Travel

How Traveling Can Help You Heal

There are multiple ways in which Traveling can help you heal. Not only can it help in mental and spiritual healing, but it has a definite impact on your physical health as well. Do you feel broken inside, and are strained from working day in and day out at a stressful job? Are you tired of the chores and your life is becoming too mundane? Then perhaps it’s time you went on a trip because Traveling is the answer you’re seeking.

Traveling Heals Stress 

Being at constant stress is not only harmful to your mind but your body too. Our brain releases a hormone called Cortisol which is also called the stress hormone in the medical fraternity. It’s the hormone responsible for making you feel more anxious and stressed. Under prolonged effects of cortisol, your body shuts down your immune system, which has a direct impact on your healing capacity.

Traveling is a well-known stress-buster, it can make you feel more relaxed and put your mind at ease. Getting out of a stressful atmosphere is the first step for reducing your cortisol levels. Leaving the environment that stresses you out even for a little while can help you quite a lot.

Your body will generate Endorphins if you indulge in a lot of physical activity while traveling. Endorphin is the antithesis of cortisol, it reduces stress and makes you much happier. So what’s stopping you, pack your luggage, throw them on the roof rack of your car and get going.

Traveling Heals Relationships   

Traveling is an excellent way of mending relationships. Most of us have seen a bad phase in our relationships. While being alone can be very helpful for some time, going on a trip with your partner can help to renew your love for one another. It can help you bring back memories of why you fell in love in the first place. Going on a vacation is a great way to break out from your everyday circle of despair, and help you rediscover the care and affection you have for one another.

Studies Indicate that traveling together can induce positive hormones like oxytocin in your body, which increases your overall happiness. Oxytocin, often called the love hormone is responsible for making a couple feel loved in a relationship. Traveling can not only help put your mind at ease, but It can also help you cope with negative past experiences. Like the loss of a loved one or a break-up from a long-term relationship.

Your trust will deepen as you face different kinds of challenges together. When it’s just the two of you in an unfamiliar place, it compels you to work as a team, and you learn to take care of one another. Planning adventurous trips is a great idea for building trust. Most profound bonds are formed in the time of peril, and adventure is excellent for simulating danger. Traveling with a partner will not only deepen your relationship, but it will increase your happiness level as well.

Traveling Heals your Inner Being

In the earlier days, the education of a student was incomplete until they traveled to different places. Traveling helped them in seeing various cultures around the world and gave them a perspective on what they thought about life, people, and themselves. Even today, those seeking spirituality, consider traveling to be one of the best ways of moving towards better self-awareness.

Strange as it may seem, going to a spiritual place like a Buddhist temple is not the only way for you to get in touch with your inner-dimension. A quiet place away from home can be enough to stimulate your mind. Being alone helps heal you from the inside. It’s only when you’re left to yourself that you have time to analyze your thoughts and observe them one at a time. If you want the wound to heal you have to leave it open for some time. It is also true when it comes to your mind you have to leave it open for some time to arrange your thoughts, and traveling is a great way of doing just that.

Conclusion 

Traveling can help you heal on more than one level. Whether you’re trying to reduce your stress or trying to save a relationship. Whether you’re trying to get away from a bad experience or if you want spirituality. The benefits of travel cannot be understated.  Coming back from a trip with a partner can be refreshing, and it can save your relationship. A solo trip can help you discover yourself and help you move past negative experiences.

Author of this article is Rebecca Siggers. Rebecca has been closely studying the travel industry trends from quite some time. Intrigued by the booming growth of this sector, she takes interest in penning down her views providing quality insight on current travel trends and also likes to write about food and beverages, particularly wine.

 

 

7 Most Beautiful Capitals Of The World

Capitals of the countries are generally the places where maximum developmental steps by the Governmental take place. A combination of scenic beauty and architectural marvels make these places a paradise for travelers. These factors spur tourism and make people their time and wealth in these beautiful cities.

Although the capitals of all the countries are beautiful, we will discuss the most beautiful ones in the World amongst these in this article. Henceforth, you shall be able to make a list of places where you could go for a blissful experience.

Paris   

Paris is a city that has world-class art, monuments, and museums. It is so much so that it is called the City of Monuments. Being the capital of France, it is built well due to its marvelous architecture and designs. Paris has an enriching history, which has been the center of the French Revolution. It has arguably the best tourist attraction in the world.

Some of the finest of these include Notre Dame de Paris, Louvre Pyramid Museum, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. Being in the center of showbiz and fashion, Paris has also acquired an image as the Fashion Capital over the years.

Tokyo

A city located in the island nation of Japan, Tokyo has acquired a stature in the international arena. Despite being the largest metropolitan area in the world, its education level, security, literacy rate, cleanliness, and unemployment rates are amongst the lowest in the world. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo include Tokyo Imperial Palace, Senso Ji Temple, Tokyo Tower, and National Museum.

Due to high advancement levels, it has fast become popularly known as the alpha world city. Its currency yen has become stronger over the years, due to which it has become one of the most expensive cities in the world as per an article. However, its beautiful beaches, nature, and architecture make it worthwhile for tourists.

Rome  

The historic city of Rome boasts of monuments that have no parallel in the world. Being the epicenter of the erstwhile Roman Empire, it has a rich culture, traditions, and beautiful weather. Its structures attract people from all across the world, some of the famous ones of which are Colosseum, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon. The most predominant religion in Rome is Roman Catholic, which makes it a home for popes and saints.

According to an article, Rome’s closed society of Vatican city brings in a plethora of tourists to the city. This capital city of Italy was also the throne of one of the most celebrated kings of the world at one point, Julius Caesar.

Budapest

Considered to be one of the friendliest cities in Europe, Budapest is the capital of Hungary. It has become quite popular for its food, dishes, and dishes among the tourists. The city’s history dates back to the year 1873 when it got combined to form Budapest out of the cities of ‘Buda’ and ‘Pest’. This stunning city has a significant number of attractions for tourists, such as the recurrent film festivals, cultural festivals, and summer festivals.

Those who wish to admire the architecture of the city must keep Stephan’s Basilica, Fisherman’s Bastion, Andrassy Avenue, and the Parliament building on their to-visit list. Budapest is a fashion hub and has beautiful weather all round the year to make the visitors experience amazing.

Ottawa

The city of greens has one of the biggest green-belt parks across the cities in the world. Being a cold city, it has come to be known as one of the coldest capitals of countries. It is the capital of Canada and is located in the southern region of the country near River Ottawa. Due to heavy snowfall during the winter months, the ice-skating enthusiasts find a good source of entertainment. Some of the most beautiful places to go in Ottawa are the Canadian War Museum, Major’s Hill Park, Rideau Canal, and the National Gallery.

London 

One of the most well-planned cities of the world and the capital of England, London is a treat for the tourists. It is at the helm of economic activity, which makes it one of the richest cities in the world. Set in the British empire, its architecture flourished after the Industrial Revolution in the 18h century.

London finds its location on the River Thames and has become renowned for its art, culture, entertainment, tourism, and fashion. Its vast array of talent has attracted the tag of being the artistic capital of the world. Beautiful monuments, buildings, national parks, and scenery make it a top-notch tourist destination. Some of the most iconic places in London are Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Palace of Westminster, and Madame Tussauds.

Washington D.C.

The city of Washington D.C. is situated on the banks of the Potomac River and falls under the district of Columbia. Being one of the most exhilarating cities across the world, it also highly modern and busy. Its marvels lie in its aesthetics, cleanliness, greenery, and planning. Since people of all religions, cultures, and faiths live here, tourists get to communicate with a wide array of people coming from different walks of life. Places of importance in Washington are those of Lincoln Memorial, White House, the National Museum of Natural History, Washington Monument, and National Zoological Park.

This article, written by Rebecca Siggers  thus provides you with a list of places that you should focus upon traveling in your next holidays. To be able to travel with ease and reach your destination in the least possible time with comfort, always carry a world map scratch along with you. The alluring qualities of the afore-said cities will make you want to travel several times over and over again in the years to come.

