Travel fears and Is it safe to travel internationally with baby/children? 

I was watching one of my favorite travel bloggers this morning talk about travel fears, and how it is a major concern for people these days. It made me realize how many of you mommas and papas probably feel that fear heightened when bringing your most prized processions (your babes!) along. So I’m going to talk a little bit about how I combat my fears/why my momma bear instincts don’t stop us from traveling. 

Let’s tackle this in a question answer format for organization and because time is of the essence as my little man is not really into solo play this morning. 

What if we have an emergency? 

Program all local emergency numbers into your phone!!! Police, EMT, Fire Department,  numbers all in your phone. I even favorite the closest hospital, police station, grocery store and pharmacy in my google maps on my phone. If you don’t have international service, you can download the local area map and use it without service. 

We have utilized resort health services in Mexico after making a mistake eating fresh fruit in a market (ooops I even knew better!). Luckily, obtaining medication in Mexico is really easy and we didn’t need an actual hospital visit. I have only been to Mexico sans bebe, but I imagine the resorts marketed with children in mind would be able to assist with a child’s medical emergency as well. With children in Mexico, I would definitely go the resort route. I’m sure there are some really great non-resort areas, but when it comes to travel with baby I like to advise on making your location and accommodations as easy and baby friendly as possible. In Mexico, this means resort to me. 

In Peru (no baby here either), I traveled with a tour group and our group had our own nurse traveling with us who had her own medical supplies and managed our malaria medication as well. I was fortunate to not find myself in any medical situation, but one guy in the group was bit by a snake and our local guide knew exactly what to do. Another woman had many fire ant bites and our nurse was prepared with the right tools and medication to help. Our group spent 3 days in Lima, a day in Iquitos, and 10 in the Amazon Rainforest. If you want to do an ecologically adventure and/or service trip the Amazon has a lot of great groups that go, and again for something like a rainforest I highly recommend an organization and lodge with meals, guides, activities included. The Amazon is amazing, but very dangerous in the sense it is wild and emergency assistance is not a phone call away. 

While my husband has not needed any medical assistance in Japan, he said the hospitals are very modern. If he were to need help he would not have any worries about receiving care. 

If you travel in the European Union have no fear. You will be given great and affordable care at any of the government hospitals. I can’t say what the price will be everywhere, and if you go to a private hospital I really have no idea. As an American traveling without purchasing international medical insurance (maybe I should post why we don’t usually purchase it? If you would like me to post on that leave a comment) in the EU we have never had a problem with baby or without. While in Paris December 2016 our son, 16 months at the time, was taken to the pediatric emergency and the care was exceptional and affordable. No insurance the visit was 62€ and his 3 medications were 2€. We have good American insurance and still can’t get away with an emergency visit that cheap. 

What about terrorism and violence?!

I actually had people give us a hard time about going to Paris over Christmas because terrorists might attack due to the Christian holiday. I literally laughed at them, and replied you realize we live in Chicago, right?! Violence is every where. Not too long ago BLM ripped apart the giant Christmas tree downtown and were shoving and screaming at Black Friday shoppers on magnificent mile. I lived less than a mile from all of this. We stayed inside that day. I live in one of the most violent cities in the United States, making it really one of the most violent places in the western world. It is more likely we will be victims to violence here than really anywhere else we would travel. Most Americans wouldn’t bat an eye at a trip to Chicago as dangerous, we sensationalize the unfamiliar. Try to keep that in perspective when questioning the safety of a destination. 

 It’s all about doing your research and avoiding areas known for violence. When you come to Chicago, you obviously aren’t going to be wondering around the south side alone at night. The acts of destruction and violence a Black Friday ago didn’t seem to stop tourists (or locals as we were out there, gotta get my deals!😂) from shopping the mag mile this year! Why should that not apply to foreign destinations as well? Paris is a fantastic city, that has had a couple of terrible tragedies, like almost every major city in the world. 

The media sensationalizes most of what we hear and see. They also love to leave out the wondeful and amazing good things that are happening. They prey on our fear. Don’t let it get to you. Find local blogs of the place you wish to go and find out from a real source what the area is like. Email the hotel or apartment you are interested in and ask if it is in a kid friendly neighborhood. If lots of families live there, it’s probably because it’s a safe neighborhood! 

