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Tips & Tricks of Backpacking with a Toddler

Tips & Tricks of Backpacking with a Toddler

Last week we posted our highlight video from our recent backpacking trip to Soldier Lakes in Central Idaho. In the video we shared some of our simple tips on how to make a backpacking adventure with a toddler go smoothly. I’ll admit, I was a […]

Backpacking with a Toddler Highlights

Backpacking with a Toddler Highlights

When Kyle and I first started dating, we quickly realized our mutual love of the outdoors. We had both grown up hiking, camping, and backpacking, and it didn’t take much of a discussion to determine that we were going to raise our family in the […]

Long Weekend Camping near Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Long Weekend Camping near Cuyahoga Valley National Park

About three hours before we were planning to leave, Kyle received a call from our planned campground telling him that our site was flooded and we wouldn’t be able to stay there that night. It was Memorial Day weekend, and we didn’t want that extra day off from work to be wasted. Internet searches were done and phone calls were made, all in the hope that we would be able to find a different place to camp. The holiday weekend did make it difficult, but Kyle found a single campsite left in a campground near to our original. With our weekend plans saved, we packed up the car and left for the northern part of Ohio, and Cuyahoga National Park.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Highlight Video

Stay tuned for our favorite tips on camping with a toddler. Enjoy your exploring!

 

 

Our Favorite Explorer Secret: Taking Opportunities

Our Favorite Explorer Secret: Taking Opportunities

The chance to explore a new place or travel to an exciting destination doesn’t always fall into your lap. But sometimes, it is looming right in front of you, waiting for you to reach out and grab it.   Our Opportunities If I look through […]

Our Favorite Place Near Cincinnati, Ohio – Newport Aquarium

Our Favorite Place Near Cincinnati, Ohio – Newport Aquarium

In our post last week, we wrote about our favorite things to do in Cincinnati with a Kid. We visited all of the locations we mentioned once, except for one. And that one we have visited over and over again. Allow me to explain… Anything […]

Cincinnati with a Kid

Cincinnati with a Kid

We moved to Cincinnati a month and a half ago for Kyle to do a Summer internship. While we’ve been here, we have taken the opportunity to get to know the city. Of course, having a kid does make our exploring pretty specific to what we are able to do. What we were excited to find, is there are so many exciting things to do in Cincinnati with kids! All that said, we would like to share with you, our favorite things that we have done with Rosalie in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Zoo

The Cincinnati Zoo was such a fun visit for our family! We were impressed to see a good variety of animals, exhibits, animal encounters, and we also really enjoyed how shaded the walkways were. Rosalie, of course loved seeing the animals and would exclaim their name and wave enthusiastically at each of them. Tickets are less expensive if bought online before you go, and children under two are free!

Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore

This location was recommended to us from Kyle’s co-worker. This charming little bookstore always has something going on. Story time, book inspired events, author meet ups, and more! Click here for their most updated schedule of events. No purchase necessary to participate, but it will be hard to resist the wide variety of books they have there.

Cincinnati Art Museum

I’m a big advocate for arts education so you better believe that I take my daughter to art museums. Even if they are young, kids can still appreciate the works of art. Sometimes all it takes is finding a way to make it relevant to them. Since Rosie is a toddler, I like to talk to her about what colors, shapes, animals, or people she sees. I think the Cincinnati Art Museum gets this, too. They have frequent events for children as well as the Rosenthal Education Center where children can have a hands on art experience as well as create their own pieces of art with prompts that will stretch their creativity. Rosalie was a fan! And we are even more so since admission to the museum is free!

Duke Energy Children’s Museum

Located in the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Children’s Museum is all about hands on learning experiences. We particularly liked the Little Sprouts Farm that is like a carpeted playground for kids ages four and under. Rosie was also quite excited about Kids’ Town, an exhibit set up like a little city with grocery stores, doctors offices, a diner, and other businesses, but in kid size. There are many other fun and educational exhibits, and we thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Admission for kids under 1 is free, and a decent price for what you get for kids under 12.