 

Freshly Single And Ready To Travel To Have Your Best Holiday Yet

4 Ways to Save Money on Food and Drinks in Moldova or Anywhere Else in the World

Whether you are a student or a tourist visiting Moldova with your Suzuki sv650, you will want to be keen on how you spend so that your money can last you long enough. Food makes up for a large portion of the expenses you make when visiting a place. In this article, we will cover 4 ways that will help you to save when shopping for food and drinks while in Moldova.

Many times, when people visit a place, or at least they are new in a town, they end up living on quick foods from roadside restaurants and noodles because they are readily available. But have you considered how that can be costly to you, both directly and indirectly? Take a few minutes to learn how to eat healthily but still save good money on your food and drinks expenses.

1. Take a Heavy and Well-Balanced Breakfast at Your Hotel

We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many hotels in Moldova provide free breakfast for their customers. The fees you pay to lodge cover the food expenses. It is vital that you take a balanced breakfast to kickstart your day with vigor.

Given the opportunity to have free breakfast can, however, be misused and abused. You must know what is good for your health. You have to choose the food combinations that will not lead to stomach upsets and add real energy to your body for a long day. You can take a mug of beverage, a snack, and a fruit.

It is ideal that you take your breakfast as per your doctor’s recommendations to ensure that you stay healthy all day. You should also avoid taking too much. Remember the word heavy does not literally mean a full plate of cheese. You are advised to take up to 700 calories for your breakfast. Eating more than enough can make it harder for your stomach to digest the food and may lead to unstable running bowels.

Skipping your breakfast is not good for your daily routine in Moldova. If you have to take a snack for the day, keep it discreet to avoid being problems with the hotel management. It can help you to save a few bucks that you would spend on a roadside snack vendor.

2. Buy Your Foods from the Supermarket

Supermarkets in town are ideal for stocking up foodstuff for your stay. You will need to book a hostel that allows people to cook their own food when staying in Moldova. In this way, you can choose what to eat and how to prepare it for yourself. If you have a long stay in Moldova, a rental house will be ideal compared to hotel rooms. Buying foods in bulk is cheaper than buying groceries at the roadside.

When you have stocked food, you can cook and carry some for your daily needs at the workplace or in the fields. It is healthy to cook food for yourself because you know what ingredients are good for you, duration of cooking, and you will keep the hygiene conditions in a cooking environment. By so doing, you will stay away from stale and poorly handled foods by the street corners while you are out.

Staying healthy from home is one way of ensuring that you save money you could have spent for medical bills. If you find it hard to carry food in your backpack when going out, go for products like Cellucor C4 Original Pre-Workout. It will keep you going for the day, giving you the instant energy you need that lasts longer.

You can also buy your wine from supermarkets to avoid wasting time and more money drinking in bars. The Moldovan wines and spirits are made from fresh grapes planted in the country. They are of high quality with various varieties and origins, where the European type is dominant.

3. Carry Your Own Water Bottle

Are you going out for a long day? You may need to take water with you so that you can take a sip in case you get warm from walking long distances. Moldova in Summer is going to be quite warm, and sometimes very hot to walk out in the sun. You will experience fast rates of dehydration, and you will need to intake more water.

Sometimes you will find it hard to walk around with a heavy bottle of water. It is, therefore ideal to carry a small bottle that you can refill for free whenever you find a chance. For instance, if you are eating at a restaurant, you will have the opportunity to fill your bottle with drinking water without any extra bills. You could save on your expenses for drinking water in shops.

Carrying water is good for your health. But be sure that you will not consume too much. You know that the more you drink water, the more you will want to visit the bathroom. In Moldova, you would incur expenses to use public toilets. This could be going against the aim of saving money on drinks. You can hold up the urge until you get to gas stations or other places with free public toilets.

4. Save Money with Parties

Eating and drinking parties could be viewed as more expensive in some regions. But consider a scenario where a friend sends you a birthday invite to their place. You can enjoy free food and drinks, and if you have to contribute, the amount will be less than what you will pay drinking at the bar.

Drinks like the Dimple pinch can be served at birthday parties. You would grab your bottle there and save a few dollars from your drink expenses.

For party organizers who are on a tight budget, the Bacardi zombie will suffice. The affordable drink costs less and can serve more guests at a lower cost. It is still important to make sure that you respect your health when you are out partying. Excessive drinking of alcoholic drinks can lead to health risks. But then you can have a delicious piece of dark chocolate as it has several health benefits.

Another thing to remember about eating at parties is that wherever there is a big gathering, it is easier for the foods to be contaminated. So you need to take caution if you are wary of your general health. While trying to save some coins on food and drinks, you may end up spending more on medicine in case of some unwelcome experiences from food.

Author’s Bio
“Jessica Smith has been writing for a few years now. She is a writer by day and reader by night. She was a very quiet child but writing always inspired her and that is why she began writing in her free time. She loves reading, be it a newspaper, a book or anything. She also loves cooking, traveling and dancing. She wants to be a successful writer as writing is her passion.”

How to pack a backpacking pack for a Multi-Day Hiking Trip

Packing a backpack is the big goal for every adventure junky and if it is a multi-day hiking trip, immaculate organization and storage of each item is necessary. This enables ease of locating them besides being comfortable on shoulder blades as the load is scientifically spread. To increase the comfort on the trail, strategically placing specific items makes the load feel lighter. Listed below are a few tips and methods of packing the backpack that would help store everything one might need on trekking trip without experiencing an ache in the neck or back.

 Piling and compiling the stuff

Pile the stuff needed such as shelter/sleeping bag, food, cooking gear, clothes and other small stuff needed during daytime such as sunscreens, batteries, flashlight, etc. This will ensure that neither items are left nor extra items are taken. While exploring Sydney’s wilderness, get in touch with best roof racks Sydney has to offer to get a customised roof rack installed on your vehicle for adventurous trips and have ample of space to carry the luggage safely. These racks are ruggedly constructed for professional adventurers who explore the wildest terrains having extreme road conditions.

Divide and organize stuffing in layers

A good rule for packing in a systematic manner is to divide the backpack into three layers namely bottom, middle and top. Always pack the bottom first followed by keeping the heavier things in the centre and hive up the top with the light essentials for the trip.

Bottom’s Layout   

Things required lastly and are lightly weight gear such as sleeping bag, item for camp, loose clothing, etc. can be kept at the bottom of the backpack.

If the hiking trip is in the rainy areas, it’s always better to line the backpack with the trash bag so that the items stay dry. Use lightweight waterproof compression sack for keeping the sleeping bag dry. If you are taking a sleeping pad along that is bulky by construction, save the space inside the backpack by strapping the same on the outside of the bag.

The right stuff for the middle layer

The middle section of the backpack is heavy items accommodating space.   All the cumbersome items such as stove and fuel, pots and pans, food, camp mugs & shoes, toiletries, and bear canisters, etc. are stuffed here. Using such an arrangement will relieve the backpack from unnecessary strain and stress.

Stuffing clothes and other small items such as tent body, rain fly around the bear canister can help it stuck in the centre.  Keeping the foodstuff in the middle layer also protect it from rodents.

Crowning the backpack with accessories

Use the top or uppermost compartment of the backpack, that is usually removable, as a daypack during hiking sessions.

It should accommodate cooking gear, an extra layer of clothes and other small accessories/necessities such as sunglasses, a first-aid kit, quick snacks, compass, rain jacket, water filter, bathroom kit, electronics. Carry lightweight small sized dry sack to store the electronics in this section.

The brain/lid of the backpack

The lid usually referred to as ‘the brain’ of the backpack should store map, headlamps, camera, quick snacks, multi-tool kit, sunscreen, a small-sized bug spray and other utilities needed as hands-on. Hip belt pockets are also ideal to store such stuff as it has zippered pouches attached.

If the hiking partner is Honda Africa Twin bike, even the heaviest backpack can be easily crowned on its aluminium luggage plate supplied with stainless steel clamps and bolts.

Snug fitting by tightening compression belts 

The compression straps on the exterior of the backpack perform the function of stabilizing and adjusting the weight as per the requirement. Make sure that these are loose while packing is in progress. After packing, buckle and tighten up the straps. Tightening ensures that the stuff inside the backpack does not shift while hiking. The straps help hiker stay steady on uneven terrains as the weight of the backpack doesn’t shift while moving. Tighten the side compression straps to eliminate the empty spaces in the sides of the backpack.

