Monthly Archives: February 2014

Spring Break Travel and Packing Tips for Families

by Tracy Kunzler

From the editor: Our relaxation expert presents a series of tips for the upcoming spring break. Do you have vacation plans? Leave a comment – we’d love to know where you’re going!

Spring Break Packing and Travel Tips

Spring break marks the first time many of us will visit pools and beaches this year as we head south for a much-needed “latitude adjustment” after the cold winter months. The thing I hate about going on spring break is wondering what to pack. (That and having to come back home!) Following is help with the “what to pack” thing. (As far as the “coming back home” thing, maybe you can Google “faking a kidnapping?” You’re on your own there!) The really great thing is, since spring break often occurs over the Easter holiday, many of these things can double as Easter gifts kids can use on your trip! Following, a checklist of things that will take up minimum room in your suitcase and provide maximum fun on your trip near the water!

Check out the links below for Tracy’s series on spring break travel and packing tips!



What to Remember to Pack for Your Vacation

by Tracy Kunzler

From the editor: Sometimes packing for your escape can make or break your vacation. The most important part of preparing is often what you pack and don’t pack for your vacation. Read on to find out Tracy’s suggestions to optimize packing. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

In all the chaos of packing for a family trip, it’s easy to forget some essentials. (We can tell you’re way more together than the people in that “Home Alone” movie, so we won’t list “ALL of your children”.) Below is a checklist of things to pack to help ensure your family trip near the water goes swimmingly.

What to pack for your vacation


Sure, the cute little gift shop at the resort or general store at the campground might carry it, but it’s likely to cost a lot more than you’d pay at home – that’s money you could spend on vacation beverages! If flying, be sure to pack sunscreen in checked luggage to comply with TSA guidelines and in a Ziploc bag to keep it from leaking onto your clothes. Don’t forget sunscreen for lips, too!


Seems like a no-brainer, but this is something we can forget to add to our bags after a long, gray winter. You’ll want to have a pair for every member of the family. Added bonus: You can check out that cute cabana guy without anyone being the wiser.

Swim Goggles

Speaking of eyewear, you don’t want to forget swimming goggles for your swimmers! If you need a few new pairs for the kids, get them goggles they’ll want to wear with bright colors or featuring favorite characters. The Disney and Marvel character themed swim masks have a see through scrim, so kids can see out, while everyone else sees the character – great for children who love to play pretend!

Two Bathing Suits Per Person

Bathing suits don’t always dry completely overnight – especially in humid regions. Getting into a wet bathing suit is no fun. Packing two (or three) suits per person eliminates this problem. If traveling by plane, each person should have one suit packed in a carry-on bag in case the airline misplaces some luggage. I don’t know about you, but I have to go through about 73 bathing suits to find one that will adequately camouflage “things,” and don’t want to go through the torturous process of swimsuit shopping on vacation!

A Few Towels

Yes, many hotels provide beach and pool towels, but the service is not always reliable. Also, their towels might be kind of scratchy and not washed as often as you’d like, so pack a few of your own to be on the safe side.

Beach Bag

It’s easy to forget to pack a beach bag, and not so easy to carry all your gear to the pool and shore without one once you reach your destination. A nylon type bag that rolls up to the size of a pair of socks in your luggage is ideal. It can also double as a carryon bag filled with souvenirs on the trip home.

Underwater camera

Capture the water-full fun of your spring break trip on a waterproof camera. If you don’t own one, borrow a friend’s or get a few disposable ones,like these ones from Walmart that will keep the kids happily occupied.

Carry-On Essentials

Finally, things you’ll want to have in carry-on luggage include:

  • ID, passports, copies of airline tickets and itinerary
  • Money, credit cards
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Distractions and entertainment for little ones (Including pacifiers or gum to help with ear discomfort that can come with changes in altitude on planes)
  • All prescription and over-the-counter meds for each family member
  • Contact lenses, spare eyeglasses
  • Hand sanitizer (make sure it’s 3 oz. or less) and some sanitary wipes
  • One swimsuit and one change of clothing per person
  • Snacks
  • Tissues

Additionally, it’s a good idea to have a photocopy of your complete itinerary, including your home address, all flight information, hotel addresses and travel dates in each piece of checked luggage. That way, if a bag gets lost in transit, airline staff will know where to find you.

