Disposable cameras for kids – Traveling with kids tip

Buy at least one disposable camera for each child on the trip. These are very inexpensive and will keep your child entertained for a long time. Tell each child that they should take pictures of things on the trip that they find interesting. Mom and dad should have one too.

When you get back home and develop the film, each person should make a scrapbook and tell the family why they took each picture.

You may find that traveling through a child’s eyes can be even more rewarding than the trip itself.

Let your kids run before getting to the hotel – Traveling with kids tip

Kids may have pent-up energy if they’ve spent a long time on a plane or in the car. If you remember to let them stop at a playground or a mall on the way to the hotel, or use the pool right away when you arrive at the hotel, you can help them tone it down when they’re in the hallways or the room.

Others will appreciate if you teach your children not to make excessive noise because they may be resting.

Make a talking diary – Traveling with kids tip

Give your children the task of collecting memories.

A fun way to do this is to set your child up with an audio recorder: the old cassette version can be found in second hand shops for only a few dollars. Bring lots of blank tapes and a set of headphones.

Articulating on tape everything they are noticing keeps them engaged in even the most mundane travel activities. Sightseeing takes an interesting turn when the child is encouraged to capture the moment. Preschoolers through elementary school age children love this — and so do worn out parents.

Bonus: having your child’s young voice on tape is a priceless treasure.

Kid-friendly cruises: A resource to find them

One of the best features of the MSC cruise I took with my 17 year-old-daughter and 7-year-old son this summer from Venice to a Greece was the kid’s club. It wasn’t that I wanted a place to dump my son–we took him on every shore excursion, but when we were on the ship, it gave him a chance to play with other kids and use up energy. He has a lot of energy.

For anyone taking a cruise with a child–or a teen for that matter, look to see what the options are for his or her age group. Also, make sure that before you get your mind set on a particular cruise that your child is age appropriate for that cruise.

Look at the shore excursion options if you’re interested in those to see what age a child has to be in order to go. Some trips have age requirements due to safety factors. If excursions are mostly for adult passengers, maybe you ought to reconsider your choice.

There’s a handy press release guide at CruiseCompete.com that highlights cruise line offerings for the younger crowd–even infants. When planning a cruise vacation with a child this can be a handy place to start. As you read through each listing, you’ll notice specifics like what ages are programs geared towards and what services are offered for babies. Some cruises don’t have any specific programs for kids, while others are a kid’s paradise.

Checking out options is a great way to visualize a cruise in the first place. That’s what happened to me. I imagined my son on the cruise and then we had to go.

Going to Yosemite? Don’t take the minivan!

One of the great draws of visiting a National Park like Yosemite in California is that you can get very close to nature and see animals in their own habitat. But there is a limit to just how close you want to get to certain animals, especially black bears, which can be dangerous to both humans and cars as they look for food.

There are several ways to reduce your risk of having an unpleasant encounter with a black bear, and as it turns out, not driving a mini van may be one of them.

A study done by the Journal Mammology over a 7 year period in Yosemite has shown that black bears in the region seem to prefer minivans as their vehicle of choice when looking for a snack. But, the study reveals, it’s not actually the car style and size the bears are attracted to (and no, they don’t care about the car’s crash safety ratings either), it’s more about fuel efficiency. And by “fuel efficiency”, they mean which cars provide the most food for the bears.

It seems that minivan drivers are more likely to be traveling with a family and toting around small children – children who inevitably leave open snack containers in the car or who leave a trail of chips and cookies behind them.

The researchers also hypothesized that minivans that often carry small children may have stronger food odors even when there is no food inside, because kids are likely to spill, and that minivans may be more likely to contain a cooler of food, because they are larger and can accommodate one more easily. The researchers also wondered if minivans were just easier for the bears to break into.

Out of 908 cars broken into in the 7 year period, 22% were minivans, 22.5% were SUVs, 17% were small cars and 13.7% were sedans.