Showing posts with label Travel Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Tips. Show all posts

Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest Blog Post on Some Fun Road Trips

I am in denial that summer is over. There is still some fun weekends and Labor day weekend to squeeze in some fun adventures. If you want to plan something fun for your family, then today's guest blog post is perfect. Whitney has some fun places to visit all within a 6 hour drive of Salt Lake City.
3 Fun Summer Road Trips You Most Likely Haven’t Enjoyed Yet
Author: Whitney Hollingshead
Utah is home to some pretty incredible natural and manmade attractions. If Utah is also home to your family, you don’t have to venture far to find adventure. This year, however, you may want to consider venturing out into some of the nearby states to explore some unchartered territory. Here are three great family friendly destinations that may be new to your family. All three locations are within a six hour car drive from Salt Lake City.

Destination: Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho
Hours from Salt Lake City: 5
What to Do:
Sandboard on the Dunes - bring along your snowsled or rent a sandboard from the visitor’s center at the park. You can also hike on and around the dunes and play in the sand. Keep in mind that the sand will most likely be hot on a hot summer day so plan accordingly. Everyone will be covered in sand afterward, so have a plan to deal with the sand.
Star Gaze at the Observatory - special events at the public observatory in the park offer some great star gazing opportunities. Check out the park events schedule and check the weather forecast.
Camp in the State Park - plan to stay the night and pitch your tent. Your family can enjoy fishing, swimming, hiking, and bird watching. Bring along some kites and make the most of the Idaho wind!
Road Trip Tip: The drive through northern Utah and southern Idaho has little to hold the attention of children. Pack some extra car games, activities, fun music, and even audio books to keep the whole family relaxed and entertained.

Destination: Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Hours from Salt Lake City: 6
What to Visit:
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park - ride up the mountain on the gondola tram. Get your heart racing on one of the thrill rides like the Cliffhanger roller coaster. Take in a 4D movie experience with moving seats and challenge the family to a game of laser tag. You should also check out the cave tours included in some of the ticket packages.
Hanging Lake - take the short, steep, hike beginning in Glenwood Canyon. Hanging Lake was formed by glaciers suspended at the edge of the canyon. This lake boasts stunning waterfalls, a lake full of trout, and crystal clear water.
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool - visit the world’s largest hot springs pool. You can swim in the warm mineral water pool the length of a football field. The kids can enjoy the kiddie pool and two waterslides.
Road Trip Tip: Pack a separate bag to stay in the car at all times. Keep an extra simple change of clothes for each family member, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and a first aid kit. This will help you be ready for the unexpected while you are out having fun. You should also consider stocking up on simple snacks to eat in the car. Doing so will save you time and money when you need to stop for gasoline.

Destination: Thermopolis, Wyoming
Hours from Salt Lake City: 6
What to Visit:
Wyoming Dinosaur Center - visit the dinosaur museum showcasing over 30 mounted dinosaurs, hundreds of displays and dioramas, and a modern preparation laboratory. You can also tour nearby dig sites and see actual excavation of real dinosaur bones from the ground. Special programs are also offered that allow you and your kids to participate in real fossil digs! These special programs do require signing up in advance.
Star Plunge Pool Complex - Thermopolis is home to the Hot Springs State Park. These hot springs are used to heat the local swimming pools. Take the plunge into one of the indoor or outdoor pools. Test out your tricks on the diving board or head down one of the three fast-paced water slides. The adults can relax in an adults-only sauna and there is also a separate kiddie pool.
Legend Rock Petroglyph Site - Hike to one of the most impressive petroglyph areas in the world. In order to visit the site, you must first obtain a key form the Thermopolis-Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce in Thermopolis.
Road Trip Tip: Make sure your car is in great condition for your trip. Take care of any needed tune ups or repairs. You may want to consider having your tires checked and rotated before you head out as well. If you have been planning to buy a new car for your family, buying one before your big trip might be the perfect time to make the purchase. Be sure to check out online specials from local dealers to see if you can find what you are looking for and stay on budget.
Summer is the perfect time for exploring. Plenty of time is still available to enjoy a short trip to one of these fun destinations. So clear your calendar, pack the car, and take your family on a summer trip they’ll remember forever.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Leaving Kids Behind...

When we went to Hawaii we had to leave 3 of our 4 kids with loved ones. Of course this is the longest I have ever left any of my kids behind. I was so worried. I typed up every little thing about each kids favorites, foods, and routines. I was mostly worried about my 2 year old. What would my kids do with out me for a whole week?
Turns out it was more like what will I do with out my kids for a whole week?! Everything we did I couldn't help but think how my kids would love it. They were just fine with out mom. Now there were a few things I did to make this a lot easier, besides leaving them with family that I trust completely.
I wrapped presents for each kid for each day I was gone. I labeled each one for each kid and each day of the week. Of course they had little reminders about being good on them. Granted I bought all the items at the dollar store. Some of them were a package of 6 bubbles for a dollar wrapped individually for each kid.

