If you're like me, you're always dreaming of the next trip. Filing away ideas, inspiration, and destinations for later reference. And if you're like me, more often than not, those bits and pieces get lost in the bustle of getting ready for the actual trip.
There are few things more frustrating as a traveler than wasting one of your few meals on a sub-par place. Even worse? Missing out on an experience because you didn't have the details you needed at hand. Or being lost - before I had kids, being lost was sometimes its own adventure, but now every step counts and I want the most direct route from point A to point B.
TripDoc is the answer to all that. My husband and I have been building it, using it, and refining it for years now, and I'm proud to announce that TripDoc 2 is ready for you to use too!
How Does it Work? TripDoc makes it easy for you to create your own guides. Once you have a guide, you can flip between your list and a map that shows you where everything is.
Type in the name of the place you want to go, TripDoc will search for it, add it to your guide, and place it on the map.
For popular destinations, our guides make it easy for you to add the most popular attractions and restaruants without typing.
Show your current location on the map, Get directions from wherever you are to any destination in your TripDoc.
Keep personal notes about what you liked and why.
Share your guides with friends via email, Facebook and Twitter.
Once you create an account, you'll be able to keep the same list on our website, your iPhone(s) and iPads, or share it with your travel companions.
What Does TripDoc Cost?
We think you're going to love it as much as we do, so we've decided to make TripDoc free. You'll be able to add up to 100 places (whew, that's a lot) before we ask you for a dime. After that, $4.99 will unlock your account so that you can add more. That's it. There's no advertising. We won't spam you, and we promise not to be creepy.
Information for Current TripDoc Users
If you're one of the tens of thousands of people already using TripDoc, I want to give you my sincere thanks! Your support and feedback made TripDoc 2 possible, and we hope you'll feel warmly rewarded. Because you're a current user, you will automatically receive a free premium account.
I've been quiet recently, too quiet, and I realize you might be wondering what happened to me. Happily, I'm alive and well, still living in Seattle. The real world has sort of taken over lately, but I wanted to check in and tell you all what I've been up to.
The biggest news? I went back to work full time in the spring! I'm working on the Software Development team at Zillow as a Senior Program Manager. It feels super great to work at shipping software full time again, and I'm loving having a team of people to work with. I've been at Zillow for five months now, working on tools for people who are selling their homes.
Working downtown is possibly the most glamorous thing that has ever happened to me
I think I'm supposed to say that rolling back into work took no time at all, and the transition was a breeze and that I'm a huge success, of course. But the truth is always more complicated, isn't it? It had been 10 years since I left Microsoft, and though I've worked to keep my skills fresh, it took me quite some time to figure out what was out there, and what type of work I might most enjoy doing. After that it took me even more time to figure out how to pitch myself. It was gut wrenching to turn down leads that just didn't feel right, but I knew that I wouldn't feel good about leaving the kids if I wasn't doing work that I loved.
This is the view from our office. If I ever get jaded about this, kick me.
When I interviewed at Zillow, everything just clicked. The job description seemed like it was written just for me. The interviews went well too. I enjoyed answering the interview questions, the interviewers were fun to talk to, and nobody balked when I said I'd need to be home for dinner. Now that I've been at the company for a bit, I can see that things worked in the interview because Zillow is a very good culture fit for me. The job search was stressful, but knowing that I'd held out for the right job made the sometimes-hairy transition back to full time work so much easier.
We'll continue traveling, of course, but now, like my readers, and the rest of the working world, I'll be squeezing our adventures into weekends and my paid vacation time each year.
Here's what else we've been up to
We visited Redwoods National Park
The kids and their grandparents. And the TREES
Well the kids did anyway, I drove down with everyone, spent a night in the tent, and then flew back to work.
We did a ton of baking. Somehow there's always time for cookies! The kids are doing more on their own, which helps because we've also discovered that Eilan is allergic to Eggs, Dairy and Gluten - that means two batches of everything. Incidentally, the kids have been working their way through the library of Kawaii Sweet World videos. They're fun to watch, and have inspired us all to be more creative in the kitchen!
Gluten free and regular
And with my workweeks full, I've become the master of the weekend adventure
The kids run in International Fountain at Seattle Center
Seattle's International District is an adventure we can reach on the local bus
I learned how to knit! Possibly that's the biggest timesink and reason I haven't been as active here as I used to. If you're so inclined, you can follow me on Ravelry. Knitting has been a huge help when I come home from work with my head completely full. It's really the only thing that helps my brain unwind so that I can fall asleep at night.
