Archive for the ‘Family Travel’ Category

Family Travel: Exploring Wilmington, North Carolina

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

I got the opportunity to travel to Wilmington, North Carolina for a trip with Homewood Suites by Hilton to explore the family-friendly attractions and budget-friendly travel that you can find there. The trip was hosted by Homewood Suites in conjunction with the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. I had no expectations for what to expect from the trip, other than the opportunity to have a little getaway and I was thrilled when the company said that I could bring along a guest. Unfortunately, the kids had already started school and  my husband would need to stay with them. It is rare that I get to share a trip with anyone else so I was excited to bring my best friend along for the weekend. Who could turn down a girl’s weekend that is all-expenses paid?

We set off for Wilmington and got to stay at the beautiful Homewood Suites by Hilton Wilmington Mayfaire which was a short 5 minute drive to Wrightsville Beach. I have stayed at a lot of hotels over the course of the years with my business, but I have never stayed at a hotel that offered more amenities to their guests than this one.

Room rates start at $120 a night and the company admits that they are not the cheapest in town, but that they do strive to offer the best service and the best amenities for their guest.  I am used to paying for my internet, some dry cereal for breakfast, and paying for any extra frills that I might desire so I really was genuinely shocked by what the hotel offered.

All of the rooms offer a full kitchenette that includes a full-size refrigerator, a two-burner stove, cooking utensils/tools with service for four,  and a dishwasher. For no additional charge (other than the actual price of groceries), you can call ahead and have them stock your refrigerator for you before you even arrive for your trip!

The hotel offers a free huge hot breakfast seven days a week and a bigger bonus for family’s on a budget, was a “Manager’s Reception,” dinner Monday through Thursday for free, that included a full delicious dinner, a kid’s buffet for dinner, and wine/beer for the parents while you are staying there.  As an example of the dinner choices, two of the offerings the nights we were there were tortilla-crusted tilapia and home style meatloaf including two side dishes. I have never been to a hotel that offered a full dinner and full breakfast  for free for its guests and this is available at any of the Homewood Suites locations.

The rooms also offered DVD players and (for no charge)  you could select a family-friendly movie to watch with your kids. Baskets of cookies were available for a free late night snack and a free coffee & tea bar were always open. These little inclusion are the things that I love to look for in hotels especially when it comes to keeping my children entertained and fed well.  The coffee bar is a tired vacationing parent’s dream and it is the first time I have actually loved coffee at a hotel.

Other important inclusions were free wireless internet, grills on-site if you wanted to grill for your lunch, and they even had a little putt-putt golfing for the kids near the pool and hot tub that didn’t cost an extra dime.

Yeah, all of that starting at just $120. I figure just the breakfast, kitchenette in every room, the family entertainment, and the free dinner with beverages would really help to keep our family on budget.

If you were wondering just how pale I am, this picture speaks a thousand words. I was really missing my giant beach umbrella, but used the shadow of my friend Becky and an expert tuck and pull to allow my dress to keep me covered at the beach. I always chant to myself that someday I will be a beautiful old lady and everyone will envy my pale skin… at least that is what I like to tell myself!

In all seriousness the beach was simply stunning and I loved dipping my toes in the water and collecting shells for the kids while enjoying the peacefulness of the ocean. It was beautiful and it was so nice that it was only minutes from the hotel!

The Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention & Visitor’s Bureau were so gracious to allow us the opportunity to explore Wilmington’s family-friendly offerings. We toured the Battleship North Carolina, The Children’s Museum of Wilmington, the Cape Fear Serpentarium, a horse drawn tour of downtown Wilmington, North Carolina Aquarium Fort Fisher, and sampled delicious seafood chowder at Michael’s Seafood, took two boat tours of the beautiful beach, downtown shopped, and enjoyed all of the town’s offerings.

I can’t wait to share with you more as it gets closer to vacation season about my experience in both North Carolina and Orlando for some fun ideas for family travel. I will say that of the places we visited, I loved the Children’s Museum of Wilmington and the North Carolina Aquarium Forth Fisher the absolute best and can’t wait to revisit them for a trip with my own family. The enthusiasm of the employees was enchanting and I know that we could spend a whole day just visiting these two spots alone.

