Sunny San Diego Living up to its Reputation

san diego boardwalkI love winter in San Diego anyway, but we’ve never experienced winter weather like this one since we moved here in 1996. For the past 3 weeks we’ve had warm, balmy and just glorious weather like today; 72 degrees with 16% humidity, and it’s projected to continue for the next 10 days at least. Driving home yesterday I saw a guy walking along without his shirt on and several women running in tank tops, people out golfing and playing tennis, many people at the beach,  out for a walk with their baby or like my elderly neighbor just sitting in the sun on their porch. So Mid-westerners and East Coasters, get out here and take a break from that extreme cold spell you’re going through- it sounds brutal!

Hotel Del CoronadoSan Diego is lovely in the Fall, Winter and Spring- much less crowded. You can get up close to all the animals at our World Famous San Diego Zoo enjoy having no lines at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, or have a blast with your kids at the water park there. Or do all three parks and visit SeaWorld- walking under the shark exhibition is my favorite part.

You should be able to find a reasonably priced vacation rental at this time of year- we have a list of recommended property managers on our Partners page. Be sure to pack your shorts, sandals and swim suits- you can go back home and brag that you were swimming in the ocean in January, lounging by the pool getting a tan and building sandcastles with your toddler or baby.

san diego sunset

I can’t imagine it will last forever- we’ll need some rain at some point. So hurry, hurry- be spontaneous!  Book the flight, accommodation and car- we’ve got you covered for the beach and baby equipment rentals.

TRAVEL TIP: Winter Special at Toddler’s Travels.  Free item of your choice with your order of $75 or more; see our Packages page for details.

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A festival of lights with snow in San Diego!

festival of lightsSanDiegoBotanicGardens

Bundle up the kids and head out to the San Diego Botanic Garden for a magical holiday experience.

Take a wagon ride on beautiful Clydesdale draft horses through a dazzling display of over 100,000 sparkling lights.

Santa will be there from 5:30-8:30 pm under the Gazebo for the perfect family photo opportunity. There is hot mulled wine for you and s’mores for the kids to roast over the campfire, as well as hot cocoa, coffee, gyros, kabobs, soups, salads and baklava available.

There is live music from 6-8 pm and yes, even snow- at least snow on December 26 and 28 with sledding permitted. Sorry, we don’t have sleds for rent- we have pretty much everything else you need in baby and beach rental equipment while on vacation- maybe grandma’s house has one lying around?

Stroll through the gardens- we do have strollers for rent:) Help the kids with special holiday crafts they can take home and enjoy the Nutcracker exhibit and Alice in Wonderland displays.

Admission prices: Adults $12.00; Seniors, Military & Students $8.00. All Children 3-12 $4.00. Children 2 and under free.

San Diego Botanic Garden is located at 230 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA 92024

Have fun and happy holidays from all of us at Toddler’s Travels!

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BOB strollers a winner on the beach

Joined some Australian friends on a 5 km run fundraiser this weekend at Del Mar Beach- well, I walked and everyone else ran.  It was a pristine day with the waves rolling in, beautiful blue skies and a gentle breeze.  I couldn’t help notice that every parent who ran with their baby or children in a stroller were all pushing BOBs- at least 5 or 6.    It made me feel proud that we’d chosen such a high performing stroller for our traveling babies who will have such a great way to be transported on and around San Diego’s beautiful beaches.  I wish I had some pics but since it was a run I didn’t have one with me.  As for the recent recall, it was just a yellow cord on the canopy which I’d never previously noticed and all we’ve had to do is remove them.

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Fun Activities For A Rainy Day In San Diego

Balboa Park has many interesting museums (alternating with free admission on Tuesdays), but our favorite is the Reuben H. Fleet Science Museum with its 100+ hands-on exhibits and brand new IMAX theatre. Kid City provides fun for infants through age 5, and until January 4th, the Animal Grossology exhibit will teach your little one gross facts about vomit munchers, slime makers, blood suckers and other such disgusting information.

