Top Hacks for Long-Haul Flights with Kids

Top Hacks for Long-Haul Flights with Kids

Make it exciting

A few weeks before your flight, get your little travelers excited about where you’re going and the fun you’ll have on the way. From the special snacks and activities you’ll bring to the meals and movies on the plane, there is a lot to look forward to for kids. Limit screen time, snacks and sweets - most of the time or at least leading up to the flight - and pitch the trip with even more ways to get them excited.

Make it clear

As you explain what’s in store, also outline the good behavior you expect along the way. Provide a preview of what will happen before, during and after the plane ride. Then continue to reiterate to set expectations, especially if you plan to fly overnight. One way to review might go something like... 

Parent: Where are we sleeping tonight?

Kids: On the airplane!

Parent: Are we going to play quietly on the airplane?

Kids: Yes!

Parent: Are we going to cry or yell on the airplane?

Kids: No!

Parent: Are you going to make daddy drink all the wine on the airplane?

Kids: No…?!   


Make it easy

Take only what you can easily carry and remember our nine things to leave behind. At the airport, keep kids in a lightweight stroller and babies in carriers to breeze through check-in and security. If you don’t have access to your airline’s club, consider buying a one-time pass like United’s for $59. It’s a small price to pay for a place to relax when delayed, clean bathrooms and changing tables, and free snacks to restock. Some even have family lounges with toys, cartoons and comfy couches for kids to nap.


Make it collaborative

If you’re traveling with multiple kids, get them on the buddy system. Potential “airplane buddies” might be two older kids; one parent and one high-energy kid; one parent and one baby, etc. If you’re traveling alone with multiples, empower the older kids to help you take care of their younger sibs.

 Make it late

If you can, book overnight flights for longer trips. Ten hours flies by when you’re all sleeping instead of trying to entertain your toddler in a tiny space for a full day. Flights at or just after bedtime are best. Make sure to equip the kids with their favorite overnight supplies to keep in their carry-ons.

Most overnight flights serve a meal and small dessert. Let kids taste everything. Then brush teeth, put on their comfiest pjs, break out the blankies, and let them watch their favorite in-flight entertainment. If your tots have trouble sleeping beyond their beds, stay tuned for our sleep anywhere tips.


Make it comfy

If you’re traveling with a baby, book a bassinet at the bulkhead in advance. For bigger babies and toddlers, create a cozy nest in their seat or even under the seat in front of you with a plane-provided blanket as a base, plus your own clean blanket or coat, so that when the in-flight fun slows, they’re ready to snooze.




Globetotter We Love: Lisa Treviso-Jones

Globetotter We Love: Lisa Treviso-Jones

Meet Lisa Treviso-Jones, mom to Arlo (4) and Ira (6), wife to Eric, and clinical speech pathologist at the University of Colorado Hospital. 

1.     What has been your greatest adventure with kids?

Our first overnight rafting trip! We floated and camped with a two-year-old and a five-year-old. We were freaking out that the kids wouldn’t be entertained, but they entertained themselves. We saw them have the time of their lives, watching the water go up and down, singing songs, looking at wildlife, chasing frogs. They loved it and it was so nice to connect as a family.


Also, our first trip to Mexico. My parents are bilingual, but wanted us to assimilate to American culture so they didn’t speak Spanish to us. I took Spanish in high school, but didn’t solidify my Spanish until traveling to South America when taking a year off between undergrad and grad school… My older child didn’t understand the importance of learning Spanish until he played with kids from Mexico and quickly connected learning Spanish to communicating with other children from a different country.


2.   What are some of your favorite everyday adventures together?

On the weekends, we get out our bike setup, the Weehoo, and we go all around town: the Children’s Museum, ice cream shop, friends’ houses… it’s so easy to cruise around and the kids love it. In the winter, we rent ski gear and set up a little ramp in our backyard so the kids can practice on skis. A lot of parents think they have to go to a ski resort, but you don’t have to feel guilty about spending a ton of money. Just setup the backyard, and come in for hot chocolate and cookies when they get tired.

3.   Where do you find parenting inspiration, ideas and encouragement?

Mostly from parents with older kids who also love traveling, going on hut trips or family vacations out of the country. A friend of mine with older kids always says, “you’re going to forget 10% of what you need. Just make sure it’s not the most important 10%.” Words to live by.


4.   What do you wish you had known or done before having kids?

My husband and I waited for quite a while to have kids because we were so worried we wouldn’t be able to travel anymore. Having kids has changed the way we travel, but it hasn’t stopped our fun. Before we’d just go and figure it out. Now it just requires a little more planning. We need a place to stay. Not just a backpack.

