Airline Baggage Fees

Many of our customers this summer have been asking about the option of adding baby food, diapers, wipes, etc. to their orders. Although we have always offered this type of service to our customers, it seems like the new Airline Baggage Fees being imposed by most major air carriers is increasing the need for this service.

A recent customer even had her and her husband’s hiking boots shipped to her vacation rental so that it would not be included as part of their luggage. Clothes, baby’s favorite blanket, toys, teddy bears…it all adds up when you are packing for a trip.

I hear from many family travellers that want a week’s worth of baby supplies waiting for them at their destination. We are happy to help parents with the brands of products they use at home including Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food and Seventh Generation Diapers.

We can even stock the freezer at your vacation home with Sweetpea Organic Baby Food and a High Chair to eat it in!

Mom on a Mission

One of my favorite blog writers wrote a very interesting post today. Debbie at Delicious Baby is doing some undercover work these days. After her awful experience with Advantage Rental Cars and the children’s car seats they provided her and her family, she exposed the rental car agency’s substandard ‘safety‘ seats.

The company promised improvements and ensured her and the local media that unsafe, out of date seats would be removed from their inventory earlier this year. Debbie wrote on her blog that, “As a result of this story and the news investigations, Advantage has performed a company-wide inspection of all their car seats and destroyed any that did not meet the appropriate standards for safe operation. They’ve also institued a new corporate policy regarding child safety seats, including a requirement that seats be removed from service after two years of use and that parents be given a manual with each seat.”

It looks like they didn’t live up to their promises. Read the latest post from this Mom on a Mission at Delicious Baby www.deliciousbaby.com

Child Safety Seats

Child Safety Seats

Rentals for baby….worldwide!

The Baby Equipment Rentals business is in a very cool niche market with great people operating businesses all over the world. I am fortunate to have met some of them and keep in touch with operators in the UK, South Africa, USA & Canada.

Most of us started these businesses because we saw an opportunity to service traveling families (just like our own). Cribs, Strollers and Car Seats has evolved into rentals of items like the GoGo Kidz Travelmate (www.weetravel.ca) in Toronto and Vancouver, Bumbo seats (www.babylite.co.za) in South Africa, Bugaboo strollers in LA (www.thetravelingbabyco.com), Baby Baths in London (www.purplestork.co.uk) and MEDELA breastpumps in Calgary (www.onetinysuitcase.ca).

A new website just launched this week that lists Baby Equipment Rental companies all over the world. Check out www.baby-equipment-rental.com

Disney’s Mom Panel

I love websites that include customer feedback, testimonials, forums (see www.Tripadvisor.com, www.frommers.com, www.babiesrus.com ). I always want the ‘behind the scenes details’, the real ‘dirt’ on a product or service. Companies are realizing the need to include experiential data as well. The latest company I found that has jumped on this trend is Disney.

Disney of course does it a little different. Why just sit back and wait for reviews, why not pay for them (well sort of). Disney’s mompanel (http://disneyworldforum.disney.go.com/home.aspx) uses advice from 12 moms (actually 11 moms and one dad) to help trip planners really get to know a family’s experience at any of Walt Disney’s Resorts and Theme Parks. Disney calls them ‘independent contractors’ but never mentions if they are actually paid or not.

For me it doesn’t really matter. If I am on the Disney website I am already convinced that I want to take a Disney vacation. The moms on the panel seem to give real hands-on advice. I was so pleased to see them answering questions about whether or not guests should bring their own stroller or rent a Disney stroller on site. I get this question a lot from my customers and I think the panel gave some great advice.

Check it out for yourself and see what you think!

Eco-friendly Eco-fabulous

Environmentally friendly family travel
Environmentally friendly family travel

We’ve been published! Well, at least our latest article has been included in a very chic magazine available to Calgary Moms and Dads. Birth of a Mother– Bo Bebe’s Eco Chic Parenting magazine has put our article on Eco-friendly family travel in their July/August edition.

Check out the magazine at http://www.birthofamother.com/images/boamJ-A_web.pdf

Bo Bebe has long been recognized as Calgarys’ top spot for fabulous baby gear (including some very cool travel must haves). Their newest store located in Westhills (SW Calgary) has been designed with every ‘green initiative’ owner Leah Chevallier could think of.

