Road Trip Links

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I know my posts this week have largely focused on flying with the kiddos – air travel probably could have been its own week!  Honestly, I just don’t quite feel as confident talking about what we do on road trips, because I still feel like I’m learning.  When we moved from Texas in January we did it over the course of two days, and it was a LOT of movies, more stops than I’d have liked to have made (although we did have two dogs with us), and a complete meltdown at the end (out of Daniel, not me).

So since I don’t feel like I have much to tell you about road trips with the kiddos, here are a few links for you:

Money Saving Mom did a 3-post series on road-trippin’ with the kids, covering packing, entertaining everyone, and being prepared for emergencies.

Kaboose has an absolutely packed article covering all aspects of road trip travel here.

And I found this article in Tulsa World about safety on road trips.

That’s it, folks!  Anyone have any road trip tips they’d like to share with me?  We’re heading out on a quick trip next weekend, so I can use all the advice I can get!

Whew!

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Travel week is winding down around here, although I’ll be back later today with a few road trip links for you, and sometime next week we’ll have our very first “Weekend Road Trip” post on the blog – I’ll be telling you about one of our favorite weekend getaway spots!

This has been a lot of writing and posting for me to do in one week!  I sure hope someone out there got something out of it all.  It was a different topic for me, but here’s my justification – regardless of where you are in the ‘burbs, you’re near at least one, maybe two (or more) major airports.  If you’re really lucky like us, you live close enough to O’Hare to have airplanes fly what seems like mere feet over your house every 15 minutes or so (did you catch the sarcasm?).  After living where we did in Texas I realized that for most of my life I took for granted the fact that I could fly anywhere in the world from an airport literally miles from my front door.  (In TX we had a small, regional airport, but it only flew to Dallas – the closest major airport was about 3 hours away.)  So, I think the ability to easily travel anywhere we want is a major perk of living in these “super suburbs.”

Anyway!  Back to my regularly scheduled Friday post.  :o)  What’s up with you this weekend?

I’m still debating taking the kiddos to the Cultivate Festival downtown.  I’m usually not too shy about taking them places by myself, but I know traffic/parking will be awful and it’ll probably be insanely crowded, so I just haven’t made up my mind yet.

In other news, my dad is moving out today.  This is a happy/sad thing for me – happy because I’ll finally not have to feel guilty about my shedding dogs or my kids waking everyone up at 6am on a Saturday, but sad because it’s actually been kind of cozy and nice to have him around.  Anyway, there will be some moving-related things that will probably keep me busy most of this weekend.  (Hmm, taking the kids to Cultivate is sounding better and better…)

What are your plans this weekend?  Anyone have any insights on the public transportation situation from the NW ‘burbs to Lincoln Park?  If I could take something directly there, I’d load the kids up in a heartbeat!

Our Favorite Apps

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Last night I posted about a few gadgets that could make traveling easier for you, and on Tuesday I showed you what’s in our bag when we travel.  Both those posts included a mention of the iPhone, so I figured now is a good time to share with you our favorite apps for keeping the kids entertained.  In no particular order…

 

Sheep Launcher (free) – A pretty basic game (you tap the sheep to make him bounce higher – miss him and he falls) that’s actually tougher than it looks.  My kids don’t care so much about actually making the sheep fly, their main fun here is making him blast off over and over!

 

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox ($0.99) – This one has some neat graphics for the toddler/preschool set!  It’s a monkey themed learning app that rotates through a few basic “games” involving counting, shape recognition, and memory.  Kids get stickers when they answer a certain number of questions correctly.  Be prepared to help with the matching game; it can be a little tough for the younger ones!

 

Teach Me Toddler ($0.99) – This is our favorite learning app for the iPhone.  While not as visually showy as Monkey Preschool Lunchbox (it’s not quite as bright and colorful), there’s a broader range of questions and it’s completely customizable.  Say your little one wants to work on letters – you can customize the app for that child to only ask questions pertaining to number recognition.  Or if your kiddo learned their colors years ago and those questions are far too easy, you can opt to have the app not include color questions.  You also customize the number of questions your child has to get correct before they earn a sticker (same concept as Monkey Preschool Lunchbox).  I seriously cannot rave on Teach Me Toddler enough, we love it!