We don’t know the language, how will we manage? 

One, you can learn some basic words and phrases. With just a little practice this is a very easy way to make your trip wayyyyyyy more enjoyable. You should always learn hi, please, thank you, have a good day/afternoon/night. You will learn this goes a long way, and is greatly appreciated. After that if you convey you don’t the language it is likely they will still try to help you. It really is disrespectful to not even make an effort, and will not get promising results.

Two, make a list of important phrases and keep it with you all the time. Numbers, how much?, where is (bathroom, the elevator, the exit, a good restaurant), I would like, we want to go (blank), we are staying (with the address of where you are staying). You can even open the list and point to it if you need to. I put these in my husband’s phone. I’ve been fortunate that everywhere I have traveled I have at least an elementary level knowledge of the language. My husband speaks only English, so this is a vital tool for him and works very well:)

Bring a small English-Language dictionary to keep your room and when you have something you struggled to convey that day that might be helpful later look it up and add it to your list.

We also always grab multiple business cards with address of where we are staying and put them in our wallets, passport holders, taped to our stroller, pockets. You can never have too many on hand. It’s also good to memorize at least the intersection. Then if you get lost and can’t find any of the cards or your list you can have some idea of  what to say to get help as the location of Hotel Orange probably isn’t common knowledge. 

Any travel fear I left out? Leave a comment! 

Ciao amici!!

P.S. We have some exciting things happening here at home! Can’t wait to fill you guys in! 😘😘

Babyjogger City Tour

Ciao!! 

We’ve been crazy busy here the past 30 days. We got back from Paris to immediately fly to Florida because my grandfather passed away after Christmas. We stayed a little longer to help my grandma settle into her new life. They were married for 56 years, and she has never lived alone:( 

Anyway, I wanted to at least post something about our trip, and I thought I would share our new stroller that made Paris soooooo much easier! The new Babyjogger City Tour. 

So Paris is narrow and small. Yes, I know it’s a “big” city, but for strollers it is small. The restaurants, cafes, doorways, walkways, crowds, it’s all narrow and small. This stroller has a tiny footprint. It’s also light weight, easy to fold and compact which is important for the train and all of the stairs in the city. Just because there is an elevator doesn’t mean there aren’t still stairs for you to tackle. This stroller makes that navigation a lot easier. It has a good recline (6 months +) and our son napped for hours in if. Also, the basket is pretty big for a compact stroller:) 
I will say it’s the hardest of all of my strollers to push, but this is because of the narrow frame. It’s worth the extra effort (which really isn’t bad, I could one hand push still) for the narrow frame and small footprint. 

The rain cover was also the worst of all my strollers. It took my son just barely nudging it to pop the bottom open. It didn’t let a lot of rain in, but it would be better if it attached better on bottom. 

The backpack feature is cool, but hubby mostly just carried it by side for a quick up or down. Was nice for the gate check, though. Also, good for the train bc we just held our son until we got back outside the station. 

The price is awesome in comparison to other compacts, but if this was my first travel stroller purchase I might opt for the new babyzen yo yo+ despite the much higher price. The City Tour is 6 months+ and the new Yo yo+ is newborn friendly with reversible seat and a bassinet option even<3 However, my babyjogger Vue lite would have been ok in Paris and has a bassinet insert, reversible seat and much lower price tag. But that Yo yo+ has me gaga, and I saw it everywhere in Paris. Definitely worth also checking out! 



Note we did a lot of walking and touring during nap and bed time:) LOUVRE DURING NAP TIME!! We got 2 1/2 hrs in with him sound asleep and then switched to babywearing. 

Buon Viaggio Amici!! 

Ireland with a 1 yr old

Well mates, we did 1 whirle wind week in Ireland with our now 1 yr old, and it was a fantastic trip! If you are looking for a vacation destination that is easy to take baby/toddler along Ireland is definitely a top pick. Lots of space (except on the roads) to breath and let little one explore. We only made it along the south from Dublin to Kerry and back to Dublin because we were actually there for hubby’s work. But, I imagine our experiences and tips could apply to the majority of Ireland. Don’t quote me, though! 