Parks and Splash Pads

If there is one thing I’m going to take away from this summer, it’s that Cincinnati knows how to do parks, and how do them well. During our time here we visited many, and they were all so much fun! Best part, they are all free! Here are our favorites:

Ault Park is located closest to where we are staying in Hyde Park. It has a handful of good walking trails, a great shaded playground, and beautiful gardens. We loved having picnics and quiet evenings there.

Washington Park is located in downtown Cincinnati. It has recently been revamped to include a splash pad, dog park, an imaginative playground that includes a castle and ship, as well as an amphitheater, and grassy area that hosts exercise classes. I recommend stopping by Gomez Salsa for a turtle before visiting the park for a complete visit.

 

Smale Riverfront Park is at the very edge of Cincinnati’s downtown. This park has a few different unique splash pads, carousel, giant keyboard and chess board, gardens, playground, and pathways. You also get a great view of the Ohio River and Kentucky on the other side.

Great American Ball Park

Kyle is a big sports fan, so visiting the home of the Cincinnati Reds, the first baseball team, was a must do. Enjoy some peanuts, crackerjacks, and maybe some Graeter’s Ice Cream as you sit back and enjoy a game. You can find tickets for as low as $5, depending on the night, so can be a great and inexpensive family activity.

Newport Aquarium

Last, but definitely not least, for a little girl who loves anything involving fish, this has been our most frequent and favorite place to visit. Though technically not located in Cincinnati or Ohio, the Newport Aquarium is only a short two minute drive across the Ohio River into Newport, Kentucky. After realizing that the annual pass is less than the cost of two day passes, and kids two and under are free, we went for the annual pass, and have gone every single week. Rosalie can now tell you what almost all of the aquatic creatures are that are at the aquarium, requests to walk on their shark bridge over and over again, and can’t get enough of touching sharks, starfish, and stingrays.

What’s in Your City?

If you are near Cincinnati or planning a trip there, definitely check out any of these locations. We had a blast exploring them. If you aren’t in Cincinnati, here’s the thing, cities all over the world have fun things to do with your kids. It’s summer time, and your kids are home more. Take some time to try out something new in your area! Your kids will thank you, and you will hopefully have some fun, too. Enjoy your exploring!

How to Combat Jet Lag

How to Combat Jet Lag

Imagine this scenario… you have just flown to your dream destination. It’s a beautiful day and you have a list of exciting things you want to do and see. But your body is aching to lounge and your mind can’t seem to figure out if […]

New Zealand Campervan Road Trip Tips

New Zealand Campervan Road Trip Tips

Traveling through the North Island of New Zealand with a campervan is my favorite trip that I’ve been on with Kyle. So much so, we are hoping to do it again in the near future. This time through the South Island. Here are some of the reasons […]

The Best Tools to Find Inexpensive Flights

The Best Tools to Find Inexpensive Flights

Finding and purchasing flights has got to be among the top of the most deterring things about traveling. For some, even looking at the price of the flight makes them think they’d rather vacation on their couch in front of a TV. And, I don’t blame them! If you are just starting to learn the ins and outs of booking a flight, I can understand why you’d want to give up. There is so much information out there that it’s difficult to know where to begin.

I mentioned in this post that we found $350 round trip flights to Sydney, Australia. Normally, flights from the U.S.A. to Australia range from $1,300 to $2,000+ round trip. That price was a steal! But it would not have been possible without our favorite flight searching tools. Today I have gathered together our favorite tools to use when searching for flights. I think it’s safe to say that in the 50+ flights that we have been on as a couple, we have used one or more of these tools to help.

Search Engine for Flights

Google Flights

Google Flights is the ultimate search engine for flights. You enter in your starting point and desired destination, then the dates you want to fly. You will then be given a list of any airline (except Southwest), that has flight options within your specifications. You can filter by price, number of stops, airline, and times until you find the perfect option for you. If you have flexible dates, click on the calendar where you enter in your desired travel dates. The calendar will drop down to reveal the lowest price available on each day of the calendar. We like knowing that if we were to shift our plans a day or two, we would be able to get a less expensive flight.

Another feature we love is the ability to Explore Destinations (found on the right side of the screen). With this tool, you can look at the cost of flights all over the world based on the days you want to travel. This way, if you have already created your “To Explore List”, you can pick which location is the best price, but still a stop that you would love to see.

