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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.

Entries in travel tips (4)


What to Pack for your kids on an Alaskan Cruise

Items to bring to Alaska to enhance your kids’ overall experience

Getting ready for upcoming Alaskan cruise with your kids this summer?  We will be sailing to Alaska for the second time in two weeks. There’s so much to look forward to and so much to pack! After you’ve finished packing the basics for your kids, check out my list below of items that will enhance your upcoming Alaskan Cruise.  


I love these binoculars for kids as you don’t have to worry about focusing, easy for them to carry, and durable. There is so much to see on an Alaskan cruise and having binoculars really gets the kids involved and interested in what is out there.


Depending on your child’s age and interests, they can write about their day or draw what they saw in a journal. It’s a great way to look back at the trip through their eyes. I take pictures of some of their drawings to add to our photo album. I plan on having my son write down the wildlife he sees in order to practice his writing skills. My three-year-old daughter will also have a journal. It will mostly be her beautiful scribbles but a fun dinner activity. When she’s done, we’ll make a note at the bottom of what she drew.

Books about Alaska

Grab some books on Alaska to read to the kids before you leave. It gives them an understanding and builds excitement. Pack their favorite ones to bring with you. It’s fun to reread after seeing many of the places in the book. Below are a few of our favorites. 

Activities for the Table

Dinners can be long on a cruise so make sure to bring different activities for them to play with between courses. Grab some new items from the toy section of a Dollar Store. Their tin puzzles, small figurines, and cars keep my kids distracted and happy.

This is our current favorite is Water Wow!

What else?

Other favorite must-haves for cruises includes: cold and warm weather clothes, sunscreen, hats, playing cards, crayons, and bathing suits.

Packing can be frustrating as you are worried about forgetting something important. Make a list and keep adding to it as you remember things that you want to bring. We use packing cubes to help keep things organized and fit everything.

FreshCruiser Tip: Don’t be afraid to get your kids involved in the packing process. Allow a little space for a few clothes or small toys they want to bring.

Note:  All the products were selected by FreshCruiser. The links contain affiliate links.


Journal: Family time in Yosemite National Park

It had been 14 years since my first visit to Yosemite National Park and my first time back since then. Sharing Yosemite with my two young kids was even more amazing then I hoped. On my first visit, my husband planned the trip. He grew up going with his family and couldn't wait to share it with me. I didn't want to go. I wanted to vacation on the beach. I realize now it was because I would be out of my comfort zone. I had never visited a National Park and didn’t know what to expect. I am so grateful to my husband for not only showing me Yosemite but for showing me that glorious experiences can come out of being a little out of your comfort zone.

On my more recent trip in February with my husband and kids, we arrived to the Yosemite Valley Lodge late at night. When we opened the shades in the morning, we found ourselves surrounded by natural beauty including fresh snow on the mountain peaks. There was a chill in the air but nothing hats and gloves couldn’t fix. We enjoyed the day exploring and hiking. Our last few vacations had been to bustling cities. Spending time in nature was exactly what we needed. We all had a hop in our step as we hiked around.

Yosemite with Kids Highlights


Seeing wildlife in its natural habitat is always a treat. I believe it gives our children a profound respect for all things living. During our visit, we saw a blue heron, bugs, deer, a variety of birds, otter poop and a coyote.

Starry Night

One night of our stay we went on a guided tour, called Starry Night. The organized tour, which was through the National Park Service, had a 8:30pm start time.  My 3-year-old daughter fell asleep in the stroller on the way to the meeting spot.

The night sky was completely clear and filled with stars. It reminded me of planetarium shows we have been to, only this was the real thing. The guide used a laser pointer to show us which star or group of stars he was explaining. The stories the guide told were memorable and appropriate for all ages. My 5-year-old son learned a lot and talks about specific stars from that night. I enjoy travelling with my children as they can experience so much first hand, and this was another perfect example.

Ranger Talk

We attended a Ranger Talk while at Yosemite. I have to admit, we were pushed a little bit to do it as it was a requirement to complete the Ranger Program for our kids. It is one of the best things I’ve ever done. 

As we walked around the park, the Ranger taught us to move slow, listen, smell, and look. It was a learning experience and a reminder to do this when we returned home.

Nighttime Games

I brought a bag of games to play. It was such good family time and a fun way to end the night while we ate at the Yosemite Valley Lodge Lounge.

Giant Sequoias & Snow

We drove to the Tuolumne Grove which has about two dozen giant Sequoias since the Mariposa Grove is currently closed for renovation and set to reopen on June 15, 2018. Sequoias are only visible after a one-mile hike downhill.

Since we were there in January, the hike was in the snow and ice. We were prepared in our snow gear and the kids had so much fun playing in the snow. When we reached the Sequoia groves the kids had fun throwing snowballs at us. On our way back up the hill, we played hide and seek to make the time go by faster and keep my son from being carried. We headed back to the Yosemite Valley Lodge for some hot chocolate.

Ice Skating

My husband learned how to ice skate in Yosemite as a child so he was looking forward to taking our kids. I was a competitive figure skater growing up and therefore love any opportunity to lace my skates up. After a morning of hiking to Mirror Lake, we decided to go ice skating. It was the perfect afternoon activity. I was pleased to find out that they had skates small enough for my 3-year-old to rent. The sun was still shining as we stepped onto the ice. We were surrounded by a breathtaking backdrop.

The tradition of ice skating in Yosemite dates back to 1928. The Half Dome Village Ice Rink is an outdoor rink with a view of Half Dome. The ice rink in Yosemite is open from mid-November to mid-March.

Final Thoughts

Our time in Yosemite was one of my favorite vacations as a family of four. My husband and I challenge each other to visit new places, however I hope to return to Yosemite every year and make it our family winter tradition. The United States has so many National Parks that I would like to visit. It’s time to start making a list!