So, you are here to read what do to make it the most enjoyable trip. You have probably read my packing list. I have an ammendment to that list for Ireland and big stressor as well. 

AN UMBRELLA STROLLER ISNT GOOD ENOUGH! That’s right, as much as I love my baby jogger vue light, it’s not what I took to Ireland. There were too many occasions when sidewalks weren’t available or they were total crap, even Dublin! You will see everyone else using a full size stroller because the bigger wheels are absolutely necessary. So what stroller do I suggest? We took our Babyjogger City Mini GT and it was perfect. It is small, but durable and has great wheels. It folds with one hand for TSA, the plane and the small trunk of the rental car. More on the rental car after I stress…

BRING YOUR OWN BABY FOOD/SNACKS AND DIAPERS! Ireland has a very poor selection of products compared to US and other places in Europe. A waiter that wasn’t for our table actually made a point to come up to me and ask about our Puffs (Gerber’s life saving product for us) because they have nothing like it and always sees them on American mom blogs. I let her try them, she was in awe, and we had a long conversation about baby products in Ireland. If you are looking to open a store in Ireland a Gerber products store would be a huge success. I brought a ton of puffs, crunches and yogurt drops with us and we used every last one. I also brought some purées which was awesome when he was hungry off the typical dining schedule of Ireland. The diaper and wipes selection was also terrible, maybe the majority cloths? None the less, bring enough and use the empty space for souvenirs. 

The rental car situation. 

We drive manual/standard/stick whatever you want to call it at home. We are very used to it. If you are not used to driving manual, I don’t recommend doing so in Ireland. You will be driving on the opposite side of the road and car. This means Right is wide and left is tight. Just keep reminding yourself of that. The roads are extremely narrow. I mean extremely. The one way we live on is wider than the majority of two ways. If you aren’t used to a manual, you will have an even harder time getting around. Also, in our opinions the Irish are not patient people. They were not kind to driving slow or sharing the road on a super narrow two way. Just trust me, if your daily driver isn’t manual, pay the premium for the automatic. Driving was the only unenjoyable part of our trip because it was pretty stressful. 

That said, I do recommend renting your own car if you are leaving Dublin. It’s not so bad you shouldn’t drive, I just want to give a warning. Some of the best areas of Ireland can only be seen if you have your own transport. We stopped many times to see things we never planned, they just pop up everywhere there. Same recommendation on bringing your own car seat. The cars are typically smaller, pack accordingly. We upgraded to a Passat, so we had no issues getting two big cases, stroller and backpacks in the trunk. It was probably as big as we would go there as the parking spots and roads are narrow. 

Self-cater or Hotel

We had better experiences in hotels this trip simply because the way of life in the cottage we rented was so different from ours that it required more work than we prefer for a vacation. Our cottage was heated by coal stove, hot water and electric. They all had to be manually controlled and the hot water heaters and electric ones never really heated up. So we had to really feed the coal fire. That meant hubby going outside at 2 am to get more coal. That’s not fun in October with a 1 yr old. If it were spring or summer this issue wouldn’t have occurred. The hot water heater was fairly easy to manage, but silly me didn’t think about needing to turn it on for the laundry as well. Just keep these things in mind when looking for a self-cater option. 

The hotels didn’t have any of these issues, and we’re very accommodating and friendly especially when it comes to baby necessities. 

All of the places we stayed provided a travel cot. We had no problem getting a high chair at restaurants. We brought our portable one just in case, but the stroller fit in every place we went so we used the tray on it half the time. 

Trip highlights with baby

There were a few places that really had our little man excited, and that we also really enjoyed. 

The Irish National Heritage Site


just outside of Wexford in Co Wexford. Very cool to learn about the history of Ireland in the great Irish outdoors and Bash really liked looking at everything. The price was fair and if you’re hungry while visiting they have a cafe. 

Blarney Castle and Gardens


My husband carried Bash to the top of the castle with us. I would not recommend this if you have a squirmer or aren’t very strong. I never would have done it, and I was a nervous wreck the entire time up. The stairs are spiral, narrow, slippery (it was misting while we were there) and extremely steep! Bash loved it though, and in the end I am glad he got to go up because he was all giggle and excitement. Hanging your baby upside down to kiss the stone is frowned upon we discovered 😜. Jk we didn’t try! 

