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FreshCruiser blog features tips, news and insight to make the most out of a family vacation without sacrificing luxury & a healthy lifestyle. Focus on fun, active, & healthy travel. Enjoy!

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Welcome to FreshCruiser.com

Enjoy all the tips, news, insight, and advice on luxury family travel that highlights fun, active, and healthy vacations. Explore how to make the most out of your family vacation without sacrificing luxury.

FreshCruiser.com opens readers’ eyes to new adventures and calms any fears of traveling with children. With a special focus on family cruising, the website includes tips to staying active, eating well, and taking advantage of all the opportunities while on a family vacation.

Thursday
Sep112014

Examining family lounge and kids play areas in Airports Terminals

After frequently traveling with my son for the past year and a half, I am always looking for a calm and easy place to change him, feed him, and for him to let some energy out in the airport.  If you are like me, you need to take a breather and regroup when flying with children. Family Lounges and Services Areas are comfortable areas to do this, however most US airport terminals don’t have them.

Airport Terminal Family Lounges

Outside the US, the trend is growing. For instance, Zurich and Copenhagen airports include family lounges and are perfect examples of providing facilities for passengers with babies.

The amenities at the Zurich Airport include: "Rooms for sleeping and breastfeeding, baby changing-stations, baby care products, and a kitchenette with a microwave, cutlery, and utensils.”

It also includes a play area with toys for all ages and a craft workshop. It is free for all passengers.

Click here for a list of Europe’s Top Ten Airports for Families from a study commissioned by Skyscanner in 2013.

When I recently traveled solo with my son, we had a two-hour layover with no safe place for him to crawl around and no easy way for me to change his diaper. He was sick, and I was changing his diaper about every 15 minutes during our 2 hour layover in Las Vegas.  The bathrooms in the terminal were crowded and the changing station was next to the hand dryers. There was no clean place to put my bag down. It was a juggling act. I ended up changing him in his stroller the rest of the time, which wasn’t ideal.

Los Angeles International Airport - "Nursing Room" in terminalIn Los Angeles, LAX is currently undergoing renovations and I hope the improvements will include a better nursing area for women traveling with small children.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw the little bench they provided next to the bathroom stalls that everyone passes by in order to get to the toilets. When they said "Nursing Mothers' Room", I guess the room they were referring to was the bathroom.

Airport Terminal Play Areas

Many airports have Children’s Play Areas.  This is a big help to pass time and keep your children happy before getting on your flight.  Look at the airport terminal map to find where they are located compared to your departure gate. If you have time, it’s worth it to look up this information before you fly so you know whether or not to anticipate a place for your children to play.  If they don’t, you may want to set up your own play area by an empty gate with some toys to play with.

Buffalo International Airport The Buffalo International Airport terminal has a children’s play area.  This was perfect for my son to have an area to play. It’s supported and provided by local business, Fisher Price. It had about 4 toys bolted to the floor. Sadly one of the electronic ones didn’t work.

Athens International AirportIf there are ways to reduce the stress of traveling with small children, it should be a priority for airports and airlines. It will not only adding family lounges make the family's trip easier but also be more pleasant for other travelers as well. Children will be happier after getting some energy out prior to the flight as opposed to running up and down the aisles mid-flight.

If you aren’t already part of a Frequent Flyer program with a flyer status that lets you in to the airport lounges, consider paying for a day pass if you have a long layover. It’s clean, quieter, and gives you all the opportunity to refuel and take it easy before getting on your next flight.

LAXHere’s a list provided by Red Tricycle, that lists the “15 Worst Airports and How to Survive Them With Your Kids”.

I call on US domestic airport terminals to follow the international trend and make family services a priority.

What airport terminals would you give the thumbs up to for traveling with children?

FreshCruiser Tip: Research the airports ahead of time so you know what to expect, sometimes the terminal can surprise you.