I have to say my favorite part was just getting the opportunity to relax! We spent an evening window-shopping in the Mayfaire shops, grabbed a delicious pizza one night, popped popcorn and watched silly girl movies like, “Fame,” and ate ice cream cones. I loved everything about Wilmington and can see it as a new destination for our family!

In full disclosure, while I was there, I found a new place to write and will be joining the SuiteTrip website for the next few months (through Homewood Suites)  to share ideas on budget-friendly travel and ideas for making travel enjoyable as a family. I can’t wait to share more ideas with you there! It was an unexpected new freelance job that I am really looking forward to!

Disclaimer: We were invited by Homewood Suites in conjunction with the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. for an all-expenses paid trip to experience Wilmington, NC  and share with our readers about our experience. All-expenses paid means that our travel, hotel stay, visits to area attractions, and food were covered by the company. We will receive no other additional compensation for this particular project and are asked for our honest opinions without any further obligation. To find out more about how things work here at MomAdvice, please feel free to visit our official Disclaimer page!

Where is your favorite family vacation spot? Where is somewhere you would like to explore? Feel free to share!

An Orlando Treasure: GatorLand

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Ethan and I had a fantastic time in Orlando and I am looking forward to sharing about some of the attractions that we visited and ways you can save on enjoying many things in Orlando while you are there. We truly enjoyed our visit to Orlando and the experiences and memories we created together were just priceless.

To start this series, I wanted to share with you my absolute favorite place that we visited and some ideas for ways that you can save on your ticket to this attraction and many others that you might be visiting. You might be surprised to hear that it wasn’t Disney that holds a special place in my heart. In fact, it wasn’t anything that I thought would be that exciting, but I was quickly proven wrong by an amazing little theme park called, “GatorLand.”

GatorLand definitely is not a new attraction to Orlando residents, but we had never heard of it before and my little guy was so excited to see a few Florida gators for himself. GatorLand might sound  like a quaint touristy spot to visit, but it is, in fact, a 110-acre theme park and a nature conservatory for the city of Orlando.

When I say theme park though,  it isn’t the kind of theme park that you might think of when heading to Orlando. They have no big relationships with corporate companies, real animals (not mechanical ones) are located there, real people are guiding you and sharing about the animals, and kids are gobbling up every minute of these beautiful animals and their stories.

Upon entering, we were introduced to the four very rare white alligators that are currently residing in the White Alligator Swamp. These are not Albino alligators, but a very rare breed that actually have blue eyes and the white pigmentation to their skin. It is thought that there are only a dozen of their kind in the world, and four of them have happily made their home there. Technically, they are named leucistic (loo-SIS-tic), which is basically a genetic defect which produces their white pigment and the bright blue eyes that make them so unique.

While there were many alligators there, there were perhaps a few hundred more birds that are located on the property. They had everything from herons, to wood storks, to vultures that were happily residing near the alligators that were lazily swimming in the water. Our tour guide informed us that the birds love to make their nests and be near the alligators because the alligators protect them (and their eggs) from other predators. The alligators have no interest in bothering the birds and the birds know that they can make a home there.

The spot is a hot one for photographers and people come from all over the world to photograph the birds there. Photographers can buy a  pass and come in the early morning hours to sneak a peek at the birds. It was quite unbelievable all of the varieties of birds that were on the property. It would be a great place to bring a trusty bird guide and discover birds with your children!

Kids can get a closer look at the alligators in their “Gator Wrestlin’ ” arena. No worries, there was no wrestling other than the wrestling required to get the animal out of the water and give kids the opportunity to learn more about these fascinating creatures. They offer survival tips on what to do if you are ever in the path of a gator and share facts about what makes alligators so unique. Stunts, like the ones pictured above, showcase the strength of the alligator’s jaw.

For an additional $5, they offer the chance to pose with a real alligator, in the arena, which my son was very eager to do. The extra five dollars goes towards the care and food for the animals. This was all done under the watchful care of their trainers.

