Baby Flyer Blog’s 2017 Gift Guide

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Is it really that time of year again….really??  Spoiler alert- yes it really is.

The holidays are just about cleared for takeoff, so as we put together our lists, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite things currently, and from the past year.  This time around, we’re combining ideas for any Baby Flyers in your life, both at home and on the go.

If you’re looking for ideas for baby’s first year, or your frequent flyers, check out last year’s gift guides:

2016 Gift Guide For The Baby Flyer

2016 Frequent Flyer Gift Guide

Sites and Services

As well as getting the baby, flyer, or friend in your life ‘things,’ sometimes it’s fun to think out of the box and get them (or yourself) services or memberships that they’ll appreciate.

Expert Flyer

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Expert Flyer is a subscription site that allows you to crack open the airlines’ booking and award systems, and use them to your advantage.  It allows you to find real time flight and seat availability, compare flights and schedules, and make informed choices about your flights.  In addition, it allows you to quickly search many of the world’s major airlines for award and upgrade availability.  You can specify dates, and types of awards.  Also includes a fun feature that sends you automatic alerts when the flight or space you’re searching for becomes available, or when your upgrade clears!  The best feeling is to get a text saying your seat back in coach has just gone vacant….meaning your new one is now up front!

Since it’s a detailed program that uses the airlines’ own codes, some learning is required to get the full benefits of a membership, but it’s time well spent.  We’ll be doing a tutorial series on Cruising Altitude in the new year.

Basic features are available for free, but the real useful tools come with a premium subscription, which is billed annually or monthly.  I don’t book flights without checking with Expert Flyer, and use it almost daily.

CLEAR

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CLEAR lines are popping up in airports around the country, including LAX, SEA, DFW, and many more that we frequent.  This service is a re-vamp of an earlier venture from several years ago.  CLEAR members fill out an application, and then do a quick bio-metric data session (fingerprints and iris scans) at an enrollment center, located at their local airport.  After that you not only are done pulling out your ID to go through TSA, but you will be escorted to the front of either the PreCheck or regular priority line, depending on what’s printed on your ticket, by a friendly CLEAR employee.  This can save LOTS of time and hassle.  We’ve given the program a detailed review HERE on Cruising Altitude.  To get a discount, sign up with a Delta frequent flyer number (make one if you don’t have one, you don’t have to actually be flying Delta), and if you want to add family it’s only $50, and all minors traveling with you are always included free!

For the Baby Flyer on the go:

Kids’ Headphones

Kid Headphones

If you’re going to be traveling enough, getting a pair of these can make long haul flights and drives much quieter.  They’re sized for little ears, and decibel-limited, so they stay in the safe range.

Color Wonder Pad and Pens

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This is a great product for keeping little ones occupied without the mess.  The pens only color on the special paper, but the colors are bright and do the trick.

Pura Kiki Kids’ Water Bottle

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Baby Flyer loves this cup.  It comes with both the sippy cup top, and a straw.  She’s never really liked most sippy cups or bottles, so the straw is perfect.  It keeps water cold for a long time, and minimizes spills.  Pro tip- take it on to the plane empty, and fill it from a regular water bottle, or ask the flight attendant to fill it once you’re at cruise.  The spill-proof top seals well enough that the pressurization affects it.

Reusable Snack Bags

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The less plastic in the trash, the better! These bags are simple and useful, and can go in the dishwasher when needed.  Great for travel, or just packing something for lunch.

EZPZ Travel Placemat

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We have both the regular and travel size of this place mat, and it’s a great idea.  It sticks to most table surfaces, and keeps food (as much as possible) where it’s supposed to be.  Easily goes in the dishwasher, or wipes down.  The travel size comes with a carry bag.

Phil & Teds Travel Bed

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We’ve recommended this product as part of other posts before, but in going over the items that we couldn’t travel without, this travel bed comes up every time.  It’s light and easy, and extremely pack-able.  We’ve taken it on quite a few trips, and it’s survived well being checked with our luggage in it’s included carry bag.

Cosco Senecra Car Seat

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Once again, this is an item we’ve mentioned before, but it remains one of our most used favorites.  We’ve even started using it at home when we need to quickly take the baby in the ‘other car’ or in an Uber.  It’s light, installs easily, and meets all safety standards for planes and regular installation.  Plus, it’s extremely reasonable in price, so it makes it affordable to have a dedicated travel car seat.

