Favorite Ghostly Getaway

Savannah: said to be the most haunted city in the US. KRIS PICKS for this family vacation spot coming shortly.

Family Friendly Spot: Club Med, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

This from a reader:

Hi, got any feedback on the Club Med in Punta Cana? I have heard that the childrens [sic] clubs are great but the food isn't brilliant and it is expensive. We like the fact that it is a relatively short flight from BWI. Any advice would be appreciated or if you have any other ideas for family vacation resorts requiring only 1 flight.

Many Thanks, Lucy


Hi Lucy,

While Punta Cana is still on my "must go" list, I'm getting great feedback from families (and personal friends) who have been. Some like to stay at the all-inclusive resorts- the most popular one there being Club Med while I have also heard good things about the Ocean Blue Golf and Beach Resort.

Friends have really enjoyed it and said it was great for their kids (aged 6-14). Don't forget the kiddie passports! You'll need them, and if you plan on stepping off the resort premises, you might want to brush up on your Spanish.

You Can't Take it with You

Well, OK, maybe that's a misleading title for this post, because you can take it with you, but its going to be a huge hassle! That goes for car seats, full sized strollers, cribs and play yards. Why take it when you can just pick it up on the other end?

Rent the larger items you will likely need for baby, including all of the above and much more. Baby gear and toy rental companies, like those below, are a huge success, because they're such a convenience. The costs range from item to item and location to location, naturally. Still, the last time I price checked (recently) you could get items like a car seat for just $6 per day.

National companies:

Regional companies:

To Lock, or Not to Lock?

To lock, or not to lock?
Many travel advice columns advise people to lock their suitcase before checking bags in.
Unless care is taken, this act will -more often than not- get you a broken lock and a note from TSA indicating that they had to break into your bag for security reasons. Why?
The rules of travel have changed drastically since 9/11 and baggage handlers must be able to inspect any suspicious bags (locked equals suspicious, according to the TSA representative I spoke with).

So what can you do? Most airport shops and travel retailers now sell TSA sanctioned locks for your bags. These locks can only be opened by you, the bag’s owner, or with a master key in possession of official TSA agents. And no worries, the TSA Master Key is government issued and cannot be purchased over the counter by thieves.

Vacation Photo Tips

TIP #1.
Try and capture the moment by using a sense of humor. Did you accidentally cut off mom's head in teh photos? Well, if she has a margarita in her hand... that's funny! Remember- family vacation photos serve one purpose- to remind you of great memories.

TIP #2.
Here's a trick I learned while working in TV. The best photos are when light is on the face of the subject, but the problem is that most of us squint when the sun is in our eyes. Try this: close your eyes, and while doing so, stare at the sun for 10 seconds. DO NOT OPEN YOUR EYES DURING THIS TIME!! When the photo is ready to be taken, look away from the sun and into the camera lens. Like magic, you won't squint, since your eyes have now adjusted to the light.

Awww- SNAP!

Here's a tip when carrying your camera on a trip. Put all undeveloped film and cameras with film in your carry-on baggage. Checked baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film. If you've gone digital, you'll be OK at the x-rays.

No matter what type of camera you have, if you've invested in a fancy schmancy removable lens, and you are pulled aside for additional screening by TSA, ask them kindly to be careful regarding your lens. I have seen more than one expensive piece of equipment fall onto the hard floor at the airport screening area. Ouch! That's gotta hurt!

Tips from Readers: Anonymous

This one comes to me from "Anonymous" (thank you whoever you are!)

