Family, Travel, When in

How to Travel with Pets

With the holidays fast approaching, you may be visiting relatives that live near by. Your getting yourself organized and ready to go….you’ve made a list of road trip essentials (check out our list here) or your preparing to take a short flight. But what about your pets??? Pets need a vacation too and make great companions when your traveling. Whether your traveling by car, train or air, I’ve put together a travel guide to help navigate the “getting there” part of you trip with your pet in tow.

Before You Em-bark!

  1. Fit for Travel: Make sure your pet is fit for travel; your veterinarian can help with this! Talk to them about your destination and how your getting there so they can advise if your pet is ready.
  2. Pet Identification: Make sure your pet has an ID tag for their collar with a phone number where you can reached. Also, microchipping is another great option for identification.
  3. Travel Accessories: A pet crate or carrier is a must when traveling; make sure it is well ventilated and big enough for them to sit, turn around or lie down. Introduce your pet to a new carrier at home before your trip. You don’t want them freaking out when its time to leave.

Travelling By Car

  1. Buckle Up or Carrier: Pets should wear their seat belt – yes, pet seat belts do exist. If your not comfortable with that, put them in their carrier. Also, don’t let pets sit in your lap while driving. Major distraction!
  2. Paws In: Make sure you pet keeps their heads and paws inside a moving vehicle. You can crack a window for them to feel the breeze; just make sure they can’t get their full head out.
  3. Light Meals: Give you pet a light meal at least 4 hours before your trip and don’t feed them in the car. The last thing you want is a motion sick pet…..
  4. Pit Stops: Don’t forget to stop every 2-3 hours for bathroom breaks and exercise (for both you!).

Travelling by Air

  1. In Cabin: Currently not allowed due to COVID-19 but if your pet is an emotional support animal they are allowed. Pets must be small and less than 20 lbs to accompany you in the cabin. NOTE: Check with your airline first!
  2. Arrive Early: Get to the airport early to allow you pet a little exercise before your flight.
  3. Light Meals: Give you pet a light meal at least 4 hours before your trip. Pets can be prone to air sickness so keep things on the light side.
  4. No Sedation: Don’t sedate your pet during air travel because sedation medication can increase heart rate and aggravate respiratory issues. Additionally, sedatives interfere with their balance and equilibrium!

Travelling by Train

  1. Small pets: Amtrak, the nations largest passenger train carrier, allows pets 20 lbs and under to travel by train on trips up to 7 hours. NOTE: Be sure to check their policies before you book your trip.
  2. Carry on Luggage: A pet in their carrier is counted as 1 carry-on luggage so pack wisely.
  3. Food & Drink: Bring collapsible food and drink bowls to feed your pet on the train. Remember, a light meal a couple of hours before your journey.
  4. Utilize Scheduled Stops: Take advantage of scheduled stop(s) by taking a brisk walk on the platform and a quick potty break. Your pet will thank you!

No matter how you travel, your pet can be a welcome companion on your journey. They enjoy getting out as much as you do and probably love all the sights, sounds and smells they encounter. Just be sure you have everything you need to make your trip successful and stress-free.

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Twin Lakes Park, Texas

Twin Lakes Park, Cedar Park, TX

Twin Lakes is a 50-acre tract of land that features hike and bike trails and beautiful native Texas flora and fauna. There is plenty of space to social distancing and the perfect outing for families who love to be out in nature. The park offers plenty of additional amenities such as pavilions, a swimming pool/water playscape, multi-purpose sports fields, an archery range, a beach/swimming area, and so much more! This is another great way to tour your own city; not sure how to do that? Check our my post here for some creative ideas to get you started.

On our trip, our kids loved stopping and reading all the nature facts and plant identification signs throughout the trail. They made sure they didn’t miss any so we ended up being at the park for longer than expected. The best part was seeing the GIANT red headed centipede crossing one of the trails to get to the creek on the other side. And of course my son started with his “Did you know…” facts for the rest of our trip and all the way home.