Baby Flyer’s Other Favorites:

Learning Tower

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This was our answer to the 5pm cranky toddler.  The learning tower lets the little ones get up to counter height to hang out and “help” around the house.  Baby Flyer loves it, and has mastered washing her hands….and making a pretty darn good kale salad.

Native Shoes

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Ready to fly!  Hanging in the Admrial’s Club.

Baby Flyer LOVES shoes, or as she says- ‘Shuuus!!’  She loves hers, ours, everyone’s.  She can walk in heels as well as we can, even if it’s just shuffling around the house.  These shoes, though, really are a favorite.  They’re a good rubber material that is easy on/easy off, but stays secure.  Even better, you can just rinse them off in the sink if they get dirty, and have been holding up well.  She was so tickled with them when we got them, she refused to wear her old shoes anymore, and wore these out of the store even though they were a size too big.

Baby RayBans

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On park patrol….

Okay, yes, we’ll be the first to admit this was a bit of an impulse purchase.  However, these sunglasses are up to the same UV protection as adult sunglasses, which is good to have in LA.  Plus, they’re completely adorable, and Baby Flyer seems to understand.  Even though these are probably on the big side for her now, she’ll grow into them.

From all of us, we wish you a very happy holiday season, and an adventurous new year!

MPicLeaves

~CET, CAR, and Baby Flyer

 

2016 Gift Guide for the Frequent Flyer

Believe it or not, the holidays are quickly approaching.  I’ve already seen a few holiday lights and Christmas trees in our neighborhood, which means it’s time to get moving on the holiday planning- flights, and otherwise.  With the off and on warm temps we typically have in SoCal, it always feels like the holidays sneak up.

We’ve already posted our ‘Gift Guide for Baby Traveler,’ so here’s the follow up holiday gift guide for the frequent traveler in your life, with or without a baby along for the ride.  If you’re in the market for luggage, in addition to travel accessories, you can check out CET’s full rundown on her luggage picks over at Cruising Altitude.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

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These headphones don’t need much of an explanation or recommendation.  They’ve been the gold standard in the noise-canceling industry for years, through several incarnations.  They block a lot of the ambient cabin noise, making it easy to listen to music or hear your television.  One downside is they can be bulky when trying to sleep, so luckily, they now also offer an earbud style.

Sockwell Compression Socks

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Whether you ascribe to the idea that compression helps prevent DVT or not, these socks are great for flying!  They aren’t as tight as some athletic compression socks which makes them comfortable to wear all day, and they provide support, as well as keep your feet comfortably warm.  CET loves them for long flights and will typically pack a couple pairs if she is traveling for multiple days.

Barefoot Running Shoe

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What’s great about these shoes is that they are undeniably pack-able.  They’re light, and flatten so they don’t take up much space in your suitcase. While they aren’t making the exact pair CET has anymore, these are the ‘new model.’

Cocoon Grid It Cord Organizer

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CET has used this for years, and finds it’s great for keeping all her cords organized.  Her SmartCharger fits in it, as well as phone chargers, extra usb cords, power strips, converters, and anything else.  If you don’t have enough electronics in your carry-on to need all the space, you can also pack just about anything you can think of in the elastic straps, and they’ll keep it organized and accessible for you.   Fits easily in the seatback pocket.

SmartCharger

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This little brick comes in handy all the time while traveling when you don’t have easy access to an outlet.  It will charge any device with a USB cord, and has about enough in it to charge up your phone.  We’ve used it to charge our phones and CET’s wireless headphones, among other things.  It also works as a back up charger in the stroller at home when you forget to plug in your phone before a long walk.

Power Strip/Surge Protector

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Once again, we use this on just about every trip.  It’s great for when we want to charge both our phones at the same time and there is only one free outlet, both in the airport, and hotels.  It charges plenty of things at once, since it has 3 regular plugs, and two USBs in addition.

Packing Cubes

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We love them!  At first I was skeptical when CET started using them, but after seeing how organized her suitcase stayed and how easy it was for her to unpack at our destination, I asked for a set for myself.  We’re planning on giving a few sets of these as presents this year.

Ginger candy

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Last and maybe least in price, but not popularity, Ginger candy is a sweet treat when flying.  They can help sooth an upset stomach and even warm you up if you get a tad chilly on the plane.  We usually have a bag of it in our carry-on.

Happy Shopping & Safe Travels!

~CR