Tips and Tricks, Travel

From a GPS tracker to smart queues: The changing dynamics of modern theme parks

Theme parks are one of those areas where technology is there for all to see. Whether you went twenty years ago, or twenty days ago – it’s environments like this which really do get the best out of technology, at least in the eye of the general public.

photo source

For a lot of years it has been the rides which have been heavily focused on, and rightly so. However, we’re starting to see waves of new technology which impact the in-park experience to extremes that we never thought were possible. Here, we’ll take a look at some of these developments, to highlight how hi-tech the theme park really has become.

Keeping track of the kids

From a safety perspective, there’s no doubt that this has been one of the big developments in the industry. With that being said, it’s not the industry itself which have devised the traditional GPS tracker – but theme parks are certainly one environment in which these contraptions can work absolute wonders.

As we all know, in the middle of summer, these places can be so full that you can barely move. We’re talking about tens of thousands of people congregating in one park and suffice to say, it’s quite easy for someone to become lost in seconds.

Traditionally, wrist bands would be handed out to small children in case the above did happen. The rise of the GPS tracker means that this isn’t necessary now – and parents can find their little ones in a breeze by locating them through one of the devices.

The end of queuing?

Next on the list is a serious pet hate for any theme park enthusiast. Considering the fact that the parks tend to contain more rides than most of us have time to go on anyway, the fact that some demand a queue time of two hours or sometimes longer is frustrating to say the least.

This is why we have been impressed by the smart queuing philosophy. This effectively means that people are queuing on their phone, and simply turn up to the entrance of the ride when their designated time is shown.

There will be occasions, especially in peak periods, where it might be a little difficult to orchestrate. However, there’s no doubt it’s come as a monumental improvement for most people.

An app which actually helps your experience

This next point follows perfectly from the previous one we have discussed. For the theme parks that haven’t implemented smart queuing fully, or for those which initiate a charge for utilizing such a service, the apps that are on offer usually solve the problem anyway.

These apps will highlight the quiet areas of the park, telling you roughly how long it will take to queue for each ride. From a time saving perspective this is invaluable, and means the days of traveling seemingly miles across a park only to see that the queue is of a similar length are long gone.

Education, Healthy Living, Parenting, Travel

Staying Active – Avid4Adventure Summer Camps for Kids

I have partnered with Avid4Adventure Summer Camps via US Family Guide for feature

Staying Active - Avid4Adventure Summer Camps for Kids

Attention California and Colorado parents! Did you know about the day camps at Avid4Adventure? In these camps, your pre-K-11th graders of all levels will learn to climb, paddle, bike, hike and thrive in the outdoors. With help from their time-tested curriculum and insanely experienced instructors, they give campers solid skills and character-shaping confidence.

This is a great way to truly embrace the outdoors with smiles and pride lasting for long after camp is over. Just take a look…

Avid4Adventure Summer Camp locations

  • Colorado Day camp locations in Boulder, Golden, Highlands Ranch, Denver, Lafayette, Castle Rock and Colorado Springs. Overnight camps in Bailey and Evergreen, Colorado.
  • California Day camp locations in Burlingame, Campbell, Cupertino, Mill Valley, Moraga, Oakland, Palo Alto and Walnut Creek. Overnight camp locations in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado.

Sign up today to SAVE

Save $40 on Day Camps & $100 on Overnight Camps. Use code: SUPEREARLY at Expires January 8th

Jan 9th – Feb 28th: Early Bird, $25 off per session for Day Camps and $70 for Overnight Camps. All and any registrants can use code EARLYBIRD to get this discount Learn more and sign up at or call 800-977-9873

Parenting, Travel

Visiting the Oregon Coast – Seaside, Oregon

Visiting the Oregon Coast - Seaside, Oregon

This New Years we took a drive to the Oregon coast and stayed in Seaside. It has been many years since I have been to Seaside and we know it is plenty entertaining for our son. The weather was gorgeous for heading into January and Seaside is located less than 20 miles from Astoria, Or which is a fun town to stay and shop in and Seaside is also about 7 miles from Cannon Beach which is a gorgeous beach town.

Staying in Seaside, Oregon

We chose one of the several hotels located along the river and only blocks from the ocean. Broadway is the main stretch of Seaside where you find the arcade, shops, restaurants and even a summer fun center with activities so staying on the ocean side of the river and close to Broadway is best. The Comfort Inn was where we chose and the staff were all so fun and pleasant. Not just one staff member, but all of them!

pool hotel

The Comfort Inn on Broadway has a pool, hot tub, sauna room and free hot breakfast. The breakfast had a ton of options like waffles, eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy, cereals, breads, yogurt and much more. They kept a couple beverage items out all day to stop and and grab if needed. They also put fresh baked cookies in the lobby every afternoon!