The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre is featuring The Merry Christmas Show, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rumpelstiltskin in the upcoming weeks. The San Diego Air and Space Museum has a Star Trek exhibit for trekkies and little boys also love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum . For a true San Diego tradition, get tickets through December 28, to How The Grinch Stole Christmas at the Old Globe Theatre (for ages 3-19); it’s excellent!

Another easy venture for a rainy day is The New Children’s Museum at 200 West Island Avenue; there are lots of craft activities and a fun pillow fight room.

IMAXfleetnight

TRAVEL TIP

For infants and toddlers we rent top of the line strollers and baby carriers to make exploring Balboa Park an easy experience to enjoy (no need to lug it through the airport). Check out our Go Baby page for Graco Quattro Tour strollers (singles or doubles), Graco travel systems, BOB joggers (singles and doubles with weather shields), compact toddler strollers, baby carriers and framed baby backpacks.

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Lazy Coronado Island Days

Coronado’s gracious homes on tree-lined streets, beautiful beaches and numerous kid-friendly eateries ensure a relaxing fun-filled day. We regularly visit friends who live there, and always notice the small-town laid back friendly atmosphere; neighbors drop by with their kids and people stop to chat on the street.

FUN FERRY RIDE

If you want to create an adventure for your little ones, hop on the San Diego Bay Ferry from 1050 North Harbor Drive at the Broadway Pier. You can have lunch at one of the many restaurants at The Ferry Landing Place or picnic on the beach.

map_of_san_diego_bay_ferry

surrey_on_top Bikes and Beyond rent bikes with with Burley trailers. Their surrey-on top is a 2-4 pedaler which has extra jump seats children in the front. They have kites for rent too! The bike path offers magnificent city views and takes you to a great children’s playground by the Coronado bridge.

ICE CREAM

Nothing like ice cream to keep the kids happy. With locations at 1025 Orange Ave and the Del, Moo Time Creamery manufactures its specialty ice cream on-site; its long lines attest to just how good it is. Ferry Landing has the also popular Cold Stone Creamery.

HOTEL DEL CORONADO

hotel_delLast, but not least, no visit to Coronado is complete without a visit to the historic Hotel Del Coronado . Built in 1888, its iconic red turrets make it look like a fairy tale castle- little girls might enjoy the high tea served there on a Sunday afternoon.

TRAVEL TIP: For a picnic at the beach, rent one of our coolers, some beach chairs and a beach umbrella or canopy, along with the bag of toys which include toys for the beach. For a run or walk along The Strand, our all-terrain BOB joggers can have the front wheel either fully rotating or fixed; singles and doubles are available. Our all-terrain Radio Flyer Wagon is perfect for carting the kids and beach gear down to the water.

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Finding Reliable Baby Equipment Rental Companies

Frustrated by the lack of support and amount of time and money we were spending on advertising, and trial and error of various ideas, I sent out an email to other independent business owners exploring the idea of banding together in some way. Thankfully, Sarah Peters of Sweet Pea Baby Rentals in Phoenix and Raquel Quaid of Las Vegas Baby Equipment Rentals responded almost immediately. They had already been discussing setting up an association where small business owners could group together for establishing best practices in our growing industry and pool resources for advertising and business information. Thus the 3 of us decided to form Baby Travel Pros.

Issues we are addressing as an association include: how equipment is cleaned and sanitized, how often equipment is replaced, rental and cancellation policies, product recalls and how to spread the word effectively about the wonderful service we offer to traveling families. With airlines charging more and more for baggage (I’m presently in San Francisco and had to pay $15 to check my one and only suitcase) it makes sense to have clean, reliable, safe equipment waiting for you at your destination, delivered and set up, ready for your little one. While our members provide car seats , cribs , strollers , toys and lots of other baby equipment, we’re also partnering with websites such as Babies Travel Lite and Planet Zee . It’s a work in progress and any feedback/comments on what you need as a customer or from the website is very much appreciated.

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APPALLING CONDITION OF CAR SEATS AT CAR RENTAL COMPANIES

I recently had to hunt down a car seat of ours which had been left in a rented car at a car rental company and was taken upstairs to where the car seats are stored. It appeared that customers can go up and choose a car seat of their choice, most of which were encased in plastic. It was obvious to me immediately that our car seat was not among any of those upstairs. The car seats appeared to have little to no padding and appeared old, shabby and very cheaply made. I have never seen any like it when in baby stores which indicated to me they are significantly older than 5 years, which is when it is recommended to replace a car seat.

