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Tips For Flying With An Infant

Flying with an infant can be stressful, but with a little planning ahead you can make sure your trip runs smoothly.  Check out these 8 tips from Liz, from our iFamily Mom Squad on how to make flying with an infant easy!

Tips For Flying With An Infant This Summer

With summer vacation in full swing right now, it’s important to know what to expect when heading to the airport with your little babe. I recently traveled with my 10 week old infant on a  non-stop flight on Southwest.  These are my biggest take-aways that I learned!

1. When flying with your baby (2 and under), make sure to have a copy of their birth certificate.

2. The stroller and car seat do not count against your 2 free bags! Yay!

3. The baby can  ride in the stroller all the way to the gate.

4. When going through security, an adult carries the  baby while the stroller and car seat go through the X Ray machine or patted down manually.

5. If bringing breast milk and formula through security, allow time for extra screening.

6. Any ice pack that is used to keep your milk cold MUST be frozen while going through security.

7. Stroller and car seats are not allowed on the plane, (unless you have purchased a seat for your baby, then a car seat is allowed). Before actually boarding the plane, leave the stroller and car seat at the end of the jetway.  It will be safety loaded under the plane.  When de-planing, the stroller and car seat will be on the jetway for you to pick up.

8. During take off and descending, ease your baby’s ear pressure by nursing or giving a bottle (swallowing helps relieve the pressure).

When flying an airline other than Southwest, make sure to check your airlines website and the TSA guides regarding traveling with a baby.

Don’t stress at all about the thought of flying with an infant. You can maintain your sanity just by being prepared.  Honestly, flying with a young baby is super easy given you don’t have the extra baggage of toys and snacks yet.  Give your baby a good feeding during take off and enjoy the snuggles flying high.

From iFamily to Yours,

14 Safety Tips to Keep in Mind When Traveling

Howdy, Kansas City! Many of us have to travel for our jobs, vacations, etc. And while it’s great to get out and see the world, it’s also important to remember: safety first! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great tips on staying safe and smart while traveling. Check it out!

14 Safety Tips to Keep in Mind When Traveling

14 Safety Tips to Keep in Mind When Traveling

 

The world is a scary place and it gets scarier with every news story that scrolls across the screen. I am at the point that I won’t even turn it on in the mornings for fear that I won’t leave my bed! And the worst part is these news reporters don’t even have to travel to find these stories—they are happening right next door!

Now I am a strong advocate for not living in fear and showing what an independent, strong and brave woman I am, but sometimes even I need to check myself (and my ego) at the door! My husband is constantly trying to get me to realize that I need to pay attention to my surroundings at all times. I will be honest, at first I didn’t listen but now, especially that I have kids; I have to do it more. But when I travel for work, I find myself doing things that are probably a little dangerous, i.e. walking to the restaurant in Boston which happened to be on the other side of the Public Park!

I wanted to write this article to just bring it to our attention that we are strong men and women but just a small thing can turn you into a victim. So below are 14 tips for traveling alone and in some cases just leaving our house!

 

#1 With hotels – smaller can be smarter

When it comes to finding a hotel, smaller can actually be smarter. Hear me out, the staff is more likely to know you and call you by name. There is also not so much of a chance of loiterers in the lobby or in common areas. Course let’s face it, these boutique hotels can sometimes be way outside the price range. So if you do find yourself at a large chain, just get to know the day and night shift front desk person. It can make you feel safe and they really enjoy it as well!

 

#2 Be aware when working out at hotels

Speaking of the hotel, who doesn’t want to keep up our workout routine while on vacation? Okay so maybe not on vacation but when we are traveling for work sometimes it is a great stress reliever. Just pay attention if there is an attendant or if you need a key to get in to workout area. If not, it could be a good idea to call someone before and after you go.

 

#3 Be weary of the “Do Not Disturb” sign

Please don’t be my husband when he travels! He always puts the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. That just tells people that you aren’t there and if they are really paying attention they can track when you come and go! Most hotels will let you just call housekeeping instead to ask for your room not to be cleaned. This way it won’t cause additional attention to your empty room.