Darya wearing the first sweater I knit - she chose the yarn and I did the knitting
My kids are getting bigger! It's hard to believe that Darya will be turning 8 later this week! She was not quite 1 when I started this blog.
Here they all are on the first day of school. (one of them wasn't cooperating - isn't that always the way?)
Well, two out of three are smiling. Actually, maybe all three are, it's hard to tell
And some news...
Now that I'm back, I hope you'll stick around too. I have announcement that I'm really to make on Tuesday! (in confidence, it has something to do with this).
I want to thank everyone who entered my giveaway to win Club Carlson Gold Status and a $500 Club Carlson Visa gift card. Thank you to everyone who contributed! If you didn't win, you can still sign up for a Club Carlson Visa here.
The randomly selected winners were Ashley and Elizabeth, both of whom have been notified by email.
Thank you to Club Carlson who generously sponsored this giveaway.
I have an exciting giveaway this week! Club Carlson, the global hotel rewards program that includes the Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson (SM), has given me a prize package to give away.
In the event that the winner is already a Club Carlson Gold Status member, the winner will be given Club Carlson Concierge status through February 2015 after verification by Club Carlson of their current Gold Status. If you win, you will need to sign up for Club Carlson using this link
I have TWO packages to give away - one to each of two randomly selected winners. If you travel frequently, and especially if you are already a Club Carlson Gold member, this is a fantastic prize. Please note that there may be only one individual winner for each prize and they cannot be combined.
How To Enter If you would like a chance to win, leave a comment telling me one feature or benefit of the Club Carlson Visa you would be excited to use. Please fill in the email field of the comment form (your email isn't shared with anyone, and I will not send you email unless you win).
Other Ways to Win
There are several additional ways you can get entries in this contest. Each takes only a few minutes!
For Five Entries: Signup for the DeliciousBaby mailing list to get family travel tips and access to special offers and giveaways. I promise never to share your email address or personal information. I get automatic notification when you sign up, so there's no need to come back here and let me know.
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Winners All entries must be received by Friday May 23 2014 at 11:59PM PST I will choose two winners randomly and announce the results here by Monday May 26, 2014.
NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS GIVEAWAY.
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By submitting an Entry, each Participant (whether declared a Winner or not) agrees (and agrees to affirm such in writing) to (i) abide by and be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of DeliciousBaby on all matters relating to this Giveaway which decisions are final and binding in all respects, (ii) waive any right to claim ambiguity in the Giveaway or these Official Rules, (iii) forever and irrevocably release, discharge, indemnify and hold harmless the Giveaway Entities, and each of their respective officers, directors, licensors, employees, representatives and agents (collectively, the "Released Parties") from any liability, claims, demands, and cause of action from personal injury, loss or damage, including death, or property damage, theft, or loss suffered or resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from participation in this Giveaway or the use, misuse or acceptance or possession of the Prize or any portion thereof, or participation in any Giveaway-related activity; (iv) grant DeliciousBaby (where permitted by law) the right to use their name on a worldwide basis, in all forms of media, in perpetuity without review or further compensation and, (v) warrant and represent that the use of the materials submitted in this Giveaway will not violate the rights of any third parties. Entries must be in keeping with Sponsor's positive image, as determined by Sponsor and Administrator in their sole discretion. Any materials containing obscenity, crude language, or descriptions of a violent or sexual nature (as defined solely by Sponsor or Administrator) will not be accepted and the associated Entry will be disqualified. Receipt of any of the prize components of this Giveaway is conditioned upon compliance with any and all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules, and regulations. Noncompliance with any of the above will result in disqualification.
If for any reason the Giveaway is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other cause beyond the control of the DeliciousBaby which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Giveaway, DeliciousBaby reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Giveaway. In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Giveaway is impaired in any way for any reason, including, but not limited to, fraud, virus, or other technical problem, DeliciousBaby may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Giveaway to address the impairment and then resume the Giveaway in a manner that best conforms to the spirit of these Official Rules; or (b) cancel the Giveaway and award the Prizes from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment.
U.S. Bank, Carlson Inc., and their respective affiliates and employees are released from liability regarding this Giveaway
As compensation for running this giveaway I received two (2) one (1)-night vouchers valid at Radisson® or Radisson Blu® properties in North America.