5.   What advice do you have for other parents trying to explore more?

Just try it! Before we go on any adventure, I’m always a little nervous about how things will turn out. But once we do it, it’s always great. During our overnight raft trip this past summer, there was a horrible storm. It was a little crazy… but when the kids saw the parents laughing afterwards, using duct tape to repair the tent poles that broke, they knew it was alright. Even in the bad times, it ends up being funny or a learning experience.

6.   Which top two things can you not live without when out and about with kids?

Always bring your duct tape! Also snacks and water.

7.   What do you want your child to learn about the world?

How much beauty there is in nature and how amazing it is to experience other cultures. Also, how learning Spanish, or any other language, will allow for an instant connection.


8.   What’s your parenting motto?

“You don’t know until you try it!” I try and remind myself of the same thing when we are about to embark on a bigger adventure. I was nervous about many of our camping, rafting, traveling adventures, but many of them have now become our annual trips - and now we bring along our friends!


The Expert's Favorite Travel Snacks

The Expert's Favorite Travel Snacks

Ever wonder which snacks a dietitian packs for her family when they're on the go? Meet Lindy Lemieux, pediatric dietitian at the Denver Children's Hospital and active mom of two little Globetotters. Read on to find out what she recommends for her kids, husband and us, too! 


If your kids are anything like mine, they will successfully eat an entire day's worth of calories over the course of a four-hour plane ride. We need healthy snacks that don't take up too much room in a carry-on, don't rot or get soggy, and don't make me feel guilty halfway through the trip. These are a few of my favorites (just add a few little sweet treats like Haribo Goldbear Minis for great behavior).

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Lindy’s Top 10 List

  1. Crisp veggies that travel well, such as raw carrots or celery

  2. Protein-rich nut butter like Justin’s squeeze packs or Snack Packs

  3. Fruit-forward bars with fun flavors like a Peanut Butter and Jelly LARABAR

  4. Super chewy bars that keep kids busy longer like a Mixed Berry RXBar

  5. Easy-to-make trail mix made with bulk ingredients like fruits, nuts and seeds

  6. Whole fruit that must be peeled or require lots of bites like apples or mandarines

  7. Jerky in surprising, culinary-inspired flavors like Krave’s Black Cherry Barbecue

  8. Easy-to-eat chick peas that are better for you than chips or pretzels and just as crunchy

  9. Creamy cheese that’s perfect size, but won’t go bad or get soggy like Mini Babybel

  10. Fruit-nut clusters that are fun to share like 180 Snacks’ Blueberry Pomegranate Squares

9 Things to Leave Behind Traveling With Kids

9 Things to Leave Behind Traveling With Kids

As we prep to travel for the holidays, let's be thankful we don’t have to haul everything from home with us. To travel a little lighter together, leave behind what you don't absolutely need, including... 

1.    Kids' Beds

Why haul a heavy crib or bulky docking station when you can BYOB (build your own bed) instead? Create a baby crib or big-kid siesta spot using our BYOB Guide (and stay tuned for our Hotel Setup Tips) to make sure everyone can snooze, even in the same room.

BYOB and then sleep in!

BYOB and then sleep in!

2.    Too many diapers

Bring enough for the trip, emergencies and long layovers. A day’s worth will do for shorter and overnight trips. Then either send more to your destination via Amazon or buy what you need when you arrive to save valuable space along the way.

3.    Heavy stroller

If you're traveling with a baby, a carrier might be all you need. For infants, use a wrap like the Baby K’tan. For bigger babies and toddlers, pick more support with the Boba Air or Baby Bjorn. If you need a stroller, go with light, sturdy and compact like Kinderwagon or Baby Jogger.

The Kinderwagon's Hop Tandem is only 22 pounds - and perfect for Kyoto strollin'.

The Kinderwagon's Hop Tandem is only 22 pounds - and perfect for Kyoto strollin'.

4.    Daily outfits

Most kids have favorite clothes and don’t mind wearing the same thing a time or two (or ten). Take advantage and bring separates that mix, match and layer. Stay tuned for our packing lists, and plan to do laundry or hand wash key items in the sink along the way.

5.    New shoes

Make sure the shoes you bring are worn in so kids can cover lots of ground. Two pairs are plenty, including running/walking shoes and another for special weather (boots for snow and rain or sandals for balmy weather). The best can be dressed up or down.

