Tag Archives: Family Travel

Taking the Kids to London With Virgin Atlantic

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog feature with “clues” on touring London with kids.

Tips for Baby’s First Flight

Checklist // (c) 2014 Dako
Checklist // (c) 2014 Dako

Are you flying with baby for the first time? Karina Corona, the baby concierge at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, provides some tips for parents headed to the airport. Here are her suggestions:

Before the Flight

• First off, be sure to check with your pediatrician to see if your baby is old enough to travel by plane. Most experts agree that travel after three months shouldn’t be an issue. But, every baby is different and it’s best to have your doctor’s approval before you even start to plan.

• The night before your trip, get absolutely everything ready for you and your little one, including your clothes. Being extra-prepared will allow you to avoid feeling pressured and forgetting anything important.

•Now it’s time to pack! I recommend packing at least one change of clothes for baby in your diaper bag. It’s always a smart idea to pack an extra blouse or top for yourself as well- changes in air pressure can disturb your baby’s sensitive digestive system and cause messy accidents. Finally and most importantly, pack enough formula for the flight- it’s better to have more than less. Just remember that TSA regulations won’t let you bring water bottles through security; they can be purchased near your gate. If you’re nursing, bring a comfy oversized cover-up to give you plenty of privacy.

During the Flight

• Arrive early. Passing through security will take you a bit longer than usual. Be prepared for them to scan your diaper bag and all of its contents- especially formula, juice or breast milk.

• Try to feed your baby or offer him/her a pacifier during takeoff. This will lhelp your little on with the changes in air pressure, prevent his/her ears from popping and hopefully keep your baby from getting sick on the plane.

•Relax! Enjoy the journey and try not to stress- remember, your baby is sensitive to how you’re feeling and can easily mirror your mood. You’ve done everything you can; now it’s time to just hug and pamper him/her.

The Transportation Security Administration has information for getting through security quickly and efficiently here:  http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/traveling-children.

In addition to providing families with a baby concierge, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit offers specialized accommodations for parents traveling with small children, including cribs, toys, baby floats, bath and shampoo gels, and more. Also offered is baby’s first haircut which comes with special pampering and a certificate celebrating the milestone. This can be combined with a 25-minute Sunrise Massage for 1- to 3-year-olds to stimulate the child’s senses, allowing him or her to recognize the differences between textures and sounds. Organic foods and beverages are also offered on request. Private babysitting services are available as well, with nannies who have certifications from the Emergency Care and Safety Institute and the American Red Cross.


Introducing the Tiny Travelers Game Series

Travel expert and mommy blogger, The L.A. Travel Mom, has released the first edition of the Tiny Travelers gaming app, based in New York City and available in the iTunes store.

December 2, 2014 – It’s the newest way to keep your babies and toddlers entertained around the world — send them on an adventure with the Tiny Travelers.

From professional traveler and mommy blogger The L.A. Travel Mom, this newly launched destination learning tool is designed to teach your baby or toddler some basic facts about where they are going as well as keep them occupied during one of the most stressful situations as a parent — travel.

“I have used apps as a travel tool on planes with my children for years and am always amazed at how they not only absorb and understand the technology but also learn about their subject matter, which is why I wanted to provide a tool that can not only help children developmentally master sensory motor skills but teach them some important lessons, as well.” — Janeen Christoff, L.A. Travel Mom

The first edition in this new children’s game series for young adventurers is focused on New York City and was released in the iTunes App Store on Cyber Monday, Dec. 1, 2014.

• The Tiny Travelers game series is designed to keep babies and toddlers busy while traveling to destinations around the world.

• In Tiny Travelers NYC, teach your toddlers some basic facts about New York City through interactive games and a storybook with basic image association

• Fun for the whole family, help your child virtually pack the right items for the trip in their suitcase — and watch out if you get it wrong!

• On a plane, on a bus, on a boat or on a train, Tiny Travelers are there to entertain your children on the go.


About Tiny Travelers Games

Tiny Travelers Games were created by Janeen Christoff and Catherine Cavanagh, both moms to young daughters. Christoff and Cavanagh saw a need in the marketplace for a series of apps that could give small children a sense of place while traveling abroad. They have answered that need with the Tiny Travelers Games series, which will blossom from a single city in 2014 to a variety of locales around the world in the coming year.