 

Camera (free) – Just the basic camera on your phone, although I guess this will only work with phones with a front-facing camera.  Our kids love to make videos of themselves being silly, and with the front-facing camera they can see themselves to do so!  We’ve made some pretty goofy, fun videos this way.

 

Netflix (app is free, must have Netflix account to view) – We have a streaming-only account that we use at home and on our phones, and it’s awesome.  Netflix actually has a huge variety of children’s programming!  Some current favorites in our house are Tangled and Caillou’s Winter Wonders.  This one will require you to have service to use.  A number of planes actually have wifi these days, and even if you can’t use it in the air, it can be a God-send in the terminal while you’re waiting!

 

That’s just a handful of the apps that we use for our kids while we travel – our phones are both loaded with apps for the kiddos though, so do some digging and see what you can find.  I know not everyone is down with letting little kids use electronics like this, but when used responsibly we’re okay with it.

 

What are your favorite apps, for kids or for yourself?  I love Camera+, Logic Box, and Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook for me!

Travel Gadgets

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  1. CARES system – Attaches around your airplane seat to give your kid a harness without actually lugging a car seat onboard.  There are people who rent these out on eBay if you only need it once or twice – we used that service when Sophie was younger.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the CARES, but I know a lot of people who love it!
  2. Trunki – Not sure how practical this is, but it’s a suitcase that kids can ride on!  And it’s just adorable.
  3. gogo Kidz Travelmate – Turns your car seat into a stroller.  I SO wish we would have had one of these years ago!
  4. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Apptivity case – As I mentioned yesterday, the iPhone has been a lifesaver while traveling for us.  For younger kids, this will protect your phone and make it baby friendly!  FP also has apps – we haven’t tried them, but they look like fun for the littlest ones!
  5. Sunshine Kids Radian XT SL – A car seat that folds flat for travel?  Yes, please!  Even if you’re not planning to use it for travel, these are excellent seats.
  6. Neck roll – We still do not have these for our kids, but they’re on the Christmas lists this year!  I always wind up with a sore, wet arm from where Sophie’s fallen asleep on me on the plane.

And there you have it – 6 travel gadgets that can make your life easier!  As always, check Craigslist before you pay full-price for anything – I’ve seen the Travelmate on CL a few times (now that we’re too big to need it, of course!).

Any other gadgets you’d recommend?  One that I didn’t show on here is our dual-screen dvd player we have in the car – I’m not sure how we’d survive Texas to Illinois road trips without it!

Dos and Don’ts of Flying With Kids

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Just a few basic rules you should travel by!

 

Do pack more than you think you’ll need.

Don’t pack the loudest, biggest toys you own.

 

Do relax.

Don’t fall asleep while your kids run amuck.

 

Do fly at naptime.

Don’t fly at bedtime.  (Unless you have the kind of kids who you can let fall asleep, then wake them up, drag them through an airport, back home, and easily put them back to bed – mine, unfortunately, are NOT that type!)

 

Do ask for help when you need it.

Don’t assume the flight attendants are your personal nannies.

 

Do prepare for the worst.

But expect the best – when we’re in a good mood, good things tend to happen!

 

And most importantly of all – do travel!  Flying with kids is a little like labor – women seem to like to tell the God-awful stories about the time their 2 year old got frisked at security or when their 5 year old spent an entire flight throwing up on them.  Take those anecdotes with a grain of salt and don’t let them dissuade you from making memories with your family!

 

Last night I shared what’s in our bag when we fly – tonight I’ll be posting a round-up of gadgets that could make your life easier when you take to the skies.  Tomorrow I’ll have a list of our favorite apps, and at the end of the week I’ll have some road trip links for those of you who prefer the open road!

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