Ask Me


I have noticed that quite often, people type a specific question into a search engine and it brings them to my site (which I am really excited about). Unfortunately sometimes the question they ask doesn’t always get answered in the post they end up being directed to. So, in order to better serve the readers and searchers of this travel blog, I wanted to open up a forum where you can ask me specific questions. I don’t promise to have all of the answers, but I will be as helpful as I can. So go ahead and leave your question as a comment below, and I will comment back. It is very likely that some of your questions will also lead to more in depth posts, so be on the look out!

Note: If your question is about advertisements or guest blogs… it would be best toΒ email me directly at sproutsenroute [at] gmail [dot] com … Thanks!

18 thoughts on “Ask Me

  1. My kids are 4 and the baby turns 2 in June. I am trying to decide between Southern California doing theme parks and Joshua Tree National Park – though my kids are short at 35″ and I don’t know the baby’s height, but way under 34″. So rides may be limited. I am also thinking of Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Smoky Mountains, and any other number of national parks. Just wondered, though, what your favorite trip would be at this age – or are your kids right around this age, too? I have a lot of travel goals inside the US, so we need to start them now.

    1. Hey Angie,
      Thanks for being the first poster on my “Ask Kristin” section πŸ™‚ !! Ok, so first of all I have to say that going and making the theme park rounds in Southern California really depends on what theme parks you are planning on going to, especially because you have an almost 2 year old. I would say the best parks for your kids’ ages are Disneyland Resort, Legoland, and in third I would say California Adventure (the other disney theme park). Knott’s Berry Farm is kind of a waste because they are super limited on rides that the whole family can go on, and even in Camp Snoopy a lot of rides have a height minimum. The only thing I would make sure of is that if you are going specifically to visit Disney, make sure to get a pass that lasts a couple of days because going for 14 hours with small children can be totally exhausting. If you spend 6-8 hours there over a few days, you will get to experience a lot more without exhausting everyone in the family. You can also go to Subway or another cold lunch place and then eat in the picnic area. It is much cheaper (and healthier) than buying food inside the park. Trust me, that is where they really get you! Although I am an advocate for purchasing a Mickey head pretzel with nacho cheese sauce πŸ˜‰

      As far as going to National Parks, pretty much any age is good, as long as you have the proper travel tools. We are actually going to be going to the Rocky Mountains this summer when we are back in the US and we will have a newborn, 3 year old, and 5 year old. Nature is a wonderful thing to share with children, and your 4 year old will definitely remember a lot of things from that trip. My husband is also always raving about Joshua Tree, and that is on our list of places to visit eventually. Really think about things like bug spray, SPF, proper shoes, and clothes.

      I hope that helps, and enjoy your trip whichever destination you pick! Happy travels!

  2. Hey
    Your mom gives me a hug every day I work. I think she adopted me as a huggee until you guys get back. She is so proud of you guys. I grew up overseas – living in Kuwait from 7-11 and Australia from 11-(almost) 18. So I know the great experience you and your family are having. Enjoy every moment.

    1. Thanks for the comment Ian! It is so good to hear stories about kids growing up in traveling experiences who feel their lives were truly enriched. We are definitely enjoying and teaching our kids to enjoy it πŸ™‚

  3. I am traveling with my 15 month old son to Spain for Christmas. The whole family is going (my brother, mom, etc…). We are debating on renting a house for everyone to stay at together. One of my concerns with this is were my son would sleep. We usually take a pac n play on trips and he sleeps in there but we can not do that overseas. Is there a good packable crib/sleeper you would recommend? Also I know in the US you can rent gear from different sources. Do they have that in Europe and if so would you recommend doing that? Thanks for the help.

    1. Dear Tori,
      First of all, thanks for writing! This is a really great question. As far as I know in my experience in Europe (I have never been to Spain), there are not any agencies that rent pack and plays. If you were staying in a hotel I would advise you call ahead and ask if they have any available to use. Since you are renting a house, you could write and ask if they have anything suitable for a 15 month old. When my youngest daughter was 12-16 months we lived with another couple in Hungary and all four of us shared a room. I did not want to waste one of my check in bags by bringing a pack and play so I bought a Pea in the Pod from One Step Ahead (see this article). To be honest it was kind of a rough long term solution and we ended up putting a combination lock on the zippers to keep her in there until she fell asleep, or else she would simply unzip it and walk out (she was, and still is, very strong willed). Once she fell asleep we would take the lock off and she could unzip herself in the morning. The inflatable mattress makes it more comfortable than sleeping on the ground. The only thing I would suggest is to make a sheet for it because or else they sweat since they are sleeping directly on vinyl. There are step by step directions on how to make one if you follow the link above. This is my best suggestion for your situation. I also mention a Phil & Ted product called the “Wiggle Wrapper” which turns any twin sized bed into a secure sleeping area for your little one. Check out the article, and if you have any more questions I would be glad to answer them. Thanks again for writing in. Have a great trip to Spain with your family!!