Flight Notifications

The cost of flights are constantly fluctuating. A flight to your desired destination may be at an all time low one day, and twice as much the next. This can be a wonderful thing or terrible thing, depending on what day it is. That’s where these tools come in handy, because these sites let you know when it’s going to be your wonderful day. The downside, you need to be prepared to act fast.

 The Flight Deal

If you are looking for an exciting destination at a low price, The Flight Deal has got you covered. They find a selection of low priced flights and then provide links for you to purchase the tickets. The thing we love about them is that they are very particular on what they post. Their criteria for a post worthy flight is simple, the flight must cost no more than six cents per mile. So, it’s not just a decent price, it’s a jump-on-it-now bargain!

Be prepared to act fast on these deals. While they are accurate when posted, the flights may be booked solid or change within the hour. This is how we found our flights to Australia. Within a few hours the flights had changed back to the higher price. It’s a good thing we were ready to go for it! Subscribe to daily emails for that day’s best flight deal here. You can also get notifications from them on Twitter and Facebook.

Fare Deal Alert

Similar to The Flight Deal, Fare Deal Alert is a daily flight deal notifications, also fueled by the no more than six cents per mile criteria. Most flight deals start in one of the large airports, like New York or L.A., but if you don’t live close to those, you will end up paying more than the advertised price because of an extra leg to get you to the airport with the deal. In the end you may not pay any less than normal. However, this site looks for flights that depart from airports that may not be the main hubs for air travel.

If you live in a place with a smaller airport, your chances of a great deal may have just gone up. Sign up for their free newsletter to stay in the know.

Airfare Watchdog

Imagine that you had an assistant who was able to watch flight prices for specific destinations. ALL day. EVERY day. They would let you know when the price dropped and help you with the booking. That is Airfare Watchdog. They will keep you posted on a drop in price, you just need let them know what you are looking for. To set this up, go to their site and on their menu find Flights, and in the sub-menu, select Set Up Alert. Guess what? You just got yourself a watchdog that will notify you of deals on flights and hotels within your criteria

Vacation Packages

The vacation packages offered by many travel companies can be ridiculously high. It may be an easier route to book your flight, hotel, and transportation in one click, but realize that you will probably only be getting a decent price on one or maybe two of those options. So then you face the dilemma, do you want to go through the hassle of booking it all yourself to find the lowest priced options for all travel essentials, or do you just pay the higher cost?

European Destinations

That dilemma is exactly why we love European Destinations. They offer the best of both worlds. You give them when and where you want to travel, and they will provide a rough draft itinerary for you. From there, you can go through each part of your itinerary and customize it to your liking. Don’t like the flight time they suggested? They will give you other options. Do you want to splurge one night on a five star hotel and stay the rest of the time in small inns? You can choose how to splurge and save. This site is especially valuable for multi-city trips. We used this for a backpack through Switzerland and would love to use it again the next time we head to Europe.

Travelzoo

Last but not least, we have Travelzoo! We like to use them when we have the urge to go somewhere, but aren’t sure where that somewhere should be. Travelzoo gives you the opportunity to find deals from travel and entertainment companies world wide. Companies do have to pay to put their information on the site, but the Travelzoo maintains that they thoroughly vet offers to make sure they are the best for their consumer.  It even has seasonal travel opportunities, right now being the 4th of July.

One Final Tip

Most airlines will give you 24 hours to cancel a flight after booking. So, if you see a really good deal on a flight that you are afraid won’t last long, book it, and then take the next day to think it through. Just make sure you actually get around to cancelling it if you decide not to go.
We hope that in knowing about these amazing tools available to you, it will help settle the frustration of finding a flight. Let us know if you use any of these tools. Have we missed a favorite of yours? We are always looking for new search aids. Let us know in the comments below!
Australia and New Zealand Itinerary

Australia and New Zealand Itinerary

Australia and New Zealand Itinerary It was a rush for us to put together our plans. We spent hours pouring over websites to try to find the best deals and things to do. But it doesn’t have to be the same for you. I hint at […]