 

#4 Handle important documents & money wisely

Carry just one credit card and photocopies of important documents. Divide money for small and larger purchases so you don’t have to expose a wad of bills. And try not to carry large bills when possible. Become familiar with foreign currency before you need to use it so that you aren’t fumbling or accidentally give them too much or too little.

 

#5 Let your concierge know when traveling alone

When you ask the concierge to make any restaurant reservations, have him or her say, “Please take care of our guest, she’s coming alone and will need a taxi home.”

 

#6 Women traveling alone — check out these sites

I wasn’t aware of this– for all our female travelers, I guess there are a lot of great networks to connect female travelers all around the world. Be cautious, of course, as you would on any internet connection site. But what a great way to ask about customs, where to stay and eat and things to do in their area. Check out: The Travelettes, Go Girl Travel Network, Pink Pangea.

 

#7 Get creative in storing your valuables

Have you heard this one yet? Store any extra cash in a wrapped up diaper? Another one I saw was a tampon box. Unfortunately, now that everyone had heard of this then every thief will look there. So how about a shoe or in a soap box that you get from the hotel. Just think like a thief for a moment!

 

#8 Consider portable security features

Portable security features. Door alarms that can easily be carried on as well as door jams that are a lot easier than using a chair jammed under the door knob. Think of this too if you happen to have adjoining rooms with someone you don’t know. Or a door that faces into a parking lot or courtyard.

 

#9 Get a second key

The front desk always asks me if I want one or two keys. I usually say one because it is hard enough keeping track of everything unless I am traveling with someone else so they can keep track of one too. But I came across a good tip. Keep two hotel keys with you — one in your bag and one on your person. That way if your bag is taken, you change wallets or purses or you leave it somewhere, at least you aren’t locked out of your room!

 

#10 Keep only one headphone in your ear

We all take our travel time to listen to music, an audiobook, or if you are like me I constantly have a podcast streaming in order to pass the time. Although it may be difficult to hear it is a great idea to only keep one headphone in your ear, this way you can always stay alert.

 

#11 Snap a photo of your taxi/Uber license plate

Snap a picture of your cab’s license plate before you get in it. Or take a picture of the license inside the cab (THAT IS REQUIRED) to be in full view of the passenger. You may think taxis are the safest thing, even if they are arranged by a concierge or restaurant host but even they are not safe in some instances. And please don’t even get me started on Uber! Please check the license plate and person BEFORE you get in with the app, if it isn’t the same then don’t be afraid to pass! This happened to me while traveling, the Uber driver showed up in a different car and obviously different license plate—he told me it was his wife’s car that he was borrowing. I politely declined, he was angry but I felt a lot safer that way!

 

#12 Trust your instincts

 

Speaking of which—it is always okay to turn down help with your bags, an invitation to dinner or a drink! Don’t be afraid to be rude if it means feeling safe. And trust your instincts about when to accept help.

 

#13 Remember — well lit & public areas

Along those same lines, do you know that it is your right if you get pulled over by a policeman that you can wait until you are in a well-lit and public area to actually stop. Now you can’t just floor it to try and get to the closest mall; you have to make an effort of slowing down and signaling that you are intending to pull over. You can also ask to see his/her credentials (badge, ID) before you roll down the window. Just keep in mind that you need to explain what you are doing as you are doing it, otherwise you can look a little sketchy. There are so many stories out there of people traveling alone being pulled over by someone impersonating a police officer.

 

#14 Take a full-body selfie & send it to someone

To wrap this up, there was a great idea posted to the comment section of the article. “I make a point of taking a full-body selfie every morning before I leave the hotel & posting it to Facebook, along with texting it to my husband. If anything happens, there’s a recent photo that also documents what I was wearing that day.” I am not too sure if you need to post to Facebook because that will indicate you are traveling. But not a bad idea to send it to someone just in case!