I have had extensive travel experience flying by myself with our son, from when he was two months until today, on several long haul flights. His passport is filled with stamps from all over the world. When he was just a baby I always reserved the bulkhead seat when buying the ticket, checked in early and asked if the flight was full. If not full, I would ask if the staff could switch my seat to a seat with the next seat free (that they could block for me). I would walk with the stroller base and car seat up to the airplane doors, but get only checked the base at the gate, keeping the car seat with me (if I had that extra seat beside me). I found this easier than the bassinet,
as my son could be awake and still comfortable in the seat (as opposed to the bassinet where he did not always like it). It would allow me to have a meal beside him even if he was awake. Also remember that in a bassinet, the baby has to be picked at every take off, landing and turbulence, which can be quite disruptive if you have a child who has trouble falling asleep in a plane (and Murphy's law is always so effective to get a turbulence 15 minutes after he fell asleep!)... A bassinet, when travelling alone, is not so convenient (specially with american flight carriers, as they put it on the floor (Europeans have them hanging on the wall) (but drawback for an older kids as it can be dangerous for a fall). A bassinet on the floor means less foot space for you and the person next too you, which might be embarrassing for your fellow traveller. Also a young baby who is learning to crawl might not be encouraged to sleep if so close to the floor - it was the case for our son. Also remember to buy a car seat "that can fly". There is something written on them, some logo and abbreviation - can't recall what exactly - we had a Graco and it was approved by the international air agency or something similar. Finally, my experience, for long flights, bring more than you need - 2 extra change of baby clothes (pj with foots are the best), wipes,
diapers, jarred food (sometimes airlines might be able to provide - or you might want to ask when booking to get a baby meal some serve it). Also for toddlers, videos (I am not a tv person, but hey that makes such a difference when traveling), books and other games make it easier. when going through security, you will find that some countries, or some states have more friendly staff. it is never simple to go through the security and handle the baby and the luggage and stroller, and I learned that what works in one place does not always work - for example, in some cases, I was asked to discard my 100 ml baby bottles - they only had water not milk, even in the right required amount, but
the staff was not helpful. Other times, I had to prevent the staff from opening all my jarred food - and I had brought lot (no limit on the number of jars, so I was carrying half a dozen as we where heading to a place I was not sure I could find them). Other times, at the opposite, I walked with evian water bottle (larger than the required
min amount) in my diaper bag, as the staff thought it was for the baby (and I had forgotten about it). hoping this helps,

Tips from Readers: Isabelle

Here's a great tip from reader, Isabelle:

I found it helpful to be prepared for extended wait times due to possible flight delays etc. I brought a thin (easy and small for folding) yet large enough blanket
when I traveled with my twin infants so they would have a clean space to roll around on, play, get some tummy time in and stretch their legs instead of the nasty airport carpeting. I also requested to board last so we had the maximum freedom before the
restrictions of a plane seat...the other way around may be more comfortable for others who may wish to get on first to get settled...either way, airport staff are very willing to accomodate [sic] your needs. I even had the pilot carry one of my babies to baggage claim...he volunteered! I do support, also, a previous poster who wrote of the importance of having a binky or a bottle ready for take-off and landing as it will help the baby's ears resist the pressure...I found a bottle worked better than a binky as it also soothed the tummy with milk. As soon as the plane begins the fast part of the taxi give your baby the binky/bottle and all should be fine :-)

TRAVEL TIP: Unusual Suspects

When shooting photos on vacation, in addition to the traditional shots of the family in front of famous landmarks, and those landscape shots you swear you're going to frame, but never get around to it, but try taking a few alternative angle shots too. Its fun!

What do I mean? Well, try an other vantage point, like looking straight down a curving stairwell, or up at a beautiful cornice, like this shot shot I took in Annapolis, Maryland. You just might find they become some of your favorite snapshots.

Not Everyone Scowles at the Crying Baby on Board

A mom recently wrote to me and had this to say:

All the other passengers were so happy to see a wee one, I don't think our son could have done anyone wrong they were all so happy!

Caribbean Picks

A reader writes:

I thought I would draw on your wisdom for recommendations in the Caribbean for a family holiday. We're open to all options and have never been anywhere in the Caribbean. We are after a hotel/resort with a pool, nice beach and one/two bedroom suites so we all have some space. We have a nearly 3 year old and an infant. Basically we want somewhere to relax for a week and spend some time together in the sun and there are so many hotels/islands it is a bit overwhelming! We're looking at going in May sometime. Thanks so much.


Happy to help! Keep in mid- you will need a passport for ALL children- infants too, since its out of the US. However, you do not need an infant passport if you stay w/in the US & territories: i.e. US Virgin Island, and Puerto Rico.

