Top 3 Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained in the Airport  

The car will break down, the flight will be delayed, your passport will disappear, your kids will be bored, security staff will be about as friendly as an army officer at a hostile checkpoint… 

And the list goes on. Travelling to the airport will produce a series of paranoid worries in your head that are difficult to escape from. After all, there’s a reason these worries exist – in the hubbub of an international flight hub, a lot of things can go wrong. 

study by CPP has found that a third of people now believe the airport is more stressful than the working week, and one reason for this is the sheer amount of worry that a simple flight from A to B can cause.  

Whether it’s the scrum through security or the battle through crowds to your departure lounge, these are not environments conducive to relaxation.  

All of this is related to a lack of control in these clinical corridors. This feeling of powerlessness is exacerbated if you’re a parent trying to ferry their children through the mad world of aviation scheduling.  

But fret not – we’re here to help you regain some control over your flight paths, and help you get from A to B without blowing your top.  

Take a look at our list of tips and you’ll find making your way through the airport with your family that little bit easier.  

Park privately  

The search for a decent parking spot at an airport is ultimately futile. It’s probably easier to find the holy grail. But, unlike the search for the holy grail, other options are available.  

If you need to bring your car to the airport, we’d recommend you pick a private parking provider. Many are out there, but one of our personal favorites is Looking4.com. This team of parking pros has a number of bases in the US, whether you want to fly from New York, Florida or even Atlanta. And it’s got a site which is easy to navigate.  

Bring a hobby  

Back in the days of the abacus and the ball on string, kids were bored stiff in airports. Flight hubs are notoriously bereft of non-retail-based stimulation and, as such, children will grow restless quicker than usual.  

If you want to stave off boredom, make sure to bring an activity like the Nintendo Switch. It’s a portable console that’ll keep your kids captivated until you reach your destination.  

Get luxurious  

VIP departure lounges might sound like an exorbitant pipedream, but they aren’t as expensive as you might think.  

For your cash, you’ll receive a quiet sitting area that’s loaded with fun activities for kids and adults alike. This is well worth a few extra dollars.  

That’s our list! Can you think of any great tips for someone travelling to the airport with their kids in tow? Then let us know in the comments below.  

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5 Best Things to Do in Alpharetta With Kids

By guest blogger Eathen Smith, brought to you by the Hotel Planner campaign.

Alpharetta in Fulton County, Georgia, has both the vibrancy of a big city and the down-to-earth, accessible charm of a smaller community. Nestled between the Georgia mountains and the city of Atlanta, it’s well situated to offer exciting yet convenient things to fill any traveler’s visit. Plus with many family-friendly hotels near these activities, Alpharetta just might be the perfect destination for that family trip you’ve been planning to take. Here are some things to do in Alpharetta that the whole family can enjoy together.

Adventure at the Big Creek Greenway

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun, the Big Creek Greenway is a great place for both high activity and relaxing downtime. Bikers will enjoy the off-road mountain bike trails, which are easy for beginners and kids. Big Creek Greenway also offers trails that are well-suited for running and rollerblading. What makes the Greenway such a favorite, though, is that all of these activities are enjoyed in nature. The trail under the tree canopies is followed by a gentle stream and stretches along picnic sites, swamps, and ponds where you can bird watch, feed the fish and ducks, or sit down for a picnic.

Outdoor Movies at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

The beautifully landscaped Encore Park, which houses the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, is just the place to set up for a family movie night. The amphitheater is one of Northside hospital’s locations to host Movies in the Park, a free outdoor movie

initiative to show family-friendly movies at kid-friendly times. Carry extra layers for the evening chill, load up on snacks, and watch a film at sundown, which is usually around 6:30 to 7 p.m. What’s more, kids get free face-painting inspired by the movie of the day.

Indoor Fun at Main Event Entertainment

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Main Event Entertainment is the “ultimate fun for people of all ages.” With a wide range of activities such as bowling, laser tag, mini-golf, rope climbing, and video games, we don’t see how anybody wouldn’t enjoy themselves. With this indoor play park open from 11 a.m. daily, rainy days don’t have to be spent cooped up in a hotel room with the great escape that is Main Event.

Shopping at the North Point Mall

If you want to get a little shopping in while in Alpharetta but still want to make a day out of it, then the North Point Mall is the perfect place to tow everyone along. Apart from the thrilling shopping options for all, the young ones can enjoy a ride on the North Point Carousel. Catch your meals at any of the numerous restaurants at the Food Court and wind up your trip with a movie at the mall’s theater.

Fun in Nature at the Webb Bridge Park

Webb Bridge Park is a big park with many sections, including a kids’ play zone that has a great variety of playgrounds with swings, slides, music, and even a covered sand area. Older children can play in the soccer and baseball fields while parents walk the serene trail through the forest of about 1.5 miles.

Who said family travel can’t be entertaining for all? With the above favorites and much more, Alpharetta is sure to change any such opinion.

Image via Flickr by atlnature

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway Hotel (Near LAX)

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

Though I’ve traveled the world, I’ve never been to New York City; and until a few days ago, I had never visited Los Angeles… unless you count a 30 minute layover at the airport on my way to Bangkok, Thailand back in 2004.