The compression straps on the main exterior buckle should be fastening the brain of the backpack in a compressed manner so that it stays stationary during trekking.

A mid-sized backpack designed for intermediate distance is ideal for hiking on KTM bikes having free load storage on the outside and ample of internal storage space too. These are available as KTM parts online on genuine bike accessories selling sites.

The loose loops on the exterior

Utilize the loops on the exterior of the backpack to secure long, stiff and heavy items such as folding trekking and tent poles, ropes, shovels, or lightweight collapsible seat. Hook carabiners, clips, and other not-so-heavy gears on these loops. But take due care as this stuff will keep on hanging or swinging back and forth, hitting the surroundings often.

 Conclusion

Get the backpack stuffed with desired stuff but keep it well organized so that the weight doesn’t fall heavily upon the shoulders and hiking trip stays memorable in a joyous tone.

Author’s Bio:   

Harold Camaya is a marketing enthusiast and an influencer in Different verticals. She keeps special interest in the impact of visual branding on business growth. She has been writing for a long time now and has a interest in traveling as well.

 

 

 

 

Four Mobile Bars Serving Food, Wine, And Booze

Lenton bar 

Winter is almost over and summer is just lurking around the corner. It’s finally time to head outdoors and indulge yourself in brunches, parties, and galas. This year instead of just flocking into regular clubs and restaurants for fun, try out the newly trending mobile bars serving food, wine, and booze on the go! The food industry revolution that began with food trucks and pop-up eateries has now extended to bars on wheels, transforming any space into a great time. Not only will these booze cruisers quench your thirst during spring, but also help make your weddings, garden brunches, beach parties, birthday celebrations, and themed corporate events a grand success. All your dreams of lavish vineyards, paddocks, warehouses, and reserves on your own front yard can finally come true! The mobility and versatility of the services of these vintage caravans are fast improving with their increased demand. From bicycle inspired setups to rehabbed school buses these wino vans ride around in different shapes and sizes providing you all the world-class delicacies and drinks you desire.

Here is a list of four such bars, each from a different continent:

Lenton bar    

Lenton bar which is fitted to a trailer is located in Canberra and is a personal favorite of many Australians. It was founded by Amit Oberoi, Manuk Samarasinghe and Matt Harris, who are well versed in the hospitality industry. The idea that people are shifting away from traditional fixed-bars and expecting an innovative experience that’s in their control, is what inspired them to begin this endeavor. Bringing the party wherever you want it the crew at Lenton bar efficiently arranges various events, markets, games, and weddings for a variety of clients. They serve diverse cuisines along with some classic beverages like the Southside cocktail and gin and tonic. Lenton’s license permits them to function from 7 am to 12 am works perfectly fine for those who want to start off early in the day with a wine toast and for the party animals wanting to rave late into the night. The bar prides itself in partnering and collaborating with other businesses like event management companies and platter vendors that aid them in further enhancing their customer satisfaction.

The Yard 

A year-round food and drink village that has been created out of recycled shipping containers, the Yard is located in San Francisco, USA. A former school bus that has now been converted into a wine bus is a complete treat for your eyes, stomach, and soul.   If you are a wine enthusiast this is the right fit for you as the bar brings a rotating selection of wine from Sonoma, Napa, and Washington. Their beer menu is the second highlight, with beer from Anchor brewing company being their star. Their friendly staff, humble service and sumptuous nibbles like fish, tacos and garlic lime potato wedges are what makes the Yard a hit.

Drinkdings

Drinkdings in Singapore works with a motto why go to the bar when you can bring the bar to you? Champagne, cocktails, mocktails, shooters, wines, beers name it and they have it. Drinkdings is the most accurate house party solution. You should try the signature cocktail made from drinks like the macallan 18, andre champagne. They’ll keep the drinks flowing for more than two hours non stop while you enjoy your rendezvous with loved ones Their finger foods and bar bites are simply otherworldly. If it’s your birthday Drinkdings is who you should be calling. They’ll cook up a customized birthday invite cocktail just for you which will compliment your cake and personality. Sounds like a birthday of a lifetime, doesn’t it?

The Roseberry

Imagine riding in an elegant double-decker bus. Now spice it up and picture alcohol being served inside. Sounds heavenly right? Well, you can come back to reality now as this is exactly what the bus bar in London, the Roseberry has in store for you! A 1966 London Routemaster has literally been converted into a cocktail bar on the ground floor and a dining area on top that is completed with a raised roof that can be opened on hot days. One can wine and dine, or pick and play any one of their games, which they got a whole cupboard full. They have high-quality sound systems and TVs, so you can enjoy sports matches or not miss out on your favorite shows while moving around the city.  Roseberry also works with popular event planners and top chefs like Mark Hix and renowned restaurants like Zuma. Roseberry is where you should be taking your partner on a rosy romantic date as it is the bar’s specialty and enjoy it to the fullest with a glass of the divine Laphroaig 18-year-old single malt scotch with malted milk biscuits.

Now you know how to get the best food and wine without breaking a sweat, with such wonderfully convenient mobile bartending remedies. Don’t stress out as your booze is on wheels coming home to you! So ‘raise the bar’ prepare yourself to amazed by these unconventional moving bars.

Author’s Bio
“Jessica Smith has been writing for a few years now. She is a writer by day and reader by night. She was a very quiet child but writing always inspired her and that is why she began writing in her free time. She loves reading, be it a newspaper, a book or anything. She also loves cooking, traveling and dancing. She wants to be a successful writer as writing is her passion.”

Reference articles: www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/booze-on-wheels-canberra-s-new-love-of-mobile-bars-20180919-p504qw.html

www.winemag.com/gallery/booze-wine-on-wheels-get-your-next-drink-at-these-7-mobile-bars/

www.winemag.com/gallery/booze-wine-on-wheels-get-your-next-drink-at-these-7-mobile-bars/#gallery-carousel-3/

 

 

 

 

6 Essential Outdoor Must Have Things For Every Road Trip

Road trips? Yay!  

Road trips have given traveling a whole new meaning. The experience and adventures you enjoy from exploring the outdoors, with friends and family are just what makes a road trip perfect. According to scientific research, published by Sage Journals, traveling helps to increase your state of well-being and makes you happy.

So, whether you are traveling in your SUV or, you are the wild, adventurous type, and you prefer the Suzuki SV650 for your trip, you absolutely cannot afford to forget the essentials. Besides, what’s the fun in traveling too light?

Now, these items are very essential to make your road trip worthwhile and keep it interesting.  Safety Items 

For every trip, the number one item that should be on your packing list is safety items. According to Researchgate, people are more terrified when they are traveling, without taking some safety precautions. Now, fear for your safety, can spoil the fun for you, on your road trip, so, you should pack these safety items, just in case;  

 

  • First aid kit.
  • Outdoor safety wear.
  • Body pouches and money belts.
  • Luggage locks.
  • Tool pouch fo the essential car/bike tools.

Fasten your seatbelt! Remember safety always comes first.

Entertainment  

To keep your road trip fun and not boring, you need to also pack some entertainment items. Whether you a music person, or you love to read books (this is an opportunity to finally finish that book), or you love to play games, entertainment items should be on, or you love to play games, entertainment items should be on your list.

To be realistic, not all parts of the road trip will be trailed with amusement; there will be those weird, awkward and boring moments, and these entertainment items are sure to thaw the ice. 

  • Your playlist on your iPod,
  • Your phone,
  • Your camera to record your memories, every step of the way,
  • Games (could be card games as well as board games, or even word games)

Really, anything that you know will keep the road trip exciting all through is what you should pack.

Food items

Now, this is absolutely important, road trips are very long, and sometimes the distance between towns, where you can find a store, is usually far. According to the Centre for Disease Control, CDC, it is better to be careful, when indulging in local cuisine of your travel destination.

Depending on how long your trip will be, or how far your destination is, you need to remember to pack some snacks and yes, water is also important. Also, ensure that whatever food you pack is light and hydrating. 