Real Simple Magazine has a great travel checklist for young families. You can access it here.

Follow these tips, and you’ll have a water-full vacation! Remember to bring me something back! I’ll take a cute cabana boy!

Check out the links below for more of Tracy’s series on spring break travel and packing tips!


What to Pack for Relaxation and Play on Your Vacation

by Tracy Kunzler

From the editor: Relaxation AND play on your vacation are requirements. Our relaxation expert, Tracy Kunzler, has some water-full recommendations for kids and grown-ups. And if you’re anything like us, you’re always a kid at heart!

What to Pack for Relaxation

Spring Float Papasan

Yes, it’s great to explore new places, learn about different cultures and broaden our horizons while on vacation, but let’s face it. The most-cherishedpart of vacation is lollygagging, and its importance should not be overlooked. Many studies have shown lollygagging is good for your health. No one produces better best lollygagging-enhancing water products than SwimWays. As a professional lollygagger, when it comes to travel, I highly recommend packing the SwimWays Spring Float Papasan. Three really important facts about this baby:

  1. It provides you with a really comfortable way to float and lollygag in the pool, lake or ocean.
  2. It makes everyone around you envious that they don’t have their own Papasan, and…
  3. It packs away so small, it takes up about the same amount of space as a Frisbee in your suitcase!

Just a head’s up: you’ll want to be sure to have one for each adult in your group so there’s no fighting over it.

What to Pack for Play

I think we can all agree outdoor play is important for children. It promotes fitness, hand-eye coordination, and vitamin D. Most importantly, it gets kids out of your hair for a few minutes. Following are some great toys that will keep your kids from pestering you – I mean happy and fit – on your family vacation.

Dive Toys

Small dive toys like Toypedo Bandits are half the size of the popular Toypedo Original, and only take up 50% of the room in your suitcase while providing 100% of the fun. Suited for kids ages five and up, these colorful little dive sticks glide underwater up to 20 feet! Let kids use your empty plastic drink cups as underwater targets for a fun game even the adults will want to get in on.


Another suitcase friendly game that’s ideal for players of all ages and skill sets is simply… catch! Stick to the basics and pack a ball or step it up a little and get a catch game with water-friendly mitts like COOP Hydro Catch. The fuzzy ball is designed to easily cling to the water-friendly mitts, so players of all skill levels can enjoy. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to consider getting enough for your family, so everyone gets to play!

Swimming Toy Fish

When kids are just starting to get used to the water, swimming fish come in small sizes and will take up little room in your suitcase but provide lots of fun. Bright, colorful Rainbow Reef Guppies allow kids to simply pull the drawstring and delight in watching the fish “swim” on their own! No batteries required!

Check out the links below for more of Tracy’s series on spring break travel and packing tips!


What to Pack for Fun in the Water on Vacation

by Tracy Kunzler

From the editor: What do you pack so the kids have fun in the water on you next vacation? Be it for spring break or your annual summer holiday, our relaxation blogger Tracy Kunzler has suggestions for all ages.

For Baby

Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy

Why not introduce the smallest family members to the water in a fun way! A baby float with an adjustable canopy helps keep baby from getting sunburned, buy one with a play area for toys and splashing like the Baby Spring Float. Don’t forget to choose a float that folds up quickly and easily for storage, so it takes up very little space in your suitcase!

For Toddlers and Preschoolers

For little kids, around 2-4 years old, who are ready to explore the water with a little more confidence a swim vest or swim sweater will help them get started! The best flotation vests keep kids stable and their faces a comfortable distance from the water, some even offer sun sleeves for add extra sun protection. The SwimWays Swim Sweater has nothing between the legs to pinch and bind or get in the way of potty-training. Deflated, it takes up very little room in your suitcase. Inflated, it can help protect treasured souvenirs in your suitcase on the trip back home!

For Older Kids

Power Swimr

The Power Swimr System, dubbed “training wheels for the pool,” gives kids freedom of movement while keeping them in proper swimming position as they gain the skills and confidence needed to swim unaided. When choosing a swim training vest for your child, look for one that offers internal flotation pads you can remove one at a time as your child progresses at his or her pace. The Power Swimr has 9 flotation pads that can be removed one at a time as your child gains confidence in the water.

Check out the links below for more of Tracy’s series on spring break travel and packing tips!