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Parents: Beware of Avis... They don't care about the safety of your kids

I had the most frustrating and scary experience with Avis tonight. We are preparing to take a trip to South California at the end of next week, where we will have our 2 young kids (3.5 and 1.5 year olds) with us. My in-laws will be coming with us as well, they were the ones who made the reservation for a car with 2 child safety seats, from Germany. Through the process, someone had suggested that it might be helpful to confirm that the car seats were really going to be available when we come to pick up our car. I thought it seemed a little but unnecessary since the reservation clearly stated that they had reserved - and paid for - 2 car seats. But to appease everyone before the trip, I went ahead and called Avis. OMG - What a scary experience. I talked to 3 people, including the shift manager (Andrew Diaz) and got told that Avis can not guarantee that we will have car seats when we come pick up the car. Even though, it's written in our contract, they might not be able to fulfill th

Hotel Klopp - CenterHotels: Avoid at any cost

On our way back from our wonderful Greenland trip , we had to spend a short (aka 5 hour) night in Reykjavik. I had booked the Hotel Klopp from CenterHotel in advance and it turned out to be the biggest disappointment in the entire trip. The management is incompetent and irresponsible. We were expecting to arrive late at the hotel due to our flight schedule. I had informed over email that we would be late, but this wouldn't be a no show. We needed the room to sleep. even for just a couple of hours, before heading to our next flight. I had received a response that it would be no problem and the reception would be open 24/7. We arrived, with 2 sleepy kids and tired adults and the front desk person told us that there was no room for us! They had "upgraded" us to another hotel of their chain, and we had to take another taxi to get to the other hotel. This, in the middle of the night, during Gay Pride! It took us 20 minutes to even get a hold of a taxi, and by then we were so

Traveling with kids in Greenland

We recently traveled to Greenland for a week with our 3.5 year-old son and our 15-month daughter, for a variety of reasons. We were obviously not necessarily trying to optimize for a kid-friendly destination, and one of my concerns was how the kids would react on a trip with 3 destinations in a short week, plane, helicopter, boat, jeep rides, etc... and a limited amount of entertainment for them. The good news is that the logistics was much easier than expected, with high quality hotels and restaurants, punctual flights, etc... So we didn't have any issue to deal with on this front. We also got much better weather than expected, which helped with everyone's well-being. That said, emotionally, this trip could have been - and to be fair was at times- overwhelming for the kids. But overall, the kids did really great and I am sure they grew and learned a lot during that time. Charlotte, 15 months, got completely familiarized with the word/concept of "airplane" after

Greenland Hotel and Restaurant review

If anyone following my blog is interested in specific information about our recent trip to Greenland , below are some reviews of the hotels and restaurants we visited. I hope this is helpful. Nuuk : Hotel Seamen's Homes . Very clean and friendly. I love the view of the harbor, I think this is a key differentiator for this hotel. Our 3.5 year-old loved seeing the cranes lift the big containers. Also, he was excited to see that the dock workers came to have breakfast at the hotel, this was great entertainment for him! The only caveat is that the hotel is 20-30 minutes walk from the center, not necessarily an issue unless it rains a lot (which happened to us). Restaurant: Godthaab Bryghus. In the city center. Great muskox dishes and good service. Kid menu and crayons. Comfortable settings. Unfortunately, I don't drink beer, so I can't speak to this, but I know that my husband ordered several Godthaab Bryghus beers through the rest of our stay, so it has to be OK. Kang

Greenland trip highlights

Our latest vacation led us to Greenland, a destination we hadn't necessarily thought about until this year, but one that made sense at some point, given that we regularly fly over it on our way to Europe. Since we had a wedding to attend in France, we looked into other countries we could visit on our way back and Greenland became a good candidate. It's actually not an obvious choice for a couple of reasons: the logistics is very complex (it took us several weeks to finalize our itinerary). Connections to Greenland had to go through Iceland so it was definitely more than just a "stop over" on our way back, oh, and each destination within Greenland can only be reached through planes. It's not known for being the most kids friendly. The weather is, well, cold and rainy most of the time, and mosquitoes are supposed to be an issue (we didn't get too bothered by them). But it turned out to be a good vacation nevertheless. We were very lucky and got a great weather

A+ for surviving solo travel with 2 young kids on a 20-hour journey

Sorry for this obvious pat in the back, but I was so relieved after surviving a 20-hour journey by myself with 2 young kids, that I wanted to write about it. Maybe it will help other parents contemplating the same type of trip. As a background to the 20-hour journey idea, my husband and I had to attend a wedding in France in July, and it was a great opportunity for me and the kids to go and visit family closeby before the wedding (my husband wasn't able to get vacation time during that week, unfortunately). The idea was to spend some time post-wedding traveling to Greenland on our way back. So far so good, sounded like a great idea (and it turned out that our Greenland trip was so worth it ). In order to make the trip affordable, though, all connections has to go through Reykjavik (Iceland), so the itinerary ended up looking a little bit like this: SFO (San Francisco) -SEA (Seattle) -KEF (Rekjavik) - CDG (Paris). On the way back, the itinerary branched off from Reykjavik to Gre

First day of summer weather

We had a great, sunny and warm weekend. This was great timing since it was the first weekend where the tent over the Menlo Park outdoor pool was gone; and Daniel had his swim lesson on Saturday. He did great, by the way. The skepticism of the first week was gone, and in this second lesson, he was really at ease jumping into the pool and trying to swim. On Sunday, we set up our baby pool and slide in the garden. Daniel had a blast. Charlotte was a little bit more skeptical, which I was surprised about because she loves baths. The water in the pool was still pretty cold, and she doesn't move much yet. So this could have been the reason. Or maybe just the new surprise and the fact that she was still half asleep from her nap. Anyways, we will try again with her another time!

A great review of the Franklyn D. Resort, Runaway Bay, Jamaica

We spend a week of vacation with our extended family in the Franklyn D. Resort , and I can definitely recommend it for families with young kids. It's focused on families with young kids, and yet nice and attractive for adults as well. What sold us most was the nanny service. Every room comes with a nanny that takes care of the kids at least 7 hours a day (more if you pay extra). Our nanny, Althea, was exceptional. She quickly got to know Charlotte and became her primary care-taker. It was great since Charlotte is still on a different schedule than the other kids. We didn't have to worry about waiting for her to finish her nap or bringing a bottle with us every single time we went out. Althea had her covered. Althea taught Charlotte clapping and waiving while we were there. She definitely knew what stage of development she was at, and helped her achieve a new milestone. Charlotte was very happy with her. The resort itself is pretty small (70 rooms I believe). It means that the

Jamaica vacation

This year, we started what we hope will become a tradition. Because we didn't have a lot of vacation time, we didn't want to go all the way to Europe over the holidays, since the kids' jetlag negates a lot of the benefits of a vacation. We suggested to our families to meet "in the middle" in the Caribbean. Pros: less travel, less jetlag and warm weather! Cons: nothing really, except some health concerns and the question whether everyone across our families would enjoy the vacation. We met with my parents, my in-laws and my brother in law and family. It was a first in many ways: first time with all family members, first time in the Caribbean. It turned out to be a great idea! We picked a wonderful hotel in Jamaica, the Franklyn D Resor t, which I describe in detail here . It was so family-friendly that it took away any issue that could come from traveling with young kids. I have to say that I had some health concerns going to Jamaica with 2 young kids. But they