Category Archives: Travel

Your Ultimate Lake Vacation Travel Guide

Take advantage of the warm weather while it lasts by gathering the troops and heading to the lake! Bell Family teammate and blogger, Mandy, writes about her experience with her family at Chautauqua Lake in New York and shares tips on best times to visit, where to stay, things to do and more! Check out the recap below and read the full write up on her blog.

Need help with the kiddos on your next family trip? Hire a Bell Family Travel Sitter to tag along and make the trip a breeze!

Where to Stay

  1. The Hotel Lenhart – Bemus Point – Owned and operated by the same family since 1880. This hotel is old, if you prefer lots of modern amenities it may not be for you.  
  2. Hotel Athenaeum – Institute – Located inside the Chautauqua Institute, this is a beautiful historic hotel with access to all the Institute has to offer.
  3. Webbs – Mayville – This long-time hotel features an on-site restaurant, indoor pool, and a few shops onsite.
  4. Chautauqua Harbor Hotel – Celeron –  This newly built hotel offers a restaurant, bar, and swimming pool.
  5. Chautauqua Visitors Site – You can also check out this site for cottage rentals around the lake as an option. 

Things To Do

  1.  Chautauqua Marina A great place to rent equipment for all of your water activities.
  2. Midway State Park – A small amusement park that’s been open since 1898, this is a must visit if you have kids (or love acting like a kid).
  3. The Lawson Center – A historic marina turned boat museum, this is an interesting stop.

Places to Eat

  1. Andriaccio’s – For Italian or pizza around the lake.
  2. The Village Casino – What used to be a bath house, is now a restaurant right on the water in Bemus Point. You can dock your boat right out front, and have food delivered to you, as well as dine in or on the front deck.
  3. Andriaccio’s – For Italian or pizza around the lake.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted & FULLY VACCINATED on demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

How to Avoid, "Are We There Yet?"

Holiday travel season is here, and people everywhere are wishing they could magically wake up in their desired destination without having to deal with the crowds of people. Travelling with the kiddos can be an added challenge, but what’s the holiday season without some hurdles, right?
We took to investigating some travel tips to help parents keep the kiddos entertained during both air and road travel. First up, try these ideas when it’s time for wheels up.

  • Story time: Bring a classic story to life with finger puppets! Three Little Pigs, anyone?
  • Who’s that relative: Use photos of Grandma, Grandpa and other family members to play the guessing game.
  • Origami: Fold origami paper into cranes and caterpillars. Print pages from the site Origami Club for simple-to-follow directions.
  • Arts and doodles: Don’t underestimate the power of a roll of stickers. Pro tip: for coloring, bring triangle crayons so they don’t roll off the tray. 

Keeping your feet on the ground for holiday travels? Try out these road trip games for fun entertainment!

  • Road trip bingo:  Search for road trip sights like bicycles, wind turbines and airplanes. The first player to find five in a row wins!
  • Word search road trip style:  Search for road trip-themed words using the word search puzzle template.
  • Are we there yet: Write in and number the cities you plan to pass during your route on the template cards. String the cards around the car and have the kids take down the card once you’ve conquered another city.
  • Scavenger hunt: Check off the road trip-themed list while in the backseat, at a rest stop, or while out exploring together.
  • Moving truck mural: Kids can practice their drawing skills to replicate the murals of moving trucks they spot while on the road.
  • License plate game: See how many license plates you can find during your road trip and check them off the map.

All templates for the road trip games can be found here.
Happy travels, families!
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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Traveling With Kids Just Got Easier

As we all head somewhere this summer with the kiddos, here are some tips from moms across America!
Laura, West Palm Beach, mom to one toddler 
Tip for car: I would first make sure you have a mirror so you can see them and vice versa. Always have snacks, toys and books on hand if no one can sit back with them to entertain. Also, make a cd or buy a cd with their favorite songs.
Tip for flying: Check as many items as possible (use one checked bag for the whole family) stroller, car seat, and diaper bag when flying. If you want to buy a seat for your baby under the age of two, check to make sure your car seat meets regulations. Try to pick a travel time that is during their nap time to keep them comfortable. It’s also a good idea to bring socks or a blanket in case it’s cold on the plane. If you allow for some screen time, make sure their favorite shows are downloaded onto the iPad.

Annie, Chicago, mom to one toddler
A book bag is the best diaper bag to be total hands free! Our favorite is to have a radio flyer wagon (the material kind). It’s easy to fold, and if you’re alone you can put other baggage in there (sometimes strollers can be more practical for the destination).
Food: Apples are great because they’re easy and don’t bruise. Veggie straws – you can count them and go over colors, and a water bottle for them because it’s fun to put the lid on/off.
Pack the blanky and have pacifiers in various pockets/purses. Markers, paper, and some favorite book(s) are great additions, too.

Lindsay, Dallas, mom to one toddler and one infant 
I pack as light as possible to save my back and energy. I just finished a 1,500 mile road trip with two under 2, with me smashed in middle of the back seat. I had books, sang songs, played construction zone with mini diggers and dump trucks, downloaded a few blippi videos and had lots of snacks to break up the hours. Everything I could get my hands on turned into an activity to keep them entertained; my water bottle, straws, pictures on my phone, I spy, and every construction equipment that we passed was treated as a meteor siting. And stop every two hours or so to run around, and get all the energy out; you and the kid!
Courtney, Cleveland, mom to twin preschoolers
Snacks, snacks, snacks … wait, did I say snacks?! My kids are snackaholics, so this is crucial. They are also at that age where they need to constantly be doing something or I hear “I’m bored!” every 30 seconds. I like to pack simple things to keep them occupied like coloring books, crayons, mini magna-doodles, even a game of rock, paper, scissors will do the trick!
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Happy and safe travels families!

Exploring the City of Lights with Family

Bonjour, les amis!

Last month my sister and I travelled across the pond and landed ourselves in Paris. It marked the first time either of us has been to the City of Lights, and were we the excited bunch!

It all started when my sister e-mailed me about a deal on TravelZoo (if you don’t get their Top 20 Deals every week – sign up for it!). Their weekly deals only last a handful of days, so we needed to make the decision, fast. After a couple days of racking my brain, and all of those around me, I decided to take the leap. The next day we were booked, and our countdown began!

The months that followed involved me reading up anything and everything I could about Paris. After my extensive research and asking those around me for recommendations, I finally settled on an itinerary. My sister and I were only going for four nights, so squeezing everything Paris has to offer in four days was an extreme challenge!

I wanted to share some of the fantastic things we did, and what activities would be great to do if you find yourself in Paris with family like I did.

1. For the shoppers. Take a stroll through Le Marais. Here you’ll find endless boutique shops on small cobblestone streets. Zig-zag through, and you’re bound to take home some unique souvenirs.

2. For the adventurer. Buy yourself a ticket to the summit of the Eiffel Tower. You’ll take a ride up in a glass elevator, where at the top you’ll have a view for miles, and a champagne bar for hydration. The second and third levels are great, too!

3. For free views. Head up to Sacré-Cœur, which offers a beautiful basilica and a view high above the streets of Paris. Tip: walk to the back of the basilica and veer to the left. You’ll be taken to Montmartre – filled with souvenir shops, cafes,  and street artists!

4. For paid views. Did you know you can go up the towers at Notre-Dame or to the top of the Arc de Triomphe? You’ll find wonderful views of both the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées.

5. For foodies. I did not have a bad meal, croissant, cafe, or glass of wine in Paris. I’m convinced it doesn’t exist, or there’s a possibility I got swept away by the charm.

Happy travels families!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell