Category : Travel

why every family needs a dude ranch vacation


My family and I recently enjoyed an amazing few days away just outside of Steamboat Springs in Colorado at the Vista Verde Guest Ranch, and while there I discovered why a dude ranch vacation is the ultimate family vacation. You too can experience life like a cowboy this summer by taking a family vacation at a working, dude or luxury ranch, so you can disconnect, reconnect and connect with nature.

Here are my top reasons why a dude ranch family vacation is a must and what type could be best for yours.

Reason #1: Your phone won’t work

Dude ranches are typically off the beaten path and out of cell phone range. You may wonder how you’re going to deal with — ahem, I mean, enjoy — multiple days with your kids free of cell phone distraction, but trust me all those dude-ranchin’ activities are going to whoop them.  Not to mention, it is kind of nice to actually hang out with your family free of devices.

Reason #2: The kids get dirty

OK, you may not want your kids to get dirty, but I LOVE it when my kids get dirty. Why? Because it means they are unabashedly enjoying being outside and making that sometimes-forgotten connection with Mother Nature. It’s an undeniable truth that dirty kids are happy kids.

Dude Ranch Horseback Riding

It’s a joy to see your kids learn a new skill!

Reason #3: If the apocalypse hits and there are horses left, you’ll know how to ride one

I don’t like horses.There, I said it. They scare the piss out of me. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw my 5-year-old mount a horse much taller than me. That’s when I knew, I had to get over myself and figure out how to ride one of these things. Thank goodness it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be and I learned a few good skills that may come in handy one day.

Reason #4: So much more than horses!

Even though horseback riding is the central activity, many dude ranches actually offer so many more activities. Our winter experience included Nordic skiing, tubing, and snow biking, but summer guest ranches offer fishing, hiking, biking, canoeing, white water rafting and the list goes on depending on where you go.

Reason #5: Really connecting

Once you disconnect from the hustle-and-bustle of the “real world” and relax into nature, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to reconnect with your family; laughing, lounging and loving. That’s what you’ll love after a hard-working, fun-filled day on the ranch.

I do not think I’m alone in the opinion that every family needs a dude ranch vacation. Simply check out reviews from some of these I’ve listed below. Words like “life-changing”, “magical”, “amazing” and “time of my life” are used after folks get away to a dude ranch. Sounds pretty convincing to me and  I’m lucky enough to have gotten to experience it!

why every family needs a dude ranch vacation

Considering a dude ranch vacation?  According to The Dude Ranchers’ Association, there are three categories of ranches:

    These are working cattle or sheep operations. The ranches livestock will determine your horseback riding adventures and the work related to them. Be prepared to experience these activities first hand.

Consider: Lonesome Spur Ranch in Montana or Burnt Well Guest Ranch in New Mexico.

    Horseback riding is central to these ranches. The cowboy in you will experience Western riding and a variety of outdoor activities.

Consider: 7D Ranch in Wyoming or Flying E Dude Ranch in Arizona

    Horseback riding is featured, and these ranches offer an array of diverse activities and onsite facilities. These are apt to be the larger ranches.

Absolutely MUST Consider: Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Colorado. VVR is an all-inclusive, luxury dude ranch with a robust kids program and amazing adult activities. 

Have you ever experienced a dude ranch vacation with your family? I would love to hear about your experience and where you’d recommend below!
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One of the best family beach vacation spots in all of beautiful California is Coronado Island, San Diego. Home to the iconic (and haunted,) Hotel del Coronado, if you are looking for more than just a relaxing getaway there is stuff to do both on and off the sand. Whether you are traveling with baby or older children, Coronado Island can be a great escape for those looking to gain some distance, or those right here in California who are in the market for a quick weekend getaway.

The island is picturesque and taken right out of a storybook, and after a long day at the beach, it is the perfect place for an evening bike ride to get ice cream, grab a low-key dinner or walk along the surf at sunset.

Where to stay?

If you really want to embrace everything that Coronado Island has to offer, look no further than the Hotel del Coronado. Located on 28 oceanfront acres, this National Historic Landmark is considered an American treasure with over 126 years of (ghost) stories to tell.

Where to stay in Coronado Island

Hotel del Coronado

In addition to their large variety of recreational activities and the newly launched DelVenture for kids, there are multiple beachfront dining experiences, a beach village, 14 boutiques, Moo Time Creamery and an award-winning spa. Truthfully? There is no reason to leave the property – and they are pet friendly, too!

It is important to note, that not only is “The Del” a must-see tourist attraction, but majority of resort is easily accessible and made available to non-hotel guests. Those just passing through can stop in for lunch, a drink and welcome to shop. Oh, and they are famous for their brunch, so make sure to try and squeeze it in.

Where to eat?

Located just steps from the sand, Sheerwater seaside eatery has an impressive menu for both children and adults, but offers a beach casual vibe. Perfect for families, request to sit on the patio during sunset because the view can’t be beat and the service is impeccable.

Sheerwater Restaurant Coronado Island

Sheerwater Restaurant

Treat yourself to a few oysters, and make sure to try the Sea Bass because it’s their signature dish with good reason. After dinner, enjoy s’mores by the fire pit.

Where to shop?

Coronado Island has over 100 quaint shops and unique boutiques. Stroll along Orange Avenue for some of the best antiques, book stores, souvenirs and fashions. As I mentioned earlier, some of the best shops happen to be right inside the hotels. Two of my favorite stores, The Blue Octopus for toys and HD Kids & Co. for the cutest children’s apparel are right inside, yep – you guessed it, the Hotel del Mar.

So what’s the best time to visit Coronado Island you ask? The summer months congest this sleepy little seaside town at the height of tourist season. If you are looking to avoid the crowds, but still enjoy nice weather, I suggest visiting Coronado Island after-Easter, but before Memorial Day. Oh, and keep in mind June Gloom is right around the corner, so if you are hoping for clear skies and sunshine, I’d wait until Indian Summer after the kiddos head back to school!

Hotel del Coronado | 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA  | (619) 435-6611

Coronado Visitor Center

In order to properly facilitate this review, I was extended a complimentary stay at the Hotel del Coronado. All opinions are my own, and after visiting the area, I feel confident that no matter where you stay, and what you have planned, the property is such an important part of the community, that you will agree that it is a must-see / must-do part of Coronado.
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walking-on-travelsTraveling with kids is great. It’s amazing! It’s easy! It’s perfect in every way! Ummm… no. Travel with kids, just like anything you do as a parent, is far from perfect or easy, and is sometimes just not that much fun. There are missteps, accidents, local snafus and a few awkward moments to say the least.

Stranger danger

While traveling in China on business with my son, then 20-months-old, I had an odd encounter with a woman outside of the local Wal-Mart (yes, even China has giant box stores). As I approached the entrance a she came towards us and started reaching for my son.

Normally the locals would just pat his cheek and gesture that he was adorable. This is something I was more than used to after two trips to this part of the world. However, her objective was more than a simple hello. I used every hand gesture and Chinese word I knew (I know three words total) to convey to her that no, she could not unstrap my child from his stroller and pick him up. This crossed a line that my jet-lagged brain just couldn’t handle at that moment.

Thankfully the woman quickly backed off, and understood my concerns. The people I met in China were extremely friendly, and I will say that my blue-eyed son may be a minor celebrity at this point since he had his picture taken multiple times a day. Rarely did anyone make me feel uncomfortable with his or her attention. It was a nuisance to stop so much for photos, but it was a fun experience that allowed us to meet more people than we would have on our own without my son.

Embarrassing moments

Speaking of uncomfortable, sometimes you will come across situations that you just might not be ready to explain to your kids. Jessica from Suitcases and Sippy Cups begged her boys to stop pestering her when their family was lost in Athens trying to find their hotel.

One of her sons suggested they ask the ladies standing on the corner for help. Little did her son know, although Jessica certainly did, that these were women on the night looking for their next job. Jessica’s sons were too young to understand what was going on, but Jessica was mortified and begged her husband to figure it out and get them to their hotel. Jessica looks back on this story now and laughs, but I’m sure it will go down in history as “that time we saw hookers in Greece and mom wouldn’t let us stop to ask them for directions cause she was too embarrassed.”

Walking On Travels

Unfortunately not every travel snafu is hilarious. During our 5-week trip around Europe we were visiting Tuscany with a few friends. Our kids were playing. I repeatedly asked my oldest, who was 3 at the time, to stop playing with the gate by the steps. Apparently his ears were not working no matter how much I yelled.

A few minutes later I heard my friend gasped and I turned around. Never have I heard such a guttural cry come out of my mouth. I watch my son roll head over feet down the stone steps of the agritourismo we were staying at. I saw his neck breaking in my mind, bones shattering and losing my son forever. My heart still clenches just thinking about this moment.

I ran past him on the steps so I could catch him before he fell anymore. I scooped him up and was convinced I would never ever let him go. I got him to a chair and started feeling every bone in his body. He was fine. He had a gash on the side of his head from where he had clipped a stone edge, but other than that he was perfectly fine. He screamed more while I tried to clean the gash and figure out if he needed stitches than he did after the fall. Promises of gelato calmed everyone down. I got him bandaged up and we all headed into town. I kept a careful watch on my son to make sure he didn’t have a concussion, and yes, I woke up every hour that night to make sure he was still breathing.

Life with kids is crazy, whether you are at home or exploring a distant land. Accidents happen, cultural snafus occur and you will meet people from every walk of life. Roll with what your travels bring you, pack a first aid kit and maybe pray a little extra hard while on the road. These things can happen anywhere.

Parenthood isn’t perfect, so you better figure out where you want to do it. I prefer the back roads of Tuscany, ladies of the night and friendly strangers myself.

What crazy traveling-with-kids story do you have?
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planning a destination family reunion

Granddad loves to fish, Aunt Sally enjoys crafting, and cousin John is a foodie… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your large and diverse family. Planning a successful multigenerational trip can have many complicated layers! If the idea of getting a bunch of personalities on board for a group family vacation makes your palms sweat, you’re not alone.

Once you decide it’s time to get the clan together there are a lot of logistics to put into play; where to go, how to get there, what to do once there. We’ve curated these tips geared to help you get the most out of your destination family reunion.   

Start early

Don’t expect to plan an entire destination family reunion in just a couple of months. Your best bet is to start early; at least six months before the event but ideally closer to one year prior. The bigger your guest list the more time you should allow yourself. Also the earlier you start planning, the cheaper flights and hotels will be.

You may enjoy: Family travel on a budget >>

Pick a location

Your choice of location should be a place that has nice weather, has a lot of things to do in the area and finally it should be in a location that is relatively convenient for all family members. Obviously some people might live closer to the reunion site than others but try to cater to everyone as much as possible and don’t play favorites.

Some of the more popular locations for a destination family reunion include a long weekend at the beach or at a resort in the mountains. The main purpose is the family reunion but often people like to extend their trip and stay in the area for a bit.

You may enjoy: 14 Hot spots to add to your 2014 Travel Bucket List >>

Pick lodging

Pick a one-stop-shop lodging location that will work for everyone in the family. This extends the reunion and time that everyone can spend together. You can choose a local hotel to stay in but you may be able to find something more comfortable like a lodge or big house that you can rent out. Not only will you be able to visit with each other more throughout the visit but you can cook and eat meals together. If there are a lot of children attending the family reunion then you might want to make sure there are playgrounds, pools, etc. nearby.

On the other side of things, some families do better when they are together for the reunion and lodge separately. Too much togetherness for some families just doesn’t work out and that’s ok too.

Don’t forget to consider the elderly family members that maybe won’t be able to climb a lot of stairs to get to their room. You will need accommodate those with special needs or limited budgets.

You may enjoy: Paradise found at The Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar in Cabo San Lucas or this review of The Grand Lucayan Resort, Grand Bahama Island >>


Once you have the trip location planned, the lodging booked and everybody is informed and has sent in an RSVP, you can begin planning the reunion day’s activities. Include a nice meal where everyone can sit down together and bond. This can be at a restaurant or host a barbeque if you are having your event at a local park.

There are a ton of activities you can plan for the kids in the family. Sports, water balloon fights, hikes and so on. Older family members may enjoy sitting down and reminiscing, looking at old photos, home movies or sharing stories.

Planning a destination family reunion can be a daunting task but a rewarding one. After the event is over and you are all saying goodbye you will be grateful for the time you put into planning the reunion. Whether you plan a reunion each year or every few years, your destination reunion will make great memories for everyone in the family.

You may enjoy: 10 Things to do with kids in Palm Springs >>

What tips do you have for a successful family reunion?

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LEGO planes, books and travel-sized toys can have your child zooming off to Paris, New York or Tokyo. Grab toys and activities that will inspire the imagination and have your child begging to go on their next adventure. Here are just a few of our favorite toys that will make you want to pack your bags, or at least grab get out to explore. 

Travel toys

LEGO City Airport Cargo

Inspire travel AND keep your kids busy for hours building an airplane? Yes, please! What mother wouldn’t want that kind of creative break? Don’t feel guilty though, your child will love you for this super set airport LEGO set and make you proud as they click in that final piece. Be prepared to help younger travelers put it together though. It’s not as easy as you would think.

Fisher Price Little People Lil’ Movers Airplane

For those not quite ready for LEGOs you can grab the Little People Lil’ Movers Airplane. My oldest was playing with this by 2 years old and hasn’t stopped. Best of all (and warning to parents)—it makes airplane sounds!

Thomas the Tank Engine

Yes mom, Thomas can inspire your child’s wanderlust. First of all he speaks with a British accent. Time to talk about where that accent actually comes from, and no, it is not just the Isle of Sodor. Help your child build an epic train track that will take them out of their bedroom and into a world of imaginary play as you chug up into the Alps and down into the valleys of El Salvador.

Kidunderroof Totem Teknika Airport

When your baby is tiny this makes a great adornment for their room (great baby shower gift too—hint, hint!). Once you aren’t afraid of your little one swallowing the pieces, bring it down off the shelf so they can set up their own airport and take off for adventure.

Endless City London or Paris

No two street scenes will look alike as you mix the Endless City cards together to create a street scene all your own. Choose from Paris or London and go to town. Bring out the toy cars and people to walk down the lane, buy some flowers and even sit at a café.

Crocodile Creek World and U.S.A placemats

Who said dinner is just for conversations about your day? Let meals become a learning experience with these fabulous placemats from Crocodile Creek. Help your child find where you live and then look at what monuments you want to visit that day during your meal. Get ready for lots of questions and creative answers to why polar bears live in the Artic and not in the Sahara desert.

Little Passports

Everywhere you turn you see an advertisement for Little Passports. This creative monthly subscription gets you started with a suitcase and intro to the characters, Sam and Sophia, who will bring you around the world on their adventures. The monthly price of $10 for a subscription may be a bit high for what you get, but your children will be excited to get mail and start planning their next trip to Brazil, London and Hong Kong.

This is London by Miroslav Sasek

Oh the places you’ll go with this beautifully illustrated series of books by Miroslav Sasek. London, Paris, Rome, Edinburgh, Australia and so many more places are just waiting to invite you into the pages and down the old streets of each new destination. The artist worked in the late 1950s and early 1960w, which makes the retro-style illustrations all the more fun for parents to enjoy along with their kids. Check the back of the book for landmark updates. Some spots that Sasek covered are no longer around, or have changed names. Find out why!

Dodsworth in New York by Tim Egan

Once your child starts to read, or even before then, these books will get your child excited to see the world with Dodsworth and his troublemaking duck friend. These early readers are great for beginners and will make you swell with pride as they read through all four tales and then tell you about each place they learned about.

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Together again, AGAIN!

Thanks to Suave Kids, Savvy Sassy Moms was on the red carpet for the Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted World Premiere at the El Capitan Theater, elbow-to-elbow with the stars and hob-knobbing with some of Hollywood’s most elite and up-and-coming actors and actresses. Hollywood Boulevard was shut down for the red carpet arrivals and interviews, as crowds of fans buzzed watching Sweetums clear the way for Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie, Scooter and the rest of the gang’s big entrance.


Muppets Most Wanted World Premiere

So who did we spy with our cray-cray Muppet eye making their way into the theater? None other than: Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo, Bret McKenzie, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita, Julie Bowen, Matt Barnes, Constance Zimmer, Jared Fogel, Candace Cameron Bure, Catherine Bell, Ali Fedotowsky, Peyton List, David Koechner, Beth Littleford, Charlotte Ross, Tia Mowry and Cory Hardrict, Karan Brar, Nestor Carbonell, Tucker Albrizzi, Cameron Boyce, Skai Jackson, Samantha Harris, Hayden Byerly, Francesca Capaldi, Jake Short and Dylan Posti.


But, wait…there’s more!

The inside of the El Capitan Theater was a celebrity vortex — famous faces were everywhere you looked. Terry Crews and his beautiful family were seated directly in front of us, Tito Ortiz and his sons to the left, Nick Wheeler directly behind and Allison Sweeney, Angie Everhart and Melora Hardin just a few seats down. And we cannot forget everyone’s favorite hecklers, Waldorf and Statler perched above in their reserved box seats ready to view the performance.


The after-party

Once the show ended, guests crossed the street to The Aztec where Tina Fey (who is lovely), Ricky Gervais (had such a fantastic suit on,) Ty Burrell (I wanted to grab his red wine glass and start chugging it because it smelled so good,) and Josh Groban (a-dor-able,) mingled freely with guests while children played at craft stations. We enjoyed dinner from the Muppets “World Tour” and received manicures courtesy of O P I.


Then THIS happened…

The unthinkable. My two favorite TV characters from my two favorite TV shows collided inches from me. Not feet, inches. It was B-613′s Charlie (George Newbern) from ABC’s hit series, Scandal, and Mad Men‘s Harry Crane (Rich Sommer.) I gasped. Loudly. They chuckled. My lip quivered. Charlie/George grabbed my hands. I clenched them back, got caught up in the moment and yelled, “I’M ROOTING FOR YOU — STAY ALIVE!” Scandal fans, Charlie promised he will do his best.

Apparently, I have a soft spot for special agent government assassins.

A very special, “Thank you!” to Suave Kids and Savvy Sassy Moms for making this incredible night possible.

Wocka! Wocka! Wocka!


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Want to plan a family getaway this summer but working with a slim budget? Now is the time to get the ball rolling to find the best deals, destinations and activities.

family travel on a budget

Before you head out

Months before your trip think about where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Are you flying or driving? This Fly or Drive Calculator is awesome for helping you figure that out.

When flying: Consider signing up for one — or more! — rewards cards to earn miles. Set up a Travel Alert  to track when airline tickets fluctuate and jump when they are low enough. The best time to get the best price when you purchase tickets is at 9:00 pm ET, and the best fares are for flights on Wednesdays. Be otherwise flexible with flight times, days and departure/destination.

When driving: Download the MyMPG app to help you fine-tune your driving habits for better gas mileage. Get your car tuned and serviced prior to departure — and don’t forget to fill your tires to the recommended pressure. Just like with airline rewards, fuel stations are offering their own. Sign up and save at the pump.

For more great road trip tips: How to survive a family road trip without losing your mind and Summer road trip must-haves >>

Saving on lodging

Hotel rooms can add up after a while! But, with a little preparation, you can get the best bang for your buck. Here’s how: Consider going off the beaten path; a downtown Chicago hotel is twice as expensive as staying in one that’s a train ride away. Consider alternatives to hotels, such as HomeAway, VRBO or AirBnB. If you’re feeling brave, you may even try a home swap. Or, save the hassle and stay in a family friendly all-inclusive resort.

Wherever you stay, be sure to get some added perks such as free internet, breakfast and a pool. The pool is a must-have for moms with active kids.

You may enjoy: Best travel apps and websites and Summer safety travel tips with kids >>

Save when you’re there

Getting there is only half the battle — and it’s those little things that add up. So, be prepared. Make a budget then add a 20 percent cushion for activities. Some great ways to save include eating like a local, using deal site apps for local last-minute deals on activities and restaurants, traveling like an eco-tourist by using public transportation and otherwise living like a local.

Let loose

Traveling on a budget with the family is certainly a responsible thing to do, however, don’t be such a stickler that you miss out on fun experiences and opportunities. Trust me, your amazing vacation memories will last a lot longer than a hit to your wallet.

family travel on a budget

What tips do you have for family travel on a budget?
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New Orleans
New Orleans is more than Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras brings people to New Orleans from all over the country. Economic reports estimate that Mardi Gras generates about $1 billion dollars in annual spending. That’s a lot of crawfish and King Cake! The party-heavy aspects of the Fat Tuesday celebration are well-documented, but visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras is actually fun for adults and families. Traffic regulations mean parades steer clear of the raucous French Quarter, and there’s so much more to the Louisiana city than Bourbon Street and beads. We’ve discovered the five best things to do in New Orleans this spring.

