Somebody Else’s Home for the Holidays? New Book Helps Parents Traveling with Babies and Toddlers

Berkeley, California (EastBayDaily) — “As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.’ Guests in diapers, however, may smell upon arrival,” writes Shelly Rivoli in her new book Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children.

While interviewing parents for her book research, Rivoli quickly discovered that the most common first travel experience new parents face with their child is to visit friends or relatives, particularly during the holidays. “It sounds pretty straightforward,” Rivoli explains, “Most new parents start out thinking the drive or the flight will be the most challenging part of such a trip, but once they start thinking through the logistics of the actual home-stay itself, it can get a little overwhelming.”

Simply determining where a baby or toddler may sleep peacefully or even play safely can be a challenge in many situations, especially in the midst of the visiting and festivities. Rivoli points out, “Unlike other types of vacations, where you are on your own to call the shots, you’ve got a houseful of other people, their own routines, their personal possessions, and possibly their pets to consider–it can get complicated when you add an infant or a toddler to the mix.”

To help new parents plan for the most enjoyable visits possible, Rivoli dedicated a section of the Travels with Baby specifically to “Staying (Safe and Sane) with Friends and Family.” She offers frank advice and practical tips for feeding, sleeping, diapering, and childproofing while under someone else’s roof, plus some friendly guidance on being a good house guest with a baby or small child: “I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: Earplugs can make a thoughtful and a humorous hostess gift,” she writes.

The author also advises parents to give their hosts some idea of what they can expect before arriving in their home, and sharing their ideas ahead of time on how to keep everyone as happy, comfortable, and safe as possible during the visit. “Describe a typical day with your child at home, when he usually rises, naps, how often he eats, and what his sacred rituals are. Tell them how much you are looking forward to seeing them, but be honest about your concerns–including upsetting their own routines (like, perhaps, sleeping).”

She wraps up the section with some helpful reminders about both possible household hazards to the child–and possible child hazards to the household. “Other adults may not be as tuned in to the potential consequences of leaving some items within a child’s reach, or the lightning speed with which a child can perform magic tricks with tablecloths (swoosh!) and car keys (flush!).”

Rivoli has experienced her own share of home-stays with friends and relatives over the past few years: with a baby, a toddler, and with both an infant and a toddler after the birth of her second daughter. “We spent our first Christmas as parents out of state with my in-laws–all nine of them, plus their neighbors, and three large dogs,” recalls Rivoli. “There were twelve of us sleeping under one roof, ages 10 months to 70 years. It wasn’t always easy, or peaceful, but it was definitely worth the effort.”    

Shelly Rivoli has traveled extensively with her husband and children, and boasts having changed diapers on four continents and a handful of islands. Her book Travels with Baby also helps parents plan air travel, road trips, beach vacations, cruises, train trips, and overseas travel with babies and young children. Ms. Rivoli lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes the syndicated blog Travels with Baby Tips.

Travels with Baby is now available at and major online book retailers. More information about the book, including the Preface and Table of Contents, can be viewed at Print-quality (300 dpi) publicity photos and book cover art are ready to upload at

Book Statistics Title:         Travels with Baby Subtitle:     The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children Author:         Shelly Rivoli ISBN:         978-0-615-15925-6 Published:    October 2007 Category:     Parenting / Travel / Families Length:     314 pages Retail price:     $21.95 Binding:     6″ x 9″ trade paperback Photos:     Black and white captioned photos throughout Additions:     Cruise lines comparison table, airlines comparison table, multiple checklists, international directory of baby gear rental agencies, product and gear recommendations, numerous websites and phone numbers provided throughout.


Shelly Rivoli