I cannot testify as to the cleaning techniques used in car rental companies, but feel confident they come nowhere near our standards if cleaned at all. Eventually the employee I was dealing with produced our car seat, the Graco forward facing Safe Seat 2 , which he found in the car. Frankly, I was appalled at the condition and safety of the car seats I saw; I know I would not feel at all confident placing a baby or toddler of mine in any of the car seats.

Not only that, but these companies charge between $10 and $13/day compared to our $7/day or $35/week. Rest assured, all equipment including car seats at Toddler’s Travels is thoroughly sanitized and inspected with each and every rental.

We can meet you at the car rental company of your choice during regular business hours. Even if you have an early or late flight, we’re only 10 minutes drive from the airport, and it would be worth your while to pick up or drop off a car seat to us while your family waits somewhere comfortable.
Please refer to the article put out by Delicious Baby about car seats at Advantage Car Rental company’s car seats.

You can however keep your little one safe and comfortable by renting from a baby equipment rental company which understands and appreciates the safety concerns of parents; do yourself a favor and rent from Toddler’s Travels or one of my affiliates at Baby Travel Pros next time you travel.

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PACKING CHECKLIST FOR TRAVELING WITH INFANTS

CARRY ON (labeled clearly with name, address, cell phone number and flight information in case bag gets lost):
- diapers, Take more than you think you’ll need, as many as one for every hour you’re in transit and a few extra in case your flight is delayed
- diaper rash cream
- Small box or travel pack of wipes for baby and your hands.
- cloths for burping, spit-up, and other messes
- An extra shirt, pants, and pair of socks for baby
- Baby’s bottle with the nipple in a plastic bag
- formula, juice, water
- a favorite comfort toy or blankie
- containers of baby food, a baby spoon, and/or snacks, such as cereal or crackers
- a bib or two; cloth or disposable
- two extra pacifiers stored in a clean plastic bag
- a changing pad; reusable or disposable
- a few large plastic bags for sealing and tossing dirty diapers, or taking home soiled clothes
- Ear Planes to relieve ear pressure
- child’s pain reliever

Infant car seat
Umbrella stroller, Travel Mate, Front-style baby carrier or framed back pack

AND FOR YOU:
- An extra shirt
- Hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes
- Bottled water and a snack
- Contact information with the pediatrician’s number, a neighbor’s number, and a number where your spouse or one of baby’s grandparents can be reached
- cell phone with charger
- Reservation confirmations, tickets and itineraries
- Maps and directions
- ID or drivers license/passport
- Medical insurance cards
- Keys (car & house)
- Magazines & books

IN YOUR CHECKED BAG:
- more baby wipes
- more changing pads
- ziploc bags for soiled clothes
- receiving blanket or two
- waterproof sheet
- bottles, nipples, bottle caps, sippy cups
- washable bibs
- First Aid Kit including thermometer, prescription medications and copies of the prescriptions, antibiotic cream, allergy relievers, any homeopathic remedies you like, motion sickness relievers
- travel night light: So you can keep the room lighting soothingly low during middle-of-the-night diaper change
- clothes, socks and shoes- One to two outfits per day is a good guideline. Denim and dark colors are good for hiding dirt and stains. Prepare for weather changes by dressing in layers.
- light jacket
- Childproofing gear, such as outlet covers, doorknob covers, and toilet locks
- Baby sun block, sunhat, bathing suit
- tissues
- small bottles of baby shampoo, baby wash and baby lotion
- camera with battery charger
- book light  so you can read and not disturb your baby’s sleep
- a few favorite toys

WHEN YOU GET THERE:

Rent the comforts of home such as a full size crib, all-terrain stroller, play yard or pack’n play, bag of toys, high chair, and bath tub.  Have it delivered and ready to put your baby to nap upon arrival.