Take a streetcar to the Garden District

The Garden District is a sensory feast — well-preserved plots of antebellum mansions and lushly landscaped gardens. Celebrities like Anne Rice, Nicholas Cage, and Sandra Bullock own homes in the stunning neighborhood. Architecture ranges from Victorian to Italianate to Greek Revival, giving the Garden District a dreamy, unique feel all its own. Walking tours are available, and many include a tour of Lafayette Cemetery #1, a place celebrated in movies and literature. Hop on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar — children, in particular, will enjoy seeing New Orleans sites from the bright red transportation option.

New Orleans

photo credit: Elaine Alguire

Get lucky at Harrah’s

Laissez les bons temps rouler!  The Cajun French phrase is translated as “let the good times roll,” and it’s an informal city motto of New Orleans. One place you can literally let the dice roll is Harrah’s Casino. With table games and slots galore, you can get lucky on the casino floor or check out one of Harrah’s nightlife offerings. The Hoodoo Cocktail Lounge has even been blessed by voodoo clergy.

Listen to live music in the French Quarter

New Orleans is a renowned city of Jazz, but the French Quarter is bursting with live music options that run the gamut from country to Salsa. Explore the French Quarter on foot and let your ears guide you to the bars and clubs that sound the most enticing. If you’re unsure where to begin, these 30 options will give you a place to start. Even street musicians will amaze you with their musicality and talent in New Orleans.

New Orleans

photo credit: Elaine Alguire

Brush up on your French and order beignets

Grab a sugar high in a brown paper bag at Café Du Monde. Café Du Monde has been a New Orleans fixture since 1862, offering beignets — square, French-style donuts covered in powdered sugar — and various beverages. Enjoy your delicious beignets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and pair them with traditional Coffee and Chicory — milk and orange juice are also available if you have kids with you or don’t need the caffeine rush on top of your sugar high.

New Orleans

photo credit: Elaine Alguire

Wander Market Street for unique finds

Shoppers will find much to love in New Orleans. Boutiques and little shops abound in the city, but Market Street is a must-see destination if you’re browsing for unique items. Antique shops and boutiques are bursting with treasures that are waiting to find their way into your suitcase.

New Orleans

photo credit: Elaine Alguire

Enjoy the revelry of Mardi Gras

Fun and adventure fill New Orleans. In addition to the five fabulous finds we’ve listed here, swamp tours and the aquarium are thrilling for kids. Ghost and voodoo tours speak to the spine-tingling excitement many crave. Most of all, if you’re traveling to New Orleans around Mardi Gras, simply enjoy the revelry of the celebration. Residents prepare all year for parades and parties and costume extravaganzas, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a truly unique experience.

All photos courtesy of Elaine Alguire of The Miss-Elaineous Life.

Have you been to New Orleans? Would you want to visit during Mardi Gras?
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Are you escaping this year’s frozen tundra and heading somewhere warm for Spring Break?  Well if you are then you’ll need to pick up a few items of warm weather clothing for the kids that don’t include any fleece or fur. There may still be snow on the ground but the stores have started to break out the swimsuits and shorts. This is part of the fashion season is typically called “cruise”, because people that are fleeing the snow-banked filled cities for the beach, sun and sea.  So whether you are taking advantage of one of these all-inclusive resorts or setting sail on a Disney cruise we have you covered for what to pack for the kids.

Spring Break Boy Clothing

What to pack for the kids for Spring Break?

You do not need a lot. Trust me, they will be in swimsuits most of the time so there is no need to go overboard. However, you do want a pair of comfortable walking shoes if you’ll be doing some sightseeing and you will want perhaps a nice outfit or two if you are going out to dinner. But for the most part you can just keep it very casual with a few pairs of shorts, a few tank tops and of course flip flops. You also want to bring a light jacket or sweatshirt along because some places can get a little chilly at night or for those restaurants that have the air conditioning blowing full force. A lightweight sweatshirt or pullover is also great for if your child got a little too much sun.

