Child-friendly travel: The initial checklist

There was once a time where travel was a simple affair. Then, the kids came.

Few would disagree that this brings a different complexity to enjoying your holiday. Now, you’re perhaps not choosing destinations based on vibrant nightlife, but more on what it takes to keep the little ones happy.

Of course, planning such a getaway is easier said than done. This is what today’s guide is all about, as we look at four areas you should be looking to keep on top of as you plan your child-friendly holiday.

Consider Cities Like Portsmouth

If you are planning a trip to the UK, you might have your heart set on London – and this isn’t a surprise.

However, when traveling with your little ones, a degree of common sense needs to enter the picture. It’s cities like London which bring crowds of tourists and if your family is young, this is something that is going to be difficult, and stressful, to deal with.

It means that this presents the perfect opportunity to think outside the box. Consider somewhere like Portsmouth, which still has plenty to do but without the tourist-heavy crowds which can really weigh your trip down.

Stay longer in each location

For those of you who might be looking at staying in several locations across your trip, this point is for you.
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Coconut Bay Resort, St. Lucia

No matter what kind of vacation you are looking for- family trip, a romantic couples retreat, girlfriends getaway- you can find what you are looking for on the diverse island of St. Lucia. Coconut Bay is located near the airport (in fact, just five minutes away), so you won’t have a long trek to your room once you arrive. That’s never a welcome surprise, is it? Once there, you are greeted by friendly staff with cool towels and cold drinks of your choice- water, rum punch, or champagne.

Coconut Bay

As you refresh and cool off, you and your entourage check into your room.  You can take your bags or have them taken to your room for your, and your vacation really begins. A recently renovated resort on 85 acres, the all inclusive Coconut Bay offers plenty to see, do, (eat!) and explore.  There are nine restaurants, seven bars, five pools, a fully functional and not all all lacking fitness center (lets face it, often “gyms” while vacationing are weak sauce) the largest waterpark on the island, and more. Did I mention it was all inclusive? Because that makes things so. much. easier. Also, the beach is just past the pools- no long hike to and fro.

best family vacation

We took my daughter for a long weekend, and there was definitely not enough time to see all that we wanted to on the resort, let along the island. So it’s a great spot for a quick getaway, but for sure even better for those who like a more immersive experience. If you are traveling as an adults only getaway, you will likely prefer to stay o the “Harmony” wing of the resort, which does not allow children. When you get a moment to get away from it all- your routine, the kids, the noise-  the last thing you want to hear is someone else’s kids screaming, and that’s totally fair and understandable- and other adults get that. It can be hard to find time to reconnect as a couple, and Coconut Bay makes sure you can have those quiet moments you are looking for, complete with hammocks and lounge chairs everywhere you look.

St Lucia Resort

Brining the kids? Totally cool. I usually do as well. The “Splash” wing is for families, and where you will find the waterpark, the only resort petting zoo on the island (and the only one I can remember seeing ever in my own experience), the Kidz Club, and even a paintball course.  It is for sure the louder side of the resort, and there are plenty of family friendly activities to keep everyone busy. Also, a note for those looking to keep active while traveling- they have really good fitness classes offered. Actual quality, that are both fun and challenging. You will be working up a sweat but enjoying yourself at the same time. Again, not something I see all the time. Places might have gyms and classes, but they are not usually anywhere near this intensity, and we were super impressed.
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Waterville Valley, New Hampshire

Looking for an all-season resort you can enjoy with the family? Look no further then the beautiful Waterville Valley Resort, set in the always stunning White Mountains of New Hampshire.

We are lovers of NH, it’s not hard to find a reason to get us to head up for a visit. If you have ever set foot in the small but stunning state, you likely are as well. Outdoors Enthusiasts will be hard pressed to be kept away, no matter what the sport(s) or recreational activities of their choice might be.

white mountains

With endless outdoor fun at your fingertips, and natural beauty as unspoiled as you can find without heading way, way out (and you can do that as well if you desire more solitude and untouched nature),  the hardest part of your vacation will be choosing what activities you have time for on this trip- and planning when you can make a return visit.