The Texas landscape was beautiful and you can’t beat that water fall! We saw so many natural creeks within the park and even a moss covered waterfall. Of course our kids said it reminded them of the smurfs…go figure! On our way out, we stopped by the lake and visited the ducks who were very friendly. I’m sure they were looking for food but alas, we didn’t have any. Mental note for next time. Also, don’t forget your camera as there are lots of photo opportunities within the park.

Surviving Chaos

In order to make the most of you time at the park and prevent kid meltdowns, I’ve provided some surviving chaos tips. Have fun exploring at the park!

  • Sunblock: Be sure to put on lots of sunblock to prevent sunburn. This is the first rule of thumb for any outdoor activity.
  • Early Morning: Best time to visit the park is early morning. It’s cooler, less crowded and your kids will have energy to burn. A fun filled morning at the park makes for a well rested and relaxed afternoon (I hope)
  • Backpack: This is the perfect place to keep water, first aid kits, sunblock, snacks, portable potty seat, etc. What ever creature comforts you need. Remember to keep it light weight since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and/or biking.
  • Snacks: Don’t forget the snacks! Apple slices, carrot and celery sticks, granola/protein bars, goldfish or whatever your kids like. You don’t want food meltdowns and HAN-gry kids in the middle of your hiking journey

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5 Least Visited Places in the U.S.

Most of the time when people think about visiting the United States, they immediately plan trips to New York or Los Angeles maybe even Miami. Although the places are awesome, why not take trip off the beaten path? Why choose the road less travelled? The U.S. has a lot of hidden gems in other cities that are not as well known. Here is a list of charming cities we think are worth visiting when your looking for new adventures.

Boise, Idaho

Idaho may not seem interesting or may only be known for its potatoes but the capital of Idaho has so much more to offer. A youthful destination, you’ll find fresh air and low pollution as you stroll Basque Block. While your there, take a ride on the Boise River Greenbelt for some relaxation.


Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Gorgeous state parks, skiing, rocking climbing and Mount Rushmore all make Sioux Falls a fantastic place to visit. A river literally runs through the city – Big Sioux River is a site to see and ends in a series of rapids in Falls Park. And if your looking for something quirky, check out the butterfly house at Sertoma Park.


Bowling Green, Kentucky

What does cave spelunking, wooden roller coasters, and underground boat tours have in common? Bowling Green!! If you looking for something off the beaten path, this city’s got it! When your done with all your outdoors adventures, head over to the National Corvette Museum for a little car history.


Asheville, North Carolina

If your into the art scene, Asheville is the perfect place to be. The Downtown Art District is home to numerous art galleries and museums and has opportunities to showcase local up and coming artists. And since the city is located in the lush Blue Ridge Mountains, there is plenty of inspiration.


Santa Fe, New Mexico

If your looking for a centuries-old Spanish colony, then you want to visit Santa Fe. With architecture influenced by Pueblo people and distinct Southwestern feel, Santa Fe has lots to offer. And if your a foodie, the New Mexican cuisine, a blend of Mexican, Pueblo, and Spanish flavor and styles.

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Old Settlers Park, Texas

Old Settlers Park, Round Rock, TX

Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park is one of the best parks in the state of Texas and known as the best sports destination in the youth and amateur sports leagues. The park’s 640 acres provides lots of options for hike and bike trails and plenty of ample space for recreational pursuits such as disc golf, cricket, baseball, softball, soccer facilities, and more. You will never run out of things to do and there is lots of space for social distancing. This is a great idea to tour your own city; not sure how to get started? Check out my post here for some creative ways to tour your own city.

We decided to take the trail closest to the disc jokey and cricket fields. It must have been disc jockey tournament day because there were lots of teams playing and making their rounds through the park. I would call this the scenic route as there were some great photo opportunities and lots of native Texas landscape to see. Of course the first things our kids spotted was the el chupacabra sign which led to lots of questions. Which some how turned into a Bigfoot conversation….needless to say their imaginations got the best of them! Old Settlers Park is also a great place to congregate outside, BBQ and have a game of horseshoes at one of the two pavilions available.