Get yourself a sweet chocolate box, this never grows old.

  • Cereal bars.
  • Some bowls to put the food.
  • Potato chips.
  • Water, loads of it
  • Durable bottle.
  • Fruits.
  • Toothpicks.
  • Plastic bags.
  • Juice box.
  • Sliced bread.
  • Thermos flask.
  • Crackers.
  • And yes, your favorite snacks.

Comfort Items  

These are items that will make you comfortable all through your road trip. From your pillow to sunglasses, these items add comfort to the fun of your road trip. Imagine, you needed to pee, but you forgot your toiletries.

There are a number of them, and you should put them organized on your list. It is better to travel organized and prepared. There is actually a new way to pack all your favorite comfort items efficiently, the use of packing cubes. It is effective and clutter free.

  • Warm clothes.
  • Day bag.
  • Umbrella.
  • Hiking boots and shoes (remember it’s the outdoors, so live a little).
  • Insect repellents.
  • Sunscreens.
  • Head torch.
  • Pillows.
  • Sanitizer.
  • Toiletry bag.

Car or Bike 

Depending on whether you are traveling in your car or on your bike (the Suzuki SV650 comes highly recommended for your trip) www.svrider.com>forum), there are some essentials you should pack.

You really do not want to get stranded on the road. So when you are packing what you need, also remember your car, because it can be quite embarrassing, having a flat tire or engine issues. 

  • Before your trip, check your engine and make sure it is in top shape.
  • Spare tires.
  • Carjack
  • Engine oil.
  • Tools pouch.
  • Your driver’s license (you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the law).
  • Car registration and insurance information.
  • Extra car/bike keys.

Miscellaneous items 

These are other items that are needed for your road trip. They can be called the general road trip essentials. These items can be gotten from www.amazon.com or any departmental store near you.

  • Electronic battery pack
  • Cooler
  • Laundry bag
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Rooftop Cargo

Note that all these items are the absolutely essential things to bring along for your trip. You can decide to take other things as well, so long as your car is not too cramped up.

With these items on your list and in your bag, your road trip is set to be a very memorable and interesting one. Enjoy the ride.

Author’s Bio
“Jessica Smith has been writing for a few years now. She is a writer by day and reader by night. She was a very quiet child but writing always inspired her and that is why she began writing in her free time. She loves reading, be it a newspaper, a book or anything. She also loves cooking, traveling and dancing. She wants to be a successful writer as writing is her passion.”

Top Tips for Stress-Free and Budget-Savvy Family Travel

budget savvy travelFinding ways to stretch your travel budget can be complicated, especially when you’re trying to accommodate different age groups. You want everyone to enjoy themselves, and pleasing members of your whole family can leave you pulling out your hair. Here are some suggestions for making the most of your getaway without experiencing hassles and stress.

Smart Booking Strategies  

Timing can be everything when it comes to travel planning. If you can put it off, the Guardian recommends waiting until the last minute to book your arrangements, as it frequently equates to a substantial discount off advertised prices. Your other best option is to book extremely early to secure the best rates. Discounts for children are something of a rare commodity these days, although some experts note that airlines will allow infants under the age of 2 to fly for free, so long as you hold your little one in your lap.

Another suggestion is to take a respite from parenthood and plan a holiday apart from your children. There are responsible, caring, safe babysitters out there, and with this being the Information Age, you can book a reliable sitter via the web. If you have any concerns about the person you hire, you should meet up before confirming your arrangements.

Family-Friendly (and Budget-Friendly) Lodging   

Putting a roof over everyone’s heads for the duration of your adventure is part of the crux of family travel, particularly when you want to be careful in your spending. You can check in with company internet boards and newsletters for people letting out rooms, or consider a house-swapping arrangement. Sometimes, it pays to take advantage of traditional family-oriented options, such as camping, staying in a farmhouse, or booking a stay in a hostel. Be forewarned: Some experts point out that hostels vary tremendously, from the most pleasant of accommodations to those which are questionable at best. Do some research beforehand and check the ratings and reviews prior to making a decision.

Check Your Dates  

When it comes to saving money over the course of a stay, the Barefoot Nomad points out that you can often come out ahead by lengthening the duration of your trip. Consider adding a day or two at each end of your holiday, and you might find it’s well worth the added expense. Just ensure you can set aside the time from your workplace before making the commitment.

Cut Meal Costs   

Feeding your youngsters can be a traveling challenge, especially if you have any picky eaters in your bunch. While it isn’t always as enticing as eating meals out, consider making a grocery run once you reach your destination. Choose some simple staples you know your youngsters will enjoy, such as favorite cereals and sandwich foods, and aim to partake in at least one meal you prepare each day. Let your kids select the food, and include something special that wouldn’t normally be allowed. It’ll be easier on your wallet as well as your nerves, and you and your children can then venture out for explorations with full bellies and clear minds.

Plan Outings Well   

When it comes to finding budget-friendly entertainment for your holiday, a variety of attractions are free to children. For the best results, plan your days around meal times and the normal napping schedule. You don’t want to be standing in a long queue when your youngster is too hungry or too tired, potentially resulting in crankiness and temper tantrums. Short, simple events are usually more convenient and relaxing for everyone.

Ensure your next family holiday is enjoyable and affordable with good planning. Schedule your trip carefully and make selections that stretch your budget. With a few smart strategies, you and your kids are sure to have a wonderful time.

Author of this article is Ashley Taylor   ashley@disabledparents.org

Image courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

Travel Tips For The Single Parent

Travel as a single parent gives one the opportunity to strengthen the bond between parent and child, and leave the complications of divorce behind. Taking a vacation does wonders for getting rid of stress and returning rejuvenated. When used to having a travel partner (former spouse), it can be unnerving to go alone with the kids. Having to watch the youngsters 24/7 without a break can be tiring, however there are ways to meet everyone’s needs. Enlist a family member to go with you. My mother went on a Hawaiian cruise with my sons and I at the beginning of my turbulent divorce. I got much needed alone time when she did a few activities with the boys on shore. All of us were happy. Some siblings and their offspring have taken trips together or shared a holiday home. An adult took a turn watching the cousins, so the other one could relax.

What works for many single parents is selecting a hotel with a kid’s or teen club. The wee ones are busily engaged learning songs, crafts and games while their single parents can relax with a book or enjoy the facilities. In Nevis, my boys learned about Caribbean traditions and marine life, while I headed off to the gym. There are resorts with great kid’s clubs globally, in Greece, Mexico, the Caribbean and so forth. A divorced friend likes the Club Meds where the children are occupied in their groups and she interacts with adults. They also do enjoyable activities as a family. She prefers the all-inclusive resorts so there are no financial surprises. This is one reason why I like cruising – I can budget my trips and know what the cost will be.

Cruises are a fun way to see many destinations without packing and unpacking. Most have clubs for the little ones and their teenage siblings. There are numerous activities, sports and shows on board that can be done as a family. After my divorce, my sons and I wanted to start fresh with holiday rituals. The three of us sailed around New Zealand and made several stops in Australia over Christmas and New Year’s. The décor, food and concerts were fabulous and I did not have the usual holiday stress. Ships provide an easy way for us to see the world and experience different cultures.

Various travel companies have tours for families, such as safaris in Africa, with child centered activities. They are slower paced and are also ideal for grandparents. These tours give adults an opportunity to have time without the kids, while they are engrossed in an activity. My teen and twenty-year-old did fine on a regular tour to India. Teens like trips packed with interesting sites, such as ancient stone fortresses, colorful bazaars, and activities that are not available at home. If you can time a trip around a festival or cultural event, that adds excitement. For example, we went to a Hindu Temple in Delhi on one of their holiest days of the year.