If your children love the creepy crawlers, then they won’t want to miss the Up Close Encounters Show. You never know what kind of animal you might be introduced to next as they unveil a variety of different snakes and spiders from behind the crated boxes. Volunteers are brought up from the audience for the great unveiling which the kids will definitely get a kick out of… especially if their mom is the one that gets selected!

There is so much more to do that we didn’t even get a chance to see while we visited. They offer a train ride around the property, a water park that the kids can play in to keep cool, and you can even sit down and have lunch or a latte there.

The price of admission is as follows:

Adult- $22.99 (if purchased online, $19.99)

Child- $14.99 (if purchased online, $11.99)

To save a little more on your visit to GatorLand, head over to print out a free 2010 Orlando Magicard which provides year-round savings at more than 75 area establishments including attractions, accommodations, restaurants, dinner theaters, ground transportation, golf courses, and cultural arts.

The Orlando Magicard is free and can be downloaded at VisitOrlando.com/deals, requested for mail delivery by calling 1-800-551-0181, or picked up at The Official Visitors Center in Orlando. The 2010 version of the card provides expanded offers including theme park deals and other significant savings options such as free nights plus additional free amenities at area accommodations; buy one ticket, get one free offers at attractions; or straight discounts up to 50% off.

If you use the Orlando Magicard at GatorLand, you can score a free train ride for each paid admission.

As a parting gift, on our way out each child got to hold a baby alligator.  The kids were so excited and were all amazed at just how tiny these alligators start out.

I was so taken into the moment that I even took the opportunity to hold the baby alligator myself. If you know me at all, you know that this is so not like me. I will say that my son couldn’t have been more proud of his mommy and I am so proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone a little!

We would like to thank GatorLand for giving us the opportunity to explore and learn more about what they offer and to experience a place in Orlando that we would have never known about. It is a hidden gem that I highly recommend if you are ever in the Orlando area.

Disclaimer: We were invited by the Orland/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau for an all-expenses paid trip to experience Orlando and share with our readers about our experience. All-expenses paid means that our travel, hotel stay, visits to area attractions, and food were covered by the company. We will receive no other additional compensation for the project and are asked for our honest opinions without any further obligation. To find out more about how things work here at MomAdvice, please feel free to visit our official Disclaimer page!

Do you have any hidden gems that you have found in your state or in another that you highly recommend visiting for a family vacation? Please feel free to share cool things about your own town or links to past entries on great places to travel!

We Are Ready for Orlando!

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

It is rare that I take trip opportunities anymore. I am such a homebody and hate to get our life off schedule… not to mention hate being away from those that are precious to me! Few trips seem worth compromising the routines in my life unless it really benefits the business, my personal career, or our family time.

When I received an invitation from the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau for an all-expenses paid trip to experience the city with my little guy, I just couldn’t pass it up! We will be heading on a whirlwind adventure that includes a visit to Universal Studios, Gatorland, Sea World, and to see The Blue Man Group perform this next weekend. To say he is excited is definitely an understatement! I don’t know what he is more excited about- being with me all by himself, lounging by the hotel pool, or getting to fly on a plane.

I am hoping to get some individual time with my son and find out ways that our readers can save on an excursion to Orlando.  We are planning our own family trip to visit our relatives in Florida for next summer so I am excited to get a peek into some ideas for how to better plan our travel and save our family money in the process.

We will be out of town this weekend and I just wanted to let you know if I do not answer emails as promptly. Everything else will still be running as normal around here and we look forward to sharing our experience when we get back.

Disclaimer: We have been invited by the Orland/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau for an all-expenses paid trip to experience Orlando and share with our readers about our experience. All-expenses paid means that our travel, hotel stay, visits to area attractions, and food will be covered by the company. We will receive no other additional compensation for the project and are asked for our honest opinions without any further obligation. To find out more about how things work here at MomAdvice, please feel free to visit our official Disclaimer page!

Do you have any tips for places to visit in Orlando or ways that you save on your family vacations to Florida?  Please feel free to share links to past posts or highlight any websites that have been helpful to your family!