Very cool of you, very eco-fabulous of you!

Looks like rain…

Stampeding under the weather

Stampeding under the weather

It looks like Rain… If you and your little ones are headed down to Stampede today you better plan some indoor activities.

A visit to Buckaroos in the Big 4 building for a play on the plasma cars, jump in the bouncy castles and some face painting will be a nice (dry) activity. They even have a play area for toddlers here!

Toopy & Binoo perform at 11:30 and 1:00pm on the Coca Cola stage but you may need some umbrellas for that. I personally have been to a Toopy & Binoo concert and it rivaled any New Kids on the Block concert I attended in my younger years!

Kid’s Day Cowboy Style

This Wednesday is Kid’s day at the Calgary Stampede. Bank of Montreal sponsors this event and free admission for Kids starts at 6:00am! (I don’t know about you but my kids are quietly sleeping like little angels at 6:00am and not even a free breakfast could convince me to wake them up before 8:00)

Sweet dreams in Calgary

My recommendations for a Kids day trip to Stampede is to keep it short and sweet. A tour through the barns to see the animals is good idea, a few rides on the child-friendly tea cups and finish off with a yummy treat just as you are exiting the park. We all know that staying even 5 minutes too long can result in a major meltdown. Give the kids a taste of this huge carnival and then head home! 

* Don’t forget to enter our Fabulous Family Travel give away. We are giving away a One Tiny Suitcase travel kit. See the “Stampede with One Tiny Suitcase post”. Good luck!

Stampede’s Private Party

With the old Cowboys location officially demolished for this year’s Stampede many wondered where the next great party would be. The city approved a huge tent downtown called the Wild Horse Saloon for party goers to celebrate this year’s event. Even though I am sure the Wild Horse will not disappoint, there is another new party in town this year that I thought you might be interested in…
Calgary Stampede Kid\'s Party

The Calgary Stampede is now offering Children’s Parties on the grounds. Fully equipped with a “Party Wrangler” (their term, not mine) this package includes everything from party favors and a themed cake, to transportation to and from the event for 15 of your child’s closest friends. As if kid’s birthday parties weren’t big enough, now you can include a trip to the world’s greatest outdoor show on earth, top that!

The only difference between the party going on at the Wild Horse and the Children’s Party at the Calgary Stampede (besides huge tubs filled with beer) will be the lack of Cougars roaming the crowd. Ahhh, it’s great not be single anymore.

Hot Dogs, Corn Dogs & Super Dogs

Kids love dogs. What better way to keep your kids entertained while at the Calgary Stampede than with hot dogs, corn dogs and a trip to see the Super Dogs?

If you haven’t seen the Super Dogs perform before it is a must see. A very ‘un-cowboy’ attraction at the Stampede, and did I mention it takes place in an air conditioned building? Lights,music and comfortable charis to sit in while you watch the show make it a hit with kids and parents. These dogs perform agility routines and fly through obstacle courses. It is very entertaining and a nice break from cowboy culture, even if it is just for 30 minutes.

Super Dogs at the Calgary Stampede

Super Dogs at the Calgary Stampede

Pancakes for Breakfast Every Morning

I’m in Calgary, Calgary Stampede Breakfastand this week is all about the Calgary Stampede. We welcome visitors from all over the world during this time and lot of those visitors are families. Now, I don’t always recommend Stampede for first time visitors to the Calgary Area (Banff is sooooo close and sooooo much quieter). But, if you are already here it is hard to escape the Western Hospitality of the Calgary Stampede.

(One year my husband and I returned home from a trip to Europe in the middle of Stampede. We were actually lassoed on our way out of the gates at the airport…not exactly the welcome I was looking for after a 10 hour flight.)

The best thing about Stampede for families is the fact that your kids can have Pancakes for breakfast every morning for 10 days straight. Free Pancake breakfasts are at the heart of this event and volunteers are more than happy to load up your plate with fresh off the griddle pancakes. Of course, they won’t be as good as home made but then again, you didn’t have to make them!