In the year 2018, I’ll be able to explain why exactly I was in Los Angeles this past week and how it all came down to a blog post I did back in the summer. But for now, I suppose all I can really say is I have now officially been shuttled through Los Angeles and visited an actual Hollywood set…

And when I wasn’t on set, I was at my hotel- the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel. It was undeniably strange being in California without my wife and children. After all, we were just in San Diego back in September; as my wife’s family is from California.

You might expect that I spent a good amount of my time in the pool, or the hot tub, or the gym… or at least hanging out upstairs in my room catching up on TV shows that I never have time for anymore.

But, nope.

I slept 10 hours my first night there and 9 hours my second night. As an actively involved husband and father, who not only has a full-time job but also this blog and my YouTube Channel, it is quite uncommon that I get the privilege of falling asleep at 8 or 9 PM, for two nights in a row.

Clearly, I took advantage of the situation. The room was like a sleep chamber for me.

At this point in my life, uninterrupted sleep has a much greater value than entertainment or leisure time.

I didn’t use my phone while I was there. I didn’t even bring my laptop. I just slipped into peaceful oblivion.

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

Granted, I did have to eat. And as you know, I am a vegan. A manly vegan, to be exact- which is an exceptionally rare demographic.

For breakfast, I headed downstairs to Starbucks. I began the day with a fruit cup and some Evolution Sweet Greens cold-pressed juice; along with a Core Meal bar (made of oats and nuts) which I brought with me from Whole Foods back in Nashville.

For dinner, there were two stand-out vegan options on the menu at Costero California Bar + Bistro; which is located near the lobby of the hotel.

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

For just $16, I was able to enjoy a luscious roasted vegetable pizza. (Of course, I specifically ordered it without the cheese.) I was perfectly pleased. In fact, I could totally consume another gourmet pizza like that right now.

Or if one might be in the mood for something a little more “beefy”, there is also the veggie burger served with fries.

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

Honestly, between those two options, I’d be good every night of the week: I wouldn’t need any other options at the hotel for dinner.

I will likely be staying at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel a year from now as well. So it’s good to have a plan and know what to expect when I go back.

After a few nights in Los Angeles, I was shuttled back to LAX, where I stopped by Real Food Daily (Organic Plant-Based Food) for lunch for noodles, sea vegetables, and seitan.

http://www.evolutionfresh.com/juice/sweet-greens-lemon/

Thanks to American Airlines, where you actually get to watch movies for free on the flight, the 5 hour flight back to Nashville went by so quickly I didn’t even have to get up to use the restroom.

The next morning back at the cul-de-sac, my wife let me sleep in until 7 AM… which is when she allowed our 6 year-old son to start shooting me with his brand new fart-sound gun; to be followed by my wife lowering our 6 month-old daughter onto my chest, as our baby girl both smiled and drooled with the same intensity.

Clearly, I was missed.

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

@SheratonLAX @corefoods @RealFoodDaily @AmericanAir #vegan #LAX

The Opposite of a Beach Bum

Along with “Check, please!”, “I think it’s time for Plan B”, “That’ll leave a mark!” and “Smooth move, Ex-Lax”, one of my favorite overused quotes from ‘80’s sitcoms is the sigh-infused “I need a vacation…” When my wife and I were planning our honeymoon last year, many people assumed we were flying out to somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. Because that’s the normal American thing to do, understandably. Though we have never been to a sunny beach coast together before, we both were aware that sitting on the sandy shores all day doing nothing would drive us both stir crazy.

There are two kinds of people in the world: Vacationers who relax and vacationers who explore.

And while it’s possible to do both, ultimately a person’s instincts causes them to plan their vacation according to one over the other. The observation is this: People who like to sit and relax while on vacation (often known as “beach bums”) generally go to warmer, sunny locations and stay in hotels. People who like to explore go to less sought after places often with colder temperatures and higher elevations and stay in lodges, cabins, and bed-and-breakfast’s.

In the last two years, my wife and I have traveled to the foggy, cold, rocky coasts of New Zealand, Maine, and Northern California. We are drawn instinctively to places where there are not a lot of other people around and where there is exploring to be done. Always in search of the next perfect, quaint local coffee shop. Or that beautiful scenic drive we can only take in a rental car in a city we’ve never been in before.

And when we can’t go on a week long vacation to a place we can really only get to by plane, we enjoy hanging out in The Highlands of Louisville, KY (an artsy hippy neighborhood with lots of cool, weird ethnic restaurants including Moroccan, Turkish, and Argentine, to name a few), Sevierville, TN (equipped with black bears), and Fort Payne, AL (my hometown that somehow became cool again when I wasn’t looking).

Most people take their vacations in the summer, when it’s hot. As I do. And most people travel to places that are even hotter than where they live. As I don’t. I loathe the depressing England-like climate of American winters, except in the summer when I want to escape to it. I escape to a more isolated city with less people around with no need for AC.

If people go on a summer vacation to escape all the chaos around them, why do they go to a really busy beach where it’s honkin’ hot? Shouldn’t they do the opposite? Shouldn’t they cool off in a quiet, peaceful place? I am the self proclaimed opposite of a beach bum.

New_Zealand_cause_Old_Zealand_sucks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHL3tBnzWP8