Friday, April 30, 2010

Foto Fun Friday - April 30th, 2010

The final resting place for this ship's 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941 are entombed in these waters of Hawaii. 
Whats the Name of this ship?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stingray City Snorkel - Grand Cayman Island

On our first cruise through the Caribbean my husband wanted to snorkel with the Stingrays, I recall thinking "Why don't we just get in a fish bowl with some eels while were at it?".  It sounded dangerous and I was completely naive to what exactly we were getting into, but it sounded interesting at the same time. I figured there would be several little sting rays swimming around that we could see under water and maybe they might even come within good viewing distance.

We hopped onto the boat and jetted out to the Sandbar in the ocean where we were normally supposed to be able to stand on, but on this particular day the water was abnormally deep and it was swim only. As we slowed down to reach the sand bar and where several other boats had already parked I could see a lot of black color in the water. It wasn't just all the swimmers, it was something else. Soon enough a gigantic sting ray swam past our boat and you could hear several people on our boat gasp, probably in the same shock I was in. I could not believe how large these things were and that we were about to get into the water with them! I soon noticed people in the water were touching them as they swam by and some screams of women being touched by the passing sting rays in the water - I soon became one of them.

We were given a quick tutorial about the stingrays and what not to touch or do with them. These creatures are somewhat 'domesticated' from people feeding and getting in the water with them daily, so although they do still have stingers they'd only use them if they felt their life was in danger.  My husband and I got into the water and were amazed at the sight of these large creatures surrounding us. I attempted to swim but I was too scared at first. My wonderful husband held me for a couple minutes until I became comfortable. There were tons of them and people were getting to feed them squid and hold them with an instructor. After being brushed up against by them a few times I finally reached out my own hand to touch them back. They are SO soft, almost in a luxury 1000 count satin bedsheet feeling (if there is such a thing).

This was and still is one of my favorite excursions in the Caribbean and I highly recommend you do it if you are on Grand Cayman Island.  The tour is available to all ages, but I can't imagine my 6 year old feeling comfortable about getting into the water with such large stingrays.  She'd probably freak out as I did as an adult and the money would be wasted.  However if you've got an extra curious, adventurous younger child that can swim or float well, then you may want give it it a try. ShareThis

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When should you leave it home? Ways to travel without packing the nursery!

I still remember my very first trip with my daughter. We took a weekend to Seaside, Oregon and I recall taking a picture of the back of our huge suburban just Packed full of stuff.  It seemed I had taken her entire nursery along for the ride!  Another child and many trips later I have learned that there are many items you don't need to pack when traveling with young children and there are ways to minimize your luggage. 
What you choose to pack truly depends on where your going, where your staying and for how long.  But for many trips there are several items you can most likely leave at home that will save you a lot of stressful moments of lugging them around. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Travel Tip Tuesday - April 27th, 2010

$5 SEAWORLD TICKETS for children through the end of the year!

Now through December 31, 2010, when U.S. residents purchase a full-price adult admission, children ages 3-12 receive a ticket to SeaWorld for only $5.00. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to a wildlife conservation project of your choice
Get your tickets at

Monday, April 26, 2010

Our First Family Camping Trip - Grayland Beach State Park, WA

We finally took our first family camping trip and we chose to stay somewhat close to home and head for the Ocean.  Rather than our typical stay in Ocean Shores we decided to check out Grayland and Westport, Washington. 

True Camping...DVD's and all
When we arrived it was pouring rain outside, normal spring weather on the shores of Washington, but not what we had hoped for.  We set-up camp as best we could and stayed inside the trailer.  We did what I assume the people in the tarp covered tent next door were doing - we popped in a DVD and watched one of our favorite Disney movies "Open Season"!  I was worried at first that our 6 and 2yr old would quickly tire of being in such a small space, but with a few toys and a movie they did well.  Soon it was time for bed and my daughter happily climbed into her bunk and my son went to bed just as well.  A huge sigh of relief, as we have had some difficult times in the past with getting him to sleep anywhere besides his crib at home.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas - Second cruise line with a nursery room

When it comes to cruising you may not see a large number of babies on board and there is a reason for that.  Cruising with a baby can make it difficult to enjoy your fine dining, live shows, lounging by the pool and other adult activites, especially when you don't have other means of babysitting.  But cruise lines are working towards making cruising more family friendly for parents with babies.