Everyone needs a comfortable spot to lie their heads at night, and choosing your “home away from home” can be stressful. No matter what the reviews say, it is always a crapshoot- you never really know what you are going to get. Personal experience is always the best, and from my own experience, I can tell you I’ll be heading back to Waterville Valley Resort. It was as advertised, comfortable (ad clean), with amenities and multiple (clean!) restaurants and stores within a stones throw from your room. Forgot something, lose something? Always, right? Not a problem, there is someplace that sells what you need in the resort.  And there’s not price gouging, either, which is both refreshing and oh-so rare. You can even souvenir shop while you meander about.

hiking in new hampshire

Truly a nature lovers paradise, you can enjoy the fall foliage, winter wonderland, spring blooms, and summer splendor all from the mountain valley with a 360 degree views.  The location is truly stunning. As Waterville Valley Resort is nestled deep within the White Mountain National Forest and hosts a wide selection of activities for everyone within it’s grounds. You can always venture off property as well, but if you wanted to stay in one general spot and still be able to see and do, this is a fantastic spot to be in. (Bonus? The staff is amazing. Nice, friendly, accommodating, helpful- honestly. Apparently, they are trained this way. Imagine! Training to put the guests experiences first. What a throwback, and a most welcome one.)
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Rhode Island Bound

rhode island

When planning your trip to Rhode Island you might not be thinking of horseback riding on the beach, but you should be. C and L Stables located in Goddard Memorial State Park and offer access to 18 miles of trails or beach rides along the East Greenwich Bay. Riders of all levels are welcome and the stables has even been awarded the North American Horseman Association “SAFETY AWARD” ten years in a row.

rhode island museum

If history is more your style visit the Cloud Hill Victorian House Museum. An authentic example of Victoriana and Rhode Island architecture designed by William Walker & Sons the house was originally a wedding gift and has remained in the family since then. One of these family members is Anne “Nancy” Allen Holst, whose history you can learn more about. She is an inspiration for her work fighting fire and became the world’s first female fire chief.
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There’s More to NY than NYC

New York’s Finger Lakes region is a beautiful destination filled with history, adventure, and the great outdoors. Hikers, historians, artists, and literary buffs alike can find numerous attractions to draw them to the area. From Mark Twain’s time spent writing in Elmira, to the Corning Museum of Glass, and the natural splendor of forests and lakes, this is a truly inspirational trip.

NY State vacation

Mark Twain Country

One of America’s greatest writers, Mark Twain, was a regular visitor to Elmira NY. He summered there for over 20 years, his words flowing as he looked out over the countryside, penning such works as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Now tourists can have their own adventures in the very same surroundings.

You can visit the octagonal study where Twain wrote, which he called “the loveliest study you ever saw.” USA Today list it as the “number one literary attraction in America”. Now located at Elmira College, tours of the study are offered. Or perhaps a trip to Woodlawn Cemetery to see the author’s final resting place. Don’t be surprised to see a cigar or two, a common offering to the memory of the great Mark Twain.

In July and August the hour long Trolley into Twain Country Tour is available. Starting at the Chemung Valley History Museum the narrated tour hits multiple historic stops in Elmira touching on Twain, Civil War Sites, the restored Powers Theater, and Dunn Field, “home of the Elmira Pioneers baseball team”.

Tanglewood Nature Center even features a Mark Twain trail. Quotes from the author are posted along the trail. His voice still resonates surrounded by the very places he too visited. Twain’s appreciation of the natural world is reflected in all of his work, and though he traveled all over the world this is the countryside he returned to time and time again.

Younger visitors may find the Children’s Trail more up their alley. This path includes some obstacle courses while following “a disassembled nature-themed book along the way.” The Nature Center is home to more than 40 species of live animals most notably their birds of prey. They have ongoing education programs and events for kids and families.

gliders

Soaring Above Harris Hill

Searching for a loftier view? Try a trip above the tree tops. Soaring is a familiar word, but what does it mean when you are entering the “Soaring Capital of America”? An opportunity to take to the skies in a glider, high above the terrain that inspired some of America’s greatest literary works.

