Summer Family Travel Plans

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Photo credit: Travel Writing On Location
Every year my family along with my mother, sister and her family, my brother and his family plan a vacation together. It is the only time our schedules jive. This year, we started planning late, it’s between Florida and Arizona. I really don’t care where we go as long as it’s hot. This winter has done me in!!!!!!!

How far in advance do you start planning for summer travel? Where are you going this summer? Will it be your first visit or is this an annual trip?

Happy travels! – Cute Beltz

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3 Last Minute Getaways for Family Fun this Labor Day

I was looking for a last minute get a way for Labor Day, so I am happy to see this post from Red Tricycle. I’ve been thinking about visiting Mystic, CT for quit some time and it seems they have lots to do. Have you visited any of these places? Any tips?

Red Tricycle

Before you break out the sweaters or buy back-to-school supplies, here’s your chance to enjoy one last summer getaway with the fam. Even if you haven’t booked a vacation yet, you can still avoid the crowds this Labor Day weekend and check out these under-the-radar yet super fun family destinations not too far from the city. Pick your choice of the mountains, a lake, or the beach and go for it before summer is gone for good!

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Photo courtesy of Church Street Marketplace via Yelp

Burlington, Vt

Are we there yet: 1-hour direct flight or 5.5 hours by car

Keep ‘em busy: This charming small town is settled along picturesque Lake Champlain. Explore the Burlington Waterfront Park with a boardwalk, picnic areas and amazing views. Rent bikes and pedal along a 7.5 mile long waterfront Bike Path.

Take a swim and enjoy the beach at North Beach featuring kayaking and a snack bar. Oakledge Park

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Traveling With Kids Simplified

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Whether you’re taking your first big trip with a newborn or you’re a seasoned traveler with a disaffected teen, these tips and tools can help make family vacations more fun and way less stressful for everyone. Check out how you can make traveling with kids a breeze!

Packing

Depending on the age of the kids, have each child bring a small backpack filled with their toys and goodies for the flight.  When possible, load their bags with some of the other things that you need, such as bottles, diapers and wipes. Even very young kids can carry a small backpack filled with their own diapers. This saves you space in your bag and makes the child feel like a “big” boy or girl.

To avoid lugging a heavy stroller, buy a lightweight or “umbrella” stroller for your trip. They are generally inexpensive (under $50) and easy to roll down the ramp and gate check.  If you bring a cumbersome stroller, the airline might have you check it as luggage. You also run the risk of an expensive stroller getting damaged in transit. Whichever you bring, wait to check it at the gate, right before boarding. It will be waiting for you when you land and you’ll be able to wheel junior to the baggage claim.

With a baby under age 2, bring an FAA approved car seat onto the plane with you. If there is an extra seat you will be given the extra seat for the baby. If not, then they will take it from you and put it underneath. This is a great option if you need a car seat where you are going. If not, it is probably not worth it.

Booking and Checking In

When selecting a flight, try to book nonstop flights during off-peak hours, either early or late, when kids are likely to sleep through more of the trip.

Check in for your flight online as early as possible (24 hours before).  If you are traveling with an infant consider asking for a seat in the back of the plane. If there are any empty seats left on the flight, chances are they will be there, and you might have extra room to stretch out. In addition, you are closer to the bathrooms, will have extra standing space and will have flight attendants close at hand, if you need them. Bulkhead seats have a little extra leg room, and remember that you’ll need to avoid exit-row seats with kids.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

How early you need to arrive depends upon a variety of factors, including your airline, airport, plans for parking, flight time and whether or not you are checking baggage. If you’re traveling during school vacations, chances are good the airport will be crowded with other families doing the same. We recommend arriving at least ninety minutes ahead of your scheduled departure. Keep in mind that some destinations (such as international flights and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have earlier check-in times than others and if you miss the plane, it can be very difficult for you to find enough seats or seats together on a later flight.  Because of the new security regulations, make sure you and the children are in shoes that are easy to get on and off. Before taking off the children’s shoes, double check with security if it is necessary, since depending on the type of shoe, often it is not

Keep Kids Entertained

Try to pack a few surprises for the kids in your carry-on. Go to a discount store, and pick up a couple of small inexpensive items like stickers, small toys or action figures for younger kids and music, books or handheld games for older kids.   Pack toys that do not have pieces and do not require numerous things to work. Better even than a coloring book and crayons is a doodle pad with the coloring stick attached that can erase and start over.