Royal Caribbean has launched their newest ship "Oasis of the Seas" (Worlds largest cruise ship) and along with their other wonderful grade school and teen programs they now have a Nursery for babies and toddlers ages 6-36months.  The Royal Babies and Royal Tots clubs are staffed with trained proffesionals and is sponsored with great activities by Fisher Price and Crayola.  Take a look at some great pictures of their playrooms here. The only thing to note is that there is an $8/hr charge, unlike their other school age programs which are FREE!  The first cruise line to have an onboard nursery was Disney Cruise Lines.

If your planning to take your baby on a cruise, remember to check with the cruise line first. All cruise lines have different age limits for allowing babies to cruise and some do not allow them until they are 9-12 months old. ShareThis

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Is your baby a Traveling baby? A few signs they may not be

My first child Lilly was an amazing little baby.  She rarely cried, didn't mind car rides and ate and drank her bottles without a fuss.  Having her do so well made it easy to travel with her but little did I know this was not the case for every child. 

Along came my son Logan, and he showed us that not all babies are made for traveling.  I think he may have even cried on his first ride home from the hospital.  I should have taken his inability of short distance travel at home as a sign that any sort of long distance wouldn't go well.  Unfortunately it took us a couple difficult trips to realize that he was not a traveler and it would be a while before we could go over night in a hotel without being up all hours of the night with a crying baby.  He was picky at what he ate, where he slept and didn't care for being in his car seat.  I hate to discourage any sort of travel, but had I known what I know now I may have postponed some of those trips we took with our son.  They didn't make for much of good memories, just a well deserved lesson to share with others. 

Here are a few signs that your child may NOT be a good traveler:

  • Picky Eater
  • Doesn't do well in car seat
  • Needs to be held alot
  • Gets sick often (i.e ear infections, colds, allergies)  When your traveling you are susceptible to so many MORE germs and viruses that you may not have at home.  If your child tends to pick up illnesses often (like my son) then they are Highly likely to get sick on your vacation.  No fun for the rest of the family or your sick baby.  And if your traveling with a sick child, medical care can be a stressful thing to worry about.  
  • Picky about where they nap during the day, prefers crib - This may be a great routine at home but on vacation you'll find that if your child is not in the comfort of their own crib, they may wake up several times at night and keep you up, thus making you extremely tired and unable to enjoy the daytime of your trip. Even having a full sized crib on some of our vacations didn't cut it for our son.
  • Not Easily Entertained - Going out of town you might think this would give your baby some new scenery to excite them, but this isn't always the case.  If your stuck in an airplane for 2+hrs, or in a long car ride, or maybe in a new place that they just don't like.  Some babies may be bored at home or hard to entertain, but being at home gives them certain comfort level they can't get anywhere else.
I'm happy to say our last trip to Maui as a family was AMAZING, he is now almost 2yrs old and getting better each trip we take.  Not to say he doesn't still have his moments, but if you have a baby who doesn't travel well, just know that they are very likely to grow out of it and it gets easier! ShareThis

Friday, April 23, 2010

Zumanity Show - Las Vegas, Nevada

So your in Las Vegas, the City of sin, and you want to see a show.  There are many to choose from and in my case I'd love to go see a Comedian or Broadway show, but I'm with my husband who unsurprisingly wants to see something a little more exotic (we are in Vegas after all).  So with "Jersey Boys" off the table and a strip club definitely not our taste we found a great show called "Zumanity".  They consider it "The Sensual side of Cirque Du Soleil".  With amazing acrobatics, sexuality, comedy and nudity all rolled into one, this is bound to fulfill both you and your spouse.   And ladies, no worries, there is plenty of male flesh to make up for all the under dressed women you'll see in the show.  
Cirque Du Soleil has some wonderful shows in Vegas and all over the world and even with a little
risquĂ© added to the mix they dont' leave out any great stunts. I watched in amazement thinking, "I wish I could do that, wearing THAT...and look that good while doing it!"

