your luggage too (in every sense) and look at brands like Dagne Dover which create bags that are both stylish and perfectly practical for travel – like their Landon Carryall made of durable and light weight 365 neoprene.

The Best Flight Tips

The Best Flight Tips

This summer, many of you will be doing your fare share of flying. While flying doesn’t come however without its fare share of stresses and strifes, there are great ways to make the most of your transport time, and hey, even enjoy it! So here are some tips to help you get from A to B at your best.

DRINK BEFORE YOU GO

The humidity on planes is only around 10% and this dry air can cause headaches and groggyness, so down at least 10 ounces of H20 preflight. In flight consider some seltzer water with a splash of ginger ale to keep you hydrated and and travel sickness at bay.Posted OnBy: misstrave

CREATE A CATNIP KIT

Stow in your carry on a neck pillow, noise-cancelling headphones, and eye mask and a (lightweight) microfibre blanket. You will use them all at one stage, trust me.

EXERSIZE

Flying can cause feet to swell and the body to ache, so every hour walk the length of the cabin to rev circulation. Once at your destination, see what your hotel/accommodation has to offer fitness wise, rent a city bike to explore or utilize a national gym chain if applicable. Keeping healthy and fit when traveling keeps your immune system going and your mood positive.

SNACK SMART

Cut out the carbs which can make you bloated during pressure changes, and instead opt for nuts, dried fruits or cheese. If you do get a sandwich, pull out the meat and veggies for energizing protein without the drowsy causing refined carbs. Equally when drinking steer clear of the sugary drinks that will leave you tired on arrival.

MEDITATE

It can be tempting to watch your favorite series re-runs but flying can provide you time to do what you might normally put off or don’t have time for at home. Jot in your journal, go over your monthly calendar, or take some time to meditate (download tranquil music and from toes to head imagine each part of your body relaxing one by one.)

STAY COOL

Yes flying can be stressful but have perspective. Cancellations and delays can happen, but the most important thing is that you are SAFELY. Focus on extending love to other travelers even in the midst of small agitations or annoyances and offer assistance; it will leave both you and them with a smile and good sense of well being.

Taking the anxiety out of Thanksgiving travel!

Taking the anxiety out of Thanksgiving travel!

More than 54 million people will hit the roads and skies this Thanksgiving, the largest number since 2005 (according to AAA.) In fact the TSA says it’s expecting more that 25 million travelers between Friday, Nov. 16 and Monday, Nov. 26 – which is nearly a 7 percent increase from last year.

So with all this hustle and bustle how can you make your Thanksgiving travel relatively painless?

When to travel

According to a good deal of travel sites, prices are lower, lines are shorter and crowds are lighter if you travel ON the holiday itself. The second most affordable day would be the Monday before.

When it comes to driving, the most clear on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday, AAA reports. Roads are expected to be busiest on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when most drivers are returning home from the holiday. It also seems that the busiest destinations to fly to happen to be the warmest (except NYC) from Florida to California, Mexico and Hawaii.

Pack smart

Keep security in mind if you are flying, including your liquids are compliant with TSA standards. Be prepared to remove your electronics from your bag, and consider leaving bulky jewelry, scarves and jackets in your checked baggage so you have fewer things to carry through security.

Leave EARLY

Whether you’re flying or driving, make sure to allow extra time to go through security or sit in traffic. Keep an eye on the weather, which will impact you whether you’re on the roads or in the skies, so plan accordingly and check the forecast for both your current location and your destination. If driving, use an app like Gas Buddy or Waze to find the cheapest gas on your route.

Keep YOU and the kids busy

Bring a book, magazines, games, music, the iPad…anything that will keep you and your family entertained. Consider downloading a podcast too – there are some great ones out and it will keep you and them busy (especially if you are the designated driver!)