Guided Tours Highly Recommended

My Lovely trip to Italy was a guided tour provided to me from Trafalgar Tours and I would highly recommend it, especially for visiting a destination for the first time. Worry-free travel is a main reason.

A tour like this is conducted with a guide that is local, that knows the area and the information for each experience. You are chauffeured by luxury buses and the groups are no more than 40 people. The properties are 4 to 5 star and city central. The most authentic meals are provided.

“Doing it on your own” does provide a level of privacy, but there is so much that can be missed. Who would have thought to go to Perugia to see actual weaving, or go to a Olive Grove/Vineyard/19th Century Villa to have hand-made pasta made for you by an Italian countess. Not to mention cut-the-line tickets at the Vatican, which were all included, saved waiting in line for hours just to get inside.

I believe the whole experience was made so much richer by all these components and I would most certainly travel like this again to another destination.

Finding My Love for Italy

I’m so happy to have had the opportunity and the pleasure of visiting some of the amazing top cities of Italy, and discovered I am so very much in love with this destination. The sights old and new, the smells, the food, the wine, and of course the people all make me close my eyes, smile and wish I were back in this soulful place.

As I arrived into Rome, the first thing that really stood out is that even though it was October, it was 80 degrees … how wonderful! I had 3 sweaters I should not have brought along, but worse things have happened. I was on a guided tour of Italy and we started with taking a bus to a restaurant for an authentic pizza dinner. Of course, the sights were amazing on the way. The Colosseum, The Pantheon, the Government center all took your breath away. Where did the archeology and technology come from in ancient Rome? Not only were the buildings functional, but they were also beautiful and artistic.

Like the adage says, “When in Rome…” That evening we were treated to a wood-fire baked authentic pizza dinner. The smells of the fresh made sauce and the creamy mozzarella on a crispy crust filled the restaurant with deliciousness and warmth, like mama’s house, or was that the Chianti?

Day two brought our visit to the Vatican. The architecture and the art in every corner were spectacular, whether modern or ancient. I especially appreciated Michelangelo’s fresco ceiling and I was humbled at the “Touching the hand of God” painting. I was being silly but thought the Pope has a great job to be able to work and live here. Other grand pieces I enjoyed was the huge pineapple staircase outside in the courtyard and Bramante’s stepless spiral staircase on the inside.

Saint Peter’s Basilica was exquisite. I normally go to mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul, MN, so I am used to a huge church, but not like this. It is about 4 times the size with gold craftsmanship and porcelain tiling all over everything, even the ceiling. The paintings were larger than life all celebrating God and his disciples. No matter what religion you are, you will appreciate the hard work people did bringing this place to life.

Next on the itinerary was driving through the classic Tuscan countryside with the tall Cypress trees to get to the College of Preugia where we were greeted warmly by Marta, one of the last of the family textile weavers in all of Italy. Her studio was a 12th century church that housed 6 full-sized looms that were big enough to make blankets. After Marta gave us a lesson of how to set up a loom and to weave, I learned that the weaving was the easy part. The tough part was the details that go in to setting up the loom precisely to create patterns that tell a story, griffins, grape vines, falcons, fountains, made me truly appreciate the Italian art in this form that was being created before my eyes.

Florence was our next stop. Again, the sights from the familiar landscape of the city made me smile. The square was so fun and alive with people, and churches and shops and street vendors. A major feature of the area is the Duomo. (The famous domed church.) With its massive size and detail, I was in awe. Florence is known for its quality leather products so of course, I picked up a couple of handbags from the street vendors. Florence is where I had my first taste of lavender gelato in Italy. I don’t know if I can have gelato anywhere else when I started at the top.

That evening was a memory I will never forget. Our group was taken to an Italian villa and farm owned by an actual Italian Countess named Giada. The villa has been in the family since the 19th century and is still producing Olives, Olive oil and wine. I was in heaven.

After a Prosecco greeting in the courtyard of the Villa, we were given a tour of this amazing building and then settled in for some of Giada’s cooking. What an honor. It was a white linen dinner that started with a handmade dish of ribbon pasta, then salad and roasted chicken that fell off the bone. She finished the meal with a fresh baked limoncello cake. Delicioso! What a lovely evening with great food and new friends.