TIPS: Zumanity is located inside the NewYork NewYork hotel. Don't get there late, in fact get there EARLY, the pre-show is hilarious and a must see!  If your looking for front row tickets I will tell you that after having sat up close, a farther back seat is much better and better yet an upper level middle section would probably be even nicer (and cheaper).  The stage is small and personal, so no seat is really a bad seat unless you were front row far right or left.  When you get too close you can see some of their tricks to making it all happen and that makes it a little less exciting.

Have you ever been to a Vegas show? Which one and did you like it? ShareThis

Foto Fun Friday - April 23rd, 2010

Here's a fun Photo related to one of last weeks Blogs.  Can you tell me where this picture was taken?

I'm giving you an easy one this week!  Come back tomorrow for the answer if you haven't already figured it out.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Treasure Island - Las Vegas, Nevada

I have yet to be disappointed with my hotel choices in Vegas and Treasure Island is no exception!  This 4 diamond hotel sits at one end of the Vegas strip.  I consider this "the end" of the strip because after that, all the famous hotels sort of stop and there is just a nice shopping mall, and much farther down the road the Stratosphere, which is more like a drive rather than a walk away. 

What's not to love about Treasure Island?  At first glance you might think this Pirate Ship themed hotel is for kids - well try again!  A grand Casino fills the lobby along with a great Mexican Restaurant (Islas) that served yummy appetizers (which was my dinner).  Sit at the bar, stick a $20 in the game machine while you eat/drink and they'll give you those drinks FREE! Way better than the free drinks in the Casinos. 

Our room was very clean, comfortable and had a floor to ceiling view of the Vegas strip.  The beds were plush, which is important to this mom who has a Tempur-Pedic at home I can't live without.  A flat screen hung on the wall, while my husband and I fought over the one lounger chair in the room every night.  To top it off the rates were great in February and the weather was just right!  

If your in Vegas for the nightlife (which we're not) they have what I hear is a great nightclub "Christian Audigier's" and you get in FREE while staying at Treasure Island (which is normally a  $30 cover).  Unfortunately some of that "night life" spills over to the pool area and I wasn't too excited about all the beer bottles and drinks that surrounded the edge of the cloudy watered pool.  But luckily I was there to relax and not swim. 

There is a Pirate Show on the outdoor ship every evening in front of the Hotel but I can't say whether it's worth a watch or not because I've missed it every time and the one time we planned for it, it was canceled due to high winds.  Although we did however catch a wedding on the Ship, which was interesting and a unique way to tie the knot.  Much better than a drive-thru!

So if your headed to the City of Sin, I definitely recommend Treasure Island.  Although check back later this week to see my NYNY review, which I'd have to say has a few more perks that draws me to the other end of the strip!

Looking for "kid friendly" activities in Vegas? Check out Trekaroo

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In Maui, ready for the beach! Where are your sand toys and beach chairs?

Ever traveled somewhere and wish you had something you know is sitting in your closet at home and it's going to cost you a ridiculous amount of money just to have it now? I realized on our recent trip to Maui with the kids that our days at the beach would be many and sand toys and beach chairs were going to be a must have. Yet paying $10-$15 for a very small bucket of toys at most stores was not my idea of being frugal, especially knowing that when I purchase the toys that I'd only be adding to the overload we already had at home and packing them would be a challenge if I dare try.

My first thought was to ask our Hotel if they had a stash of left behind beach items we could use, unfortunately they had none. We immediately went searching through a few stores and I had already glanced at some others the day before knowing this issue would come up. Finally, I hit the jackpot - $4.99 for a great bucket of toys at Walgreens on Wainee Street in Lahaina! They even had a dump truck set for my son that he absolutely loved! Other beach items were also at a great price and I stocked up while I was there. We picked up an ice chest, some snacks and headed out to the beach.

