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5 Questions: Sam from Plane Pal

5 Questions: Sam from Plane Pal

Are you inspired by brave moms and dads who fly all over the world with their kids? We are! We launched the 5 Questions series to ask families who have made adventure a priority how they make their travel dreams come true.

This month we're thrilled to interview Sam Cardone, an adventurous mom of three from Australia! When Sam realized how hard it can be to fly with three little kids, she didn't stop traveling. Instead she invented a clever way to help kids sleep on an airplane: Plane Pal.

So tell us a little about you and your family.

I have 3 kids, twin girls who are 4 and a son who is 6. My husband and I have always loved travel and its a big part of our lives.

Sam Cardone and Family

Every time someone hears about Plane Pal, they think it's genius. How did you get the idea?

Travel with three kids wasn't easy! I found myself dreading the journey every time. I would end up either pinned under sleeping kids or running up and down the aisle with over-active kids. I just thought there has to be a better way. I researched worldwide and looked at what little was available. From there I set off designing Plane Pal!

My mission for Plane Pal is simple: to help families enjoy the journey not just the destination.

Of course, Plane Pal has changed travel for our family too. I am far braver now because I know my kids will be able to sleep on the way there. We take longer flights to more adventurous destinations!

You are an expert in helping kids sleep on an airplane. What are your best tips?

As much as you can, keep your child's "sleep cues" the same as at home. Dress them in pajamas. Bring a bottle and a blanket or cuddle toy. Whatever you do at home, do on the plane!

We do a meal then bathroom time. We set up our Plane Pals and then do a quiet time reading a story or singing a little song. After this our kids will sleep!  Placing a blanket over your child's seat to reduce light and noise can also help.

What is your favorite place to go on holiday with your family?

Fiji. We have gone every year since the children were born. I holds a magical place in our hearts. The people are so incredible and there is so much for families to do.

Family Jumping off Boat

Australian families seem to love travel! What can American families learn from you?

Whether it be within your own country or across the ocean, you will never find a better classroom for your kids than the wonders of the world. Aussies have always travelled extensively. I think it helps build resilience and confidence in children, its definitely had a hugely positive impact on our family!

 Thanks Sam for giving us a little peek into your story! Want your kids to sleep on a plane so you can fly to more adventurous destinations too? Check out the Plane Pal.

5 Questions: Eric from Travel Babbo

5 Questions: Eric from Travel Babbo

Are you inspired by parents on Instagram who seem to take their kids everywhere? We are! We launched the 5 Questions series to ask families who have made adventure a priority how they make their travel dreams come true.

This month we're thrilled to interview Eric Stoen, the travel writer and photographer behind Travel Babbo. A father of three, Eric loves to take his kids along on his adventures overseas. The family has traveled to 43 countries on all 7 continents! 

You love to inspire families to travel adventurously. Why are you so passionate about travel to "crazy places"?

I want my kids to find the places that speak to their hearts. Maybe that’s the Eiffel Tower, but maybe it’s a small village in Albania, or it’s Antarctica, or it’s Easter Island or Greenland.

I enjoy seeking out crazy places partially because I feel like there aren’t crazy places – only places that people don’t think are kid-friendly, but in fact are. And those are the destinations that aren’t yet overly touristy, so you can still experience culture and see nature in an authentic way.

You are an incredible photographer. What is your best tip for families taking pictures on a trip?

Let your kids be kids! I don’t try to pose my kids – I simply capture them exploring and (usually) running ahead of me. I also don’t obsess about photography on vacation. Sure I want to get some good photos for Instagram, but the most important thing is that my kids have fun. I’ll never make them stand outside of a hotel room so that I can get photos of the room first.

You have been all over the world with your kids. What’s one place you love to go back to?

We love Italy. Even though we like to see new countries and explore new cultures, Italy is the one place that we return to every year. We always delve deeper into the language and history with the kids, and we love taking cooking classes. Our kids are amazing at making pasta from scratch now!

travel babbo cooking with italy in kids

As a dad, you have prioritized one-on-one travel with your kids. Why does this matter to you?

There’s a different dynamic when my kids aren’t with their siblings and we’re not together as a family. There’s definitely increased bonding, but there’s also less stress, since the kids are aren’t arguing about anything and my wife and I aren’t counting on the other to fix a situation. It’s pure adventure, just the two of us. All of my favorite kid memories come from those one-on-one trips. 

You just spent Spring Break in Chile. What did your family learn on the trip?

We learned that the desert is interesting! We’re mountain and coast people. None of us saw much beauty in the desert before, but the Atacama Desert is amazing. There was so much to do with the kids that we’d love to go back. Patagonia and Easter Island are also incredible, but it was Atacama that surprised us.

Don't miss the incredible pictures of the Atacama Desert in Chile and so much more on the Travel Babbo Instagram. And if you are looking for inspiration for your next family vacation, the Travel Babbo website is full of ideas for places to go and things to do.

 

How to Help Penguins

How to Help Penguins

Here at Penguino Travel, we love penguins! Our company is named after a special penguin who has joined our family on adventures all around the world. Penguino is a Humboldt penguin, a species native to the islands off the Pacific coast of Chile. Like many other species, Humboldt penguins need our help.