Killarney, Co Kerry

The entire town was great, obviously the national park and castle are the draw, but we had fun going into all of the great shops. Our hotel here was the best of the trip, The International. Lots to see and do, very friendly locals. 

Mahoney Falls


This was a last minute driving decision, and turned out to be one of the best places we visited. The trek to the falls is not easy. You will want to lock the front stroller wheel/s and keep a good hold. We back it down when we are feeling uneasy. Prevents baby from getting away from you. Definitely worth the effort, though. 

Dublin and Trinity College


Aside from getting bored at the old library seeing The Book of Kels, Bash loved Dublin. Maybe it is because we live an urban life so it felt more like home, but there is just so much to keep him entertained. We toured the Trinity campus, let him out to explore, then had many choices for dinner in that area. The best dining experience we had the entire trip was dinner at Farm on the patio. Bash stayed in his stroller and people watched, while we enjoyed a few courses completely undisturbed. The food was fantastic, the best we had in Ireland. They had a very nice family bathroom with a changing station, as well.

All the ruins along the way.


We stopped and saw many ruins and castles along the way. Too many to list, but getting out of the car was a relief for us and Bash. 

Pubs 


All the pubs are kid friendly until the night. You don’t have to feel strange about it because there will likely be other kids there as well. In the evening they can be very loud though, so we opted for restaurants or take away (carry out) for dinner. We very much enjoyed the Langton’s pub in Kilkenny for lunch. Spacious and there were quite a few children other children dining. 

That’s really about it:) Go enjoy the Emerald Isle with your little! 

Have questions or want to add something I left out? Leave a Comment!   

Seattle: the emerald city is perfect for the entire family!


Hello mommies and daddies! We just got back from a trip to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula, and let me tell you, it was fantastic! There is so much to see and do for both little humans and big humans.


(^^our great hotel apartment, affordable with views of the space needle!!)

If you are looking for a vacation other than your typical beach vacation, I highly recommend Seattle. There is plenty to do in the city and around it. 

We stayed in the city, at the Hampton inn and suites. This location was ideal for us as it was close to some of the main attractions, like the Space Needle (which we had a view of from our balcony!), and offered a king bed apartment including a full kitchen, pack n play and high chair. There is also laundry facilities, which is always helpful with a bambino on board. Service was fantastic, breakfast typical and location spot on all for a reasonable price (parking is extra but also reasonable for a city). 

As for what to do around the city the options are endless and there is really something for every taste and interest. We did almost everything with our little (8 months old), but did spend one evening out on our own. 

Our top spots during a 4 day visit:

The Space Needle (save this for the nicest forecast on your trip!) Grab a table and some snacks and enjoy the view. 


The entire Fremont neighborhood visit the Fremont troll, ice cream at Molly Moons and pics with funny masks in the Archie Mcphees photo booth! 


The Pioneer Square neighborhood, get lunch at a food truck (many to choose from on week days), grab sandwiches to go from Salumi (Mario Batali’s dad’s place) for dinner later, check out the fun shops, play giant chess or ping pong  or go on the underground tour! We didn’t do this because we brought our stroller and heard it’s not really baby friendly, but if we didn’t have baby we totally would have! 


The EMP museum. A little overpriced, but if you’re a sci-fi fan it’s pretty cool and worth it. We are huge nerds, like whovian Trekky, cosplaying nerds. 

Day Trip to the mountains and Pacific. We did the Twilight Forks and La Push drive. Forks wasn’t as cool as I hope, but the drive was gorgeous. The beach was amazing. A true highlight! 


ADULT ONLY FUN

My mom came with us on this trip, so we were able to sneak away for a date night. Seattle has a pretty big burlesque scene, and we are always up for a new experience. We originally wanted to go to the pink door, but they were booked. We ended up at the Can Can seeing their French Kiss show. While it is more than just “dancing” it wasn’t fully stripping (I’ve never been to strip a club, but other sources confirmed) and it was very funny. Food was just ok, but I wasn’t expecting amazing. If it’s your birthday, beware!