After finding the perfect beach spot (thanks to Ohanamama), having great sand toys and playing with the kids for a couple hours, my sand covered beach towel wasn't so appealing and I was wishing I had a nice chair to sit on. Once again sending me on a wild chase for chairs. Again my hotel didn't have any, but they did suggest they could rent them for us and have them brought to the room, which sounded nice, but I figured we could probably rent them ourselves for a little less cash. I found a colorful looking store on the corner of Honoapiilani Hwy 30 and Hinau Street (across from Pizza Hut) called "Da Beach House". I went in and was happy to find beach chairs for rent for only $12 a week. The clerk was very friendly and even opened up a pack of two brand new, reclining, tommy bahama chairs because he had rented all his others. Come to find out after a nice conversation that he was the Owner and had just opened his third store on Maui that I was standing in. The chairs were a life saver on the beach and made what was a fun time an even more relaxing and great time with the kids!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Traveling the U.S.? Start here! - Travel Tip Tuesday

April 20th, 2010
Have a New destination in mind and don't know where to start?  Search for the city's official Convention and Visitors Bureau website.  They will most likely have a Visitors Guide you can view online or as I prefer, they will mail you the entire Guide for FREE.  I just got my Denver book in the mail today and it has some great information.  They provide local tips on attractions, dining, shopping, current events, accomodations,  maps and more!  It typically takes 2-4 weeks to receive a guide, so order as soon as you know your traveling, or better yet order them for inspiration on where to travel next! 

Check back every Tuesday for a new tip from Travelers Barista! ShareThis

Monday, April 19, 2010

4 Great Reasons to visit Vegas - And Gambling isn't one of them!

If you would have asked me 4 years ago if I had been to Vegas and what it was like I would of told you that I had driven through once when I was 19 and had no desire to return to the City that is infamous for one long street full of hotels in the middle of no where!  I had heard stories from friends suitable to make a "Hangover" sequel and this was not my idea of any sort of vacation.  I'm not one for putting my money into a machine that doesn't give something in return and I'm definitely not in favor of getting myself into a drunken stooper and stumbling back to a hotel room at 4am.  What else in the world is there to do in Vegas?

Now, having made a few trips to Vegas I must take back that old statement and reprimand myself for judging the unknown.  A couple years ago my husband and I were in need of some sunshine and a break from the kids.  But where could we go for a 4 day weekend close enough that seemed out of the ordinary for some relaxation?  I did my usual online searching and came across Vegas.  My initial reaction was "no thanks", but after realizing we could use our miles for a quick flight and it was sunny and affordable I decided to give Vegas a try.

Where I stayed my first trip
I booked Treasure Island at a great rate that I honestly can't remember, but even still today they sometimes have $50 a night for this 4 Diamond hotel. Join their mailing group for these special rates. 
When we arrived I can remember thinking "this isn't what I remember".  I entered Treasure Island in awe of the sheer size of the Casino, restaurants and jumped for joy when I saw Starbucks in the hotel. It was like a cruise ship on land, everything in one place and this was just one of many hotels on the strip.  After we dropped our luggage I was excited to see the rest of Vegas. 

A Shoppers Delight
I must say I'm not a big shopper myself but in Vegas it's almost impossible to not google at the couture clothing and shops that occupy every hotel on the strip.  It can be a bit repetitive if you've done too much walking in one day but still interesting to say the least.  My husband and I even found ourselves drawn into a Peter Lik art gallery on our first trip and  made a purchase.  Not something I would have normally done at home but it's a wonderful picture and I have no buyers remorse.

Fine Dining
You won't find yourself in search of food in Vegas, it's everywhere you go.  From fine dining to the Hard Rock Cafe, they have everything!  We ate at a new restaurant every evening and I think did so without breaking the budget, although you can find yourself in search of that right price range if your not up for dropping $50 for two at dinner.  During our second stay at NYNY we found plenty of good priced restaurants and food stands right in the hotel. That was one of my favorite things about NYNY, when it was late and we didn't want go out, we didn't have to. 

From Broadway's "Jersey Boys" to Cirque du Soleil you'll find what I consider the most vast selection of Theatre, comedy, night clubs, concerts and magic in one place.  Whether your looking to have an evening to not share what happened in Vegas when you get home, or something a little less revealing, you'll find it in Vegas.  I have yet to see my share of shows, but the one show we have returned to see twice is "Zumanity".   If your planning to see a show, don't dropped your jaw when you have to easily drop $100 bill or more to get in the door.  Shop around before you head to Vegas so you know what your wanting to see and see if your hotel has any offers for shows.

