Monday, September 9, 2013

Cruisin with a Toddler - Gear Preview

Cruisin' Gear for a Toddler

As of now, we are less than a week from our big Cruise!  Lets start talking about our plans. What gear are we taking with us, and why?  We hope this will give some interesting insight if we review the items both BEFORE and AFTER the trip, to see if our impressions or experiences change.

So, without further ado, the items:

Belkin Mini Power Strip

One of the things we've experienced both traveling on Cruise Ships, and in hotels, is that we NEVER have enough places to plug in STUFF.
SO, we picked up one of these guys for this next Cruise.
Its a 3 outlet power strip that swivels so it can fit in many places.  Its also got 2 USB ports on it for charging your iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android Phone/Tablet, camera, or any other usb charged item.
As we were throwing this in the suitcase earlier this week, we started to consider how we will use this item.  We realized that we are not bringing a laptop, or alarm clock, or any of the other things we used to bring that needed plugged in.  ALMOST everything we are bringing requires USB to charge.  The only exception is our DSLR Camera, its battery charges from a plug-in charger.  So, we did throw in 2 plug in usb chargers as well.  So we can plug in the DSLR Battery charger, and the 2 usb chargers and have 5 USB ports and 1 plug... in a pretty tiny package. 
We will see how this works!
WE did test out the on-board USB ports on our iPad and my Android (galaxy s3) phone, and both charged great!!

Melaluca Sunblock

To be honest, we have used this one before, in Hawaii, and we have REALLY liked it.  I think, honestly, that we are going to spend more time in water on this trip, so I'm interested in how it holds up and protects B from the sun.
Melaluca sells a series of products that we really like.  This one is gentle, and is supposed to be hypo-allergenic and safe for kids.  The scent is also tropical without being overwhelming. 
Its not overly greasy, and rubs in quickly and does a good job!

GoPro 3 Silver Edition

This may be the item I'm MOST excited about trying on this trip.  GoPro makes "Action" cameras that are very small, full HD, and come with an amazing assortment of mounts and cases for all situations.  
Specifically on this trip, we are going to take advantage of the water-proof housing to capture lots of water moments with B, and lots of amazing marine life while snorkeling.
I've only briefly played with this camera, and it does take some getting used to, but its dead simple once you get the hang of what the buttons do.  
I've also downloaded the GoPro app for my phone  so that I can control/preview it there.
We've got a number of accessories for it, including spare and extended batteries, but most important on this trip will be:

Go Pro "Bobber" handle

This SIMPLE item does a couple of things.  
Number One, it gives you a good place to hold onto the camera.  The GoPro is quite small, and the bobber is a great place to hold it steady!
Number Two is, IT FLOATS!  Since I intend to use this while swimming and snorkeling, I thought it would be important to make sure my investment didn't sink to the bottom of the sea!

Car Seat Tray

One thing I remember from the flight to Hawaii, is that with our Britax Marathon car seat installed, the tray tables didn't really work as they could not be lowered fully.  
As well, items that CAN roll away WILL roll away at the worst times.  We saw this on another blog and are going to give it a try.
Its a strap-on car seat tray.  We hope it will give a secure place for toys or the iPad to sit, provide a little extra storage, and generally be a good thing for little B.
We will see how well it packs and carrys around!

Google Chromecast

This one I'm skeptical about, but we are going to try it!  
Now, don't think I'm skeptical about it working, because we use this guy EVERY DAY at home and it works great!  I'm skeptical about it working while traveling.

I typed the last paragraph (below) and realized, you may not know what the chromecast is!  OOPS.  This little device plugs into an HDMI port on your tv and allows you to stream content from Netflix, Pandora, Youtube, and other apps.  It uses your phone or tablet to search for or initiate the "Cast" and the plays it on the TV.  It works REALLY well!

We took a short weekend trip that involved a hotel stay at the beginning of August, and took it with.  It would not work with the Hotel Wifi due to the wifi requiring a login/confirmation page that you can't get to on the chromecast (known problem), and we were also unable to get it to work using my phone's mobile hotspot due to something called "AP Isolation".  I'm not sure if we will be able to use this or not, but its coming with just in case we can!

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