Kids will fly through trips with the right shoes.

Kids will fly through trips with the right shoes.

7.    Books

With complete libraries accessible on iPads and e-readers, reading and coloring on the go is easier than ever. Download favorite stories with art, music and learning apps. You’ll have activities on the way and stories for bedtime routines wherever you may be.

6.    Meals

Most of us pack enough food to face an apocalypse when we fly with kids. Try to pack just a few snacks so you can make meals a fun part of the journey and enjoy local fare when you get there. Also, check out our Expert’s Favorite Travel Snacks.

Luckily these girls had room for a few baked goods upon arrival in London.

Luckily these girls had room for a few baked goods upon arrival in London.

8.    Car seat

Even the lightest car seats can add another ten pounds to your already heavy load. If you can, leave car seats at home. Rent upon arrival, take portable versions or stick with public transportation. Trains, subways, buses and boats are friendlier for the environment and for all of us!

9.    Fear

The most important thing to leave behind is fear. Think of your trip as an adventure together. Then organize just what you need and envision traveling with confidence. You can do this! Parts of the trip might not be easy, but it will all be worth it.

Just a dad and his gal, fearless on the cliffs of Novia Scotia.

Just a dad and his gal, fearless on the cliffs of Novia Scotia.

             Your Countdown to Traveling With Littles Like A Pro

Your Countdown to Traveling With Littles Like A Pro

Travel with kids can be crazy at any age, but most parents agree trips with little ones is like a highway to the danger zone. Todd travel can be especially challenging because babies go from portable airplane pals to mischief-makers who get more curious, active and vocal by the day.

It’s at this point that many parents swear off flights and road trips with littles for a while. But just think of all the fun-filled vacas and memories you’d miss!

With just a few tips as you countdown to your next trip, you’ll be traveling like a pro and enjoying the ride with your Globetotters in no time.

1 Month Before: Train 

If you’re worried your little ones won’t stay still or could scream once on the plane, car or train, practice. Train your baby to sit in a high chair for longer mealtimes. Implement independent play time for older kids and gradually extend the sesh so they’re used to staying put. If your sweeties can’t sleep beyond their own beds, train them to sleep on cue before you’re on the move (stay tuned for our 6 Secrets to Help Kids Sleep Anywhere).

1 Week Before: Pack

A week or so before you leave, hope for the best and plan for the worst by fear-setting to mentally prepare and decide what you truly need. Lay out clothes that you can mix and match, to pack in a suitcase. Then create a separate pile of essentials you’ll keep with you like diapers or pull-ups for younger kids, along with an extra outfit for everyone (also stay tuned for our Fall Packing Tips).


1 Day Before: Plan

Pack your bags and ponder your plan. Consider a modified Babywise sched like “see, eat, play, sleep”. Make a mental list of all the things you can show your travel buddies or ways you can entertain each other on the way. Gather favorite travel snacks with a few treats for good behavior. Bring a blanket or lovey to soothe and prepare to snooze. If you’re flying, call the airline and ever-so-sweetly ask if they can move you next to an open seats for more space.

1 Hour Before: Play

Get outside or to the airport early and let your little ones relish in some independent exploration. Cruise through airport shops and try on hats or sunglasses. Find an empty spot near the gate and encourage the kids to run, walk, jump, and play. Get aaaaall the pent-up energy out. Then help them dance or hop right into the car or onto the plane.


1 Minute Before: Engage

Set expectations by explaining the kind of behavior you’d like to see and what the rewards will be (kids understand more than we think and this is where the treats come in). Encourage your kids to wave and say “hello” to everyone. If you’re flying, greet fellow passengers and befriend the flight attendants. Instead of apologizing in advance for your kids’ behavior, thank everyone in advance for their help if (when) it’s needed.

During: Entertain  

When you’re on your way, consider it your time to shine. Show the kids what’s out the window. Wave to cars or air traffic control together. Upon plane takeoff, relieve air pressure with a snack or drink, and play games together. If you’re driving, sing songs. If the trip is long enough for your tot to get tired, pull out the blanket or lovey for a nap on the way.

Think of the trip as quality time with your mini travelers-in-training and enjoy the ride. Soon you and your crew will be pros, traveling as the best of the best Top Gun-style.

5 Small Fall Adventures Your Family Will Love

5 Small Fall Adventures Your Family Will Love

With back-to-school craziness, it’s easy to lose your sense of adventure and start to feel a bit fragmented as a family. Fall is the perfect time to reconnect beyond school and sports.