10 Best Children’s Activities at Walt Disney World

Friday, June 24th, 2005

I’m sure you all know about Disney World’s amazing theme parks, but are you familiar with the myriad of fascinating activities for children offered throughout Walt Disney World that are either complimentary or offered for a reasonable fee to Disney resort guests? Here are some of the best:

  • Snag a Bass On a Kid’s Fishing Excursion. 1-hour angling trips just for children are available from the resort marinas of Disney’s Contemporary, Polynesian, Yacht and Beach Club, and Boardwalk Inn and Villas. For miles of shore fishing head over to Disney’s Ft. Wilderness where cane poles and rods and reels may be rented at the Bike Barn in the Meadow Recreation Area. Fishing excursions are approximately $25 per child. Call 407-WDW-PLAY for reservations.
  • Enjoy the Old West. Hayrides depart each evening from Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness for a 45-minute trip. Very tame, cowboy-guided trail rides are also offered, or younger children can opt for a $2 pony ride at the Fort Wilderness Petting Farm. Hayrides are $8 per adult and $4 per child; no reservations taken. Trail rides are $30 per person; reservations are required and may be made up to two weeks in advance by calling 407-WDW-PLAY.
  • Sing-Along in Front of the Campfire. Families gather round the campfire each evening at Ft. Wilderness for a sing-along, marshmallow roast, and a Disney animated movie. Complimentary to all Walt Disney World resort guests.
  • Watch the Electrical Water Pageant Parade. Nightly on the Seven Seas Lagoon is a delightful 1000-foot string of illuminated barges featuring King Neptune and his court of whales, sea serpents, and other deep-sea creatures. The free show can be seen from the beaches of Disney’s Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Wilderness Lodge Resorts.
  • Ride Up Front with the Monorail Driver. Simply ask the Cast Member on duty. They will be happy to oblige as long as the front car is empty.
  • Dive into One of Disney’s Fabulous Themed Pools. You can’t do much better than a dip in one of Disney’s wonderful swimming pools. Children’s favorites: the Volcano Pool at Disney’s Polynesian Resort featuring a smoking volcano slide, underwater music, and sparkling waterfall, all with a superb view of the Seven Seas Lagoon; the Wilderness Lodge’s boulder-lined pool featuring waterfalls, rocky overlooks, water slide, and a nearby geyser; the eye-popping Stormalong Bay, a mini-water park complex that meanders between the Yacht and Beach Club, offering three acres of winding, watery delight including sandy bottom pools, a giant “shipwreck” waterslide, a tidal whirlpool, bubbling hot tubs, a kiddie pool with its own slide next to the beach, and enough length to float lazily in inner tubes to your heart’s delight.
  • Search for Buried Treasure on a Pirate’s Cruise. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, children ages 3-10 sail from the dock of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort on a 2-hour supervised trip to a deserted island. $28 fee includes snacks, bandanas, and treasure. Call 407-WDW-DINE for reservations.
  • Attend a Children’s Tea Party. A “Wonderland Tea Party” happens Mon-Fri at 1:30 P.M. in 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Hosted by characters from Alice in Wonderland, the little ones play games, listen to stories, and drink apple “tea”. $28. Strictly for children ages 3-10. Call 407-WDW-DINE for reservations.
  • Take in a Character Meal. These extremely popular dining opportunities, offered at both the Disney theme parks and resort hotels, are a perfect way for your children to spend extra time with favorite Disney characters. Meals are offered in three ways depending on the restaurant: buffet-style, family-style, or pre-plated meals; regardless, it’s essentially all-you-can-eat. Characters work the room, stopping at each table to interact with guests, pose for photos, and sign autographs. Book priority seating early, particularly for Cinderella’s Royal Table, Epcot’s Princess Breakfast in Norway , and Chef Mickey’s by calling 407-WDW-DINE

Organized Travel

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

Vacations. The very word bring tears to my eyes. All of the packing, getting to our destination, kids not sleeping in their beds, getting lost, having trouble finding a hotel to stay in- let’s face it, vacations can evoke nightmares for mothers.

