10 travel-gear goodies for traveling parents & kids

It's that time of the year when I'm starting to feel the travel itch: I'm heading over to Sweden again with the kids this summer, and they are asking me almost daily "when are we going?". Considering it's a few months to go, that is going to be a looooong wait!

The travel-itch makes me want to check out new travel gear. Last year we got a nice new set of luggage from Costco (Samsonite, because I don't want to buy any other brand), but there are lots of other goodies available too. Check out this list of 10 useful, and (or) nifty items:

I love the look of these pants. Yes, the price is high, but if you've got the extra cash kicking around I think they would be an excellent buy. Lots of pockets, durable, comfortable material and easy to wash and dry on the go. Just think of all the bits and bobs I could stuff in all those pockets when I'm traveling with the kids! I might not even need a travel-pouch anymore!

Usually, I stuff underwear and socks into shoes, pockets, or anywhere else there's a bit of space left over in the luggage after it's mostly packed. But this looks like a terrific way to keep things a little more tidy and easy to locate. One per family member would definitely help make it easier to locate everyone's stuff, and it would make unpacking a little more efficient.

If you're traveling with a baby or toddler, a set of blocks might seem like a hard thing to bring on your trip. However, the Tegu blocks are magnetic and click together: perfect, even on a plane!

All of us seem to travel with a lot of electronic gadgets, and all those gadgets have cables. I carry a designated pouch for chargers and cables, but this year I am looking at a cable organizer. Cables tangle, get lost, and are hard to find, but this way I think I might reduce my own frustration!

This item is going on my personal wish-list for birthdays, Christmas, or just when I feel like getting something really cool. This vest has 17 pockets! Passport, credit cards, phone... I could fit a lot in those pockets. And it's a vest, breathable fabric, easy to wash and dry: I think I'm in love with it.

Simple but easy to bring-along toys for babies: and it can be clipped on to a bag or jacket. Every little bit helps when you need to keep a baby entertained while traveling!

Luggage trackers are getting more and more common these days, and more affordable and easy to use. This one looks very handy, especially that it sends you a text or email when you land, telling you your luggage arrived with you. If it works as advertised, this could be a very handy item indeed!

This looks like a great product, and a great gift idea for any travelers you know: custom engraved luggage tags in a variety of colours. I really like this idea. And like it shows on the image, it's a good idea to include an email-address on your luggage tag.

This item is available on Etsy, and it is just the most adorable set I've seen in a long time. Lots of stuff to keep a child busy in the air, in the car, on the train, or when you're visiting relatives and friends.

There are lots of terrific travel journals for kids, where they can enter what they did, what they saw, what they ate, and so on when they're out traveling. I love this one, again from Etsy. Pair with a nice set of pens, pencils, markers or crayons, and it makes for a gorgeous gift before a trip.

7 family-friendly activities in British Columbia

My family lives in a pretty fantastic part of the world: we're right outside Vancouver in British Columbia on Canada's west coast - or "the wet coast" as many of us end up calling it during the winter months. My husband and I have explored parts of this great province with the kids, but there are still lots of things I'd love to do with them. Here are 10 things I want to experience with my children in British Columbia:

1. Whale watching
There are lots of whale watching tours that depart from various places around Vancouver, and now that the kids are a little older (they're turning 7 and 11 soon), I think they might be ready for this kind of adventure! In the waters of B.C. there are Orcas (killer whales), humpback whales, and Pacific Grey Whales. Find out more here.

2. Staying at a ranch
Both my kids are very interested in animals, farms, things that grow, and the great outdoors. A stay at a ranch where you get to interact with farm animals, help out with some of the chores, and ride horses, would be a wonderful way to spend a holiday. has a listing with several so-called "dude ranches".

3. Driving across the Rockies

This is really a trip I want to do with both my kids, and my Swedish parents to show them the absolutely magnificent scenery through B.C. and into Alberta and across the Canadian Rockies. There are lots of things to see and do in places like Valemount, Jasper, and Banff.

4. Visit the Kangaroo Creek Farm outside Kelowna
Friends of ours recently visited this place with their kids and were so excited about all the fun they'd had on their visit: learning about and even getting to hold kangaroos. It's definitely something I'd love to do with my kids. Find out more at the Kangaroo Creek Farm's website.

5. Riding the Rocky Mountaineer through B.C. & the Rockies
This is a rather expensive way to travel through the British Columbia wilderness, but if I had the money, this is one trip I'd love to do with the kids. The Rocky Mountaineer has various travel options, but I'd love to go in the see-through dome cars - that would be a terrific experience. Too bad it's so darn pricey!

6. River rafting

There are lots of great rivers in British Columbia, and going for a ride down one of them would be a lot of exciting fun. Of course, depending on where and when you go, it might be a rough ride, but I do think my kids are old enough (and confident enough) to handle it at this point. Lots of information about this at the exploreBC website.

7. Caving

British Columbia is home to several places where you can go caving, for example Horne Lake. What a great way to go on an adventure and learn about flora, fauna and geology at the same time!
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