 

Now that you are truly scared and probably will never leave your house, let’s take a step back. Chances are nothing will probably happen to you, but I promise that those chances skyrocket when you aren’t protecting yourself with just little things that you do on a daily basis. Don’t take for granted that “this is a small town” or “we are in the Midwest, what could happen here!” These types of phrases are usually the first thing that get us into trouble. I found a lot of these tips in two really great articles; feel free to check them out. 50 Tips for Female Travelers and 46 Incredibly Useful Safety Tips for Traveling Alone.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 


5 Tips to Plan An Exciting Kid-Free Weekend Getaway!

Happy Sunday, Kansas City! With the craziness of the fall months, it can wear us parents out. And frankly, sometimes we need more than just a night out. We need a weekend to ourselves to reconnect and get a break from the kiddos (regardless of how much we adore them). Thankfully, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette gives 5 fantastic tips on scheduling that getaway. Check it out!

5 Tips to Plan An Exciting Kid-Free Weekend Getaway!

 

 

5 Tips to Plan An Exciting Kid-Free Weekend Getaway!

 

Finally have the time to go on vacation? Need a break from the reality of, well, life?! Nothing is more fitting than a kid free weekend getaway! But as a mom and as someone that is borderline OCD, I know how stressful it can be to plan, arrange and even execute a successful kid free getaway.

 

First off, give yourself time to plan!

 

Don’t try and rush your time away, you will more than likely forget something, go over budget and in some cases, end up disappointed in one way or another. Try to plan your weekend getaway at least one month in advance. That will give you time to really look around for deals, local attractions and if you are like me, read every review you can find! Remember, before you book your destination, make sure you read their cancellation policy! Can you get a refund? Can you reschedule? All that jazz…

 

Leave your children with someone they are comfortable with.

 

One thing you definitely don’t want is your child giving them such a hard time that they are forced to call you… TRUST ME! Make sure they enjoy their time there and you know that they are willing to follow your rules and schedule. You will be able to relax a lot more knowing that things back home are solid!

 

Lists, reservations, confirmation numbers, and directions

 

Once you have those ducks in a row, make a list of places or things you are going to do and a list of alternatives, call and make reservations, print confirmation numbers and directions! It’s no fun and really annoying when you have a plan that gets canceled because of weather or because the wait time at a romantic restaurant is over 2 hours! As much as we rely on our phones for numerus things, having directions printed, saved or even just written down can be a life saver. I can’t count how many times my phone signal would get lost driving out in no man’s land. So just to be on the safe side, keep a set of directions that don’t require service!

 

Packing, packing, packing

 

When it comes to packing, I have one simple rule. “Days x 2.5!” Pack 2 outfits per day then throw in one or two alternative outfits incase a sudden change in weather or change in plans. Be prepared! When it comes to shoes, accessories, makeup and all that, bring a few options as well. You never know what the weekend will hold!

 

Have fun!

 

Last of all and probably the most important thing, HAVE FUN! Relax, take in the scenery and let the stress of the week go away. Listen to your favorite music, have a drink or two and just have a good time! As parents, we don’t get enough time off or breaks, we are literally 24/7… and as much as we try to keep it together, we need our time!

So next time you are planning a kid free getaway, I hope you will remember these little tips to make your getaway even more memorable!

Let us know your favorite tips for scheduling a weekend getaway. Share in the comments!

From iFamily to Yours,

ifam_brigette

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips to Plan an Exciting & Kid-Free Weekend Getaway

 

 


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Affording Disney: Summer Travel On A Budget

Happy Mother’s Day, Kansas City!

With summertime rapidly approaching (I’m still not sure how that happened), many families will be looking to book family travel for the upcoming months. Most of us fall into one of two travel categories: Package Deal Travelers or DIY Budget Planners. This post should give you a pretty clear indication of which category I fall into. Package Deal travelers tend to gravitate towards the all inclusive packages that many resorts and top locations and, while these deals can be great (Walt Disney World frequently offers up to 30% off when you book a package deal), you can save big dollars when you take the time to map out vacation travel in advance making that Disney trip affordable on your budget. I’ve compiled a list of ways that we saved BIG on our last trip to Disney World in Orlando.