I remember our first “vacation” as one of the most horrific times in our lives. We were traveling to Indiana from Massachusetts around the holidays. Getting to the airport is never an easy task, but with thick fog in sight and no planes taking off we waited for ten hours with a ten month old little baby at the airport waiting for a flight to leave. Our luggage, however, made it to our destination and we headed home without our belongings to take a morning flight the next day. The next day arrived and we came with a back-up set of luggage to attempt to make our trip again. Our flight left, and much to our delight, our back-up luggage did not arrive. Upon finding this out, I burst into tears.

How could these people lose a back-up set of luggage as well as our first set of luggage? Luckily, our first set of luggage arrived and we headed to our parent’s house for the holidays with luggage in tow. This was, of course, the perfect time for our son to have the stomach flu and this persisted throughout our entire trip. Let me tell you, taking a child on a plane who has the runs is definitely one of the worst experiences of my life. When we finally arrived back to our airport at home, we discovered that they had lost our luggage again along with our car seat to bring our son home in. We set my son in their death-trap of a seat that they offered and headed home- weary from travel and the pure irony of our vacation. The airport did finally deliver our luggage, but delivered it to the neighbor’s house where it was sent back to the airport and arrived on our doorstep a couple of weeks later. After that trip I looked at my husband and told him that we would no longer be traveling home for the holidays. Our family would have to come and see us or they would just have to imagine us there for the holidays because I was never doing that again.

That was a particularly horrible vacation, but vacations do not have to be a time of stress or something that you dread doing with your family. The actual definition of vacation is “a period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.” Pleasure? Rest? Relaxation? That sounds like something that one might enjoy. Vacations can actually be an enjoyable experience for the whole family with the proper organization and activities for the children. Here are a few of Mom Advice’s ideas for how to successfully pull off an organized and enjoyable vacation.

Proper Planning

The key to organizing a good vacation is to take the time to plan. First, I would highly recommend contacting the local Visitor’s Bureau for a packet of information on what they offer. Usually these packets of information include coupons for local restaurants, hotels, and area attractions and will include things to do in their state. These packets can save you a bundle of money if you are planning to attend any of the places within the packet and often will include an area map and information on what makes their particular state famous. We got a packet like this for our recent trip to Ohio and it was filled with wonderful coupons and ideas for places that were particularly kid-friendly. Make sure to pack this information with you when making your trip.

Try to check out books from your local library on where you are going so that you can get lots of inside information on the great places to visit. Then make a list of things that are important to your family for you to do so that you can make the very most of your vacation.

Many places offer discounts on area attractions through online sites as well, if you purchase your tickets in advance. Check to see if you can get any discounts on your tickets before you go so you aren’t shelling out hundreds of dollars on admission tickets.

Don’t forget to make arrangements ahead of time with the post office and your local newspaper if you will be out of town for any length of time and are in need of stopping your mail. Also make any arrangements necessary for your pets if you will not be bringing them with you. Boarding your animal will require you to have all shots current so keep this in mind if you need to have this done before you go.

Proper Packing

One of the best ways to stay organized on your trip is to organize your car before leaving for your destination especially if you will be spending hours of time in the car. I remember our trips to Florida as kids and my sister and I referring to the minivan as the “blue prison” because we hated being in the car so long. Our mom would let us pack the things that we wanted to take on our trips and let’s face it- when you are a child you have no idea what to pack or what activities will keep you occupied for hours. Our parents could only play so many games of I Spy before going insane.

The first thing to do is to do a through cleaning out of your car before embarking on your trip. Sweep the interior of the car and wipe down all of the surfaces. Once the car is clean you can begin filling it with everything you need in order to make your trip enjoyable. A really great purchase for your car is a backseat organizer. I have my backseat organizer filled with everything we might need on our trip. I keep our Entertainment Book and visitor’s bureau packet in there as well as diapers, wipes (for faces and bottoms), snacks, a spare sippy cup, a pen (for jotting down directions), tissues, and small toys for my son to play with. We also keep a plastic bag organizer tied to the back of our seat filled with plastic grocery bags. These bags come in handy for soiled diapers, holding trash, quick clean-up from picnic lunches, or (when not traveling) trips to the grocery store.