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KidsMobile Stops in San Diego – tips on kid fun from local moms

Trekaroo is a fabulous site for traveling families. You read reviews of kid-friendly activities, hotels and restaurants at your travel destination, and can then create your own Passport Page to add about your own experience.
This week, Trekaroo features San Diego with a great list by local blogging moms- it’s called Trekaroo’s KidsMobile.

Trekaroo families have been voting for their favorite kid-friendly activities and hotels in and around San Diego. We’ve tallied their votes for 2009 and here’s the line up!

Top Activities for Kids in San Diego, CA – voted by parents

Top Kid-friendly Hotels in San Diego, CA – voted by parents

Living in San Diego leaves local families little excuse to stay home. These moms bring you their personal recommendations of the best places to take kids in their hometown. Want the local scoop? Here it is!

Bridget Smith, the author of The Unauthorized Legoland Guide

Bridget Smith, the author of The Unauthorized Legoland Guide not only shared with us her Top Tips for a Legoland Adventure with Toddler and Preschoolers Top Tips for a Legoland Adventure with Toddler and Preschoolers , but now gives us some great ideas about Fun Things to Do After Visiting Legoland, California Fun Things To Do After Visting Legoland, California . Bridget spent countless hours in Legoland one year and made more than full use of their family’s season pass to bring us the blow-by-blow of making the most of your visit to Legoland. Follow their family’s other adventures on her blog:Family Adventure Guidebooks


The Q Family isn’t local but lives to travel. If you have 5 days to spend in San Diego, Q_family here’s their list of the Must See Attractions With Kids in San Diego . This is a family who’s constantly on the go! The Q Family Adventures Travel Blog chronicles their adventures with wonderful photos, fun stories and helpful tips.


Carolina Balboa Park is a wonderful urban park that families love. But when hunger strikes, Carolina has a list of Kid-Friendly Dining in Balboa Park. She is the mom behind Kids Go West . As a public school teacher, mom and freelance travel writer, she shares her insider tips on all the totally awesome places to go with kids in her home state of California. Bookmark her blog if you’re heading to California.


rockin_mama Rockinmama loves to mix fun and learning. She recommends these 5 Fun and Educational Activities in San Diego. and 5 Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in San Diego. On her blog Rockin Mama , she writes with great humor about pregnancy. She also write prolifically about parent-friendly products. If you’re looking for the inside scoop on new products for parents out there, this rockin mama’s got it.


Ciao Bambino brings us San Diego: Favorite Family Hotels. Ciao Bambino is a one of Trekaroo’s favorite partners because we share a common passion – inspiring families to travel. Ciao Bambino provides tips and advice around all things related to traveling with kids and is a guide to the best kid-friendly hotels.

Sarah Wyles runs Toddler’s Travels – a local baby equipment rental company for visiting families. me_and_Maya_thumb Naturally, she’s a guru on Fun Activities for Toddlers in San Diego. Instead of lugging all those bulky items on the plane, rent it when you arrive from Toddler’s Travels.

Colleen of TravelMamas has the scoop on the 5 Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in San Diego. Her blog, Travelmamas, gives tell-it-like-it-is tips about traveling with kids. Relying on her own family’s experience as well as the advice from other traveling parents and experts, she gives loads of practical advice on traveling well with kids.

La Jolla is one of the most beautiful suburbs of San Diego and La Jolla Mom shares with us her list of Things to do in La Jolla with Kids. Her blog La Jolla Mom has become a meeting place of sorts for local moms looking to connect. Her Family Fun section is full of popular and off the beaten path places to go with kids. Hop on over and see why La Jolla is a town you must stop at when visiting San Diego.

Other Resources for San Diego, CA

•All 104 Activities for kids in the San Diego County
Kid-friendly Hotels In and Around San Diego County

Which Hotels came up at the top?

Top Activities for Kids in San Diego, CA – voted by parents

Next stop, Denver, CO (that’s right, the launch of Colorado is coming soon)
The Trekaroo KidsMobile is a blog carnival with a twist. It’s designed to provide a unique opportunity for mom and dad bloggers to be featured on Trekaroo while

1) expressing their unique point of view

2) getting a web of link exchanges.

Join us for one of our next stopovers.

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