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

10 Beautiful Reasons to Visit Provence

10 Villages in ProvenceProvence may possibly be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. With its rolling fields of lavender, pebbled roads lined with towering plane trees, and picturesque villages, it amazes me it isn’t completely overrun with tourists. Your senses will be on overload from the diversity of scenery, from the azure blue of the Mediterranean to the rust colored hills of Roussillon. It’s easy to understand why artisans have made the pilgrimage to Provence over the centuries to seek inspiration from this landscape. There are many villages, sights, and attractions to see, so here’s a short list of some of the highlights.

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12 Tips to Prevent Jet Lag

Packing Tips!One of the reasons parents hesitate to take long plane journeys with their children has to do with not only the plane ride (and the cost), but also dealing with the unknown when it comes to adjusting to jet lag. Over the years, we have learned many tricks to make the adjustment easier for everyone in the family. We feel it is much easier to fly from east to west, when the only significant change we make is keeping the kids up to their typical bed time on the local clock. When you fly from west to east, things can get more complicated, so here are some quick tips to help prevent jet lag (and potential meltdowns) on your next adventure.

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