I then pack a small plastic crate with toys that my son can play with on his trip. You can fill this crate up with favorite toys or begin to keep a stash of toys that you are saving for just this special occasion. You don’t have to go out and spend a bunch of money on these though- check your local dollar store, garage sales, or save all of those silly kid’s meal toys that you get when you go out to eat. Some of the things that we keep in our son’s crate are puzzles, construction paper for drawing on, crayons and coloring books, a few “new” library books, and a few small toy cars and figurines that are his favorites. The idea is to really space the toys out as much as you can so that they have something to do the entire trip.

When we run out of activities in his box to do that is when we move onto the kiddy music. Try to find music that is at least bearable for the entire family so that you don’t need to pop aspirin in order to bear the music. We usually check out a load of music at the library before going on our trip so that there is something good to listen to on the way there. Don’t forget to pack some new music for yourself as well so that you too have something to look forward to.

Keep a small cooler in your car for the trip and fill this with lots of healthy goodies for the whole family so that you don’t end up blowing a bunch of money at the rest stops on your way there. Try to have lots of snacks on hand, lunch meat, bread, drinks, and breakfast foods/ cereal. This food particularly comes in handy if you are going to be gone for awhile and would like to save money on eating out.

The most important thing to remember is directions to your destination. The source I use the most for printing my directions is Map Quest, though Google Maps is also excellent. Not only do I print out directions TO my destination, but I also print out directions RETURNING from my destination. Yes, some people just reverse the order, but I find it much quicker to have a set in front of me that has already been reversed, especially when I am tired and coming near the end of my vacation. On these directions, include any phone numbers you need (number for the hotel or places you are staying at) and any notes on things you need to remember (confirmation numbers, room numbers, etc.). Staple to these directions any coupons you need for your destination (coupons on car rental, hotels, or restaurants) so that you have everything in one central location.

When packing your suitcases remember to check the weather for an accurate portrayal of the weather in the area you are visiting. Nothing is more uncomfortable then not having the proper attire for your vacation. Bringing layers of clothing insures that you will be comfortable whatever the weather. Keep an umbrella handy in your car as well for any unexpected rain.

Fill zippered plastic bags with your shampoos, lotions, and anything else that might leak or spill in your suitcase. The last thing you want to do is to have to do laundry when you are on your trip- this should ensure that you will not have spilled products to take care of.

Don’t forget the little things that can add up to big money spent if you forget them on your trip. Things that are frequently forgotten: cameras, digital cameras, chargers for cameras, film, extra batteries, sunglasses, cell phones, cell phone chargers, calling cards, swimsuits, and maps. Keep a list of all the things you want to remember the day of your trip and check that list twice. A great place to keep the list is next to your bedside table because usually the night before your trip your mind is racing with all the things you need to remember. Jot them down and then get the rest you need and deserve.

Pleasure, Rest, and Relaxation

Review the meaning of vacation and enjoy the time away from home. Make it a time that your whole family can remember with great fondness and remember to record these moments in your journal so that you can look back on them on those hectic days where no vacation is in site. If you are a family that is always on a schedule, then use this time to not be on a schedule. If you enjoy having a planned itinerary then by all means, plan the days the way that makes you and your family happy. The important thing is to enjoy pleasure, rest, and relaxation.

Enjoy your hiatus and happy vacationing!

Diaper Bag Essentials

Monday, May 16th, 2005

There was a time in my life when I could hop in the car, carrying only a purse, and head out the door with absolutely no planning. Ah, those were the days! Upon having our son though, I realized that any trip out the door had to be a well-executed one and it often took hours just to get ready for our destination. As he has gotten older, I can now stash the essential items he needs conveniently in my gigantic mommy purse, but those days of enormous diaper bags are definitely not far from my memory. Here is a list of my own essential diaper bag items.

Diapers

Obviously, if we are packing a “diaper” bag, we will need diapers. But how many diapers do you need? This will depend on the length of the trip and the age of your child. When they are infants, they are being changed every hour so a diaper per hour would suffice. This amount of diapers would only get you by, however, if you have no explosive emergencies. It was my rule of thumb to carry what I needed and to add two just to be safe. I would rather carry a heavier diaper bag then be stuck with a nasty emergency without the necessary tools I would need to resolve it.