On to Bologna! This was a city filled with charm and vibrant sights and sounds of the Bologna Marketplace. There were fresh fish markets, bakeries, fruit stands, meat shops, and fashion houses for as far as the eye could see! For lunch I had the best pasta bolognaise I have ever tasted, alfresco with red checkered tablecloth and just watched the people of Bologna go by.

Off to Murano and the Vetreria Artistica Colleoni (Murano glass Company) for a lesson in glass blowing! Blown glass is another art that is coveted in Italy. From the most delicate pieces of jewelry, to sculptures, to the most spectacular chandeliers that are famous around the world, glass blowing is a skill that is made up of technique, speed and talent. The showroom just sparkled with color and light of the different pieces that could have been purchased.

The last stop was the best for last … AAAH, Venice. Our group was there on one of the rainiest days I have ever seen and still was a glorious experience. The view of St. Mark’s Square, the canals, the gondolas, the cobblestone streets and sculptures created what every photo I have ever seen conveyed, only better. I was there and I was in awe. Everything was so beautiful, even the water taxis! The city was alive with old and new everything and welcoming people everywhere. Walking the bridges was a challenge, but so fun and I captured some great photos and memories I will never forget.

Italy was a dream! I hope that you have the opportunity to visit this beautiful country and I would be happy to assist with the planning.

Nevis – An Unspoiled Caribbean Gem

This is the time of the year that many people head south to escape the worst that Minnesota’s winter can throw at us.  While Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic remain the most popular destinations for Minnesotans heading to the Caribbean, they are starting to suffer from the problems of overtourism and crowds.  For people seeking a more serene, authentic experience, the good news is that there are lots of excellent options available.  The island of Nevis, part of the southern Caribbean nation of St. Kitts & Nevis, is a perfect example.

Located about a five hour flight from Minneapolis, Nevis is a small, unspoiled, relaxing island of approximately 36 square miles and about 10,000 residents.  Non-stop flights to the neighboring island of St. Kitts are available every Saturday during the winter/spring season, or daily connecting flights are available through Miami.  From the St. Kitts airport, it is 30 minute transfer by taxi and water taxi to Nevis, and you’ll truly feel your stresses and worries vanish as you make your way to the island.

Visitors to Nevis will find high quality, luxurious accommodations scattered throughout the island. For the luxury-minded traveler, there is a stunning Four Seasons Resort located on a beautiful stretch of beach, boasting a Robert Trent Jones II golf course, a comprehensive family program (including babysitting service), and the top notch service you’d expect from Four Seasons. 

Other accommodations are equally luxurious, yet offer a far more intimate setting.  The Montpelier Plantation and Nisbet Plantation resorts are two of my favorites, each offering a distinctive island experience paired with superb cuisine.  Each occupies the site of a former sugar plantation, with charming accommodations in a highly private, uncrowded setting.  I am reliably informed that the rum punch served at Montpelier Plantation is the best in the Caribbean, and I can say from personal experience that the Johnny Cakes (similar to a fried pancake) at Nisbet Planation are outstanding!

There are no all-inclusive resorts on the islands, which encourages guests to leave the property and discover authentic regional cuisine in a variety of nice restaurants, none of which is more than a 20 minute drive from the resort.  Nevis boasts some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean, many offering open air or even beachfront dining.  The annual Nevis Mango and Food Festival, held in July of each year, brings chefs from around the world to compete in a series of competitions designed to showcase local food and produce.

Pleasant beaches surround the island, offering relaxation or a chance to go for a swim.  Snorkeling, scuba diving, and other water sports are readily available throughout the island.  For the active traveler, biking around the island can make for an enjoyable day.  Fancy a bit of cricket?  The island’s well-regarded home team hosts matches throughout much of the year.  Looking for a unique destination for a wedding or honeymoon?  Nevis offers some very romantic options.

Nevis is also an island rich in history.  The American founding father Alexander Hamilton was born on the island, and his birthplace is a museum that doubles as the island’s local parliament assembly.  The capital, Charlestown, is a charming mélange of Georgian English architecture mixed with bright Caribbean colors.  Elsewhere on the island, remnants of the once-dominant sugar industry can be seen, offering insight into Nevis’ unique history. 

The island’s residents, called Nevians, are friendly and welcoming, and very eager to share their special island with visitors.  If you’re looking for a unique destination to visit next winter, you’ll definitely want to put the island of Nevis on your list of places to go!

Mixology Class Aboard the Disney Dream

Traveling as an adult aboard the Disney Dream doesn’t only mean indulging your inner child.  There’s plenty to engage the travelers who are there to relax and unwind without the kiddos.