The kids loved them! The "sitter" had to set a time each day to open them, otherwise they tried to get into them first thing each morning. I had in my mind that they would get opened at a time of desperation each day, but it worked out better this way.
The kids really enjoyed having something special from their mom and dad every day, and the "sitter" appreciated something that was time consuming.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Traveling on an airplane with kids

If your about to travel with kids in a plane make sure you're ready. Sometimes stressing over the plane ride lasts longer than the actual plane ride. Being prepared can help. It won't smooth out all the wrinkles, but at least you'll have an iron and ironing board ready to go. (Yes that's one of my husband lovely analogies).

1. Start out by making sure to read the fine print. Know what the policies are for liquids, baggage, carry on, and so on. All to often we assume or remember the last time we flew. Things change often as do policies from one airlines to another.

2. Plan ahead. Hopefully we are all familiar with the liquids policies. Less than 3 oz, in a ziplock bag, and has to come out of your bag for security check. Make sure you place things like this, your laptop, etc. at the top of your bag. I also always bring an empty water bottle. That way I can fill it up for free after I pass security.

In line to go through security.

3. Anytime someone asks me for advice on flying with kids I remind them about going through security. This sometimes stresses me out more than the actually flying part. You have to take off your shoes, belt, and jacket. All while holding a baby, taking down your stroller, pulling out liquids and your laptop, and trying to avoid the unfortunate pat down. Here are a few security tips:

   A. Make sure that all loose things in your pockets or stroller are in a bag of some kind. This prevents forgotten things from prior adventures, or things falling out when folding up your stroller.

   B. Make sure all baby food is in it's own separate ziplock bag, and that you take them out for security. If the baby food is less than 3.4 oz (like the half size plastic ones) than you should be OK. If you are taking the regular size baby food jars they are allowed in "reasonable quantities." They may require one parent to have a pat down as well if they can't or don't check all the baby food as a "threat."

   C. I also make sure I empty my pockets into my bag before going through as well. Usually as I leave my house for the airport I put all the last minute things in my pockets. 

  D. Make sure to arrive early enough that you don't feel rushed through. Especially with kids or if all of a sudden you have a huge long security line.

4. Kids love new things. I highly recommend a trip to your local dollar store before any kind of travel. Kids are always entertained longer with things they have never seen before. New coloring books and cool crayons are great. I am sure browsing around you will find plenty of cheap cool things to get. You can even wrap them up to make it more intriguing for the kids. Especially for longer flights. They could open a present for every hour while traveling.

5.When we flew I was very apprehensive to fly the 6 hour red eye with a 7 month old. I wanted to buy enough ear plugs with some treats for everyone on the plane. I know some people have done this and I think it warms some people up to being more tolerant. I thought it was cute. Then my husband reminded me that our daughter was a passenger on the plane with a right to cry. As unfortunate as it may be, it's not the end of the world. Whether you want to take the compassionate road or the tolerance road, that's your choice. (As a side note, my baby did great! Hardly made a peep, and I saved all that money, and should have saved the stress as well).

Bonus-  Don't forget to bring earphones, especially for longer plane rides. At first I thought I was being more smart by bringing smaller more compact ear buds. A 6 hour flight with complementary movies sounds really nice, till your ears hurt from ear buds being in them too long. Make sure you look at the length of your flight when deciding whether to bring headphones or earphones. Short flights you may not even need them at all.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Room Service?

How do I feed my kids while we have been living in hotels is usually one of the first questions I get. Here are a few things I have done:


Breakfast is pretty easy. We usually just have the hotel's breakfast. The key here is take extra's back to your room. Sometimes we would eat in the lobby then make a plate for later. Others I would go down while kids were sleeping, then bring up food for them. Even after doing that I would bring them down after they woke up for breakfast. Why? The extra food taken to our room was usually used for a snack or even lunch.
This is when I would eat leftover breakfast foods. We would use the bread meant for toast, with the peanut butter and jelly packets make great sandwhich's. Or sometimes I would pour cereal in a bowl and milk in a cup for a snack or lunch later. Yogurts and fruit were easy to store in our mini fridge. Oatmeal and hot chocolate packets easily cooked in a micorwave or with the coffee pot. Bagels and extra cream cheese packets were one of Kadan's favorites. I also used the coffee pot for cup of noodles. Then we would go out for kid's meals once or twice a week.

Dinner was a little trickier. Especially when trying to avoid pizza, fast food and spending lots of money. I used my plug in griddle a lot. With the griddle I would have lots of grilled cheese's sandwhich's usually with stolen left over continental breakfast bread too! Quesidilla's were really easy as well as grilled tuna sandwhichs. Sometimes I would grill the roast beef with some cheese and brown some cut french bread for a hot sandwhch option. If you buy those add water and easy pour pancake mix containers and can steal small syrup packets as well this was another cheap yummy dinner most kids love. Sometimes I would eat heated up chilli and micorwaved potatoes and a salad. Those meals and a dinner out to eat 1-2 times a week we were pretty much set.
Just make sure to have paper products, plastic utinsils, paper towels, baggies, a spatualla, can opener 1 or 2 tupperware conatiners for mixing or storing, and no spill cups are great.