Diaper Cream

Sore bottoms can happen at any time and it is good to always have some diaper cream on hand when a rash strikes.

Wipes

Wipes are handy, not only for wiping little bottoms, but also for wiping messy faces. I usually carry a big sack of them with me because I use them to wipe bottoms, faces, and runny noses. Store these wipes in an airtight container to retain the moisture in them. You can also make your own wipes with this wonderful recipe:

Homemade Baby wipes

Ingredients

  • Strong paper towels work the best (for example, Brawny).
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup of baby oil
  • 1/2 cup baby magic baby bath

Directions

  1. Cut one roll of paper towels in half.
  2. Take out the core so wipes pull out of the center.
  3. Place 1/2 roll of paper towels in container.
  4. Pour solution over towels.
  5. Store in container. Makes 2 1/2 rolls.

Changing Pad

You never know where you will end up changing your baby and you also never can tell what the sanitary conditions will be like where you are. Keep a changing pad in your diaper bag and use a soft burp cloth for layering if the surface is too hard for your little one.

Antibacterial Gel & Wipes

Antibacterial gel really comes in handy after you have changed a dirty diaper. The wipes will also come in handy when you have to set your child in a germ-infested grocery cart, on playground equipment, or just to give your kids a good swiping after another child has sneezed on them. Trust me, you are a mother, and it is okay to be a little germaphobic especially when you are a new mommy.

Burp Cloths

These are wonderful not only for all of that spit-up, but they can also be essential in padding your changing table or cushioning a little head.

Zipper Bags

Zipper bags are one of those things that you just can’t live without especially in the early years. These bags are perfect for storing those soiled diapers, as well as soiled clothing. These items can really leave an odor in your bag, if you have nowhere to dispose of them, so tuck a couple of dryer sheets in for good measure to keep your bag smelling fresh.

Clothing

Store, at least, one extra outfit for any diaper emergency. Nothing is worse than having a soiled outfit and nothing for you to change your child into. Trust me on this one- I have been there!

Feeding Supplies

Feeding supplies can mean an array of things depending on what stage your child is at and what you are feeding them. If your child is formula-fed, bottles and extra formula will be needed. For children on solid foods, they may baby food, spoons, bowls, and a small snack for the road.

Pain Reliever

It may seem like this is not a diaper bag essential, but pain relievers are a necessary component to a diaper bag. Keep acetaminophen or ibuprofen in your bag to provide pain relief. This is good to have on hand for your doctor visits when your child receives shots or when a fever or illness comes on suddenly. A teething gel is also good to have on hand when your child’s gums are swollen and painful from cutting teeth.

Blanket

A blanket is great to keep your child warm when they are chilly, can be used to cover an area where they are sitting, and also can keep your child’s head propped up when they are unable to hold their head up by themselves. Blankets are also useful for your baby’s doctor check-ups because they can keep the child warm when they must be unclothed for their doctor visit.

Entertainment

Be sure to have a couple of toys or books on hand to provide entertainment for your child when you are out and about. The amount of entertainment you need can vary on the child’s age, but you never know how long you will have to wait for your appointments or when standing in line so be prepared.

Extra Goodies

A couple of other extra goodies that you might like to keep on hand are your cell phone, a water bottle, a snack for yourself, and nursing pads.

I know that the list is long, but as your child gets older your list will get shorter. We are now able to throw a couple of toys, a cup of juice, a snack, a couple of diapers, and a pack of wipes in our bag and walk out the door instead of all of the items listed above. Tailoring down our diaper bag essentials was something that our family looked forward to and it is nice to be able to leave the house with everything stored neatly in my purse.

Please be sure to visit our printable Diaper Bag Checklist for a quick list of what you need to get out the door. This checklist can be conveniently placed in the pocket of your diaper bag or tacked on your refrigerator to be checked off before heading out the door.

It is difficult to remember all you need when you are a new and tired mother so let us do the work for you! This tool can hopefully aid you in having a stress-free outing with your child and help you to be prepared for all of those little baby emergencies.