Sunshine and Relaxation
This is my ultimate vacation deal breaker!  If there is sunshine, relaxation and a pool then it's most likely to make my top ten destinations list.  Vegas has some of the biggest and in my opinion nicest hotels in Northern America, so of course they are going to have great pools and spas to go along.  One thing to know about the pools in Vegas is that the they are most likely going to be used for drinking and not so much relaxing, but you'll find that if you lay out in the morning and afternoon sun, your less likely to come across the party crowd.  They are typically still asleep till the afternoon making up for their memory loss of the night before.

Vegas is now one of my favorite weekend vacations without the kids, when I've got the miles and time to go.  I'm not a seasoned Vegas traveler but it's nice to know it's a great destination for sunshine and plenty to see and do.

P.S - Call me crazy but I hated "The Hangover" movie ShareThis

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Celebrating Travelers Barista with a Giveaway!

AND THE WINNER IS...Christine Smyth (comment #32 below).
THANK YOU to everyone who participated and I have more giveaways (that will be quicker) coming up in June!  Check back often for new daily posts and for your chance to Win!

To celebrate my new website I'm going to be giving away some great prizes!  I'm going to start off with a 1-year subscription to Frommers Travel magazine*. A great magazine for planning your next vacation or just dreaming of one.  This prize will be given away on May 20th, 2010 to one person.  All you have to do is leave a comment below of where you Favorite vacation spot is, anywhere in the world!

If your not a Google member, be sure to leave a first name and last initial and way to contact you, otherwise I will announce the winner and give 48hrs before choosing another if no contact is made. Thanks!!!

*magazine subject to change, open to U.S Residents Only

If you entered last week by Following me, your still eligible!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Travel Accessory must have!

How often do you wash you hair? I used to every day or every other day, until my stylist told me it was unnecessary and actually not good for your hair. Especially if you use the typical store brand shampoos, like I was also doing. I'm a pretty frugal person so spending $30 a bottle on shampoo is not my style, so what I usually do is get a recommendation on a product, then go home to find the best price online! Not good for my Salon I love but better for my pocket.

So, what does this have to do with Traveling? Well, on my last visit to my stylist she showed me a new product that I was inevitably not spending money on ($22 bottle), but she showed me anyways. I walked in with my usual messy, greasy hair because why not! She's going to wash and style it nicer than I ever could at home. She picked up the Big Sexy (lovely name) Dry Shampoo and sprayed it into my roots. In just a moment the greasy hair was revived and I could have gone another day or two without washing and damaging it in the shower.

Foto Fun Friday

Recognize this Station? I'll give you a hint, it's located in a City I've written about already on my blog!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Outrigger Aina Nalu Condos - Maui, Hawaii

Our recent stay at the Outrigger Aina Nalu in Lahaina, Maui was not what I had envisioned at first glance.  The seemingly oversized 2 bedroom, full kitchen, Garden view room was a little different then what was shown using those WIDE angle photos they impress you with online. 

Yes, the rooms were updated and somewhat spacious, but the fully equipped kitchen lacked cooking utensils and came with one small pot and tiny pan that we could barely cook pancakes in without sticking.  Thus making our plans of saving money to eat-in were gone and we spent WAY more to eat out than I had planned.  The "Garden view" was a garden of cars in the parking lot, hardly anything I'd consider a view.  After walking on the carpet and stone floors for just a few minutes my children's feet were black and I had to wash them before putting on any socks or shoes, this sort of grossed me out, I refused to walk on the floors barefooted.  My son also took a liking to the front door that would unlock with a pull of the handle.  I chased him down the outdoors hall several times during our stay and I'm oh so certain our neighbors appreciated him opening and slamming the door shut on several occasions.  Definately not a toddler safe door. (read my important safety tip on this)

Our stay was 8 days/7nights long and I will say that after about the third day I became comfortable with our accommodations and enjoyed the space we had with 2 bedrooms (3 adults, 2 kids).  The beds themselves were very comfortable and walking to town was just a step out the front door.  My favorite part of the stay was that despite the dirty floors, the maids were nice enough to do our dirty dishes each day and that made for some extra time for me out by the pool!  Speaking of pools, they do have two nice pool areas that are private and surrounded by that "Garden View" they had promised in the room description. 