Tuesday
Sep022014

Road Trip to Monterey with a Toddler – Incorporating nap times & bed times into your travel schedule

Last weekend my husband and I decided to take a last-minute long-weekend road trip. The plan was to drive from Los Angeles, CA to Monterey, CA. It’s about a 5 hour drive when there is no traffic and no stops. There was something relaxing about shoving everything we might need into the car, rather than thinking about weight requirements and keeping bags to a minimum. The hotel where we were staying had a fridge, so I packed a cooler full of snacks and milk for my son.

My son and I picked my husband up from work on Friday and started the drive.  We decided to stop in Santa Barbara to take a break and have an early dinner. We took our time and waited to leave until my son’s bed time, with hopes that he would fall asleep in the car. He slept the whole way. We arrived into Monterey on the later side but it was worth it. We got our hotel room and quickly set up the pack n’ play and he went back to sleep. We had a suite, which I highly recommend. This meant that we didn’t have to go to sleep when he did.

I would definitely do the drive that way again as it worked best for my son, however, we were exhausted the next day.  I think in future trips, the next day  I’d plan to go back to the hotel and all take a nap when he napped.

Monterey Bay AquariumThe trip was wonderful. We were up early and in turn went to bed early, I love getting an early start to the day. The hotel included a breakfast buffet every morning. This was easy and perfect as we could leave the hotel with full stomachs. We explored the Monterey Bay Aquarium every morning. It was the best watching him run around and go from tank to tank looking at the fish.

Camel

We would stay until it was time for his nap and then make the decision to change locations and have him sleep in the car, go for a walk or have a relaxing lunch while he slept. I’m fortunate as my son will sleep anywhere.  He gives us that flexibility, so in return, we make sure we’re flexible with our schedule for the day to give him time to sleep.

We drove back on Monday and decided to go back to the Aquarium in the morning and then start driving back during his nap.  It worked out really well and we stopped for a few hours for lunch in the town of Solvang. It gave us all a break and made the trip last longer than just driving straight back.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Overall, I can’t wait to go back.  I think anticipating his needs from naps to food, helped make the trip relaxing and fun.

FreshCruiser Tip: Look for full-suite hotels or upgrade from a standard hotel room as a suite gives you more flexibility.

Tuesday
Jul012014

Trending: Free Strollers to use at airports

Wondering if you should carry your baby or bring your stroller through airport security?

When traveling with young children, the amount of luggage really adds up. My family often travels to a destination where we either won't need a stroller, there is one for us to borrow, or we prefer to check it in. Occasionally, we take a stroller with us solely for use in the airport, especially during a long layover. Without a stroller, it can make traveling a little challenging when your child gets fed up of being in a carrier or your arms feel like they are about to fall off from holding your baby. If you have a layover or tend to get to the airport with a lot of time to spare, bringing a stroller with you is a good option.

The negatives of bringing a stroller include: having to fold it down for security, putting it in a stroller bag to protect it (if you decide to) can be a frustrating task and then carrying to the end of the jetway.  In addition, you have to wait for it after the flight in the crowded jetway.

Recently, there is a growing trend of airports and airlines providing free strollers to use while in the terminal. These "loaner strollers" seek to ease the stress of traveling with small children.

Frankfurt AirportThe Frankfurt Airport in Germany introduced free strollers last Fall as part of its “Great to have you here!” program which was launched to adopt a wide variety of improvements that would make it easier and more pleasant to depart from and transfer in Frankfurt, Germany’s largest airport.

Emirates Baby Strollers in the Dubai AirportAdditional airports that provide free strollers include: Changi Airport (Singapore), Dubai International Airport, Charles de Gaulle (Paris), Shanghai Airport, and Copenhagen Airport. There are reports that Maclaren strollers will become available in a major United States airline hub by the end of this year.

What do you think of the "borrow" stroller idea?  Would it help you out if you saw them in an airport in the US or abroad?

FreshCruiser Tip:  If you’re traveling with a new stroller, make sure to practice folding and unfolding it before leaving for the airport. You’ll have to unfold and refold many times throughout the journey and being able to do it quickly reduces any chance of a stressful moment.

Friday
Jun132014

Flying Solo with my baby...again.

Everyone survived the flight: my baby, myself and all the passengers. We made it to the destination safely and the rest is already a distant memory. I realized that traveling with my 14-month old by myself cross-country isn't easy no matter how much you prepare but my preparations definitely made things go more smoothly.