Tips for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Kids

When I was in 8th grade my parents took my sister and I to New York City to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I remember getting up so early that we were one of the first people on the streets.  Our goal was to get as close to Macy’s department store as possible. We watched it on television for so many years that we were hoping to see the performances. As we approached Macy’s Herald Square, it was already packed full of people.  People even brought ladders to see over the crowds. By the end of the parade we were cold and tired but it was worth every second. It is one of my favorite family memories.

Fast-Forward twenty-five years. I now have a family of my own and couldn’t wait to take them to experience the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. My kids are 3-years-old and 5 years-old. Their eyes were as big as bowling balls when they saw the balloons coming down the street. It truly has everything, floats with singers, marching bands, clowns throwing confetti and the giant balloons.  

Get there early

In doing my research before the trip, I read to be on the parade route by 6-6:30am to get a good spot. However, I’d recommend even earlier. By 6:15am all the viewing spots in the front row were taken. The key is to pack correctly as if you are warm and comfortable, the extra 30 minutes or so that I recommend will be worth it.

Restrict Liquids

There is no easy way to get to a bathroom. As the start of the parade approaches, the streets are completely packed and you will not be able to get back to your spot if you do make it out. My kids were fine as we were careful what we gave them. I wanted coffee so I restrained myself to only a little.


Before the parade starts, there isn’t much to look at. There are lots of police on along the route but no pre-parade entertainment to help make the time go by faster. The best thing to do, especially if you have your kids with you is to get to know your neighbors.

It makes the whole experience better and more exciting. We lucked out with some of the nicest people from around the country and it made the time fly. I brought new activities for my kids to play with while we waited. We also played games like, “I spy” and “Simon says”.

Pack This

  • Warm clothes – I recommend long wool socks. My ankles were cold! Put on one more additional layer than you were planning. You can thank me later.
  • Blankets – For a little extra warmth, I’d recommend bringing a few old blankets with you.
  • Chairs – Bring a camping chair or a weekender seat. I packed the weekender seat in the bottom of my suitcase. I bring it with me on a lot of travels so it's worth the investment. When the parade starts, everyone folds up their chairs so why not be comfortable for the few hours before?
  • Hand Warmers – After a few hours waiting, your hands and feet will thank you. Bring the hand warmers with you so you don't have to pay triple to get one from a street vendor.
  • Protein Bars – I always travel with CLIF Nut Butter Filled Bars. They are compact and keep you full. My kids love them as they combine chocolate and almond butter.
  • Themos – In your suitcase, throw in a themos to use for hot coffee, cocoa or tea. Make it at home before you leave or grab it in your hotel. It will stay warm for hours and you don’t have to worry about it spilling.
  • Something to share - I’d recommend bringing a thermos of coffee to share or hand warmers. Grab this 40 pack of Hand Warmers from Amazon and really make friends! Make nice with your neighbors as it enhances everyone’s experience.

If you follow my tips, you will not only be prepared but also enjoy the experience. The anticipation of the parade starting, meeting new people, and sitting on the streets of NYC are all part of the experience.


5 quick tricks to ensure safety on your family holiday

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

We get it – family holidays are hard. There’s simply so much to think about, not only in preparation but also when you arrive. One of the primary concerns is safety, especially when visiting busy cities and risky areas around the world.

With that being said, there are plenty of tried and tested ways to keep you and your kids safe whilst on your holidays. Here are just five quick tricks to consider in order to ensure a smooth trip.

Make a plan in case someone gets lost

In the unlikely case of someone in your party getting lost in a busy, built-up area, it’s important you establish a plan to ensure you’re reunited easily and quickly. If you’re in a city, for example, determine a landmark that can become the meeting point should you become separated, just one of the useful tips recommended by CTI.

And perhaps the most important thing to do in this situation is to not panic and remain calm. Stay level-headed and sensible, and you’ll be able to make more rational decisions. So long as you have an established plan in case of an emergency, you’ll be reunited easily.

Pack some essential supplies…

Remember to bring the things to keep you safe and healthy throughout the trip – medication is always a worthy addition to your suitcase, whether it be paracetamol, allergy medicine or antiseptics for any little scrapes or cuts anyone may suffer during the adventure. This helpful guide outlines what you should pack, and what medicines and dressings are easily available in many countries.

And, of course, don’t forget the lotion. Depending on where you are in the world, it’s paramount you all lather yourselves up with a sufficient amount of suncream in order to avoid any nasty burns, sun stroke or even sun poisoning in the most extreme cases.

…including a safety kit for the little ones

Consider conjuring up a little safety kit to give both yourself and the little ones peace of mind, especially if they’re young. Give them a little backpack to wear with ease when out and about, and put some things inside it that will aid both them and anyone who may help in the case of them being separated from your party.

A helpful thing to give them is a family photograph. This will allow anyone who helps your little one to seek you out in a crowd, making the situation a lot less stressful than it could be otherwise.

Be constantly watchful and vigilant

Regardless of where you are in the world, it’s important you remain vigilant of the people and the environment you’re surrounded by. There will always be things you need to look out for, whether it be a dangerous part of terrain or a shady group of people you don’t trust.

Unfortunately, there will be risks wherever you are in the world, even at home. But the added risk of being in an unfamiliar location may be slightly more unsettling – remain watchful of your surroundings and keep a close eye on everyone you’re with to avoid winding up in negative circumstances.

Don’t attempt anything risky

Last but not least, don’t let anyone do anything that isn’t safe. Whether it be swimming in particularly rough waters, playing in a risky area or talking to strangers, make sure there are rules set in place so nobody puts themselves in a dangerous situation.

Sure, it’s important for everyone to be free to enjoy themselves on a family holiday – but make sure there are at least some boundaries set in place.