You can visit the National Soaring Museum to learn about these motorless planes or head over to Harris Hill Soaring Corporation in Elmira NY for a ride in the passenger seat. Weather can be an issue with gliding, but on a clear day there are no prettier view for your silent 15-20 minute flight across the sky.
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The Hermitage Club of Southern Vermont

The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain is a premiere destination for any New England visitor or local. Southern Vermont is easily accessible, just two hours from Boston and four hours from NYC, and puts you right in the center of the East Coast’s only private ski resort. Members enjoy year round entertainment surrounded by the natural beauty of the mountains.

family ski trip

Spa, dining, and luxury accommodations are a fixture at the Hermitage Club while providing a safe environment for outdoor and indoor activities on the 1,400 acre resort complete with private mountain. Ski slopes, bike and hiking trails offer access to the beautiful scenery. Seasonal programs, with age specific focuses and even day care for the little ones are available so that parents and older siblings can hit the slopes or trek the mountainside make this a perfect option for all family members.

family travel

There are multiple lodging options for visitors to meet any preference. The Vermont House is located in downtown Wilmington Vermont offering the historical experience of an 1850’s colonial inn or the Inn at Sawmill Farm where you can spend your night in the renovated Carriage House. The Brook Bound Inn is near the Hermitage Clubhouse and offers a variety of rooms and even full house rentals for larger groups. Pools for swimming, a golf course, tennis and basketball courts are just the beginning of the features.
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Staying Healthy when Traveling Abroad with a Baby

family travel

When you have children and become a parent, you definitely don’t have to stop doing things that you did before. One of those things in particular is travel. There can be a bit of an idea that your wanderlust and travels has to stop when you’ve got a baby. But travel with children can be a really rewarding thing to do, as there are some amazing memories that you can make, as well as fun experiences that you can all do together. It isn’t always easy, and will be different to what you are used to, but it can most certainly be done.

One of the biggest stressors when traveling with a baby is that you want your baby to be healthy when you are away. The thought of having to visit a doctor or a hospital when you’re in a place that you don’t know, or where you don’t speak the language, can be stressful and not something that you want to do. So making sure that you are able to keep your baby well on your trip is such a good idea, to make sure that you can have the best trip possible. With all of that in mind, here are a few ideas and tips to help you be prepared and keep baby healthy and well when you travel.

See a Doctor Before You Go

 

If you are unsure about anything before you travel, then speaking to your doctor or pediatrician is a really good idea. It could be a good idea to talk about your travel plans, as well as checking on things like vaccinations, especially if your baby is young. Sites like this one could also help if you’re looking for information about vaccinations and travel with young children: https://www.fitfortravel.com/general-travel-health-advice/child-travellers. Your doctor might even give you some suggestions to keep your baby healthy as you go and travel.
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Travels in and around Sacramento, California

California tourists know big city names like Sacramento, but a visit to Northern California offers more than one opportunity to enjoy the area. A great place for a classic road trip, Camino, Coloma, Columbia, Jamestown, Placerville, Sonora, and  Tuolumne County are full of attractions just around the next bend in the road.

Sacramento

Sacramento is one of California’s largest cities and full of family friendly attractions. Museums dedicated to such topics as transportation, art, and history can all be found here along with shops, restaurants, and “Old Sacramento, a registered national landmark and state historic park”. With the diverse offerings there is something that will appeal to every family member.

visit california

Trains, cars, or both? Sacramento is home to the California State Railroad Museum and California Auto Museum. Transportation and the area’s history are closely tied as the city was part of the transcontinental railroad and Pony Express. The Railroad Museum not only displays restored locomotives and train cars, they also feature “40 one-of-a kind exhibits”. Here you can learn about railroad history from 1850 to the trains we ride today. A mile down the road the Auto Museum is full of examples of more modern four wheeled transport. The collection features cars from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, originals and restorations.

california railroad

Art? The Crocker Art Museum is a perfect stop. Opening in 1885 the museum is a part of history too, the “first public art museum in the Western United States”.  Enjoy more than the art when visiting, there are also live events, tours, and classes for kids, adults, or the whole family. When planning your trip be sure to check out their Events Calendar on the site.

History? Old Town Sacramento Historic District is a living piece of the past. Shops once supplied miners in search of gold, now those historic buildings house shops and eateries that appeal to new visitors in the area. The Sacramento History Museum is there to expand your local knowledge or if you want to go back before the city was founded try the California State Indian Museum.

travel in california

California Gold Rush

Gold brought the original settlers to the region and now you can learn about the history and recapture the experience at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma Ca. James Marshall triggered the “largest migration in history” when he discovered gold in 1848. With a museum, gold panning, candle and rope making you can spend the afternoon living history.
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