Disney is always known for its fantastic entertainment from first run movies, extraordinary live performances and deck parties.  And they also intrigue adults with top notch dining experiences at Remy and an entertainment district with lounges and nightclubs to suit any taste.

I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a Mixology Class at Skyline.  We learned how to mix 4 different cocktails and got samples of them all.  My favorite was an elderflower margarita – yum!  Did I take my knowledge home and try it out on my husband or friends?  Not yet.

Disney also offers Mojito & Caipirinha Tasting, Tequila & Margarita Tasting, Champagne or Wine Tasting, Beer or Bourbon Tasting – basically almost anything you can imagine.

 The seminars do vary based on ship and itinerary and a nominal fee does apply. 

Recipe:

  • 2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liquor
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake vigorously.  Strain and serve with a lime wheel slice as garnish.

Family Fun at Nickelodeon Punta Cana

For our very first family vacation, my husband and I took our 3 year old son on a 4 night/5 day vacation to Nickelodeon Punta Cana.  To put it simply, it was AMAZING!

The property itself, is owned and operated by Karisma Resorts, which have several properties in Mexico, and recently one available in Jamaica.  They really know what they are doing!  They’ve built beautiful properties, with wonderful service, amenities, and food, and have really created the perfect resort for those parents who want to take their small children on vacation without sacrificing luxury and service.

There are two sides to the property.  The resort side, and the Nickelodeon side.  On the resort side, you will find 4 buildings with various room categories, as well as Pool Super Villas and the wonderful Pineapple Villa.  The Pineapple Villa, is a one of a kind, two level, 2292 sq foot tribute to Bikini Bottom.  Believe me, you’ve never seen anything like it!

We stayed in a Flat Suite, a large spacious room, with the ability to close off the bedroom portion to create 2 separate spaces.  It also includes a huge soaker tub (perfect to bath your little ones) and a great walk in rain shower.  The terrace was huge as well, giving great space to hang out outdoors as well.

In the main area, you will find 5 restaurant choices, including Spacewalker, where the servers are dressed in space attire, and BRGRS.PH, where you can order from an indoor food truck, a Machete Burger, big enough for the whole family!

Just a short golf cart ride away (you can catch a ride all day, either at various designated stops, or anytime a cart goes by) you will transport to Nickelodeon Place.  This is where you will find Sponge Bob, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora and Boots, and Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol!

Along with character visits and photo ops, there is a wonderful water park, built for younger children. (My personal opinion is that it would lose it’s luster for children over 8).  There is a lazy river, which circles the water park, and Aqua Bite, for kid friendly meals and adult beverages to boot!

In the evening, is when you really realize how perfect this resort is for your young children.  The resort has great little “parties” they put on after dinner, with fun little activities, cotton candy and music, right in the “town square”. It has a great community vibe to it, and it’s a nice chance for your kids to play with others while Mom and Dad have a cocktail and smile.

There are so many great things about this property, and if your children are 6 and under, you may cry on numerous occasions like me…….I was overcome by that look of pure, absolute joy on my boy’s face, and I couldn’t hold back the tears 🙂

Romantic Fine Dining at Disney’s California Grill

Disney World is best known for family-friendly character dining but there are actually a lot of great romantic fine-dining options available. One of my favorites is the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

This restaurant offers the perfect ambiance with sophisticated décor and an amazing view from the top of the world. I would highly recommend a window table and if you plan things just right you will be able to see the fireworks show while you are eating. How cool!

One of the best parts about the dining experience is that there is an onstage kitchen and the staff prepares the meals.  The menu offers fresh seasonal ingredients. The wine list … is never ending! There are over 250 wine to choose from, plus craft beers, ciders and signature cocktails created by some fantastic mixologists.

So drop the kids off at the kids club, put on your best dress, and head out for an adult evening.

Time for a Romantic Dinner at Blue Bayou, Disneyland Resort

Romance is in the air for this experience!  Enjoy Nighttime in N’awlins!  Stepping down into this truly unique setting where the bayou is, literally, by YOU!

Always ask to be seated on the water’s edge!  You will spot passenger boats from inside Pirates of the Caribbean as they sail through the eatery.

Looking around, you are surrounded in the essence of New Orleans as overhead strings of colorful balloon lanterns cast an enchanting glow, dotting the darkness where crickets chirp, frogs croak and fireflies wink while providing amazing ambiance like none other.

