Best of Our Family Vacation to Scandinavia and the Baltics

scandinavia norwayEvery year our family tries to take a trip abroad, and when it came to choosing this year’s destination, it came down to two things: 1) When we can travel? and 2) Where can we go on frequent flyer miles? Choosing the time was easy. Baseball season lasts through the end of July, so we would have to travel in August. However, it always seems that 90% of the world is on vacation in August, which is a problem for us because we don’t like to go where there are crowds. We also don’t like to travel anywhere hot and humid (because we can have that at home), so southern Europe was off the table. Frequent flyer miles are always tricky, so once we found our destination, I could start playing around with those.

I began researching our options seven months prior to our departure and found we would have to choose somewhere in Northern Europe, middle to late August. I realized there is a direct flight from Chicago to Helsinki (always book a direct flight with kids when possible), and since we had never visited that region of Europe, it was decided. The plan was to fly to Helsinki, visit St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Stockholm. However, as politics changed between the U.S. and Russia, we decided now was not the best time to travel to St. Petersburg. Changes were made and the new itinerary was set. We would visit: Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bergen, Norway Fjord Country, Oslo and Tallinn. It was extremely ambitious for us as we have always stayed in one country for a two week period in the past, worried that it might be too much for our kids to always be on the go.

Eventually I will be writing destination and attraction reviews for the cities we visited, but with the start of school, the most I can do at this time is a brief overview. A “best of” list if you will. So here it goes… Continue reading

Best Summer Memories

familyThis blog post will be short and sweet as I have just returned from a two week vacation and am incredibly jet lagged. Please forgive any rambling or misspellings, my brain is only functioning at half capacity.

This summer flew by (as they all do) and I can hardly believe Labor Day is this weekend. Our family enjoyed every bit of the Chicago summer, passing time at over 100 little league games (not joking), visiting the zoo, catching fireflies, celebrating birthdays, eating our way through the state fair, and playing with our puppy. We made the most of our time in the sun.

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How to Prepare Kids for Travel Abroad

Travel Abroad Kids

Many adults are overwhelmed when planning a vacation two hours away, let alone heading to a country half way across the world. Imagine how a child feels when then are told they will be traveling to a foreign country. Children thrive on routine, so imagine the anxiety when they are told they will be leaving the comforts of home to visit a new place where people don’t speak their language, and live a lifestyle different from their own. There are many ways to prepare your children for what they will experience, hopefully alaying their fears well before heading to the airport. Continue reading