Eating in Seaside, Oregon

If you drive to Seaside for a few days you won’t only eat in Seaside. With Cannon Beach and Astoria nearby there are several good eating options. However, with all of our stops over 3 days our favorite was Dundees in Seaside on the main Broadway and walking distance to many hotels. The staff is great and they have TV’s for the games and are family friendly. I had nachos and my husband ordered a pizza. We also had beers and mixed drink. Anthony ordered spaghetti and meatballs off the menu. Warning! The Nachos can easily feed 2 if you add meat!

We did go over New Years so hours of eateries were shortened. But when my son had a late night ice cream craving, the Dairy Queen 1 block over from Broadway was open late to serve. They were closing and loaded up his brownie sundae for him and offered him a bag of fries they were going to dump so he was a satisfied 9 year old.

We spent Sunday watching the Seahawks game at the Public Coast Brewery in Cannon Beach, Oregon. If you love unique brewed beers, they have many and are delicious. If you are not a beer drinker, their root beer is amazing! It was family friendly, order as you walk in and fast service.

What to do in Seaside, Oregon

Besides staring at the ocean? For the adults, there is shopping and good eateries. Located between about 6 pubs within a 30 mile radius you’ll eat well and enjoy some good Northwest beers.

For the kids, Funland about 2 blocks up from the beach is the hot spot! It is a huge arcade attached to a pizza place that has good food. It is called Fultanno’s Pizza and is a hit spot for lunch and dinner while the kids play. It is a ticket arcade so kids can earn fun prizes.

With the beach at my back, I took this shot of Broadway in Seaside. A long street of shops, food, hotels and fun!

In the summer, there is an indoor activity center across form the arcade with mini golf, bumper cars and more. There is no shortage in ice cream and candy shops and there are even swings and bathrooms on the beach.

It is also a pet-friendly beach and town! I think everyone in Seaside brought their dog on vacation with them. There is a dog around every corner and everyone stops to talk dog and owner with each other. With our new puppy, Maya she was in heaven and we got to meet and chat with so many other dog owners on our walks.

Gift Ideas, Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Travel

Atlantic Unite™2 Luggage with Link2Go

I have partnered with Atlantic Luggage for feature

Atlantic Unite™2 Luggage with Link2Go

Where to start? This little carry on piece of luggage is all you would want for a day of travel. While I prefer a 21 inch carry on size, this Atlantic Unite ™2 set comes in 3 sizes and 2 colors – blue or black and in 21″, 25″ and 29″ spinners. Let’s examine this fantastic piece of luggage. I am so excited about this. It arrived even better than I anticipated. I can’t wait to travel with mine.

Like all luggage, the first thing I do is grab the handle to tote around. The grip is cushioned and there is a handle on the side as well as a bottom handle cup for that extra grip when lifting onto the security belt or overhead. This leaves a few carry options. For me, I like to extend the handle and the wheels are a spinner style so they spin freely to keep up with your twists and turns as you walk through the crowds and plane aisles.

The design is as durable inside as it is on the outside. With my blue luggage I have a grey liner with blue straps inside. There are 2 pockets in the liner on the inside-each across from each other to hold smaller items.

The back makes good sense flat and padded once you link your luggage pieces. This is because the Unite™2 has the Link2Go feature where you can attach 2 pieces very easily. Traveling heavy or have a child who won’t push their own luggage? This is where the feature comes in handy.

Once the 2 luggage pieces are back to back you will use these side straps to secure the pieces together then be back on your way.

Oh, and there is a USB charging port too. I know!! That is the greatest right? We have to dig for enough items in the airport from ID, boarding passes, kids snacks and now you don’t have to dig for your charger bank. I always grab our chargers and plug them all in the night before travel on the wall where our luggage is sitting and waiting.

Now I can grab those chargers and unzip the inside pocket to store them and once connected we just plug our devices into the side of the luggage and it is charging when needed again. I don’t know who will love this feature more, me or the boys!

[bctt tweet=”Have you seen the @AtlanticLuggage Unite2 luggage? It has a USB charging pot on the side! #travel ” username=”3sonshavei”]

Did the Atlantic Unite™ 2 luggage piece forget anything? I am not thinking so. Once I attach my neck pillow and fill it with clothes I have all I need to travel. OK….so I bring more than clothes and a pillow. I actually bring a whole lot more so it is a good thing I have enough pockets in this luggage to save room in my lap bag during flight.

Visit Atlantic Luggage to see all of their family-friendly and affordable pieces. It makes a great gift idea for families that travel.