When I visited this beautiful restaurant, it was so dark (and romantic), I wasn’t sure how I would be able to read the menu.  To my surprise, when you open the menu, it lights up!  Talk about a little Disney magic!  I will never forget my experience here.  We loved waving at the boats on the ride, and the food was simply amazing.  I ordered steak that melted in my mouth!  Best ever.

So if you are looking for a little romantic escape on your next adventure to Disneyland Resort, check out this restaurant, you won’t be disappointed!!!

Soaking Up Culture & Adventure in Costa Rica

Costa Rica was a vacation unlike any other I have experienced. I was introduced to the rainforests of La Fortuna on this journey and fell in love! My family and I spent 4 nights near Arenal Volcano and another 4 nights on the coast of Guanacaste.

During our vacation, we went on a tour of our resorts animal preserve led by the resort’s naturalist. This was an excellent learning experience for our 3 teenagers. We also enjoyed the areas hot springs and a little white water tubing. On our list for our next visit to the rainforest is zip lining and hiking!

We also spent a day with an excellent tour guide and explored the Palo Verde National Park. We had an opportunity to observe many different species of birds, crocodiles and even monkeys that day. The coast was also full of beautiful beaches and sunsets.

Please let me know if I can help you or someone you know plan a vacation that will help you drink in the beauty and culture of a destination you would like to learn more about!

Up Close and Personal with Whale Sharks

When I was in Australia I had an opportunity to swim with Whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef. Swimming with sharks has been on my bucket list FOREVER…so I was very happy to finally check it off. The Ningaloo reef is located on the west side of Australia. You would take a 2 hour flight north from Perth to the town of Exmouth.

You can swim with whale sharks from April through July so my trip in June was perfect timing. From August to October it is Humpback whale season, which is another opportunity you won’t want to miss out on. For this trip I went with a company called Live Ningaloo. Only 10 people are allowed on the boat at a time to get in the water with the sharks. It’s a very intimate experience.

There is a photographer and a guide on the boat with the 10 of us. The photographer will get in the water first so they can get in the perfect position to capture these magical moments. The guide will follow and then all us sat down on the back of the boat in a line. One by one we all got in the water and lined up to watch the whale pass by.  Once they pass you are more than welcome to swim with them IF you can keep up. They are crazy fast! I tried to swim with them but they are much faster than one would think. These sharks are magnificent creatures. I know they are very large animals but once in the water you realize they are much larger than I expected.  However they very gentle and glide with ease through the water. We are instructed to stay behind their front fins and do not go in front of the whales when swimming with them.

Ever wonder how they spot these whales? Well they have spotter planes that are up in the sky looking for the whales. Think about that for a second.. a plane is needed to spot the whales and that they are that big that they can be spotted from a plane. Once they are spotted they radio down to the boats. The captains will then take off and try to get ahead of the whales so that everyone can get situated in the water for it to swim by. We saw 2 whales and were in the water about 10 times with them. It was just such a cool experience. When looking back, I sit here and think about how you are out in the middle of the ocean with these massive creatures with nothing else around. You looking down and all you can see is the deep blue.. don’t recommend looking down. Haha.

I have always wanted to do this in Australia and know I can say that I have. This is one of the top 5 spots to do this in the World to do the whale shark swim. I was very nervous but those nerves quickly disappeared once I got in the water with them. I can’t wait to do it again, it was such an amazing experience! I would love to tell you more and help you plan your adventure.

Romantic Honeymoons on a Cruise

A cruise can be a very romantic honeymoon with the right planning. Imagine sitting on your balcony sailing the seas.  Imagine seeing multiple islands or even countries without having to haul your bags, switch trains, or spend your afternoons going through airport security!

Where are you … The Caribbean? The Greek Isles? Hawaii? French Polynesia? Asia? Australia? The Mexican Riviera? The Mediterranean? Or a cruise to nowhere?

There are so many possibilities as far as a cruising destination, and with the ease of having your accommodations moving with you, the stress-free aspect definitely adds to the romance.

There are big ships, small ships, yacht style and tall-ships. Each cruise line offers a different experience, and it is that experience that really sets the tone for your honeymoon. As much as you may think that the destinations are top priority, you must factor in the sailing experience as well. If you have a wonderful day exploring a destination, what is the vibe you want to feel when you get back on the ship. Maybe you are ready to party, or maybe all you want is to sit on an open deck and feel the ocean air on your face. Perhaps you’d like to do dinner and a show, or maybe you’d rather grab a slice of pizza and go to the casino?