Here are some ideas to help you celebrate the cooler season together...

1. Autumn Adventure at Home

There are plenty of adventures your family can have in your own backyard if you look for them.

Start your morning by collecting seeds from flowers in your yard. This is a fun activity that helps you not only celebrate fall, but also anticipate planting seeds again in spring. While planning your spring colors, plant some bulbs for your first spring blooms together.

While you’re outside, rake leaves and add a little fun to the chore by jumping into piles together. When the work/play is done, enjoy s’mores outside (around a campfire or fresh from the microwave) with fun, flavored ‘mallows like Smashmallow for a taste adventure.


2. Autumn Adventure On The Trail

Fall is also the perfect time for a family hike. A good, old-fashioned scavenger hunt is the perfect way to keep kids engaged as you explore. Create a checklist of natural items (leaves of all colors, mushrooms, lichen, moss, birds, squirrels, types of trees) or cash in on the geocaching trend. Geocaching is a worldwide scavenger hunt that incorporates your GPS so you can find hidden treasures (and leave a few, too!). It’s sure to be active, memorable and educational.


3. Autumn Adventure with Crafts

While on your hike, collect items for fall crafts. You can make a pretty wreath with leaves and pinecones, make leaf rubbings or paper plate art to hang in the windows, or even grab pine cones to fill with peanut butter and seeds to use as bird feeders. Nature provides all that you need to spend a morning hiking and an afternoon crafting.


3. Autumn Adventure On the Farm

There is no better time to visit your local farm than the fall. There is a plethora of produce that is ripe for the picking, including apples, pears, and pumpkins. Many farms also have special activities or fall festivals. Bounce along in a hayride, get lost in a towering corn maze, rise to the challenge of choosing the perfect pumpkin. Make memories and leave with tasty treats too.

Travel Tip: Turn your trip to the farm into a mini road trip by choosing to visit one outside your neighborhood. Pack fall-themed snacks, sing songs, and play car games along the way!


5. Autumn Adventure Serving Others

Serving others is always in season so when you’re making crafts, consider making extras to take to a retirement home or teachers. Plan a sneak attack on your neighbor by raking their leaves with your own. Kids get a kick out of surprises and learning to do nice things for others cheerfully is invaluable.

Fall is the perfect time to regroup and make sure that your family is connected. It can take a little planning, but the memories you make together will be sweeter than pumpkin spice.

Afraid To Do Something With Kids? Try This.

Afraid To Do Something With Kids? Try This.

There are so many solutions to overcome common fears…

  • Afraid of public speaking? Join Toastmasters or take improv.

  • Afraid of networking? Take a friend to an event and practice.

  • Afraid of asking your boss for a raise? Research, role play and present your case.

But for some reason, there aren’t many solutions to overcome fear as parents.

  • Afraid kids will cause trouble at the store? Shop at night or online.

  • Afraid kids will cry on a long plane ride? Road trip or put off travel for a while.

  • Afraid kids won’t sleep on vacay? Just don’t go.

Yet, the more we avoid what we fear most, the more our fear grows. Experts say the best way to overcome fear is to acknowledge it. Put a plan together and practice. Get better at it.

Classic fear management techniques can help. Tim Ferriss calls it “fear-setting” as a system to thrive in high-stress environments. (You know, like a long plane ride with your two-year-old.) So, try this…


Step One: Define

Define the fear. What is the worst that can happen? Write down all the terrifying scenarios. Back to our travel with a two-year-old scenario: You could run out of snacks or activities. Your kid could skip nap time or have an accident and be without a change of clothes. You could be kicked off the plane and see yourself on the news when your kid screams, non-stop, for eight hours.


Step Two: Prevent

Plan what you’ll do to prevent each scenario from happening: You’ll pack favorite snacks, tiny toys, an extra outfit. You’ll train your sweetie to snooze in different spots so he’s ready to nap on the way (stay tuned for our Sleeping Secrets). You’ll brush up on ways to entertain him and make the flight attendants your new BFFs so they’re ready and willing to assist you in case of an emergency.

Step Three: Repair

Ponder how to fix the problem or how to ask for help: You can ask the flight attendant for more snacks or the biggest bag of gummy bears she has. You can ask her for cups, napkins and stir sticks as additional toys. You can spend some scream time in the bathroom to not disturb fellow passengers or be glad to get off the plane when you’re kicked off so your kid can finally run free.

You get the idea.