Penguins all around the world are vulnerable to changes in the environment caused pollution, overfishing and global warming. When we realized penguins are at risk, we decided to learn what we could do to make a difference!
Here are 8 simple things every family can do to reduce your impact on the environment and help penguins around the world. 

Be smart about energy

By using less energy, you can decrease your carbon footprint. This helps limit climate change! Here are some easy places to start:

  • Calculate your family’s carbon footprint! 
  • Instead of driving in a car, walk, ride a bike or take a bus.
  • Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use.
  • When it’s cold outside, turn down the thermostat a few degrees. Wear a sweater and socks!
  • When it’s hot outside, turn up the thermostat a few degrees.
  • When you need a new car, consider an electric or hybrid car.
  • Look for energy efficient products when you buy new appliances and electronics.
  • Switch to energy efficient lightbulbs. 

Switch to green power

Green power comes from the sun, wind or water – renewable sources that don’t create climate change. If it’s available in your area, pick green power. Or consider installing solar panels at home! 

Go Plastic Free

Plastic never goes away! Most plastic does not biodegrade and remains in the environment for hundreds of years. Not only does the manufacture of plastic products contribute global warming, plastic pollution endangers penguins and other marine life. To go plastic free, just say no to plastic bagsplastic bottlesplastic to-go containersplastic takeaway cups and plastic straws!

  • Switch to a reusable water bottle.
  • Pack your lunch in reusable packaging.
  • Use cloth or recycled paper bags instead of plastic bags.
  • Eating away from home? Sit down and enjoy your email on a real plate!
  • Avoid fast food and carry-out restaurants that use plastic or Styrofoam cups, straws and packaging. 

Eat penguin friendly food

Penguins love to eat fish and seafood – especially herring, smelt, anchovies and krill. To make sure penguins and their chicks have enough to eat, you can be smart about how you eat.

  • Eat local! By eating food grown near where you live, you use less energy.
  • Choose organic! Pesticides pollute the water and contribute to climate change. Choosing organic food is better for your health and the planet.
  • If you eat seafood, choose sustainable seafood. Learn more at Seafood Watch.
  • Plant a garden! Growing your own food is one of the most penguin friendly ways to eat!
  • Cook and eat at home. This saves energy!
  • Eat more plants! Fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and nuts all take less energy to produce than meat, eggs, milk and other animal products. By eating lower on the food chain, you lower your carbon footprint. 

Reduce, reuse, recycle

By consuming less and recycling more, we can help protect the environment for penguins.

  • Recycle at home, school and work
  • Buy good quality things and use them for as long as possible
  • Shop at thrift and consignment stores
  • Compost food and yard waste 

Hug a tree

It may be a cliché, but trees and other plants are our allies in the fight against climate change! By planting trees and picking products made from recycled or sustainable sources of wood, you can you help.

  • Plant a tree!
  • Shop products made with FSC-certified wood and paper. 

Wear your values

Did you know the fashion industry is not penguin – or people – friendly? The global fashion industry pollutes and contributes to climate change more than any industry other than oil. Pesticides used to grow cotton and chemicals used to make leather and fabric pollute the water. Today most clothing is made overseas and shipped to the United States on container ships. A single container ship produces as much pollution as 50 million cars! The good news is that it’s not hard to choose ethical fashion. There are more and more companies – big and small – making steps towards sustainability. Here are a few places to start:

  • Pick organic cotton! Clothing made with organic cotton is better for people, the planet and penguins.
  • Wear natural or recycled fibers. Avoid fabrics like polyester that are made with petroleum.
  • Want to try a trend? Shop at a thrift or consignment store or swap with a friend.
  • Take good care of your clothes! By washing on cold and hanging your clothes to dry, you will help your clothes last longer and save energy.

Give back

If an oil spill happens near you, you can get involved in the clean up by raising money. Connect with organizations like International Bird Rescue that are dedicated to the rehabilitation of birds after oil spills. 

Speak up for penguins

Today there are new threats to clean water, protection of endangered species, and global efforts to stop climate change. It’s important to speak up to tell government leaders that you care about protecting penguins!

  • Ask elected officials to add animal species such as penguins that are threatened by climate change on the endangered species list.
  • Let your leaders know that you care about climate change! By limiting climate change, we not only protect penguins – we protect the world for people.
  • Ask for tougher regulation on the ships and pipelines that carry oil to prevent oil spills.

Here at Penguino Travel, we are committed to social and environmental responsibility in everything we do. Wherever possible we are sourcing products from companies that share our values. As we grow, our desire is to do more! A few of our brand partners who are leading the way:

  • Petite Collage designs beautiful coloring books, crafts and puzzles made with recycled and FSC-certified paper.
  • Faber-Castell makes pencils with wood that comes from a sustainably managed forest in Brazil.
  • Endangered Species Chocolate makes chocolate with fair trade, organic ingredients and gives back to protect endangered species.

As the Founder of Penguino Travel, I also plan to lead my family in making the changes on this list. We hope you will join us this Earth Day and every day in making small changes that have a big impact!