Consider only having one or two places to stay on a trip, particularly with very young children. Have that be your hub and plan day trips or primarily see the sights around your location. Changing hotels frequently with much travel is tiring and can be stressful. Going to a Dude Ranch and riding horses for a week can be memorable. There are hikes, campfires and outdoor fun. Kids enjoy farm stays and playing with the animals. A city break such as London, has many kid friendly museums and historical sites, like the Tower of London. My sons loved feeding the ducks in the various large parks and I liked sitting on a park bench reading. Orlando is another example where a single parent and kids can stay put in one hotel and enjoy the many amusement parks in the area. Trying to see too much in a short time is exhausting. On a trip to Burma (Myanmar), I crammed too many destinations and hotels into our itinerary. My young sons got cranky and I ended up sick. Spending a week at a beach, lake or mountain cabin is a lovely way to unwind.

When planning a trip post-divorce, there are practical aspects to remember. Inform your ex-spouse before taking your children across the state line. Get written permission that is notarized by the other parent, when taking youngsters out of the country. You do not want to be accused of international kidnapping, plus the airlines may ask to see this letter. Both parents must be present for a child under sixteen to obtain or renew their passport. A notarized letter giving permission from an absent parent will suffice. Make sure that each of you has at least six months left on your passport before it expires or another country can deny entry.

View travel as an adventure. Yes, things will not always go as planned, so be flexible and pack your sense of humor. Something that goes terribly wrong can be a funny story for years to come. Enjoy your single parent vacations, as your children will grow up too quickly. Bon Voyage!

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

Far Flung Adventures With Breath-Taking Scenery- Bucket List Part 3

Australia  australiaBeautiful beach in Australia (Lucky Bay)

Australia is  captivating and  possibly the best country in the world for a road trip. World class beaches, ancient rainforests, safe roads, well maintained walking paths, friendly people in the most remote places (Australia is actually recognized as having the most remote city in the world: Perth.), incredible wildlife, ancient wonders and a historic fascinating indigenous culture. I lived here for around two years and really can’t praise the place enough. I didn’t know what to expect when I first embarked on the long flight to this huge island/continent nation, although the culture is similar to mine the country is different in unimaginable ways. The sheer size of this place is mesmerizing, the vast majority of it expanses of nothingness, desert and wilderness. . I spent time working in an aboriginal community, learning about the history and way of life as well as their vicious mistreatment is an enlightening experience.

There are some many unique places and species of wildlife here it would be impossible to name them all, you could spend years in this country and only scratch the surface. Naturally pink lakes, the opportunity to swim with great whites and dolphins in the wild, underground cave dwelling communities, and 20 foot crocodiles, the weird and wonderful is present and plenty in Australia.

Lastly of all I’ll say is don’t be afraid, yes there are deadly animals native to Australia but the danger is massively exaggerated. The last person to die from a spider bite was in the 70’s! The world’s most deadly animal here is actually the cow (road traffic accidents). In two years of camping in the wilderness, hiking out in the bush and going to the most remote places possible the only deadly animal I saw was an octopus that someone snagged on a fishing line out at sea.

New Zealand 10857156_10203512395350974_8529118397825822705_oHikes displaying stunning scenery like this

For me this place may be unrivalled in natural beauty. So accessible and traversable as well! The home of Lord of the Rings boasts jaw dropping scenery and some of the friendliest people. A great family holiday for lovers of the outdoors. My personal highlights would be a light aircraft flight over snow-capped peaks, bungee jumping, sky diving, hang gliding and the numerous hikes amongst raw nature. New Zealand is another perfect country for marine wildlife and swimming with dolphins. (In the wild, not in some horror show like sea world!)

There are plenty of tour options and bus travel options, alternatively it’s the perfect self-drive camping holiday, you can see the whole country more or less in 3-6 weeks. The mix of glaciers, mountains, lakes, islands, volcanos, thermals, beaches and rolling British-like countryside in such a compact country make this a really striking and memorable place.  

Unique Sights

The Northern Lights

Now, the Northern lights are really unpredictable. I would suggest visiting a destination such as Norway, Finland or Iceland for what they have to offer besides the lights and then if you get to see them it’s just a bonus! Anyway those 3 countries really are beautiful and worth a visit at any time of year in their own right.

The lights are best seen on a dark, clear night so visit between April and September check with locals and weather forecasts (also aurora forecasts) prior to and during your visit. Your best chance at seeing them is in perfect conditions and looking to the north but nothing is guaranteed so in the meantime enjoy these snow covered landscapes with your family and indulge in some activities! There are multiple snow sports plus trekking in search of polar bears! (With a guide of course.)

There are companies with experts who can help search for the lights and although your best chance to spot them may be out in the country side they can be seen from main cities like Reykjavik (Iceland) and Tromso (Norway) as well.

Belgium- Charming fairy tale backdrops, architecture and chocolate

Bruges (Belgium) is like stepping into a fairy tale. Home to charming architecture and arresting scenery, plus most importantly chocolate! Dad will be happy with the ancient brewery tours and unlimited beer options (up to 300 different types of beer in some bars!) plus the children will enjoy the parks and shops full of handmade chocolate treats. It’s a great little town to just wander around admiring the buildings and waterways; it’s a great place to spend a few days as part of a longer European trip.

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Machu Picchu- Peru

Incan history is enthralling and Machu Picchu is the number one attraction in South America for a reason. After seeing ruins throughout South America I wasn’t expecting to be blown away in quite the fashion that I was when I visited here in 2016. The scale and remoteness of the site offers a dimension and experience that is unmatched. When gazing down at this ancient and wondrous structure from above, you get a feeling that can’t really be duplicated. Machu Picchu, due to its location, wasn’t re-discovered until 1911. However the human race is making up for lost time and there are now limits on tickets due to the sheer volume of people travelling to visit this unique place.

Book your tickets in advance and I’d seriously recommend getting the exclusive tickets to hike Huaynu/Wayynu Picchu (only 400 people allowed up each day) to witness the best view of Machu Picchu. It’s a steep hike but definitely doable (I reached top second, a 60 year old Chilean man beat me to it!) not to mention worth it for the 360 breath-taking panoramic. Something to keep in mind is that this historical site involves a lot of walking and gets very busy it’s better to take the earliest bus possible to arrive at dawn. Whilst not a typical family holiday hotspot I saw plenty of children and adults of all ages enjoying this lost Incan city and world wonder.

thumbnail_IMG_0488A beautiful and peaceful view over Machu Picchu

That concludes my series on family bucket list destinations, hopefully you will have some ideas for the future and make some memories in an interesting country!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources.

 

Guide To Family Travel Destinations – Wildlife Hotspots

1 bucket listLagoon filled desert trekking (north-east Brazil)

Here are  prime destinations for wildlife spotting, as children are fascinated with animals.  For all these destinations remember  to take your binoculars and a camera with zoom. Additionally do thorough research into any potential travel vaccinations you may need before travelling to these areas.

Wildlife Hotspots

Brazil

It was in this highly diverse and wonderful country that I was blessed enough to see the most majestic of creatures in the wild. A Jaguar! Truly beautiful and incredibly elusive. Living in the mighty Pantanal and taking to the river by boat each day paid off. In jungle environments the majority of wildlife flocks to the river and this is where you have the best opportunity to see birds, monkeys, crocodiles, and unique mammals such as capybara! Jungle treks can be fun but most of the critters will be hiding in the canopies, plus it’s not a great environment for children, I’d recommend going by boat.

The great thing about Brazil is that it has something for everyone, one of the longest coastlines in the world with stunning beaches, tropical rainforests and wetlands, multiple islands, big cities, stunning wildlife, desert oases and probably the world’s most beautiful waterfall. The mighty Iguazú/ Iguassu/Iguaçu Falls.

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   Lagoon filled desert trekking (north-east Brazil)

 African Safari

You really are spoilt for choice for potential wildlife spotting paradise locations in Africa and I don’t have time to go into them all. If you’re looking to spot Gorillas and Chimpanzees then Uganda and Rwanda are the go to locations. If you’re more interested in a general safari experience I can recommend a few countries and national parks.

African safaris are notoriously expensive but there are deals to be found and many solo travellers opt to volunteer at centres for the chance to do a budget safari trip. As a family South Africa’s famous Kruger Park could be a great choice, self drivable options make this affordable and November is a time of year I’ve been recommended to visit. Botswana Chobe park (teeming with wildlife year round), Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park (home to Africa’s largest annual migration event) and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve (famous for big cats) are also fantastic options. Staying just outside of the National Parks is a great way of making your once in a lifetime safari trip affordable.