When we go through this exercise, we might find there isn’t as much to worry about after all. When we face what we’re afraid of, our confidence grows and we become fearless. And when we are fearless, we can do more with our kids than we ever thought was possible before.

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Globetotter We Love: Mickey Citarella

Globetotter We Love: Mickey Citarella

Meet Mickey Citarella, dad to Mac (two years old) and a baby girl due in January, husband to Megan, language enthusiast and advertising account director. 

1. What has been your greatest adventure with kids?

My wife and I love traveling. It’s something we’ve bonded over - our love of the world and experiencing new places. When Mac was four months old, we took him to France and Ireland. He was in a baby carrier from sunrise to sunset, and we all loved it.


2. What are some of your favorite everyday adventures together?

Every day after dinner, we take an adventure to a little park in our neighborhood. He practices new modes of transportation (bike, scooter, tricycle) and we find new things along the way. That’s what’s fun about kids. There are things I would never notice that he does. He makes it all more fun.

3. Where do you find parenting inspiration, ideas and encouragement?

From Facebook groups (like Globetot) and Instagram accounts (like Dad Threads). Also just going outside and playing together.


4. What do you wish you had known or done before having kids?

I wish I had known how you need to embrace the present as a parent. Kids aren’t worried about the past or future. Now I try not to worry about work or what stresses me out. The moments I’m most happy with my family are when I do that. I see other parents looking at their phones while kids are playing. There’s no joy in that. I try to embrace the moment with him.

5. What advice do you have for other parents trying to explore more?

Just do it! The prospect of flying with kids is scary, staying in hotels is scary, getting off schedules is scary, but you never regret the trips you take with your kids. I love the everyday moments, but we bond as a family when we get away and experience something new.


6. Which top two things can you not live without when out and about with kids?

Preparation is key. You need to have the right amount… not too much, not too little. We pack pretty lightly, but always need diapers, extra outfits, water and a snack.

7. What do you want your child to learn about the world?

The world is meant for experiencing so get out and enjoy it! The more you do it, the more you’re willing to learn and apply new perspectives. I hope my son has the same travel bug, curiosity and empathy we try to have so that he cares about other people.

8. What’s your parenting motto?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Parenting can be scary, but it’s going to be fine. Embrace the present see the world through kids’ eyes because it’s so much fun to rediscover it again.


Spend Less, Explore More: The Best Ways to Extend Your Family Trips

Spend Less, Explore More: The Best Ways to Extend Your Family Trips

Ever dream of extending your family trips to explore more together? We know what you’re thinking: with kids, even short getaways can be ridiculously expensive. And we need so many supplies just to go the park, being away for much longer could be crazy! But did you know the longer a trip lasts, the lower the per-day cost and the less you really need?

Don’t believe it? Read on…  

Create a home base

Kids crave consistency. Give them a place to enjoy breakfast each day by trading houses with friends or finding a spot to rent. With sites like HomeExchange and Airbnb, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to find a home away from home. From there, you'll be able to stick with your usual routine, have the day-to-day supplies you need, and take mini trips to really experience the place.

Save up

When you live in your vacation location like you would at home, your typical expenses should be about the same. Budget for transportation and accommodations, plus emergencies and special splurges. You might start by forgoing family birthday presents and parties and instead, put the money towards your longer trip. You can also try these other trip-saving tips.


Aim low

If your dreamy destination is within driving distance, take your own car to spend less than you would on a rental with car seats. If you’ll go farther afield, buy flights at the right time and go where the cost of living is lower like a big-city equivalent. For instance, if you've always wanted to live in Barcelona, try Girona with the same magical, Catalan culture sans crowds and high prices.

Work remote

With so much to see and so few vaca days, arrange to work remotely, if possible. It’s best to craft a business case and request a trial period far in advance to prove how much more productive you can be. Then ease into working from home a day or two each week. When you convince the boss it's a brilliant idea, you'll stay engaged without using vacation days.

Enlist help

If you work outside the home and need childcare help, see if a favorite family member or nanny can come with you or do a little research to see what you can line up. Chances are, your kids can attend the same kind of daycares, programs or camps they would at home. If you trade houses with friends, tap into their local network and offer them yours.

Pack less

A few weeks before you leave, journey map your typical day by keeping track of what you do and what you really need. Plan to layer and do laundry so you can pack less and buy essentials, like diapers, upon arrival. Empower kids over two to carry clothes in a packing cube with a backpack of favorites. Remember what to leave behind too!