Gift Ideas, Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Travel

4 Best Gifts for the Traveler from Eagle Creek

I have partnered with Eagle Creek for this #HolidayGiftGuide feature and was sent product

Chances are there is a traveler on your gift list and like, the frequent traveler loves to pack light. Here are 4 best gifts for the traveler. I get so excited every time I see a new travel product that allows me to pack lightly because I hate paying those check-on fees. I also want to know I will have enough room to bring home gifts and souvenirs and many packing products can do that for me.

Eagle Creek has packing solutions in the form of organizers that you use within your suitcase. These systems are designed to organize and save space in travel bags. Let’s take a look at them – the Pack-It Original, Pack-It Specter, Pack-It Sport and Converge Collection.

Pack-It Original Collection

The best option is the Pack-It Original Starter Set in this collection. With 6 color choices, this set comes with the Pack-It Folder in medium size, Pack-It Cube and Pack-It Half Cub. I loved this set after watching the video below. It really shows you how easy packing can be using the starter set.

Pack-It Specter Collection

The Specter collection refers to the very lightweight material. You get the same organization as the Original collection but a lighter material which is great for those who pack backpacks and duffel bags where weight matters while carying it around.

Pack-It Sport Collection

The Sport collection within the Specter line has pouches and totes perfect to store dirty shoes in sports bags and items in lockers.

The Converge Collection

This Converge collection features sleek designs of weekend sets, laptop sleeves, messenger bags and more. This is a great collection for those looking for a new bag or set.

Of course, eagle Creek has more travel and packing solutions so look around while there for great Holiday gift ideas.

You Might Also Like:


What to do When Your Family Cruise is a Disaster

What to do When Your Family Cruise is a Disaster
Photo Source: Pixabay

So, you’ve saved up your money to take your family on a two-week cruise in the tropics.  But what do you if your cruise is a disaster?  This might sound implausible but the unfortunate truth is that it happens more often than the cruise lines would like to admit.  From running ashore to cruise ship medical crew negligence, accidents can happen while you are at sea and this article will explore your family if something like this occurs when you are enjoying your dream vacation.

First Off

Incidents aboard cruise ships are incredibly rare, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t happen and that something won’t happen to you or your family.  Even though the companies which operate the most popular cruises are highly professional, it doesn’t hurt to take some added precaution before you request permission to come aboard. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and here are some tips that you should know.

Know Your Muster Station

When accidents do happen, there might be a point where the captain sounds the general alarm and at this point, you and your family will need to get to their muster station.  As such, you want to know where the spot is and the most direct route to get there.

This isn’t like a fire drill in school.  If something does happen at sea, then the repercussions can be serious.  After all, you are hundreds of miles from shore and the odds are that rescue might not come for hours or more.

So, know where your muster point is and make sure you and your family have a way to remain in touch.  Given that you probably won’t have cell service, this means that you might want to invest in a set of waterproof walkie-talkies.

Prepare for Medical Emergencies

Imagine one of your kids has asthma and the have an attack while at sea.  Sure, the ship is bound to have a medical center but they might not have the exact medicines you will need to handle the situation. 

As such, you will want to make sure to pack a kit including any medicines you might need during your voyage.  This might even include a special pillow if you or your family has special needs while they sleep.

Sure, the crew will try to accommodate you as best as possible. After all, that is their job.  But if you know that you might have a medical issue at sea, it is best to plan and make sure that you have what you will need in case something happens.

Have a Family Plan

Going on a cruise can be a lot of fun for kids as they will spend plenty of time in the pool or enjoying the other activities on board.  This is especially true if you pick a cruise which is set up to cater to families with children.

However, you also want to have a family plan.  This might include some books to read while on board as well as knowing what to do if you can’t find your kids – another reason to bring walkie-talkies – as well as how to use life preservers. 

Don’t make your dream cruise a time of worry.  Instead, plan and communicate that plan with your family.  In this way, everyone can have a vacation that they will never forget.

Where are the Lifeboats

We have come a long way from the days of the Titanic when cruise ships did not have enough lifeboat berths for everyone.  However, if it does get to the point where you will need to use one, you can expect that people might cast off before the lifeboats are full.

As such, you want to make sure that you not only know where the lifeboats are located but also where are the backup lifeboats.  These might be wooden lifeboats or inflatable life rafts.  Either way, you are at sea and you want to make sure you and your family have a way to safely get off the boat in case of an emergency.

Never Jump Overboard

This is an extremely dangerous endeavor and should never be considered.  Why you ask?  Well, first there is the drop and then there is the chance that you could be struck by a lifeboat or potentially pulled under by the force of the propeller. 

Don’t forget the weather.  Maybe it’s a bad storm or you are sailing in cold water.  Either way, you don’t want to find yourself treading water in open waters.

At the end of the day, taking a family cruise is about enjoying some quiet time with those you love the most.  But just because you are having fun doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for the worst.  Instead, make sure you are prepared, while you probably won’t be in an emergency, you will want to make sure you know what to do if one happens.