5 items we wished we had on a Disney Cruise

girls Spring Break Clothing

It’s nice to go on a little Spring Break shopping spree and pick up a few new things for your trip. I always think about pictures, as most moms take a ton. Putting your baby in her first bikini is going to be a memorable one, so picking out a cute swimsuit is essential in my book.

Spring Break Packing Checklist


Don’t stress: If you forget anything, I am sure you can find it where you are going!

Do you think this packing list is pretty accurate?
Shop our Spring Break Shop
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baby shower giftsHave a travel-loving soon-to-be mom in your group of friends or family? Grab the cutest garb, decor and resources to help her get out the door and on the road to adventure with her little one. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites that will have your playgroup talking and asking “where did you get that?!”

Moroccan-dressTea Collection: Moroccan inspiration

I’m not sure I can gush enough about the new destination-inspired Tea Collection. The latest dresses and shirts in the Moroccan collection include beautiful prints and patterns that add a bit of pizazz to your child’s wardrobe. The China collection T-shirts featuring pandas were a welcome addition to my son’s closet over Christmas and we can’t wait to see what new destination they feature next.

MaptoteMaptote Baby one piece

Show your city pride with one of these adorable one pieces by Maptote, a locally owned and operated company run by a Brooklyn, NY-based husband and wife team. Choose from cities across the country and around the globe. Tote bags, reusable grocery bags, beach bags, toddler tees and travel pouches are available to round out your look.

Sir Bubbadoo blankets

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love our Sir Bubbadoo blanket. I was gifted one after my second son was born and it has traveled the world with us. It is small enough to throw in a backpack, but warm enough to use in the stroller on a fall day. Our blanket has world icons all over it, but Kristina — the mom behind this custom line — is constantly changing out her fabrics, finding fabulous new patterns and experimenting with designs that compliment the modern parent’s style.

Globe night light
Goodnight Globe night light

No child’s room is complete without a night light. Why not inspire a few travel dreams with this beautiful Land of Nod Goodnight Globe Night Light that will have your baby running off to Africa, Costa Rica, Japan and more? Once your child gets older you can chat about where you should explore next as you create bedtime stories based on each new destination.

kidsonaroofPeople of the World

Inspire creative play from the start with these beautifully crafted People of the World toys by Kidsonroof. Use the figures as baby room décor while your baby is little, and then bring them off the shelf to have some make-believe fun.

Oh the places you’ll go map

Dr. Seuss sure had it right when he wrote Oh the Places You’ll Go. Why not encourage your child to push past what they think is possible from the get go? This beautiful poster found on Etsy features a map with overlaid text and comes in a multitude of colors that will fit any nursery décor — sounds like the perfect baby shower gift.

MaptoteMaptote alphabet poster

Teach your little one their ABCs and about the world at the same time with the Maptote Alphabet poster. The simple illustrations will capture your baby’s attention while on the changing table, and start more than a few conversations as they grow and get curious about soccer in Brazil, Australia’s kangaroos and the vikings of Denmark.

PlanesPlanes by Byron Barton

It is never too early to prep your child for air travel. Barton’s Planes board book would make a great baby shower gift, and includes simple illustrations and text that walks your baby and toddler through all types of air travel. His other book, Airport, is the perfect complement, and one that is sure to get worn out as your child marvels over all the steps it takes to get from the outside of the airport and up in the air and on their way.

Mara GormanThe Family Traveler’s Handbook by Mara Gorman

Leave it to a travel veteran to write a practical and informative guide to traveling with kids. Mara Gorman mixes easy tips and ideas for family trips with real-life examples of travel with her own kids in her Family Traveler’s Handbook. She also highlights tips and stories from other traveling parents to balance out her own advice and show that she isn’t the only one hopping across the globe. Gorman covers travels with babies on up to teens. By the end of the story you feel like you know her and her family, but also feel prepared to take that first step and get out the door with your own kids. The best part is that this book isn’t some long manual you will never make it through; it is a short and sweet guide to not letting fear stop you from showing your child the world, no matter how near or far you take them.

What travel-inspired baby shower gifts would you give?

Photo credits: All images are the property of their respective brands. 

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