Live like locals

Instead of action-packed tours, rental cars and high-priced attractions from typical trips, you’ll have the time and flexibility to find all that’s free. From open museum days and outdoor concerts to libraries, parks and farmers markets, you’ll be able to explore a whole new world without spending much. All you'll need is your phone and your family.






Want a Successful Trip With Kids? Do This One Thing.

Want a Successful Trip With Kids? Do This One Thing.

Whether you're taking a trip to the grocery store or flying to another country, there is one thing you should do to increase the chances of success when out and about with kids: set expectations.

The Childwise book series says, “children will rise to the expectations of their parents.” Kids are capable of much more than we think. So spell out the plan and explain what's required of them.

If you’re going to the store, talk through the process. Explain what you expect them to do while you shop together (carefully steer the cart, pick the perfect peach, sniff out the sweetest tulips).


For bigger trips, give kids the travel rundown and again, explain what you expect them to do (help pack, go quietly through security, hold hands with a little sis). Demonstrate complexities like boarding and deplaning. Then repeat what you've discussed, and remind them what's expected along the way.


For a more exciting setup, take a tip from Finding Nemo with something like, "Alright, little dudes, we're gonna to have a great flight today! Find your airplane buddy! Do you have your airplane buddy...?" 

Like Marlin, kids may not understand everything that's about to happen, but if they understand our expectations for them, they'll be better able to meet and exceed them so that we can all enjoy the ride.

Globetotter We Love: Sara Hageman

Globetotter We Love: Sara Hageman

Meet Sara Hageman, mom to Avery (two-and-a-half) and Avery's future sis (due in just eight weeks!), wife to Steve, and outdoor sporting goods expert.

1.     What has been your greatest adventure with kids?

The first was when we took our daughter, Avery, to Hawaii for her first birthday. “Hard” is not even a word to describe our first year with a baby. It was more like… survival mode. We needed to reconnect as a family and as a couple. Steve and I went from survival mode to beach mode, and it made the biggest difference in our relationship. We felt, for the first time in a year, that we could sit back and enjoy Avery. We watched her play, listened to her laugh, tried to just be. It made us be in the moment.

The second was when my sister and I took Avery backpacking when she was 11 months old. A lot of parents are afraid to travel or camp because you have to bring so much stuff, but you don’t really. Kids adapt. They’re creative. Avery played with pinecones and sticks and she loved it. Adventuring forces you to take a step back, bring less, and just enjoy each other.


2.   What are your favorite everyday adventures together?

Hiking is our favorite, but going to the grocery is an adventure with a toddler too! When we hike, it’s not just about getting exercise. It’s being outside, appreciating the Earth. People don’t spend enough time outside – not just kids. All of us.

3.   Where do you find parenting inspiration, ideas and encouragement?

Mostly friends. With friends who have older kids, you can see the way they do things and feel more comfortable. I watched how one couple traded off skiing, and thought, “Wow, I can do that then.” 


4.   What do you wish you had known or done before having kids?

You have to be flexible, learn as you go and show kids what you love most. I hate when people say, “…and then we had kids and stopped doing these things.” Show them! If you enjoy skiing or cycling or travel and love that, then show it to your kids. Some people get a day off of work and don’t know what to do. I learned from my mom how to do what you love and play hard. I want to teach Avery that too.


"I learned from my mom how to do what you love and play hard. I want to teach Avery that too.

- Sara Hageman

5.   What advice do you have for other parents trying to explore more?

Keep it simple… pare down and be flexible. As a parent, know your kids are gonna pick up on whatever you’re stressed about or you feel is hard. If you say, “Hey! Now it’s raining. We’ll just put on a rain jacket and keep moving,” then a change in weather is not that big a deal to them.

6.   Which top two things can you not live without when out and about with kids?

A backpack or some kind of kid carrier (wrap, sling, framed pack) and snacks. Always snacks!

7.   What do you want your kids to learn about the world?

To respect Mother Earth and they can go on any adventure they want to… go and play, explore, meet new people, try new foods, be part of different cultures. I think it creates empathy and they’ll know they’re not the only people in this world. Hopefully our kids will be more caring and more thoughtful.

8.   What’s your parenting motto?

“Drink more coffee”?! And “if something is important to you and you love it, teach it to your kids.”


Forget Packing Kid Beds, BYOB Instead

Forget Packing Kid Beds, BYOB Instead

Why carry a heavy crib or pack ‘n’ play when you can BYOB? When traveling farther afield, build your own comfy, cozy kid beds. Then break out a beverage to celebrate sleeping success.