For me, Spring Break signals the coming end of the school year and the transition towards the lazy days of summer, so I like to plan a spring break that balances both relaxation and a chance to learn about the world around us. That doesn’t mean we’ll spend our entire week in museums, though. With a little creativity, your kids can add to their learning wherever you go.
Hands on Area in the Bishop Museum's Hawaiian Hall
I've been invited by Residence Inn to contribute to their Family Travel Talk Forum on Facebook this year. I'm joining several other blogging parents and I'm excited to see it shape up as a lively forum where we can share tips about traveling with kids. This month I am posting about how to balance learning with fun on a family vacation, and I hope you'll join me there!
Here are some hands-on ways kids can learn on almost any trip:
Before you go, look for children’s books set in the destinations you’ll be visiting. Fiction books tend to be the most engaging, but some non-fiction books, like the Horrible Histories series, will capture a leisure reader’s interest too.
Living history museums and native cultural centers almost always have hands-on activities
where kids get so engrossed in what they’re doing that they forget they’re learning!
Science and nature are everywhere. A pocket-sized magnifying glass lets your child check out
everything from the grains of sand on the beach to the budding flowers in your hotel’s flowerbed.
Factory tours are a great way to both learn about how things are built, and to get a peek inside
the working world
Flying or drive time is a great time to practice school skills, but you’ll only get groans if you break
out school-like worksheets. Look for workbooks, toys and stories that are fun enough to hold
interest, but provide kids with some practice for new skills. Teacher supply stores can be a great
resource, and the iPhone app store is full of educational games.
Local camps can provide access to resources or destinations that don't exist in your
hometown. Look for nature camps, sailing, robotics or explorer camps and call ahead to find out
whether a one-day drop-in is possible. The side benefit is that you might just get a few hours of
alone time with your spouse!
What about you? Have you tried any of the ideas above? Do you have tricks for enriching your
vacations? Let me know on Residence Inn's Family Travel Talk Forum
I had the super fun experience of being interviewed for our local parenting magazine, Seattle's Child this month They even featured my family (well, those of us who weren't battling a cold) on the cover!
DeliciousBaby is about Traveling with Young Kids. We have lots of tips and helpful advice to make your family vacation easier and more enjoyable. If you are new to DeliciousBaby, you might want to check out some of these useful links and resources:
TripDoc iPhone app organizes your travels and stops you from getting lost
My husband and I developed the TripDoc iPhone app to help us make order out of travel recommendations from friends, magazines, and guidebooks. You give TripDoc a list of all the places you want to visit (your hotel, restaurants, activities, etc) and it finds and plots them all on a single map so that you won't forget a thing. At your destination, you can use the TripDoc map to plan your days, see what's near you, and find your way around. Keep notes about what you like, and then send your recommendations to friends or family!
If you travel over the holidays, it can be tricky to find activities on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. One trick we've learned is to look for zoos, ice rinks, movie theaters, ski slopes, and of course public parks.
The ScoopMy Father's Shop
is a cute, easy to relate to, story about a boy helping out in his father's carpet shop in Morocco. The illustrations do a great job of transporting the reader to a bustling Middle Eastern market and the story has a wonderful message about how people can relate to one another even if they're from different cultures.
My Father's Shop by Satomi Ichikawa
Can you remember being a child? Wanting to be part of your parent's world, but also feeling bored with the technical details of how it all worked? My Father's Shop captures that feeling through the story of a young boy helping out in his father's Morrocan carpet shop. Bored with his father's lessons, young Mustafa goes running through the market with an old carpet over his head - and in his jubilance draws in a bustling chain of tourists who follow him back to the shop - teaching him their own native languages along the way.
My Father's Shop has been in my personal library for years, and I've read it over and over again to my kids. It's a great read for kids age 2-6.
My Father's Shop - A fun tale about a Middle Eastern carpet shop
Disclosure: I purchased this book myself, but whenever I receive a free product or service, I will always let you know. If you buy a product through one of my Amazon links, I do receive a small commission, and that income helps me keep this site going.
Chandelier at the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum in Seattle
I've been invited by Residence Inn to contribute to their Family Travel Talk Forum on Facebook this year. We're a few months in, and it has been fun to see the forum become a place where traveling parents share thoughts and information..
This month I'm writing about tips for feeling like you've had a vacation even when you don't leave your hometown here and I hope you'll share your own tips as well.