KinderHop :: Gifts For Families On The Go

Christmas gifts for families on the go
Christmas gifts for families on the go

[trip style = any]

KinderHop is published once monthly and written by Trip Styler’s Seattle-based kid ‘n family writer, Keryn.

The winter holidays are here and with it comes the stress of picking out just the right present for everyone on your list. Kids usually have a mile-long list---from here to the North Pole---of toys they would love to find hiding under the tree, yet most are not practical for travel. When it comes to hopping on a plane and exploring a new spot, compact is key. After all, you need room for a few changes of clothes in that bag you are carrying. From my traveling troupe to yours, here are my festive finds for families on the go:

Trip Styler Tip: Want more gift ideas? Check out our annual traveler gift guide published on Friday.

1/ iPad or Kindle Fire :: If suitcase space is limited, this is your go-to travel gift for any family hitting the road. No need to pack the case of DVDs; simply download your child’s favorite movies. Added bonus: include your child’s favorite picture books and apps saving even MORE space. A few of our favorite toddler apps Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, Teach Me Toddler, Tozzles, and Angry Birds. Cost: $329 // $199

2/ Ergo Sport Baby Carrier :: The must-have baby item for any child under age three. When you need your hands free and baby just wants to snuggle down, this is the perfect carrier. Its neutral design makes it easy for dad to enjoy a little baby bonding time, while it's also gentle on mom’s post-baby back {distributing the added weight evenly across her hips and back}. Cost: $115

3/ FlashKids Spanish Flash Cards :: Small and compact flash cards are great to have on hand when little brains need some stimulation. These cards come with English translations and fun pictures, so if you have a little one still learning their first language, you can use the cards for English and/or a second language. Alternatively, wait for their native vocabulary to build and then use the cards again to add new words in your destination du jour's language. Ole! Cost: $3.95

4/ Zig Zag City Guides :: Rome is brought to life in this imaginative card series transporting you and your family through the streets of la dolce vita. A pop-up map lets your child take the lead in your adventures while they complete activities on the back of each card---how to order gelato, search a map of the Vatican City or learn how to prepare for plane travel---and discover fun facts about some of Rome’s most amazing sites. Even if you aren’t headed to the Eternal City, this is still a great way to introduce your child to a new culture. Works of art or educational tool, you decide. {Guides also available for San Francisco. Paris and NYC coming soon.} Cost: $28

5/ World Travel Pouch Puzzle :: Encourage kids to unplug with a travel-inspired map-slash-puzzle. Work their brains and fine motor skills as you explore where animals live across the globe. The small, resealable pouch makes it easy to pack in a purse or carry-on bag and brought out when little minds need some extra entertainment. Cost: $5.99

[photos sourced online]

KinderHop :: Time Zones, Jet Lag & Kids

[trip style = any]

KinderHop is published once monthly and written by Trip Styler’s Seattle-based kid ‘n family writer, Keryn.

Jet lag and time zone changes should not stop your travels when you have kids. Take it from me: I just spent a month with my baby and my toddler in Europe! With a few tips and a small adjustment to your expectations, you could be sipping svařené víno (mulled wine) at the Prague Christmas Market or dipping your toes in the sands of Maui this winter.

Stay Flexible You may not be able to hit the ground running right away. Nap times will be different, your child may need to eat more or you may need to go to bed earlier than usual. Embrace it.

Have Patience Jet lag can last 3-14 days---depending on how far you travel---and subsides with every passing day. Be mentally prepared for the adjustment; with a little flexibility you'll make it through.

Your First Night Could Get Rough If you've crossed a major time zone---or three---be sure to have a snack on hand and be prepared to watch a movie when your child wakes up at 3am ready to conquer the world. Don’t fight it; just know that it will get better every night.

Stick To Your Sleep Routine Do the same bedtime routine you'd do at home while traveling. Try to start as close to your usual bedtime as possible in the local time zone.