Every honeymoon couple is different, and every cruise line has differences as well, so make sure you are working with a professional, who can help you book the right one!

Top Up and Coming Vacation Destinations

If you’re thinking about a different vacation experience beyond the usual destinations, consider some of the places that travel advisors have picked as the top up-and-coming international destinations.

Iceland is the top up-and-coming spot in Europe, according to the results of a survey of 1,000 North American travel advisors conducted by Travel Leaders Group as part of its annual trends survey. Peru topped the list for locations in Central and South America, with Thailand number one for Asia/Southeast Asia and Tahiti coming in at the top for the Pacific region.

For travelers who want to explore nature, Iceland offers a breathtaking landscape of mountains and glaciers, waterfalls and black-sand beaches. Enjoy a relaxing dip in the waters of the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa that’s just 40 minutes away from the lively capital of Reykjavik. Landmannalaugar National Park, in southern Iceland, is known for its hot springs and hiking trails. Take a tour from Reykjavik to see the northern lights, with September to April the optimal months for this dazzling nighttime display. Summertime, from April to September, is the best time for a whale-watching voyage off of Iceland’s coast.

Thailand draws travelers with its tropical beaches, ornate temples and ancient ruins. In Bangkok, the Wat Pho temple complex is known for its large collection of Buddhist images. You can spend all day browsing at the Chatuchak Weekend Market, with thousands of booths selling items from all over the country. The 18th-century Grand Palace complex, in the heart of the city, is a must for any first-time visitor. After a few days in Bangkok, head to one of Thailand’s beach resorts. Koh Samui, Thailand’s second-largest island, offers lots to do in addition to sunbathing. Walk through the night market at Fisherman’s Village, go snorkeling at the Ang Thong National Marine Park and take a cooking class at the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts.

The South American country of Peru is a natural destination for travelers interested in ancient history. You’ll want to visit the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu, a 15th-century citadel built by the Incas high in the Andes Mountains. In Lima, the capital, learn about Peru’s history by visiting Museo Larco, with its collection of pre-Columbian artifacts. Spend some time in the upscale Miraflores District, home to shops, bars and restaurants. Take a walk along the Parque del Amor, known for its colorful mosaics, flowers and gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean.

Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia, offering visitors both a relaxing beach vacation and plenty of water-based activities. You can relax and bask in the sunshine as well as enjoy swimming, snorkeling and surfing. Head to La Plage de Maui, on the island’s southern shore, for soft white-sand beaches and calm, clear water. Papeete, the capital, is a center for dining, nightlife and local crafts. Accommodations in Tahiti include overwater bungalows, with a staircase that will take you right to the ocean.

For help planning a trip to an up-and-coming destination, contact us.

Exploring Lizard Island in Australia

I was lucky enough to visit Lizard Island on my first trip to Australia … talk about a dream come true! This amazing little island is an hour flight north of Cairns. It is an island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. The 1-hour flight was on a little plane with about 12 seats. I have never been on a plane that small, this was a plane where the pilot was actually within reach. We flew right over the reef and the views below were so amazing. There are so many little reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef.

The airport was VERY small. It was basically a landing strip near the resort. You step off the plane and head right to a vehicle to take you to the resort! We arrived at the resort and were so amazed by everything. The rooms left me speechless. As I walked out the front patio … I took 10 steps and I was on the beach! We were lucky enough to spend 2-nights here.

The next morning, we hopped on a boat and did a full day snorkel tour. We were located 1 hour away from the outer reef. I have snorkeled before, but nothing will ever compare to what the Great Barrier Reef has to offer! We even were able to snorkel at the World Famous Cod Hole. It is home to huge Potato Cod. I saw sharks, turtles, clams, oysters and just about every fish you can think of.. and of course we did find Nemo and Dory … LOL. A snorkeling experience I will NEVER forget.

We also got to visit the research station that is the on the island! This was a very cool experience! It was on the opposite side of the island so guests and researchers aren’t running into each other.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • It’s a National Park in the middle of the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef
  • It has 24 sandy beaches and a lagoon
  • It is a 1-hour flight north from Cairns flying right over the amazing Great Barrier Reef
  • It is located in Tropical Queensland with an average temp of 80 degrees
  • There is a Coral Reef research Station on the island, where researchers from all over the world come to work and learn about the coral reef.