For smaller babies, make a snug and safe snoozing spot. Newborns fit nicely in an armchair turned towards the wall or in a suitcase (towel pillow optional).


Babies and toddlers

Bigger babies and todds need a little more structure. Borrow a pack ‘n’ play upon arrival or create a crib with cushions so they feel secure and can't climb out.

School-age kids

Preschool and elementary kids need a little more room. Use a longer chair against the wall...


Or push a chair and ottoman together to create a big-kid bed they can stretch out in. Request extra towels and sheets so you can create a clean, mini mattress and tuck them in.



For more then one kid, make a nest on the floor or request a pull-out couch or roll-away bed they can share. If your little ones are prone to rolling, create rail guards with pillows or cushions. If you need to separate siblings, put a pillow or two between them.


Extra (cocoon) credit

To complete your bed build, wrap a window curtain around it. This creates a separate cocoon so kids can’t see you or each other. It might reduce the noice they hear, too. If you’re worried about the sun waking up your sweetie in the morning, return the curtain to the window to block it. Then break out your beverage to celebrate the snoozing. Cheers!


Globetotter We Love: Deb Williams

Globetotter We Love: Deb Williams

For our first parent profile, meet Deborah Williams, mom to Hwitley (five years old), wife to Bradd, passionate #outdoorist, and Outdoor Industry Association managing content editor. 


1.    What has been your greatest adventure before kids?

Skiing with (big-mountain freeride skier) Ingrid Backstrom in South America. It was five days of hiking and skiing, in bounds and out, pushing the limits with other rad women... I didn’t have kids then, but I think I was training for it. I’d find myself holding back—that maternal preservation thing. It was a good opportunity to check in and say, “It’s okay to take a step back, and go at my own pace as long as I don’t stop.” (Read more in SKI.) With social media, people post about doing amazing things and anything less than extreme often isn’t good enough. If they can’t go huge, some people back out and are just not going to go. Even if you can’t hike a 14er, go for a short hike, walk around your
own close-to-home neighborhood or city park. Go at your own pace. But go.

2.    What has been your greatest adventure with kids?

This morning! I feel like every day is an adventure!

Also, our recent trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park… Hwit has autism and with special needs, his communication makes everything a bit of an adventure. When we get outside of our routine and familiar surroundings, he’s resilient and isn’t averse to new experiences. But also you have to communicate with him differently about what some of the risks can be. 

The Sand Dunes are incredible for anyone, but it was especially exciting seeing them through the eyes of a kid who thinks and communicates differently and who has such rich sensory experiences. In the world's biggest sand box, your hands feel like they’re on fire and your feet burn. But he was running around without shoes, and he loved it. He was so happy.


3.    What are some of your favorite everyday adventures together?

Hwit is not interested at all in TV, but my Dad introduced him to YouTube videos of (Scottish cyclist) Danny MacAskill's "Wee Day Out." Hwit was just fascinated. He watches it dozens of times every week now. He got a strider bike and was into it right away. He immediately tried to take it down stairs and over concrete parking blocks because he saw Danny doing it. Now whenever we want to get outside, we grab the bike and say, “Alright, Danny, let’s go!”


4.    Where do you find parenting inspiration, ideas and encouragement?

Friends, family, Facebook, my own parents. Most parents want kids to do the sports or activities they did and if kids say they want to do something, they’ll let them try it. But Hwit doesn’t express verbally what he wants to try. We have to pay attention to see what he gravitates to… like Danny and the bike.

His sensory needs also pull him into things. He really loves to pull grass. He likes the sound of it coming out of the ground, and he likes to spin the blades between his fingers. Sometimes it seems like he’s in his own world and we find ways to break in… We’ll ask, “What does the grass smell like?” or “How
many blades are there?” and that will tune him back into us and invite an interaction. I’ll follow his lead. If he takes his shoes off to feel the grass or the sand, I’ll take mine off and see what’s so great about it. We introduce him to new experiences, and he does the same for us.

5.    What do you wish you had known before having kids?

I’ve traveled a lot, but I wish I had traveled just a little bit more and been more present in what I was doing. When I traveled, I was always thinking about how I’d be able to say ‘I’ve been here,’ and I’d try to amass as long a list of ‘been-there-done-that’ as I could. With such limited time, now I wouldn’t put such a premium on the quantity of things as on the quality of my time and interactions.