Give Yourself A Break The first few days of our travels, my husband and I always take turns getting up with the kids so that we each have a chance to sleep in. This helps us keep up with the kids and always makes our travels more relaxing and fun.

Take A Day Off Give yourself a buffer day---or two---to get back into the swing of things when you return home. Hire a babysitter so you can get a little extra rest, unpack and not pull your hair out chasing after the kids.

Your Child May Adjust Better Than You My kids have always switched time zones faster than me. Their circadian rhythms are so attuned to the sun they can get on local time in a few days, while it may take me longer.

More KinderHop Transitioning From Couple To Family Travel Back to School Seattle Shop ‘n Stay How To Keep Kids Occupied On A Plane Family Road Tripping Tips How To Pack Less With Kids In Tow Family-Friendly Big Island Making Hotel Rooms Work With Kids

[photos by @walkingontravels]

KinderHop:: Transitioning from Couple to Family Travel

[trip style = any]

KinderHop is published once monthly and written by Trip Styler’s Seattle-based kid ‘n family writer, Keryn.

One of the biggest fears my husband Mike and I had when we first discussed having children was how much it would alter our lives. Our careers were growing, we were able to put money away, and more importantly, we were traveling. Adding kids would change everything. We would surely be relegated to theme parks and playgrounds. I wasn’t sure I was ready for that.

Some of our first trips as a couple were overseas. We went to Italy. We stayed out late eating homemade pasta and house- cured prosciutto e melone while sampling the local vintage. In Rome, we woke up whenever we wanted to in our adorable (read: cramped) hotel just mere minutes from the Trevi Fountain. I could eat gelato for breakfast if I wanted to, as long as a shop was open. Mike and I would explore the side streets of a new city for hours; he with his head in a guidebook so he would know what ruins we were seeing and me with my camera glued to my face trying to capture every moment.

Enter the children.

My oldest son Dek is now 3 years old. His little brother Ty showed up earlier this year and is now 5 months old. Have our travels changed? Yes. Is this a bad thing? No, because the change crept up slowly. After all, no one handed us a running toddler nor did we have a primary school schedule to consider. We could still travel any time we wanted to, we just had to take a baby with us.

Our first big international trip with Dek was to China. He was 14 months old. People thought we were crazy, and maybe we were. The opportunity to travel presented itself and I wasn’t going to let it pass us by just because we had a child; we would just figure it out as we went.

Yes we had new foods and shifting time zones to contend with, but just like we were parents at home, we were now parenting in a new country while exploring some of the world’s most magnificent historical sights (i.e. Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City).

The pace of our travels was the most noticeable difference. We could not rush from sight to sight. We were actually forced to stop and see where we were going. Little legs slowed us down. Dek found the most mundane things interesting, like sidewalks, or at least we thought they were mundane at first, but then realized he had stumbled across something amazing. Without him we would have missed the intricate stonework on the pathways of the Forbidden City.

It was inevitable that the way we approached our favored trip styles would change, but it didn’t have to be as drastic as we thought. Theme parks with dancing characters have not crept into our lives. I have chosen to continue to see the world through four sets of eyes rather than two. You can as well.

More KinderHop Back to School Seattle Shop 'n Stay How To Keep Kids Occupied On A Plane Family Road Tripping Tips How To Pack Less With Kids In Tow Family-Friendly Big Island Making Hotel Rooms Work With Kids

[photos by keryn]

KinderHop :: Seattle Back To School Shop 'n Stay

[trip style = any]

KinderHop is published once monthly and written by Trip Styler’s Seattle-based kid ‘n family writer, Keryn.

With the tail end of summer still sizzling and sunning, it's hard to believe kids went back to school last week. My own little guy will be starting preschool this month too. We have a lot to do, and picking up a few new duds is at the top of my list.

Living in Seattle, I know the shopping scene is bursting with kiddie shops that can send your little one---and mine---back to school in style. Here's some of my top picks for a kid-themed, trip style = weekend shopping extravaganza:

Downtown Don't miss the trendy duds {read: pirate shirts or hand-made skirts} at Boston Street in Post Alley near Pike Place Market, then head up the hill to Bootyland in Capital Hill for Ivy Studio hoodies and Red Fish Clothing dresses.

