Travel Bits-N-Bytes

Traveling with Children

When my children were one and four I had to travel to visit my Grandma who needed help for a little while.   In preparing for the trip I was already nervous because of what was happening with my Grandma and the stress of traveling with young children was daunting.

The big day had arrived and my girls were so excited, I went over the rules with them about how to act on the plane and had packed an activities bag we would bring on board to keep them occupied.

We boarded early and settled in for a two-hour flight. Both the persons in front and behind us voiced their displeasure at being seated close to children and argued with the flight attendant to no avail. This only caused me more anxiety. The flight was full; we were stuck in the seats we purchased. Continue reading


Travel Bits-N-Bytes


People planning their family vacation put little thought into what they need to pack for their trip.  When my kids were seven and ten I realized that as a mom I was doing them a disservice by packing for them after all my goal as a parent was to teach them to problem solve and show them how to do it for themselves so I didn’t need to do it for them. Ha, ha!

Each child is different, so I talked to them about what they needed for a five, ten and fourteen day trips. I then created a checklist for them each to reference so they could pack it all for themselves. The first time we did this, I realized that I was a genius and we haven’t looked back.

Through the years I’ve watched them create their own lists as their needs changed and I quit worrying about everyone’s packing needs. They learned they can always go to the store to replace an item they forgot. Interrupting our vacation to make an unexpected trip to the local store to get something was enough to get them to be thorough with their lists

I would pack a bag with everyone’s medications; this was to ease my mind.

Now there are apps out there for travel packing,  awesome! I use  Travel Packing Checklist by Setget.

That’s today’s “Travel Bits-N-Bytes

Travel Bits-N-Bytes

Our family begins making travel plans almost nine months in advance of our trip. In planning your travel, be sure to think about all those who are traveling with you. Ask yourself what their limitations may be and if you would have to adjust your travel plans to accommodate them. These are the questions that my family had to start asking once I shredded my meniscus last year.

  1. Are there stairs that I would have to climb?

In different countries you might find yourself on the third level of an apartment building with no elevator. Everyone walks up and down the stairs and if you are in a walker or wheelchair this may be more than a challenge to you.

My new reality hit when we arrived at an apartment we booked and it was on the second floor. Oh bother! I felt like I was climbing a mountain every time I went up or down them.

That’s today’s “Travel Bits-N- Bytes”


Author’s Vacation Pick

Hi Travel Friends!

Summer is over and the kids are back in school and we are getting back into our routines. Having coffee with friends and co-workers asking each other what we did over the summer.

My summer was uneventful because of needing a knee replacement so I was kicked to the sidelines as the rest of my family had adventures. I instead was able to get caught up on all my reading and so I began wondering what these authors were doing during their vacations.

Have you, like me wondered where do they go on vacation with their families? Do they lie at a beach resort some place and soak in the sun all day and party all night? Do they plan adrenaline pumping adventures?

I knew the person to ask, my friend Kristen Kehoe. Kristen is an author of several Young Adult Romance novels. I asked the question burning in my soul.

J4T: What did you do this summer?

KK: We went to Boston.

J4T: Why did you choose Boston Massachusetts?

KK: My family is from Boston, so we took our kids to visit them.

J4T: It’s the middle of summer did the weather in Boston effect what you packed?

KK: The unpredictability of the weather caused us to over pack. We were glad we did as there were several thunderstorms in the area and we needed jackets.

J4T: I have traveled with children across country so I know how difficult it can be. How did you handle traveling with a child?

KK: I have an awesome six year old who is good at sitting still. Kindle Fire has games, small shows, coloring and audio books to keep her busy. We also played go fish and tick- tac- toe and hang man. She understands why she can’t walk around or yell.

J4T: How did you plan for your trip?

KK: My sister planed everything, even handing out an itinerary. If we didn’t want to do something we didn’t have to.

J4T: What adventures did you go on?

KK: We went to Fenway and took a tour of that. We were so glad that we planned so far in advance. We saw people lined up trying to get tickets to take the tour and they were unable to. The walking tour was one hour long and we even got to sit up on the Green Monster!

Fenway looks so much smaller than it does on TV, I loved the sense of history all around the park and the tour was very informative. There are even tours that include staying for the game, how great is that!