During takeoff and landing, make sure to have kids drink or chew gum. Make sure the baby is either nursing or drinking a bottle. Explain to them what is happening, and if they are too small to see out the window, play a game where they have to tell you when you are finally in the air or when you have finally touched ground.

Have fun! –Cute Beltz

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Toddler Belts & Kids Belts

Disney Cruise – Kids Sail Free | Cute Beltz

Kids Sail Free on Select Galveston Cruises

Disney Cruise from Galveston, TX

If you read my previous post, Dreaming Of a December Vacation, you know I need a vacation!  Well, after doing a little research I discovered that Disney is offering a deal for kids to sail free from January 4, 2013 to March 1, 2013.  The catch, it’s from Galveston, TX(makes me wish I still lived in Texas).  I haven’t done the calculations yet, but it may be cheaper for me to fly to Texas and leave from there, but will see.  It would also give me the opportunity to see some family and friends.  So, for all my Texas friends, here’s your chance to go on a Disney Cruise and not pay for your kids, YIPPIE! Click here to find out more details —> Kids Sail Free on Disney Cruise.  Start planning now because I am sure this offer will sell out.

Here’s to a great deal, thanks Disney! – Cute Beltz

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Toddler Belts & Kids Belts

Dreaming Of a December Vacation | Cute Beltz

I need a vacation!!

 

The kids have only been in school for  2 months and I need a vacation! Between activities and school this mommy is one tried cookie.  So, December can’t get her fast enough because the family will be escaping to somewhere warm.  I’m thinking Disney, not sure if I will go for the cruise or one of the Disney Parks, but either way the kids, dad and mom are getting out of dodge for a little R & R.   We’ve been to Disney World, but never the cruise, can’t decide????  If you have been on the cruise, I would love to hear about your experience and tips.

Here’s to December Vacation! -Cute Beltz

Cute Beltz - Belts for Kids

Toddler Belts & Kids Belts

Summer Staycation or Vacation?

I love summer!  It is the time to relax, free your mind and love your kids to pieces.  So what’s on your agenda?  Will you be taken a vacation to the beach, trip to Disney World or staying close to home?  I will be home with my girls for most of the summer, except for our annual family vacation to Hilton Head, SC.  For our time at home,  I have planned these fun day trips we will be taking.

Manhattan Children’s Museum

Sesame Place

Bronx Zoo

American Museum of Natural History

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Free Adventure to the Sony Wonder Tech Lab is a technology and entertainment museum.  You can check their schedule of upcoming events for movies and family workshops.  Make sure you plan ahead, seats go fast.

Quick Trips – Washington, DC and Philadelphia, less than 5 hours.

And more………

Don’t forget to check your local resources.  I use Red Tricycle, Mommy Poppins , Go City Kids(Nickelodeon’s Parents Connect) and Moms In the City(for my NY peeps).  All of these sites really help me plan well.  Make sure you check your local network and newspapers for all the great activities in your area.

What’s on your agenda?

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Holiday Vacation Tips When You Work for You

As a small business we all could use some tips on taking a vacation because we work HARD!  Liza Porteus Viana article shed some light on just “how to” take a vacation.  As a small business owner, Liza asked me my take and I provided my insight on vacations.

Holiday Vacation Tips When You Work for You

The holidays are fast approaching and for those who work at home, many may have the option of taking extended time off — a perk to being your own boss. But should you?

When it comes to signing off on your own vacation time, it’s a personal decision for which one has to weigh the benefits – and costs.

“You are truly your own boss and truly do manage or try to manage yourself in terms of any kind of away time – whether it’s around the holidays or otherwise. It’s all part of that process,” said Bill Kahnweiler, associate professor and human resource expert at Georgia State University’s Department of Public Management and Policy.

Read complete article…

Please leave a comment, I would love to hear how you mange your vacations as a small business owner.

Happy Holidays from Cute Beltz!