The One-Stop-Shop If you are looking for a one-stop shopping experience wander over to University Village. Kid’s Club sets the bar on the playground with brands like Tea, Roxie Girl and popular preschool backpacks by SkipHop. Next door check out Nordstrom’s latest acquisition Peek Kids which opened this year. Not to be outdone, J.Crew has its own Crew Kids just across the way. Wrap up your shopping with a stop at Sole Food to pick up a pair of Frye boots or outfit your little skater chic in Vans sneakers.

East Seattle For those headed to the Eastside, make your way to Bellevue Square, where Splendid and Janie and Jack will have your young miss or mister turning heads on their catwalk down the grade school hallway. For extra savings drive over to Bellevue’s neighbor, Kirkland, to hit up the Kate Quinn Organics outlet. Oh how I wish her lounge dresses came in my size.

Luxe For Less After all this overture on outfits, trust me, you don’t have to break the bank to get your kids outfitted this season. Sela’s Small Couture (Queen Anne) and Me & Moms (Ballard) make it easy to get your kids the most sought-after brands for less. If your tastes run towards the looks of yesteryear, pop by Commune (Capital Hill) and Retroactive Kids (Columbia City) for beautiful vintage finds.

Stay & Eat Why shop 'til you drop when you can savor the experience? Check into the Four Seasons in Seattle or Westin in Bellevue one-night getaway {don't miss our overnight-cation packing guide}. Allow yourself to take your time and wander the shops. Grab a mojito and pernil slider at La Isla’s kid-friendly happy hour (Ballard) or dig into Pink Door’s mouthwatering pesto lasagna (Pike Place).

PS - Shop 'n stay in style with the Westin Bellevue's shopping package. Rates from $209 include a $100 gift certificate to the Bellevue collection {aka, the mall}, plus free parking.

More KinderHop How To Keep Kids Occupied On A Plane Family Road Tripping Tips How To Pack Less With Kids In Tow Family-Friendly Big Island Making Hotel Rooms Work With Kids KinderHop – Meet The Columnist 

[photos by keryn]

KinderHop :: How To Keep Kids Occupied On A Plane

[trip style = any]

{KinderHop is published once monthly and written by Trip Styler’s Seattle-based kid 'n family writer, Keryn.}

Traveling with kids on the plane doesn’t have to be the nightmare you imagine it will be. The key is to be an active parent. If you try to wish away any squirming or tears, they certainly won’t disappear on their own. It's true, your days of popping a sleeping pill might be behind you for a little while, but you can still enjoy a long flight with your kids. If I can make it 15 hours to Hong Kong with a 20-month-old by myself, I can do just about anything. With a little creativity you can turn any flight into a fun adventure with your kid{s}.

Keeping Kids Occupied On A Plane // Survival Tactics

  • Grab some flash cards and books to distract young minds during takeoff and landing.
  • Keep a small model airplane handy to get young travelers excited about the flight. Help them pretend to liftoff and land. Do a few loop de loops. Have the plane land on his or her tummy for a quick tickle and distraction from any turbulence along the way.
  • Hand over your iPad, iPhone or laptop. There are several engaging toddler game apps and movies available to keep your child entertained for hours. If you normally limit electronic use for your child, think of this as the ultimate treat and something that only happens when you travel.
  • Get up and walk. Never underestimate the power of a stroll down the aisles. Kids, just like adults, need to stretch their legs from time to time. If your kid can’t sit still at home, why would they on a plane?
  • Don’t forget snacks! Young mouths need to be fed more often than adults. An added bonus is snack time will eat up a chunk {pun intended} of your flight and keep your kids occupied for at least a few minutes.
  • Take a deep breath. Some babies and kids will cry. This is just part of life as a parent. Your fellow passengers will be more forgiving if they see you at least making an effort. Some may even try to give you a hand.

[photos by keryn]