6.    What advice do you have for other parents trying to explore more?

My advice is, especially when it comes to exploring more, just try it. Too often we think, “Let’s go on a weekend trip,” but then you start to think about it and say, “Oh, it’s a long way…” You focus on what is challenging. You might even say “Oh, it was so much easier before kids” and talk yourself out of it.

You know what? If you load the car up and get out on your way and halfway there, the kid’s not having it and you need to go home, you still had an adventure. It’s better than not doing it at all. Sometimes parents say, “it’s just so hard with a kid or two or four… it’s too much so we’re just not going.” You make it easy on yourself by not going, but you deprive of kids of really cool opportunities.

7.     Which top two things can you not live without when out and about with kids?

A change of clothes. Hwit loves being in everything, which is awesome, but it usually means he's going to get dirty, and it's nice to change afterwards. And a water bottle.


8.    What do you want your child to learn about the world?

I want him to learn that a lot of life is adaptive… I used to work the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA), and I had an incredible experience skiing with an instructor named Bill who was on the PSIA Demonstration Team. Bill had been paralyzed in an accident when he was younger. He skied in a sit ski, and he absolutely ripped. He said to me, “You know, Deb, skiing is adaptive for everyone. No one is born with skis on their feet. It’s new for all of us.” That idea really stuck with me, and it applies to a lot in life. Kids and parents have to learn that and adapt to things. Hwit can adapt to anything and as he does that, the world will figure out how to adapt to him as well.

9.    What’s your parenting motto?

My motto is one my mom has said: Kids rise to the expectations you set for them. If you expect kids to do great things, dare to take adventures, behave politely, whatever it is… they will. No matter what kids have going on, wherever challenges may or may not be, expect great things and they’ll achieve them. And you'll be along for the ride.




5 Easy Adventures For More Family Memories

5 Easy Adventures For More Family Memories

Remember those sunny, summer days of family vacays? When your parents broke away from the day-to-day so you could simply be together? Can you believe our kids may not have those lifelong memories? Studies show family vacations are more important than ever before, but today's parents don't use all their time off and "technoference" interrupts time with kids even on trips.

As technology pulls us inside, away from nature and sometimes away from each other, more families opt for active, outdoor adventures that demand digital detox. But with the impact family vacations have on kids, why wait for your next trip? Here are five ideas to make memories anytime.

1. Go to the "beach"

Bring the best of the beach to your backyard. Water? Check. Inflatable pools are so hot right now that you can find them online for less than the price of puddle jumpers. Sand? Yaaas. The kinetic kind makes for even better sand castles because it molds, won’t stick to your hands (and absolutely every part of your kids), and never dries out so you can use it again and again. Sun? Plentiful in summer. Just grab your suits. Bonus beach points for a sprinkler or slip ‘n’ slide. Oh, and tropical drinks for everyone.


2. Go to the "mountains"

Part of the excitement when heading for the hills is collecting your gear. Take the kids to an outdoor store like REI to look for (or just at) supplies. Explore aisle after aisle of bright nylon and cool gadgets.  Maybe even treat the kids to something small like a flashlight or headlamp. Later, set up a tent in the backyard and equip it with all your outdoor items. Make hot dogs and s’mores in the microwave. Tell stories under the stars. Sleep in your sleeping bags – and still sneak in to go to the bathroom.

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3. Go to "another country"

You don’t always need to take a long flight to venture to a new country and culture. Indulge your culinary curiosity and make a few new foods. For instance, Argentine empanadas are a cinch to make with pizza dough and kids’ favorite fillings from savory meats to fruity sweets. Visit the library to find a few books or movies about Argentina to learn more about the place, people, history, food and drinks. Then enjoy your authentic meal al fresco with fun candles or party lights.

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4. Go to "Disney"

Instead of venturing all the way to the Sunshine State, encourage the kids to dress up as or bring out their favorite Disney characters. You can find a mini movie projector for as much as movie theatre tickets for a family of four. Add a sheet and fire up your home theatre. Make a nest of blankets outside and enjoy a Disney classic with some theme snacks. Better yet, kick off the magical night by showing a glimpse of the Enchanted Tiki Room with a homemade Dole Whip – no lines required!


5. Go to the "games"

Why wait another two years for the Summer Olympics? Divide the kids and their friends into teams, and ask them to come up with names and uniforms. Then organize some DIY activities. You can play Twister with circle stencils and spray painted grass or Memory with painted cork tiles. You can also compete in Outdoor Pictionary with driveway drawings and a Balloon Toss to cool off. Come evening, get crazy with Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling using glow sticks in water bottles. Let the quality time begin!