Overall, at an average price of $175 a night (plus $15 a day to park the car) it was spacious and served it purpose for the 8 days we stayed in Maui.  I may stay again for a good rate but would definately look into other options for a 2 bedroom condo.  Although in Lahaina you won't find many accomodations and your definately limited if you want to stay right in town.  This Condo is all about Location and space!  If they provided a better "full kitchen" and the floors were cleaner I'd definately give it 4 out of 5 Lattes!   

Activities and hotels for kids in Maui, Hawaii on Trekaroo

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Washington State: Olympic Game Farm in Sequim

Head to the Northern shores of Washington State and you'll be just a ferry boat ride away from Victoria, Canada and in the Olympic National Rain Forest.  Along with the timeless military heritage of Old Fort Towsend and Fort Worden.  

We took a fun four day weekend to Port Townsend, WA and stayed at the Tree Frog Cabins.  A nice fully equipped little cabin on private property, very close to town.  It was quiet and the owners were very nice and helpful and just a walk up the driveway.  We spent the evenings making smores at the firepit and the kids loved the owners Peacock who came around.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Want to "Sample" a cruise?

Who doesn't love walking through the store when it's sample time and getting just a little taste of a product to see if you like it or not?  My kids love Costco samples and I love that it keeps them entertained for the duration of each isle.  Ever wish you could do that with a vacation?

1-2-3 Day Cruises
Most cruise lines change their routes seasonally and in order to change routes they must move their ships to a new destination.  Kinda like flying South for the winter!  During these moves you can hop aboard for as short as a ONE night cruise and test out the waters!   My very first cruise was a sampler from Vancouver, B.C to Los Angeles for 3 days.  Just enough to get me hooked on cruising forever!  Now don't think that because the ships are being moved means that these are anything less than a real cruise.  You get the full royal treatment of fine dining, entertainment and everything that a typical 7 or 10 day cruise provides. 

The Cost
For a one day trip from Vancouver, B.C to Seattle cruises start as low as $69 per person with Princess Cruises.  Other cruise lines are probably offering a similar deal.  If you live near a Port of call it's easy to hop aboard these sample cruises and take a one-way flight back home. ShareThis

Travel Tip Tuesday!

When traveling with Family, be sure to look for “family lines” at the airport security check in. This can make check in easier and less stressful for your group.

Check back every Tuesday for a new tip from Travelers Barista! ShareThis

Monday, April 12, 2010

Traveling for Tragedy

Traveling isn't always about sunshine, beaches and relaxation. People travel for business, adoption and sometimes the inevitable tragedy. Your day to day routine is brought to a hault when the call is received that a loved one is in need of serious care, or even worse - they are gone.

Everyone deals with grieving in their own special way and every situation is unique, but what to do when your family is across the country, or more than a car ride away?

One thing not everyone knows is that airlines will provide you a discount for this kind of emergency travel, from 5 to 50 percent with some airlines. It's considered a bereavement or compassion fare, to make traveling easier and more affordable during this difficult time. If your in the mood for airfare shopping then definitely do so, but then make sure to call the airline directly to book your ticket to receive your berevement fare. Airlines will require a letter from a doctor or the funeral home upon your return flight home. This is easily obtained by the funeral director or hospital and nothing to add to your worries.

Making the "Best" of your trip
During this time it is sometimes so sudden and overwhelming that the consideration of doing anything besides be with your family is inconceivable. But in other instances maybe Grandma lived a long and happy 99 years and is in a better place, or maybe your taking your children and want to make them feel more comfortable about what has happened. I traveled solo on a compassion fare a few years ago for my Grandfathers funeral and just two weeks later a trip with our family to visit my husbands unexpectedly ill Grandfather in California. On our trip we tried to make the best of the situation and took a day to Seaworld and spent the rest of our time with family. It helped us to make the trip memorable in a good way and lessen the sadness of the situation. We had spent special time with Grandpa during those couple of days, he had been given 3 months to live and less than a week later, the day after Christmas, we lost him. We are thankful we rushed down to see him and still have great memories of that trip. It was our daughters first time flying, our first time to Seaworld and sadly the last time we saw Grandpa. I believe even in the worst of times, great memories can be made and cherished forever! ShareThis

Traveling while Pregnant - A few things you may not know

I have traveled during both of my pregnancies. Lilly, when I was about 4months and Logan when I was 7½ months. Both pregnancies were healthy and I had no reservations about traveling. But while I did so, I learned a few important things that I did not know about until I experienced them.