Atlantis in the Bahamas has an infant/child program. No charge for babies, crib, or high chair. Be sure to ask for your "Atlantis Baby" kit: it contains an assortment of J&J baby products, plus a storybook for bedtime.

The Disney Cruise Line
can be your best friend, with new ships/routes being added each year for the next few years.

Beaches Resorts
opened a new property in Turks & Caicos in January of this year. So far, the guest feedback is great. Beaches is exclusive t families. You actually must have children in order to visit this property.
Club Med has a family package & a family resort in the Dominican Republic & Mexico too.

TRAVEL TIP: Flying with Baby

Carry our baby in a holder (like an Ergo, or Baby Bjorn). Strapping him in will make it easy on you to go through security and on the plane, etc.

Keep in mind though, some airports may make you take the baby out of the carrier to go through the ex-ray machine, but others will let you just walk through.

TRAVEL TIP: Flying with Baby

The Bottom Line to flying with baby is this: Try not to stress too much - if you stress and worry, the baby will sense this, and often follow suit.

Got a tip for the mom? Questions? Feel free to email me!

TRAVEL TIP: Flying with Baby

Oh, those sensitive little ears! An infant is unable to "pop" his ears to equilize in an airplane. Small children can learn, or can have a piece of gum to help them open those passages.

However, the itsy bitsy ones will need this trick:

Have a bottle or feed ready to go when the plane begins to taxi. You want your baby to be sucking when the plane takes off - that will help her ears adjust to the altitude; a pacifier will also help if you use one.

Make sure you do not feed the baby too early. Be sure you are really about to take off. It can be unnerving to have baby finish the bottle before you actually lift off.


Need to convert cash while on the go? Many international ATMs take Visa or MC (France, Italy, Australia, etc.) so you can get cash no problem. They may charge you for the conversion, of course, but its competitive to bank exchange charges.

Make sure you call your CC co. before you leave to inform them so they don’t put a STOP PAYMENT on your card (may companies do this for your protection).

Also- if your going to try memorizing the local language…make sure you know the words for “help” or police” or “Speak English.”

Tips From Readers: Lara

Lara writes:

I'm a first time Mum with an eight week old baby girl. Next week we're
planning on making our first proper trip and I'd love some advice on
how to make it go smoothly. We are flying up to Toronto to visit her
grandparents and I'm pretty nervous about the trip. Any top tips on
how to negotiate airports and planes with a baby would be very
gratefully received.

Hi Lara!
You came to the right place. Here on my site, you'll find lots of TRAVEL TIPS to make your trip easy. Simply use the SEARCH BAR, and type in "TRAVEL TIP: Flying with a Baby" and all of my advice should pop up.

Happy travels!

- Kris
The Ramblin' Mom

TRAVEL TIP: Get Packing!

Roll your items, do not fold.

Keep in mind cottons will crease more than man-made materials when packing. Make sure you take a variety of layers. One tank, one tee, one light sweater, etc.Cut down on items by only packing solid colors. These are easier to mix and match and therefore you wont need as many items.

Pack tightly
RE locks: Locking your case? Make sure you lock is TSA compatible so they can open it if they must. These days, it is common to cut off any lock that they cannot search.

Don’t hesitate to ship something ahead of time or back home. Don’t haul around needless items, if you accidentally brought them!

TRAVEL TIP: Fashion Watch

Going somewhere warm? Take clothes that breath, such as cottons and linens. The natural fibers allow air in, so you stay cool. As great as they are, there’s just one catch to wearing natural materials…they tend to become wrinkled when sitting in a suitcase for hours. Here’s a new twist on an old remedy.

Hang the clothing you want to wear in the bathroom while you shower. The steam will naturally loosen the cloth's fibers and smooth out some wrinkles. After your shower, spray your clothes with a product, like Downy Wrinkle Releaser. It now comes in a Travel Size which you can purchase at Target and run your clean hand over the article of clothing. This will take out the remaining wrinkles while adding a fresh just-pressed scent to your clothes.

Now its time to go have fun! Happy travels!