How To Afford Disney World In 5 Easy Steps

#1 – Keep Your Eyes On The Skies 

I used to be the kind of traveler who was content paying whatever price happened to pop up when I went to book a flight but then I realized that those rates tend to fluctuate…a lot. Before you start planning for your next vacation, I suggest signing up as a rewards or preferred member with your favorite airlines (which shouldn’t cost you anything at all). Many of them will add you to their email distribution list where you’ll get updates on sales for top destinations such as Orlando.

I was able to snag direct flights with Southwest Airlines from Kansas City to Orlando for just over $110 a piece giving us plenty of extra room left over in the budget for other parts of our adventure. My family signed up for their Rapid Rewards Visa Card which gave us extra points on our travel that we plan to apply for future vacations.

#2 – Flexibility Is Key 

One of the best ways to stretch your travel budget is to be flexible in your schedule. Airlines, hotels, and even some attractions offer discounted rates when you book during certain times. When I started planning our travel to Florida, I really tried to avoid feeling like we had to travel on specific days. Rather, I looked at what dates would give us the most bang for our buck and planned our trip accordingly. Smart planning can save you hundreds on your flights and hotels.

DisneyParks

#3 – Be Loyal To Your Park 

There are certain costs (like park tickets, for example) that are absolutely unavoidable and the first few times I planned travel to Disney World, I had convinced myself that I really needed the Park Hopper tickets. While that flexibility can be nice to have (I’ll touch on this in a future post), it comes at a cost that adds up quickly. During our last trip, I opted to purchase single park tickets to one park each day and saved a lot of money overall. What I discovered was that there is often more to do at one location than there are hours in the day so it pays to be loyal to your park. To enjoy all of the wonderful attractions at Magic Kingdom, for example, you would likely need to visit over the course of two days to get it all in.

# 4 – Let Your Accommodations Accommodate You

There are hundreds (that might be an exaggeration, I haven’t counted them all) of hotels to select from when visiting Orlando and the task of selecting the right one can be overwhelming. I think that’s why a lot of families tend to just opt for staying at an official Walt Disney World resort (I’ve stayed at several of them throughout the years myself). It’s a common misunderstanding that you can’t get the same benefits of staying on Disney when you’re not at one of their hotels and I was happy to learn that during my last visit. After careful research, I booked a room for my family at the B Resort Orlando right next to Downtown Disney.

Since the hotel is on Disney Property, we were able to take advantage of some of the same great services (such as free shuttle service to and from the parks and help with purchasing tickets and planning our time at the parks) that we would have gotten had we stayed at one of Disney’s Resorts. The B Resort also has an on-site spa, a zero entry pool, great size family rooms, a place for kids to relax and play, and restaurants so that there was always something enjoyable to do while we were at the hotel. All of this came at a fraction of what we’ve paid during previous trips to Orlando staying at a Disney themed hotel.

#5 – Make Your Meals Count

Planning your meals, snacks, and drinks ahead of time can save your family tons of money on your Disney vacation. We planned to spend money on one character meal per day at the park and eat smart the remainder of our time. Even though some of those meals came at a pretty steep cost (the Disney Junior Character lunch at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios was $30/person), the memories we created was well worth planning our other meals differently.

One of the great things about going to the Disney parks it that they allow you to bring food on site. We ate a big breakfast at the hotel daily (their buffet was, hands down, one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had) and packed healthy snacks in our backpack to munch on before having a late lunch at the park. Afterwards, we had a light dinner and then came back to the hotel to put our toddler to bed before watching the Epcot fireworks from the balcony in our room.

If there’s one take away I hope you get from today’s post it’s this: With smart planning, planning a Disney trip to Orlando can be affordable. It’s been said that if you watch the pennies the dollars will take care of themselves and that is definitely true when it comes to traveling on a budget. Coming up SOON on the blog, I’ll share more on the Disney parks we visited and the ones that we thought were best for our family.

Until then,

Happy Mother’s Day!