Click here to look at a tour of Fenway Park: Fenway Park Tour

KK: We also went to Salem Massachusetts where we saw the Hocus Pocus House and we were over the edge excited. If you are a fan of iconic movie Hocus Pocus this is a must see for you. The house is located at 3 Ocean Ave we walked by and took pictures of the outside.

We walked around Salem and took in all the historical sights including The Witch Museum which was amazing! Seeing the different places in person brings history to life and we enjoyed our time there.

KK: We then went and spent time on Plumb Island. We booked a home right on the beach, we had started looking at booking a place almost a year ago since it is a small island the rental homes fill up quickly so you need to book months in advance in order to get a good place. The home we chose said that it had an air conditioner; it wasn’t central air, but a window unit in one of the rooms. It didn’t matter since we were right on the beach and able to open up the windows and have a nice breeze blow through. We spent our days walking on the beach playing football and enjoying our time together as a family.

J4T: Was there a surprise adventure that you went on?

KK: Yes! We took a thirty minute boat ride to Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester MA a private beach area


where the sand was so fine it was like powdered sugar and the water was so blue you would swear you were in the Caribbean.
We had a picnic and played in the water, so beautiful!

J4T: Did you have an impression of what to expect that was changed once you got there?

KK: I forgot that Boston would be so city like. All cities seem the same no matter where you are in the world. A lot of concrete, cars and crowds especially during the summer tourist season.

J4T: What would you change if you were to travel to Boston again?

KK: We would stay in a different part of town and go at a different time during the summer. We would have liked to do more tourist type of things and see some more of the historical aspects of Boston, for instance where the Boston Tea Party happened and the Freedom Trail. We would build those things into our timeline for next time we visit is a must.

J4T: What was the local scene like? The local people? Did you have a favorite place to eat?

KK: We went to a restaurant close to where we were staying called the Summer Shack and it was amazing! It is our favorite restaurant and it did not disappoint. This restaurant is family friendly and boasts that it has the largest Raw Bar, the food is delicious! Before visiting Boston, you might want to visit their website (link below) and look at their menu, they offer $5.00 off parking in adjacent lot when you dine with them and that is a huge plus, so be sure to ask about that when you dine there.

The locals were all so nice and helpful.

J4T: Thank you so much Kristen for giving us a little insight to your summer travels. I look forward to reading your next novel and encourage others to check out your numerous books on Amazon.

Happy Travels Everyone!

~ Joy

You can find out about Kristen Kehoe on her website and social media accounts.

Wine Bottle Watering for Your Plants

You’re leaving on vacation for three weeks. You’ve hired someone to feed your pets, water your plants, mow the lawn get the mail; maybe even stay in your house. Everything should be good right?

That’s what I thought too, but we came home to dead plants one year, everything else was great; that is everything but our house plants. Some died from too much water others from not enough. Now I needed to find a solution to that problem before our next three-week vacation.

My quest began with the commercial products they said you could feed your plants for up to two weeks and if you added more to the planter you could keep them watered longer. So I tried two of these systems.

  1. Water globes I purchased a box of six for $14.99 there weren’t enough for all of our plants and the fragile stems were easily broken…NEXT
  2. Watering spikes I bought six for $14.99. These you use a water container and draw water up through plastic tubing into the spikes thus watering your plants. Just like the water globes if you are watering large house plant you would need to put more spikes in the container. The down side is you need a large container of water to draw from or move all your plants near a sink or tub…NEXT

After doing the math on how many we would need to water everything this way I discovered it would be $120.00 and there was no guarantee it would even work so I decided to make something myself.

I made a drip water system made out of plastic milk jugs, plastic tubing to drip into the plants. It worked for a while but as the water moved out of the plastic jugs they collapsed in on themselves and I came home to a mess. Thank goodness I experimented before we went anywhere. I was able to clean up the mess quickly and take a good look at what went wrong and why.

The water globes I had bought performed the best, but didn’t hold enough water; they also had a very delicate narrow stem that you used to stick into your soil.

I needed something made out of glass that was larger, and had a removable spout. I also needed it to be big enough to last at least three weeks and didn’t cost me crazy money to put in place.

I was in the Dollar Store an noticed vinegar and oil bottles. Maybe this would work. I bought two bottles came home put water in one, I inverted so the spout was down and stuck it in the soil of my small potted plant. A week later was able to say it was a success, now I just need a bigger bottle do that it would water larger plants and hopefully last at least three weeks. wp-1531880841537594313600.jpgI had an idea one night as I looked at an empty wine bottle. Would the spout fit? Would it work the same way? Well I am on week three of my wine bottle watering system an I can say it WORKS!