Ecuador- The Galapagos

I lived in Ecuador for several months, part of this time I spent living in spectacular primary rainforest whilst volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation centre. I got to know the native species and the country well (currency USD by the way). I never had the opportunity to venture to the Galapagos and I’m not sure If I could justify it due to tourism damaging some of the ecology there but that being said it is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. I met many travellers, tourists, families and couples who’d visited and nearly everyone had a mind blowing time there.

It is not cheap but there are many different options. Generally it is better to fly into the city of Guayaquil as it is close to the islands. It is not a nice or particularly family friendly city however and I’d only recommend it as the start location for a trip, not an area to explore. There are countless cruise options, some people chance it and look to book last minute budget cruises upon arrival. Whereas when travelling as a family I understand the importance of peace of mind and having everything arranged in advance. The most affordable option is to take a boat to one of the main islands such as Isabel a, Santa Cruz or San Cristobal, find budget accommodation there and do day trips out to see wildlife in other locations.

Nevertheless, the main experience people come for is the cruise. Do your research as there are countless companies with huge varieties in itinerary and tour length. Also it pays to see what animals you can expect to find and where so you have an idea of the islands you wish to visit, this helpful map can be of some assistance in that regard. There’s no escaping the rich historical and scientific history of The Galapagos and that coupled with the amount of truly unique wildlife makes this an intriguing destination to say the least. Please just make sure you pick an ecologically conscious company!

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an animal lover’s paradise; it’s one of the more expensive areas in Central America but also one of the safest, with relatively widespread English comprehension (however it would pay to brush up on your Spanish before arrival.) US dollars are generally accepted; alternatively your best option is to exchange your currency for Colones at a local bank once inside the country.

Wildlife rich would be an understatement. Whether it’s in a sanctuary or immersed in a cloud forest, rainforest or national park you will be blessed with an abundance of weird and wonderful species to behold in this small nation. The Osa Peninsula would be my personal recommendation. The Corcovado National park is famous here and is home to 140 species of mammal and 462 bird species! The most beautiful jungle to be found in Costa Rica is for me the authentic rainforest of Tortuguero.

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Squirrel monkey (one of the 4 species of monkey you can find in Costa Rica)    

So that concludes the second instalment and my recommendations for wildlife wonders to enjoy with all the family!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources.

 

Family Travel Bucket List Destinations – Island Getaways

IMG_5944 Island Getaways that will please both children and parents. Guest author shares his tips and experiences for where to go on holiday.

Something I’ve spoken about before is the benefit of travel. By the time I was 25 I’d visited around 40 countries. This may seem a lot but considering there are upwards of 200 and the fact that I’ve met plenty of people who´ve surpassed 100 puts this figure in perspective. Of course travel shouldn’t be about quantity of places or ticking names off a list, quality of experience is much more valuable. I merely highlighted my relative travel experience to give some context in regards to my view point and hopefully some credence too!

I first left the UK when I was three. All I remember of Italy was a beautiful but stony beach; however that doesn’t mean to say there was no benefit in this experience. Being introduced to other cultures and countries at a young age definitely left an impression on me, it fed my longing for adventure as a young child. This developed in to wanderlust at a later age and has most certainly helped define who I am as an adult. The thing about travel is that no matter what your or your children’s fascinations are there is something for everyone. History, engineering, farming, art, culture, music, trekking, adventure, sports, relaxation and well-being, wildlife, science, food, architecture, religion and geography are all topics you can indulge in and learn about all over the world.

I previously emphasized the value of the precious family time and togetherness that a vacation provides, whilst simultaneously helping you de-stress and your children learn and grow. Now I’d like to give some more practicable and specific information pertaining to different destinations.

Once you become responsible for children of your own your ideal holiday destination changes in accordance with their likes and dislikes and also becomes dependent on what type of trip will give you the least stress! In the past I never understood the fascination people had with holiday resorts. For me they are never representative of the country you are visiting. Now I whole heartedly recognize the attraction. The ease in which they can booked, the reliable safety of the locations, the lack of issues to consider and the relative ease in which all the family can be pleased. However my experience on these types of trips is limited, what I’d like to do is give a breakdown on some unique bucket list holiday destinations. Even if you just managed to visit one of these places in your lifetime it will be a uniquely rewarding experience for everyone involved!

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Lesser Known Island Getaways

South East Asia

A well-trodden backpacking trail but still an area of the world filled with hidden gems and getaways that would make a special family trip. The first thing you’ll notice about South-East Asia is the price, it is incredibly cheap.

Indonesia is one of the cheapest countries in the world to travel around and is really quite a large country with plenty of tropical island paradise spots, Bali and the Gili Islands being the most famous but the nearby Lombok is my personal favourite. This lesser known cousin of Bali offers some postcard perfect beaches without the tourists. For the adventure seekers there is volcano trekking and also Indonesia is the only place in the world where you can see, in the wild, the planets biggest lizard and living dinosaur: the Komodo dragon. The nearby islands of Flores, Rinca and Komodo can be reached easily by boat for this excursion. Alternatively you shouldn’t pass on the opportunity for a boating day trip for snorkelling, diving or just island hopping!

The Philippines consists of over 7000 islands! You really are spoilt for choice here. Whether you’re interested in swimming with whale sharks, exploring forests full of the world’s smallest monkeys, hiking through traditional rice terraces or walking a picturesque beach at sunset on your own island, The Philippines is special. Less explored than traditional destinations such as Thailand, nevertheless The Philippines is on the rise as tourist hotspot. Manila is a nightmare of an airport but you can catch very economical internal flights to the white sands of Boracay, the turquoise waters of Palawan and everywhere in between. Island hopping in Palawan introduced me to the most perfect islands I’ve ever seen in my life.

Caribbean islands

A cruise can be fantastic for a family holiday but if you’re not ready to splash out and would prefer to see one or two islands in depth I can definitely make some suggestions.

Aruba is a beautiful island which much like Hawaii is easily traversable by car but can be managed in less time as it is a really small island (with a MUCH smaller population.) It is very safe and the whole population appears to be multi-lingual, fluent in English, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamento the local language, popular in the Dutch West Indies. To my ears this language sounds similar to Portuguese. There are beautiful uncrowded beaches in abundance and the locals are very friendly, amiable people. You will have no problem using US dollars here and for the adventure seeking there are plenty of options from renting dune buggy type vehicles to diving and water sports.

St Lucia is becoming a popular honeymoon spot for a reason. The island’s rugged dramatic scenery is attracting more and more visitors each year but yet St. Lucia remains far from overdeveloped and you get a real sense of nature and natural beauty here. Again English is widely spoken and the US dollar regularly accepted. Your time here can be spent relaxing or adventuring with all the family! Rainforest hikes, ziplining, volcanoes and waterfalls, this island has it all!

So there you have it, the first instalment of my unconventional family holiday bucket list destinations!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources and a scholarship program for single parents.

 

Traveling With Children Post-Divorce

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Why is travel important?

Travel is sometimes a necessity. People need to travel for work, to visit family but also to have important relaxation time and breaks from the day to day schedule. Studies have shown that compared to other OECD countries Americans get the least paid public holidays and least paid vacation time

However travel can broaden the mind, it can be necessary to de-stress and maintain productivity in the workplace for when you return. Furthermore it is essential in terms of having quality work-free time with your children. Divorce shouldn’t change that time. It is important for bonding and for your child’s development. Family holidays are generally always remembered well into adulthood and for some families they become a rare time when there is enjoyment, indulgence and new exciting experiences for everyone. The lack of set routine, pressure and stress is always a bonus factor.

Never underestimate the importance of planning!

Divorced parents should try and continue giving their children these experiences. In fact usually there are court ordered specific allotted holiday times for each parent, often solidified in a custody agreement or parenting plan. These can take the spontaneity out of planning a trip but at least it adds to the anticipation for the kids! After divorce you will find travelling with your children takes additional planning anyway. You have to respect the sometimes legally binding allotted holiday periods each parent has. You should inform your ex-spouse of the details of your trip and all relevant travel arrangements. This could include expenses, dates, destinations, hotel names, addresses and phone numbers, plus expected methods of communication whilst away. Planning is always productive in terms of trips, it helps anticipate and deal with potential issues whilst managing your time better in order to get the most out of your holiday. The longer and further away the trip the more planning is generally required, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun to sometimes slightly wing it though!