I depended on the kindness of strangers who helped me entertain my son with peak-a-boo and turning the lights on and off. We sat across from a professional drummer who gave my son drumsticks (at the end of the flight).  I watched as my son learned how to do something new from our last flight.  He can now open and close the shade, over and over and over again.

My biggest discovery: just because you're taking a flight during nap or bedtime doesn't mean that your baby will agree.  After a 5 hour flight with only a 20 minute nap, in the future I will plan the flight times for what works best for everyone and assume that he won't nap.  If he naps, then it will be a nice surprise.  He's at a stage where he's curious and very alert so walking him up and down the aisles to get him to fall asleep actually had the other affect and made him more awake.

Overall, my son is growing and changing every day and it's important to adapt to these changes.  He loves looking out the window, for the time-being a window seat is a must for us. In the end, we made it to our destination and it was 100% worth it.

My husband flew back with us, and it turned out there was a mother traveling by herself with her son who was born only a few days after mine.  We did what we could to help her. My son and I made new friends. Mommy world opens you up to meeting so many interesting people and instantly we were sharing tips, stories, and baby food!

Up next?  Road trip to San Diego this weekend.

FreshCruiser Tip: When ordering something to drink on the plane, ask the flight attendant to put a lid on everyone's cup.

Wednesday
Jun042014

Getting ready for a last minute cross-country flight...flying solo with my toddler

It's the call no one wants to receive in the middle of the night, the news that a loved one unexpectedly passed away.  I live on the opposite coast as my family and with the funeral planned within the next few days, it's time to get on a flight.  I decided to bring my son with me as I know it would cheer up my parents to see their grandchild.  Unfortunately my husband is not able to get time off of work.

Usually when I travel, I have time to not only physically prepare with packing and trips to the store for provisions, but also mentally prepare for the demands of flying with a toddler. This time I'm thrown into it. We're off tonight.

I'm glad I have had a lot of practice flying and packing for him as I know what to pack and learn from each time. I have to admit, part of it is nice, as I don't have time to think about different scenarios. We're going to get ourselves there and the in between will work itself out.

I decided to do a red eye in hope that he'll sleep.  I know I won't get much sleep but as long as he's happy, then I'm happy.  Since he's flown a lot, I know that his ears don't bother him, which can be a worry on a red eye that he'll be screaming the entire flight.

What's in my diaper bag? Check out my flying packing list

I'm off to pack my carry-on diaper bag. I recommend using a backpack as your diaper bag and carry-on. I would get one that has different compartments to organize items in order to be able to quickly grab what you need. The backpack keeps my hands free, which I love. I have The North Face Surge ll.

Of course I have the obvious things in my travel diaper bag:

  • Diapers (I put a bunch in a ziplock bag)
  • Wipes (always wipe down the arm rests, etc on the plane)
  • Changing pad (I use disposable for flying)
  • Changes of clothes (I bring at least 3, trust me, I've needed all 3 before)
  • Blankets
  • Variety of snacks for him
  • Passport for my son (or some type of identification)

Other things I bring:

  • Ergo baby carrier or carrier of choice
  • Comfort item (lovie, blankie, teddy bear, etc.)
  • New small toys (keep rotating the toys, exciting for them to have new ones)
  • Teething toys or natural medicine
  • Books to read to him (especially the "touch & feel" ones)
  • Bottle of water (it's fine to bring it through the TSA if you say it's for the baby)
  • Nursing cover or formula
  • Sippy Cup (I like Zo.li BOT cups)
  • Snacks for me (I bring Justin's Almond Butter packets)
  • Burp cloths (good for so many things)

What's in your diaper bag when you fly?

Wednesday
May282014

Press Release: FreshCruiser.com expands to include luxury family travel

May 28, 2014 (Los Angeles, CA) - FreshCruiser.com, which focuses on cruising with tips, news, and advice highlighting fun, active, and healthy cruising, announced today that it will expand to include luxury family travel.  The website will include advice about traveling with children, top places to visit, and how to make the most out of a family vacation without having to sacrifice luxury.