I am ready for a trip back … are you ready to go? I’d be happy to share more about my experience.

Choosing a Date for a Destination Wedding

There are so many things to think about when planning a destination wedding. One important thing is selecting the date of your BIG day.

Here are a few things to consider when selecting your date:

  • What days of the week can guests fly to the destination easiest?
  • The day of the week for you wedding day. There may only be a non stop flight option on Saturday so that may not be the best day so consider Monday so your guests have a sometime to settle in, relax and get to know the resort.
  • Family birthdates and anniversaries
  • The proximately to holidays
  • High travel times to the destination you have selected
  • If you are inviting children think about school breaks
  • Consider your anniversary date – Are numbers important to you? I personally choose 11/11 so my husband wouldn’t forget. My parents got married on dad’s b-day … my mom always says it’s so he will never forget, LOL

Let’s find the perfect date and start planning your Destination Wedding!

Start a Private Facebook Group for Your Destination Wedding.

Planning a Destination Wedding? A great way to communicate with all your guests is to create a private Facebook Group. Be sure to include your travel agent in the group as well. This will allow them to share information on the trip and details on the wedding. A group like this offers a very personal touch with all your guests. 

A few reasons why a private Facebook group is a great tool for a Destination Wedding Group:

  • Facebook has become a primary communication tool so your guests will receive details faster.
  • Allows your travel agent to field questions about the trip
  • Gets your guests excited about the trip and most importantly … YOUR BIG DAY!
  • Post things about the trip & destination
    • Videos & photos about the resort
    • Destination facts & weather
    • Things to do
  • This is a great place to note all guest arrivals and departures
  • A good way for the group to connect prior to the trip
  • You can start planning a group excursion or dinner. Plus, you can poll your guests to see what they are interested in doing.
  • This is a great way for your guests to build a relationship with your travel agent and they will be more comfortable booking with the group

Now you can see the many reasons why this is a great tool. Let’s start planning your wedding and create that Facebook group.

Family Spring Break Planning Tips

The warm glow from a family vacation lasts long after you’ve returned home. With spring break just around the corner, here are some tips for planning a fun and memorable getaway with the kids.

First, decide what type of vacation you want to take. You’ll have lots of company if you’re traveling during a school vacation week, so start planning early and take advantage of the expertise provided by a travel advisor from Travel Leaders Group.

For example, if you’re thinking about Disney World, let your travel advisor book your stay at a Disney resort. It’ll give your family perks like the ability to get earlier access to the most popular rides. If a cruise is on your vacation bucket list, your travel advisor can help you decide which excursions to go on as a family, and which ones you may want to skip so that you can enjoy the ship at a time when there are fewer people onboard. Mexico and the Caribbean have excellent choices for all-inclusive resorts that offer amenities for the whole family, from kids’ clubs and waterparks to spas for the adults. Your travel advisor can help you explore all the options.

Once you’ve booked your trip, it’s time to get down to packing.

If you’re flying to your vacation, space in overhead bins is likely to be at a premium. Make sure that your luggage meets the airline’s size and weight restrictions for both carry-ons and checked baggage. Make color photocopies and digital copies of important travel documents, including your passport, the front and back of credit cards and health insurance information for you and your children. If you’re traveling internationally, bring a copy of your children’s immunization records. For safekeeping, pack all copies in a separate location from your identification.

The Transportation Security Administration allows each passenger one quart-sized bag of liquids and gels that are 3.4 ounces or smaller. But medications and certain items for children are an exception to the 3-ounce rule. Infant formula, breast milk and juices for infants and toddlers, as well as ice packs to keep them cool, are allowed through airport security checkpoints in higher, yet reasonable quantities. Just make sure you keep them separate from the items in your one-quart bag.

When traveling with young children, make sure they’re wearing comfortable clothing. If your child is young enough, consider giving him or her a ride to the security checkpoint and gate in a stroller. It’ll help keep them in tow and keep your stress level low.

Children age 12 and younger never have to remove their shoes or lightweight jackets at airport security, and they don’t need their own TSA Precheck boarding pass. They can go through the TSA Precheck with any qualified adult with whom they’re traveling. If you’re traveling outside the United States, children under 18 don’t need to get their own Global Entry, as long as they’re with a parent or legal guardian.

For help planning a family vacation, contact us today!