Whatever you do you should remember that post-divorce you need to pay even more attention to saving the relevant travel documents in order to avoid any hiccups. It could also be important to save correspondence with your ex pertaining to the trip in the unlikely event that they try to deny that you have confirmed these preparations with them previously. Another factor to consider is where your child’s travel documents are kept. If you have physical custody of your child you may assume the most logical place is in your house. Get it in writing; the last thing you want is an argument over passport access a few hours before your flight!

When travelling with children safety always comes first. You have to consider factors that maybe weren’t high priority for you when you backpacked Asia on your gap year! Now in the likely event that you’ll be the sole adult on the holiday your responsibility is increased. The US government website provides breakdowns on countries by profile; you can get current safety levels, necessary vaccinations and travel advice.

Controlling your innate feeling isn’t easy!

Something I’ve talked about before is the emotional sacrifice necessary to let your child spend the holidays with your ex. It is common to feel the need to interfere in their plans and be aware of every minute detail, whilst simultaneously feeling slight resentment that your ex is getting to have fun with your child without you. Why should they get to have all the fun whilst you’re stuck with the day to day grind, the meal preparations and school runs? Maybe the financial ramifications of divorce have left you unable to take your child on the type of trips your ex can, this is bound to leave a bitter taste in your mouth. However, you have to try and break free from that way of thinking. The trip is for your child and if it’s in their best interests then you should go with it. There are countless potential issues and feelings that will arise when it comes to your child holidaying without you, the best way to tackle these is consider as many as possible. The fewer surprises, the lower your frustration and angst will be.

Summary

Whilst post-divorce there are certain conditions and obstacles that weren’t prevalent before, the bottom line is that this shouldn’t stop you travelling with your child. Travelling can teach them new responsibilities, social skills, tolerance and respect for different cultures whilst strengthening the bond between you both. Travelling and holidays can be important educational opportunities; this importance should not be overlooked or undervalued!

Krishan Smith, author of this article, is the new senior editor at Custody X Change, a custody software specialist company. He’s originally from the UK but now living in Colombia.

 

Vacations With Your Children In Their Twenties

image5 ship 2017Vacationing with your youngsters was easy. If they got tired of culture, a neighborhood park was fun. Watching squirrels and birds was a blast. Twenty somethings are more of a challenge to keep them amused. Going on vacation requires plenty of pre-planning for this age group. One friend says that her sons want to go to “hot spots to pick up chicks.” A trip to Iceland was fascinating for these young men. -hiking among waterfalls, over lava rocks and being awed by geysers. At night while she and her husband rested their old bones, the lads went clubbing. All were happy.

Choosing destinations that will keep older teens and ones in their twenties entertained is important.

A lovely resort on a small island was magical for my young sons. The children’s club was top-notch where they were exposed to Caribbean culture, songs and cooking. The boys learned about marine life while strolling along the beach and the rainforest was their outdoor classroom. Fast forward a decade. Two bored teens begged their former playroom teachers to let them come back with the little ones for various activities. Learned my lesson. We recently went to Dominican Republic which is a larger island with more action, such as ziplining. There is the Water World complex which has marine life, events and a casino. They were pleased. The mountains were breath-taking and that alone was enough for me.

Our latest trip to the Caribbean was a cruise. On quieter islands – more known for beaches than nightlife – my twenty something companions found entertainment on board. There were shows, games, dancing, and staff who were their ages. My older son befriended two who worked in the Dutch Café. He had been to their homeland, The Netherlands, and enjoyed talking with them every evening over cappuccino or beer. These lively young adults were the highlight of my son’s cruise. At the beginning of a cruise, there is a gathering scheduled for singles. On one, it was for twenty somethings only and this group hung out together most of the time.

Traveling with twenty somethings who have much younger siblings can be tricky.

The islands that we explored have attractions for a wide variety of ages. The brightly painted buildings in Curaçao are stunning. Its city Willemstad, one of the larger ones we visited, has an aquarium and maritime museum which are appealing. Wandering around the centuries old alleyways is an adventure in itself. The twenty somethings enjoyed the nightlife and the fireworks display. Aruba has a butterfly farm and a compact downtown area very close to the pier. Easy to navigate with a stroller and charming pubs with local brew for the young adults. We spent most of our time on Gran Turk at the beach. There is an informative exhibit of when astronaut John Glen landed here after being the first American to orbit Earth.

Bonaire is a paradise with water so clear one can look down and see beautiful tropical fish and coral. No wonder it is one of the dive capitals of the world. While older ones are part-taking in the plethora of water sports, the youngsters can splash around in the warm ocean. The shells, coral and beach glass washed ashore are amazing. To get to the city (Kralendijk) from the pier, one goes through the historical Fort Oranje whose walls are partially constructed with coral. The shops and cafes contained within these walls are patrolled by iguanas. Kids of varying ages will enjoy the craft markets particularly on Dominican Republic and Bonaire. Talking to the locals and seeing their wares was educational and fun at these venues.

A cruise is a good way to have a family reunion when there are three generations with various interests and energy levels. Look for resorts or hotels that have a kids ‘club, and activities, such as water sports. The older ones can learn surfing, go snorkelling and swim in deeper water. The wee ones enjoy sitting on the beach making sandcastles or playing with a plastic bucket and spade (which I would pack). For city adventures, the tots can be wheeled around in a stroller when exploring the new locale with the whole family. After doing sightseeing that is interesting to all, the older siblings can part ways to concentrate on what they want to do. Parents sometimes travel with a paid nanny to take the baby back for a nap or playtime. Others like me, bring along a granny. My mother would get tired tramping around ruins and museum at about the same time as my youngest. Those two would head back to the hotel or ship for down time.

Tips on making vacations more affordable.

  • US News & World Report has information on credit cards with no transaction fees creditcards.usnews.com/no-foreign-transaction-fee Make sure that you are billed in local currency on your credit card and not in US Dollars. The venders’ exchange rate is higher. My credit card is with an airline and I use it for almost all purchases. I get at least one free trip overseas each year.
  • Skip the expensive internet packages aboard ships. It is easy to find free Wi-Fi at coffee shops in ports and cities. Soft drink packages can also be pricey. Satisfy your craving ashore. If you are planning on cruising again, passengers can get extra discounts when booking for another one while still onboard.
  • Consider making purchases more in the middle of a city. In Curaçao, one son reported beer was almost half the price three streets from the harbor front. In Prague I paid more than double for crystal necklaces bought on the Old Town Square.
  • Consider booking directly with the hotel or wherever you are going. In London, I e-mail the hotel and since they know me, they give a much lower rate than available on any discount site. Book early for better prices. Be on an e-mail list for last minute deals. A friend and I went on a European river cruise when we were able to grab a cabin a week or so before departure.

When travelling with family of vastly different ages, pack your sense of humour and curiosity. Leave expectations at home.

 

 

 

 

Travelling with Children Post-Divorce as a Single Parent

Travelling with children as a single parent can be challenging, however there are tricks to making it go smoother. If being used to having another adult helping out (your former spouse), consider enlisting a replacement. My mother was the “granny nanny” and accompanied my two sons and I on many of our global adventures. She escorted a tired child back to the ship or watched the boys play in a park while I hit a few shops.

Select destinations according to the ages of the children. Wee ones enjoy playing in the sand and staying put in one place. A condo at a beach or cabin at a lake fills this need nicely. Older ones crave adventure or exploring ruins like Indiana Jones. Think about a place that would be enjoyable for every family member. For example, many families where I reside, go to Costa Rica. One can take a leisurely stroll in the rainforest with a toddler, or have teens zip-lining through it. There are beaches for relaxing and museums for culture. Amusement parks, such as Disneyland, satisfies kids of all ages. See what travel deals you can get to make trips more affordable.