Brushy Creek that runs throughout the park and even has a mini waterfall that you can look over from the bridge. Our kids had some many questions and enjoyed the sound of the rushing water. Plus there are so many beautiful flowers to see and plenty of trees to provide lots of shade on hot days. Don’t forget your fitness tracker, you can easily walk a mile or more on the trails, just look for the mile markers along the way. We explored one of many trails at Old Settlers park so we will definitely be going back. Parks are a great opportunity to spend time with your family, experience nature first hand and spark your kids curiosity!

Surviving Chaos

In order to make the most of you time at the park and prevent kid meltdowns, I’ve provided some surviving chaos tips. Have fun exploring at the park.

  • Sunblock: Be sure to put on lots of sunblock to prevent sunburn. This is the first rule of thumb for any outdoor activity.
  • Early Morning: Best time to visit the park is early morning. It’s cooler, less crowded and your kids will have energy to burn. A fun filled morning at the park makes for a well rested and relaxed afternoon (I hope).
  • Backpack: This is the perfect place to keep water, first aid kits, sunblock, snacks, portable potty seat, etc. What ever creature comforts you need. Remember to keep it light weight since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and/or biking.
  • Snacks: Don’t forget the snacks! Apple slices, carrot and celery sticks, granola/protein bars, goldfish or whatever your kids like. You don’t want food meltdowns and HAN-gry kids in the middle of your hiking journey

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Road Trip Essentials

Whether your planning your next mini vacation or for the upcoming holidays, many families are considering road trips as their mode of transportation. Road trips can be so much fun, are perfect for family bonding and are a great opportunity for site seeing. But before you leave, be sure to pack the essentials so your road trip doesn’t go south! I’ve compiled a list of essentials to bring on your next road trip.

Car Essentials

  • Car Kit: Spare tire and jack, jumper cables, air pump, gas can, flashlight, etc are some of the essentials you need should anything happen to the car while your on the road. Also, invest in a good roadside assistance service just in case. Many of them have apps that can pinpoint your exact location, notify the provider you need assistance, closet gas station, etc.
  • Blanket/Sarong/Sweater: No matter what you put the temperature setting on, someones either going to be too hot or too cold. Have a blanket or light sweater ready for all the temperature fluctuations each person will go though. Plus, you’ll be saved from any A/C vs heat fights. I’ve listed my favorite travel sarong here. Surviving Chaos Tip: Use the blanket as a makeshift pillow for you car naps.
  • Mask: Currently, each state has a mask mandate that requires masks to be worn in stores. You don’t want to be caught without them because you will be denied entry. Not ideal if your stopping for a bathroom break. Pack at least 2 masks/person so you’ll be ready for pit stops.
  • Hand sanitizer: Perfect for cleaning everyone’s hands after your pit stop when you don’t have access to soap and water. But if there is soap and water…..wash those hands!!

Food Essentials

  • Gum: Perfect for family bubble blowing contests or releasing the pressure in your ears as you travel over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house
  • Snacks: Pack plenty of snacks that will keep you full between meals. Protein bars, granola, raisins, goldfish, etc are perfect options and come in bite sized portions. You definitely don’t sugar meltdowns and HAN-gry kids during your road trip.
  • Water bottle: You still need to stay hydrated while your driving so don’t forget to drink water.
  • Tissues and Toilet Paper: Tissues for the runny nose, to clean hands after snacks or to clean up spills. A roll of toilet paper just in case…you don’t want to be caught without it at during your pit stop.

Entertainment Essentials

  • Portable Device: When you or your kids are looking for some entertainment other than the mountains, rivers and forests. This is the perfect option for music, movies and games. Be sure your subscriptions and up to date and their is an option to download content when data is not readily available.
  • Headphones: 1 for each person and so there won’t be a who can turn up their entertainment volume the loudest competition or I can’t hear my movie argument. Surviving Chaos Tip: Moms…this is your quiet time. Your welcome!!
  • Portable charger: Be sure to get a universal one for your cell phone, tablet, etc and with multiple ports so you can charge multiple devices.
  • Non-tech Activities: If you need a break from screen time, why not sing a song or play “I Spy”. Flash cards, felt activities and game boards are just some activities that will keep your family entertained. A list of our road trip activities with links on how to make them or purchase them are listed below:

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