Notes to editors: Images available upon request. Please contact Janeen Christoff at janeenchristoff@gmail.com

Where to Go for Thanksgiving Break in California

Yosemite is a fun place to visit for Thanksgiving.
Yosemite is a fun place to visit for Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy of Guy Francis.

In Southern California, Thanksgiving is usually too early for powder skiing but too late for swimming at the beach, so where does one go for a local Thanksgiving break? Of course, I aksed my very opinionated kids – Disneyland. “But it’s crowded,” I said. “We will only go on one ride,” they answered. “Ya, right,” I thought.

I love Disneyland, and I love the magic in my kids’ eyes when they go there. It is, after all, the penultimate weekend getaway for families with kids in Southern California. In fact, fall is one of my favorite times to visit Disneyland. But if Disneyland isn’t in the cards or you want to avoid crowded amusement parks, here are a few magical alternatives.


While the falls might not be raging, Yosemite can still be an awesome place to visit in November. It’s ideal for families looking for smaller crowds and more isolated hiking paths. Especially if you are a California native, a weekend in Yosemite during Thanksgiving break can offer the brood a brisk adventure – and if you live in the San Fernando Valley, like me, it can offer some much-needed chillier weather. That being said, the weather is somewhat unpredictable – it could be snowy or it could be fairly dry – so be prepared for any type of adventure.

And for those who don’t plan on cooking at home, there are several options for Thanksgiving meals at The Awahnee, Yosemite Lodge and the Wawona Dining Room.

Tenaya Lodge, located just outside the park, also offers Thanksgiving dining as well as holiday activities such as gingerbread house decorating, a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and sleigh rides, weather permitting.

www.yosemitepark.com; www.tenayalodge.com

San Luis Obispo

I love the historic charm of downtown San Luis Obispo and nothing gets me in the holiday spirit more than the cozy weather of California’s Central Coast (obviously, I must be a Cali native). So, heading to SLO for a few days to escape the L.A. smog and bask in the crisp coastal air is my idea of heaven. It also doesn’t hurt that there are some cool local events nearby to go along with the visit such as the Holiday Craft Bazaar in downtown Paso Robles on Nov. 28 as well as a tree-lighing ceremony with Mrs. Claus herself at the bandstand at 5:30 p.m.


Mammoth Mountain

With the drought in California, who knows if Thanksgiving will be a banner year an Mammoth Mountain for skiers. But it’s never a bad idea to beat the holiday heat in L.A. with a trip to the Eastern Sierra. And who knows, maybe those desperate to hit the slopes can get in some turns before Black Friday and also take advantage of early-season booking rates.


Taking the Train to Christmas Town

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…well, it’s still 100 degrees, but it’s almost chilly at night. So, it’s time to start thinking about booking tickets to Christmas Town on the train in Watsonville, Calif. The Train to Christmas Town will begin departing this holiday season on Nov. 28-30, Dec. 3-7, Dec. 10-14, Dec. 16-23 and after Christmas, Dec. 26-28.

Train to Christmastown in Watsonville, Calif.
Train to Christmastown in Watsonville, Calif.

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC) approved the Santa Cruz & Monterey Bay Railway (SCMB) for a 2-year operational plan for the Train to Christmas Town holiday train ride from Watsonville.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this vote,” stated Jeff Weeks, General Manager of the SCMB. “Having a passenger train operation in Santa Cruz County will complement the positive economic impact freight service has had and, we believe, will be a huge asset to the community’s tourism landscape.”

The Train to Christmas Town event is based on the book of the same name written by Peggy Ellis. It is accompanied by whimsical illustrations of the lively characters including Janice and Bumble Bee the Polar Bear. The book is a holiday saga that highlights timeless and meaningful Christmas themes as readers follow Janice’s annual journey to Christmas Town. It all comes to life aboard vintage passenger rail cars decorated for the holidays. The cheerful Conductor punches each passenger’s ticket while elves travel through cars serving hot chocolate and cookies. The book is read aloud, and there is merry holiday fun and fabulous music by Grammy winning singers/songwriters Trout Fishing in America.

Train to Christmas Town tickets are now on sale at www.traintochristmastown.com or by phone at 888-978-5562. Tickets start at $17 for kids and $22 for adults. New this year, group discounts are available in Standard Class seating for parties of 25 or more paying guests. Tickets for high demand dates like weekends and dates closest to Christmas sell very quickly.