First off and most importantly, if you plan to travel while pregnant consult your doctor. Also check with your airline if you plan to fly. Some airlines have restrictions on travel and may require a doctor’s note.

Now on to the things I learned on my own, not by a doctor’s advice or by reading online.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Flying with pets: A smelly encounter

Recently while traveling with my family to Washington D.C I encountered more pets on our flights then I had ever seen. Is it a new trend to carry “Fifi” in your purse or bring along the entire family, including the 3 dogs, cat and a ferret? Yes, a ferret!

A woman with 3 dogs, two small kids and a ferret were checking in at the airline counter in front of us. Her hands undoubtedly too full; as we stood there her Labrador walked off and my husband was nice enough to chase after him, she hadn’t even realized he wandered away. Her reason for bringing the extra load was unknown to me but I assumed she was just crazy! It appeared that they were on a vacation.

As we boarded the plane, guess who was directly in front of us? Yep, you guessed it, the crazy dog lady. Giving her the benefit, I told my husband not to worry and it was probably no big deal. After we settled into our seats her one dog she carried onboard began to yelp. I’m sure they could hear it in the back row. Thankfully just after takeoff it must have taken a nap. Just as we began to enjoy the quiet time, a disgusting smell came from the seat ahead. The dog was farting up a storm. How do I know this? My mom is a dog lover and her dog blows us “kisses from the behind” quit often. It’s a distinct smell that can clear the room. The entire flight was mixed with moments of pleasure and moments of wanting to gag!

On our return flight I spoke with one nice lady traveling with her dog and she said she had already flown for several hours with her dog that morning and still had one more cross country flight to go. Her longest flight with her dog was once 20+hrs. Many airports are not yet “pet friendly” in providing areas for pets to roam and relieve themselves. So “Fido” is stuck in a carry on for however long you choose to fly. Can you imagine holding your bladder for over 20 hours? I find this to be borderline torture!

I get that many people out there love their animals to death and take them everywhere. But to be stuck on a 5hr flight with a dog farting the entire time is a bit much for you to expect others to endure. If you’re considering taking your animal on a flight, look into the options; doggy sitter at home, ride the flight with cargo or have them stay with a relative or friend. Not only is this easier, it’s most likely cheaper. After researching pets on flights I have found that flying your pet can cost anywhere from $75 to $200 per flight. If you do choose to carry on your pet, think about what you feed them the night before, and as recommended on a pet travel website, “Do not feed your pet for four to six hours prior to air travel. Small amounts of water can be given before the trip.” This advice can be beneficial for all parties involved.

Do you fly with your pets? Do you have any great suggestions for people who do? ShareThis

Monday, April 5, 2010

The unhappy camper...or maybe not?

This Northwest, coffee drinking, rain loving, flip flops in 50 degree weather mom hates camping! Several years ago my husband and I had purchased a trailer and became weekend warriors, hitting a new state park every weekend. After the season we had overloaded ourselves on camping, broke down a couple of times and we decided to sell the trailer we only had for a year.

Fast forward several years and two kids later and we have decided to try again! My husband has bugged me for months that he wants to buy a trailer to take the kids camping. "Rent One!" I suggest. But after some discussion and research we have decided to take the plung and become outdoorsman. Needless to say I would much rather be spending my weekend in a lush hotel with a pool and maid service, but I suppose spending some quality time with the family in the dirt, eating BBQ and hiking through the woods won't hurt. I'll still be taking plenty of vacations without a trailer in tow.

After spending a couple of weeks in search of the "perfect" trailer we finally found the one and are headed to purchase it today. With many things to consider such as length, weight, slideouts, bunkhouse, and whether to buy new or used; it can be a tough decision. It wasn't hard for me though to choose a new trailer, with their innovative features such as; flat screen TV, full kitchen, electrical gadgets and all the ameneties you need to feel like your in a hotel in the woods (except I'm the maid).

So our new travel adventures on the road will begin soon. Stayed tuned for my upcoming blog on our first camping trip. Two small kids in atrailer in the woods, Oh boy, this is going to be fun! ShareThis