You may want to try this trick too. I’m just happy to be coming home to green plants.

Now go have a worry free vacation full of adventure! 😎


Dollar Tree


Travel with Children

When we were first married we traveled a lot, going to see my relatives in California or going to see my husband’s relatives in Conneticut and Florida. It was on these flights that we got to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of airline travel you may know them as children. 

Yes, I was one of those judgemental types that would groan every time I saw a mother and child get on the airplane, sending up a quick prayer that they weren’t anywhere near me, vowing in my infinite wisdom to never travel with children and subject others to the screaming that no doubt ensues when taking off and landing not to mention the kicking, poking and peek-a-boo that happens if they are sitting anywhere near you. Locked inside a big metal flying tube with no escape for hours. 

To top it off the mom when she gets to her destination looks like she went through ten rounds in a boxing ring trying to defend her title of champ. You know the look, her hair which was all in place when she boarded now looks like a bird tried to make a nest in it, her makeup has run all down her face as she struggles with her bags and the now sleeping angel that had spent the whole flight fighting to stay awake. After witnessing this on more than one occasion I said to myself I will NEVER travel with my children. I would eat my words…

Once our own little angel was born, we wanted to travel to see grandpa. Our angel was two and a handful, inquisitive about everything. Knowing what I was up against and knowing what I didn’t want to have happen we booked a red eye flight to Florida. I kept the baby up all day, yes it was hard she really wanted her nap and let me know it. She was cranky all day but I won in the end she was up which meant she would sleep n the flight, right? I packed a carry on for her, her favorite blanket, toy, books, crayons. I delayed her feeding until the flight was taking off so that she would swallow and pop her ears naturally. Upon landing I had crackers and juice for her, but she was so tired she slept through it. I however, still got off the plane tired, makeup running, but satisfied that I did all I could so that those around us could be in comfort. All my hard work did not go unnoticed though, the woman who upon seeing us seated in front of her asked to be moved but was informed that it was a full flight and there was nowhere she could move; leaned over to say that I had a very well behaved baby and it was a joy to travel with her on the flight. I smiled and thanked her, yes all my hard work was worth it and I would sleep when we got to grandpas house. 

As the years went by and we continued to travel I was told on numerous occasions how well my girls traveled, but really it was planning. When they got older and they could entertain themselves I packed an entertainment bag for them, they knew to be quiet and respectful because there were other people on the plane. My children are well traveled, we have been to all fifty states, they know how to navigate through the airport and security, how to interact with respect with other people on the plane and what to do if we get separated in the airport. 

Traveling with children, it’s all in the planning.

Split, A Croatian Getaway

I bet not many of you thought about visiting Croatia, however I found it really beautiful! We spent time in Split Croatia, it is right on the water. Geogous blue crystal clear, warm water. Ships and cruise lines pulling in and people of all ages and nationalities disembark flowing onto cobblestoned streets and walkways. I spent one whole day just watching people, eating ice cream and walking through the streets. 

You get the best of all worlds in Split, the architecture reminds me of Rome where people live right on top of some sort of ruin. Pearly white columns adorn the sides of buildings. Dark brick enclosed walkways pour out into open door plazas where people can eat sitting on centuries old steps. 

If in town isn’t your idea of a fun filled afternoon you can hike up the mountainside and get a birdseye view of the city and port of Split.  There are also museums for you to visit. 

While we were in Split we took a boat excursion from the port of Split to Hvar, which is a small island. This port town offers a look at a fortress as well as a small beach. From here you can also take smaller boat trips to nearby islands.  We elected to sit near the beach and eat at a small resturant. From the beach we walked out into the warm Adriatic Sea, I can’t describe how beautiful this area is.

Another day we took a day trip to Bosnia, the guided tour was the best decision we could have made. The driver was able to tell us all about the country side. We stopped off at a few places along the way and were entertained with stories of the area. Our driver organized a tour guide of the city and we learned a lot about what had happened during the war. It was a beautiful day and one that I would love to do again.

If you get a chance, Split Croatia is a fantastic destination. There is something for everyone in your family to do, no matter what their interest is in.