Traveling With a Toddler – 5 Ways to Stay Sane at the Airport |

Traveling with a toddler can be a daunting prospect for many new parents, but it doesn’t need to be so overwhelming that it prevents you from enjoying vacations with your family. By following these five tips, you will make your time at the airport bearable, or even fun!

  1. Get there early. When traveling with a toddler, arriving early at the airport will set the tone for your whole experience. If you are stressed about making it to the gate on time, you are more likely to be short with your toddler or snappy with your spouse, and your child’s behavior will start to reflect that stress. Also, by being at your gate with lots of time to spare, you will be able to say “yes” when your child wants you to explore the interesting sights of the terminal with him.
  2. Use the family lane at the TSA Security Checkpoint, if available. The family lane usually has a little more room and is better-staffed for the needs of a family traveling with a toddler by providing hand-checks of bulky items. Also, there is a little more room for you to help your child put her shoes back on and gather your belongings together without a steady stream of impatient business travelers pushing by you.
  3. Have a plan for carrying the load. Probably the hardest thing about traveling with a toddler is physically managing all the gear you have to take along. If you are traveling with your spouse, assign items to each adult for the long-haul walking stretches (from security to gate, or gate to gate at your connecting airport). If you are the only adult traveling, make sure you are capable of carrying everything you’re planning to bring with you by practicing at home before you leave. One great new tool for parents is the Gogo Kidz Travelmate, which allows you to roll your own car seat through the airport with your child strapped into it, much like a rolling suitcase. Since your child and your carseat are often the hardest two items to carry through the airport, this device is a lifesaver.
  4. Wear ‘em out before the flight. When traveling with a toddler, it’s tempting to plop down in a seat at the gate, strap your child into his car seat or stroller, and rest. But now is the time to let your toddler run to his heart’s content and hopefully tire himself out enough to sleep on the flight itself. Fortunately, the airport terminal has plenty of exciting new things that your toddler will likely want to explore, from the gift shops and food stands to the moving walkways. Even an interesting carpet pattern can provide a good stretch of imaginative play opportunities.
  5. Pre-board. Most airlines allow (even encourage!) families to pre-board. This is an offer you should take advantage of, as it allows you to get onto the plane and get settled without the rest of the passengers trying to push by you. It is also a time when you can gate-check a stroller, car-seat, or other large item that you don’t need to have with you in the cabin.

Traveling with a toddler can be a challenge, but by planning ahead you will be able to meet that challenge head on and enjoy a great vacation with your whole family.

What Is Being Green In Your Small Business? |

We see nearly every company on the planet touting themselves as being green, but, are they all – really?

We have a different take on being a green small business – it starts with your bottom line.

All businesses have to be in business to make money. If your business (whatever it is) is not making money, it will not be a business for long.

Thus, to make money you have to attract customers. To attract customers, you have to offer products and services that provide both functionality (meet their needs) at a solid price point. While many consumers will give lip service to only wanting to buy green products and services, most do not follow through with that talk if functionality goes down or prices rise. In fact, being green almost always takes a third place behind usability (meeting a need) and price.

Now, if you decide that your business wants to be greener you might change the way your business attracts customers – meaning buying more expensive ‘natural’ products which could increase the prices you offer or buying materials or offering services that reduce the perceived functionality – all of which will drive some (many) customers away.

Thus, you have to balance being green while still meeting customer needs.

We look at this with a simple point of view – provide what your customers want (in its full form) with less.

Think about it this way:

Let’s say that your business is a comet hurdling towards earth – when it impacts, it will leave a crater about the size of a football field. Now, most businesses who want to be thought of as being green will then go out and try to plant trees over that football sized crater as an attempt to revitalize that area – being green.

However, when you look at your core business – would it not be better to simply reduce the size of the overall crater in the first place?

Now, let’s say that you strip away everything that is not related to your core business – this includes all non-direct general and administration expenses. Then, when your business comet impacts the earth, it only leaves a crater the size of a football – not the entire field.

But, since we did not strip away the core business – customers still remain customers and since your impact is less – your business is being green.

Now, stripping away all general and administration expenses is impossible – but, you should get the idea – reduce non-essentials – this is where you cut or find greener ways to manage and run your business. It makes your business green while still protecting that all important bottom line.

Example: Do you have to market your business using print media? Or, can you inform and attract customers using electronic means like email or social media?

Reducing your printing could start to cut away at that football field sized impact crater without comprising what your customers come to expect from your products or services.

Or, instead of putting in place a car pool initiative for your employees – can some of your employees work from home – reducing the additional consumption they would create at the work place as well as not having to drive to work?

The Bottom Line:

How does this impact the bottom line? By starting your focus here – on your expense line items – you and thusly your business – will be able to find ways to reduce these expenses (those not directly related to providing products and service to your customers).

Given our current, poor economic environment, your business should be looking for ways to cut cost anyway – thus, when looking at cutting cost, think green.

Another way to look at this is to think and act like a minimalist.

Example: We see more and more business travelers using web conferencing instead of actually traveling. This saves those travel costs – great for the bottom line.

But, in thinking green and thinking minimal – why not even cut out travel within your own office.

Instead of having your sales teams all get together in the conference room – why not use the same web conferencing and let everyone remain at their desks?

This means that you don’t have to turn on the lights and equipment in the conference room, you don’t have to print out paper copies of documents and you don’t have to purchase additional equipment (like tablets or overhead projectors) that are seldom used.

Instead, think less energy – remain at your desk – send documents electronically and start to cut away at that football field sized crater. Plus, this in no way negatively impacts your customers.

Being a green small business is not about trying to convince your customers that you are green or modifying products and services in ways that drive customers away. It is about making the most business impact (satisfying your customers) while creating the smallest everything else impact – being a football and not the entire field.

If you can pull this off – walk the walk – even without trying to convince everyone that your business is green – that impact will not only demonstrate that your company is a green minded business but will also go a long way in strengthening your bottom line – what being a small green business is really all about.