Happy Toddler, Happy Flight

Are you flying during the holidays? Holiday travel, especially a long fight flight with a toddler, can dampen anyone’s festive spirit. It’s tricky to manage everything when planning a trip; finding flights in your budget that fit with your schedule, reserving places to stay (Is the hotel close to the sites? Do they provide a crib?), putting together an itinerary, hiring a car (A quick tip: I recently learned about Turo – a car sharing company that has rentals all over the states, including airport rentals. It’s like the airbnb of cars. So convenient & helpful when traveling on a budget!), etc. Once you’ve done all that it can be exhausting to face the fact that you may be flying with a small child. Don’t worry. You can manage it. With a little planning ahead of time, smart packing, and low expectations everyone will survive and get to your destination.Happy Toddler, Happy Flight: Packing for a flight with a toddler. // Our Second Second City Over the past few years we’ve been on dozens of short flights (like Birmingham to Zurich or Chicago to D.C.) and several rounds of transatlantic flights with Daughter. After each flight I took note of the toys/snacks/games that were lifesavers and the items I wish had been handy during the flight. So, to help you be confident in your ability to travel happily during the holidays here is my list of recommended items for a smooth flight. Continue reading

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Travel Tip: Whisperings in your Ear

We made it back from Italy! And while it was a little crazy to do two big trips so close to each other, it has also made for some interesting comparisons. But that’ll be another post. Today I wanted to share a fun little tip we discovered while doing research for Florence.
IMG_7533It’s pretty common that Derek and I watch Rick Steves videos in anticipation for trips. It’s nice to get a feel for where you’re going and get a few ideas for places you might want to visit while you’re there. He’s totally our parents’ generation so we kind of laugh at the videos too, but come a new trip, we still check out what Rick has to say. We don’t typically use his guide books, but the free videos on hulu are totally worth 20 minutes of research time.
That’s not my tip. Well it is a tip, but it’s not the one I’m trying tell you about. While we were in Florence we found this page on his site: Audio tours for Rome, Florence, Venice, and Assisi. It was like having your own personal Rick Steves whispering in your ear. Creepy as that may sound. We were pretty excited about the guides, but bummed we hadn’t found it before Rome.
monapodThey’re less dry than most audio guides, even if the dryness is in part eliminated with groan-worthy humor attempts. They’re easy to use (we downloaded the mp3 rather than using the app), and while they don’t cover everything, they’re also short enough to keep your attention. Did I mention they’re free? Take that €8 audio guides! He has some for Austria, Germany, Greece, London, Paris, and Amsterdam. Anyway, check it out!
hr_rick_zagreb IMG_7632First image taken from  GIotto’s Bell Tower of the Duomo in Florence. Last taken from near the Doge’s Palace in Venice.

P.S. Rick Steves has no idea who I am, nor does he care. I’m just sharing this because we were so enthusiastic about it on our trip.