"With the birth of my son last spring, this is a natural extension of the website. He's already clocked in 28,000 miles in his first 12 months and I've enjoyed exploring new places with him as well as seeing some of my favorites through his eyes," says Abby Aisley, founder of www.freshcruiser.com. "Traveling with an infant brings on a new level of excitement and challenges. Speaking with many new parents, I found myself giving advice on traveling with their children and calming many stresses and fears."

The website will continue to open people's eyes to new adventures while staying active, eating well, and taking advantage of all the opportunities on vacation with family. Cruise ship travel will remain a key feature with special emphasis on luxury family and healthy cruising.

"Cruising as a family is an exceptional way to see the world and experience new cultures with no risk of boredom," concludes Aisley, “For those who love to travel, starting a family should never end this passion.  Instead, travel becomes enhanced with new experiences, adventures, and perspectives.”

 

Contact FreshCruiser

Abby Aisley, FreshCruiser.com Founder
E-mail: abby(at)freshcruiser.com

Follow on Twitter

 

Wednesday
Apr302014

Adventures of dealing with a Crawler in a Hotel Room

I recently spent 4 days at The Nines in Portland, Oregon with my husband and son.
My son is an official crawler and it would be our first time staying in a hotel room with him on the move. When he was smaller, we would put him on the bed while we were getting ready in the room, but then he started rolling. We moved him to the floor on a blanket, next came crawling and cruising. Now, he's on 24-7 "watch" as he crawls around the room.

Crawl around & check it out

When we got to the room, my husband and I did a quick check of the room for any hazards. We got down to his level, crawling around. I'd definitely recommend always doing this for hotel rooms and your cruise ship staterooms.
We looked for:
- sharp objects on the floor
- Potential dangers, including open wires
- Magazines, books, and other items within his grasp
- Anything breakable within his reach

It took only a few minutes and was well worth it.  Overall, there isn't much clutter in a hotel room.  At The Nines, we didn't find anything that needed to be moved.

Hotel Room Tips

Here's helpful tips for what you need to know when traveling with a crawling baby.

Crib
The crib was already in the room, which was great. We moved it into the hallway of the room.  We did this so he didn't see us when trying to go to bed as well as to have a space for himself.  We made sure there wasn't anything for him to grab close by when he was in the crib.

Move it up high
Bags, purses, souvenirs, and anything we didn't want him playing with, all went up high onto the desk in the room.
Drawers
While spending time in the hotel room, my son learned how to open and close cabinet doors. I watched him open and close, open and close, open and close. He was opening the drawers and taking out all of his clothes. It was harmless although he did get his fingers crunched in a few times. After a few tries he taught himself to be careful.
Outlets
There were a few open outlets in main areas.  It's easy if you remember to throw some safety plug protectors in your suitcase or you can even ask the front desk to see if they have any.
In the end, the peace of mind that comes with using the safety plugs is worth traveling with them. 

Bathroom
If he can get access, my son loves banging on the lid of the toilet.  We needed to make sure the bathroom door stayed closed.
In addition, the hotel towels and hairdryer were kept in an open cabinet. We moved those up high and out of reach.

During the day, we enjoyed exploring the city and we made sure to take a break to the hotel at some point to regroup but also let him crawl around and get some energy out.
Especially in the first year, your baby changes so much, bringing new challenges but also new excitement.  Seeing my son look out the window of the plane with such an intent look, was magical.
The adventures of a hotel room crawler were entertaining to see as it's interesting to watch him explore a new space.

FreshCruiser Tip: It's important to always keep your eye on your child no matter how safe you feel a space may be.

Monday
Mar312014

Heading to Hawaii on vacation with your baby? Rent a cabana. 

My family recently spent 10 nights at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Hawaii. Traveling with an infant can be challenging. However, if you make a few key decisions, traveling can be a breeze. One of those decisions was renting a cabana at the resort; I’d say that this is a must for traveling with a family as it provides many key benefits. Read about the benefits as well as insider cabana tips for Sheraton Maui at Black Rock.

Click to read more ...