Travel: CARES harness for Toddlers

Before we booked our flight to California I was debating on whether or not to get my daughter her own seat on the plane. She is still under 2 so technically she is still able to fly sitting on my lap without a boarding ticket. Then I thought how terrible it would be for the person stuck next to the three of us and how squirmy my daughter is – this was the main reason why we purchased an extra seat.  No one needs that extra little bit of hell while flying across America.

A week before we were to leave I started to think how the heck can she safely sit in that seat if she’s not on our lap? Google provided me with some pretty terrifying information about toddlers in mother’s laps while flying which made me relieved I had bought her own seat for the plane. But how the heck do people keep their kids safe in their own seats? There are 2 options:

Option 1: Bring your own FAA approved car-seat

Well, no f*!@ing way I am lugging my car seat onto the plane. This is why we rent things while on vacation. I hate lugging ANYTHING. Perhaps if she was smaller and our infant seat was FAA approved we would consider it. But when she was smaller I was still breastfeeding so that took care of all our travel worries and she was snuggly in my arms for those flights.

Option 2: CARES FAA approved travel harness

This is a fantastic idea & product. It attaches to the seat and allows for shoulder straps along with the regularly lap belt. As long as your child is between 22-44 lbs and under 40 inches tall this device makes flying safer for your little ones. We had 5 total flights for our trip out west and my 19 month old was able to sit in her own seat for approximately 20% of the total travel time. Which to be honest was way more than I thought she would be able to handle. Some of the reviews say that children are able to slide out under the lap belt since it is not a 5 point harness – if your child is moving that much they probably want to be in your arms. Which given the option between having your kid halfway out of the harness or held tightly in your lap – I will choose the lap.

We flew Delta and all of our flight attendants were aware of the product and had no problems with us using it. I suggest taking a print out of FAA regulations with you in case you have an uniformed flight attendant. Some european airlines do not allow these to be used. So always do your research with your particular airline and when in doubt call & ask.

Here is the website for the CARES harness: http://kidsflysafe.com/

Tons of info there and as always – it’s available on Amazon and there are plenty of reviews.

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Travel: The beauty of home rental sites

I have been using VRBO & Home-Away for about 3 years now. I am a huge fan, I have always had fantastic experiences and being able to have a fully furnished house/apartment is worth its weight in gold – ESPECIALLY if you have children. I love having a full size fridge for milk, a stove & oven to cook and heat things up with and actual bedrooms with their own doors for naptimes.

If you’re traveling with children or a large family it is definitely worth your time and energy to search for an apartment rental. We have rented apartments and houses in Italy (Rome & Pizzo), Florida, California and Vancouver to name a few. If you are traveling with more than 2 people it is usually the same price or slightly cheaper than a hotel (as long as you’re not planning on renting a mansion).

I always look for places with good reviews, if there is a new listing in an apartment complex I tend to look for reviews of other apartments in the same unit. That will usually let you know if it’s worth the risk of staying in an unreviewed listing (everyone has to start somewhere!).

It is definitely a lot less stressful having your own space to go back to after a long day of sight-seeing. I do not miss any hotel amenities because the ability to go grocery shopping and have snacks, breakfasts and lunches ready to go instead of having to find a child friendly restaurant is much better than having someone make your bed every day (although with many rentals you can add this in).

Over the years, I’ve noticed a huge increase in the number of rental properties available in any given location – this is great & a bit daunting. You can literally look for days trying to find which one is right for you & your budget. Figure out what is at the top of your list (how many bedrooms, beach view or beach front, closest grocery store or bar?), and then start narrowing down your options.

And that’s my 2 cents on the best places to stay when traveling with children!! (or large groups). Happy Travels!