  4. Cool site! I found your Hitchin a Ride post back in 2011 when we first started flying! We ended up rigging up a system with an old luggage cart since we prefer backpacks to rolling luggage, but I had a few questions about your experience with flying with the Britax! I have heard that FF puts kids in prime position for seat kicking, what is your experience on US cross-country flights? Specifically the Boeing 737-900? Our little guy will be turning 2 on the trip and is 50% percentile on height. In the past, we have used a cheap/lightweight seat which was small enough to rear face and still allow everyone to recline, but I recently took a good look at the strap system and began to wonder if it would actually hold up in a car crash at our destination. Any ideas? I have looked into the CARES system, but this is a red eye flight so I’d light to have a carseat for sleeping!

    1. Hi Nikol! Thanks for writing in. Front facing DOES put kids in the perfect position for feet kicking. It is an unfortunate truth. If your little one can still fit rear facing for this flight, I would definitely use that option. Plus it is safer according to CARES is an excellent option for kids above 2. I have had my middle child sleep while strapped into a CARES. I also strapped on a travel pillow to keep her head in a somewhat comfortable position. But it isn’t the most comfortable. One of the ways to help with the seat kicking is to take off their shoes and put on nice cushiony socks, or slippers. This won’t stop the kicking, but it does lighten the blow to the person in the chair in front of them. I also try my best to distract them with something so they won’t kick the seat in front of them, and if you are on a red eye, hopefully most of your little one’s time will be spent sleeping. If you think it is going to be really difficult for the person in front of them why not bring a small gift like some candy and politely introduce yourself, “My name is Nikol and my child is sitting behind you. I am going to do my best to make sure you have a comfortable flight, and my child doesn’t kick your seat. I just wanted to to know that I am thinking about you.” You might even make a new best friend that way :).
      Make sure that your airline allows whatever type of car seat you are planning on using because airline insurance companies have started to get picky about that kind of stuff (totally unfortunate). There aren’t many more options for a two year old besides a car seat or the CARES harness. If you are planning on buying a new Britax, I would go with the Diplomat or the Roundabout 50 because the last flight I took my Marathon on I had to argue with the flight attendant (on Austrian Airlines) for 20 minutes about using the seat during take off and landing, and finally the pilot got involved, who agreed a 5-point airplane approved seat was safer than a 1-point infant in lap belt. The Marathon was not on their list, apparently. Of course all this can be cleared up by calling your airline ahead of time. Make sure it is a 5-point system, no matter what they say. That is the standard when flying domestically or internationally.
      I have been on the Boeing 737 with a car seat and it fit fine. If you can reserve bulkhead seating ahead of time (call the airline, they usually reserve these seats for people with small children) then you won’t even need to worry about someone sitting in front of you. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Hope you have a great trip!!

  5. Thanks for the advice! I was definitely be bringing a gift and explaining that the kicking will only last until he falls asleep, otherwise I can turn him rear facing, but the person in front won’t be able to recline their seat! I’m definitely not looking forward to getting the seat down the aisle, but it is definitely much safer for the car than our cheapo-Walmart seat!

    I’m flying with Alaska Airlines and I have never had a problem with our smaller car seat with them, though I have had numerous problems with “gate checking” with other airlines and having the seat & stroller sent to baggage claim instead of back to planeside for the rest of our trip. With Alaska Airlines a booking agent explained to me that I should never check my car seat because they will block the seat next to me (for free) if I have a lap infant so that I can use a car seat – I’ve only had one instance where they actually filled the seat, and it was the day after a whole bunch of flight cancellations.

    1. That is amazing that Alaskan Airlines does that for infant in lap!! Most airlines make you pay for a seat at full price. It is a bummer that the person won’t be able to recline their seat, but there isn’t really anything you can do about that. I know that feeling. Happy travels!!

  6. Hi there. First of all, your blog is really helpful for a first time travel-with-a-baby-er. haha
    Secondly, I wanted to ask your thoughts on taxis. We’re planning on going to Korea in a few months and wonder what to do with city traveling in a taxi. Any tips or advice?
    Thank you!

    1. Hello! Thank you for your kind words and I am glad you are enjoying the website. My favorite resource for traveling with kids and using taxi’s is from The Car Seat Lady here. I would personally recommend the Bubble Bum . I use two of these every day for our big girls, but they are super portable and they only cost $30. They are a much cheaper option than the vest that Car Seat Lady recommends as her first choice (although she is the one that told me about the bubble bum as well). If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Happy travels!!! -Kristin

  7. Dear Kristin,
    Your tutorial on creating a baby passport photo is very helpful. Is there somewhere I can send my final passport photo for review before taking it to the passport office with the baby? If you can send me a link that I could send my photo to it would be very helpful.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      I didn’t use a patch for my stroller because there was still enough fabric left there to kind of double it up and sew through it. If you were going to use a patch, I suggest you grab an iron on one from your local sewing shop and sew it on by hand… THEN iron it on so it stays in the exact place you want it. Iron patches can be tricky, so I always sew mine on first. I hope that helps and happy travels! -Kristin

Leave a Reply