Several divorced parents advise going to all-inclusive resorts. The youngsters partake in fun sports or classes which enables mom or dad to have some free time. It is one price for food, lodging and many of the offered activities. My friend liked to take her two sons to a Club Med, some which have circus classes for children. While her boys were dangling from ropes or on the trapeze, she was sipping a rum cocktail on the beach.

There are various travel companies which offer special tours for families. One has safaris to Africa where the youngsters meet with a chief to learn about tribal life. The single parents can be at the spa or working out during these few kids only events. There are plenty of experiences that are shared with the children. Not being hands on 24/7 gives the solo parent a much needed break.

After my divorce, we tended to go on ocean or river cruises. We took advantage of sales and 2 for the price of 1 offers. I did not have surprises with costs and selected trips that fit my budget. I liked unpacking only once and not waking up cranky boys to catch trains or busses. We sailed at night and merely walked off the ship to a new destination each morning.     Please read more   www.divorcemag.com/blog/travelling-with-children-post-divorce

Holiday European River Cruise to Christmas Markets

img_3143Holiday River Cruise to European Christmas Markets

Take a European river cruise to enchanting Christmas markets to get you in the holiday spirit. My sons and I had wanted to do this for a decade and finally went on a Viking River Cruise last December originating in Budapest and terminating in Munich. Although we had been to most of the places before, these cities are very different at this time of year with the incredible wooden stalls decked out in Christmas finery. Pack for both Artic and spring like conditions as weather can be a bit unpredictable. Throw in a few smart outfits for the evenings, but nothing formal. The beauty of river cruises as opposed to ocean ones, is that they are docked in the centre of the city in the midst of the festivities. The Christmas markets are usually about a ten minute walk from the ship, which is lovely for quick strolls after dinner. The wooden stalls full of toys, ornaments, food and much more are lit up like a fairyland in the evenings. What is nice about these markets is that one is buying directly from the artists, bakers and toymakers. The markets are often in the heart of the city near the shops, which makes ticking items off your holiday gift list quite easy.

A Christmas river cruise is on a ship of around 100 to 150 passengers. There is much mixing and interactions among the passengers. Meals are open seating with dinner at a specified time with beer and wine included. Activities take place in the lounge and this is a time to mingle with others. One night we had a German Children’s Choir who sang carols in either German or English. They were adorable. There are a variety of lectures, concerts, folkloric dances, a cooking demonstration and so much more.

There is an on board library with reference books and games. There are shelves of books that others can take and replace with one that they have read. I really like the cappuccino/hot chocolate machine that is available round the clock. In the afternoons, local cookies and pastries are provided. The young European staff are amazing and the concierge will arrange for tickets, taxis, reservations or whatever is desired on shore. The holiday décor on the ship is exquisite.

The itinerary includes city excursions which may very slightly during the winter. In the summer we went to a marvellous organ concert in Passau, Germany. On this cruise we went to a gingerbread store that had been in the same family for generations instead. It was interesting learning about the different types of gingerbread and nibbling on the samples. One Christmas market was a bit of a drive, and that was in lovely Salzburg. Fun to see where “The Sound of Music” was filmed. They had quite an extensive market and a very walkable city

The markets in various cities have specialities. We got the potato dish in Bratislava and the cheese recolette in Salzburg, and Munich. Bratwurst was prevalent everywhere.  Hot mulled wine was available in all of the markets and even in the gingerbread shop in Passau. Budapest had unique baked goods as did the other markets. Viking gives handouts on what to buy, both in crafts and food at each market. They explain what is unique in the markets and cities being visited. Their history of the regions and maps are helpful.

This trip was my Christmas present to my sons and we arrived home on December 21st. I bought a few treats on the trip for Christmas morning. This river cruise to the Christmas markets was magical and is a worthwhile addition to anyone’s Bucket list.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/

Vacations for Single Parents, NZ and Australia

When one is newly divorced, there is the dilemma of where to go on vacation. Do you repeat family trips that you did while still married, or start different types of adventures with the kids? Is it sad or reassuring to follow vacation rituals from pre-divorce?

A little over a year after my divorce, my healthy mother had a quick series of vascular events and ended up in Hospice. My two sons and I already had a week cruise to Alaska scheduled and Hospice insisted that we go on it, since we were on the verge of breakdowns. This time was so special and we bonded over having normal conversations again that did not involve death. The incredible scenery and other passengers were just the tonic we needed at this point.

Before she had her medical crisis, my mother had demanded that we go on a Christmas/New Year’s cruise to Australia and New Zealand (I am an only child). While on board the ship in Alaska, it seemed like she was whispering in my ear to book the holiday trip for my two sons and me. Holland America kept saying that there was availability, but the pricing was not correct. They had to give the cruise to us at the price on their computer, which was three for the price of one passenger! The day this happened turned out to be the very day my mother passed away. That was her parting gift to us. My travel agent later said that this nominal cost was unbelievable.

What a special adventure this turned out to be and a more pleasant way of spending our first Christmas without her company. We flew into Auckland, NZ, checked into our ship, and threw our luggage into our cabin. Several people told us before we left, that Waiheke,  a magical island caught in the fifties, was a short ferry ride from Auckland. Indeed it was a fantasy of laid back people in a breath taking environment. The coffee shop, beach, and plethora of flowers just banished any blues. This was our second Christmas since my divorce and we decided to start new rituals.

Distraction is a way to divert energy from worrying about troubles, into having positive experiences. There were plenty of diversions in New Zealand, such as going to a wildlife center, a farm to watch sheep shearing, and learning about Maori culture and that was just the first port of call. New Zealand has warm people, stunning fiords, and Napier which is an Art Deco city. We went from a horrible divorce, my mother’s death, to laughing and viewing life in a more light-hearted way. Steward Island, NZ is mainly a nature preserve with citizens that came for a holiday and have stayed for a decade or so, such as the barista in the coffee shop. Bring medicine for sea sickness if you sail from there through the Southern Seas to beautiful Tasmania. After Melbourne, we ended this journey in breath-taking Sydney. Kids will love Sydney as there is so much to do, such as the aquarium and going to Bondi Beach.

Consider going on a cruise to break away from past rituals when starting your life anew post-divorce. A single divorced pal did a similar Christmas/New Year’s cruise and loved the festivities and not needing dates for dances. The ship’s décor and live holiday musical performances was exactly the pampering I required.   Please read more   divorcedmoms.com/articles/how-did-i-handle-divorce-and-the-death-of-my-mother-i-went-on-a-dream-vacation

Travel for Introverts or Singles after Divorce

IMG_1829 bakeryWanderlust may kick in after a divorce, when one is alone. Places that were not on your spouse’s Bucket List may be enticing to visit. My introvert friend is finding travel more challenging than her gregarious acquaintances do. She has ruled out group travel, but this is a bit hasty. Group tours vary vastly from those that march travellers around en masse eight hours a day to those that offer one quick orientation look around the city. The American travel guru Rick Steves, suggests taking a fully escorted tour, however go on the excursions that would be more difficult to do on your own, like Machu Picchu. Take advantage of the hotels and transportation, but opt out of some sightseeing and look around on your own if desired.

TOURS FOR SOLO TRAVELERS

There are hybrid ones that get you to one or more places which include a short get acquainted with your destination tour in each new locale. They may start the journey by Eurostar or a flight to a city or island. One is picked up at the airport and taken to the hotel. There is an hour or so tour with the rest of the time on your own. The beauty of these is that the travel arrangements are left to the pros – you just show up. One gets great rates since the tour companies are buying these trips from travel venders in bulk. There is a safety net to doing travel this way which is not there when you make all of your own arrangements. The company representative (or contact person) is on hand to make recommendations, answer questions or be of assistance in emergencies. This is especially good for a first time visit to a region. I have seen some of these tempting trips listed as ads in British Women’s magazines.

HURTIGRUTEN CRUISES

There is another option to sailing, but without the crowds, casinos and shows. The Norwegian Hurtigruten cruises are great for the solitary traveller. Some sail along the Norwegian coast, coming or returning to Bergan to drop the post off at small villages. They make up to seven stops a day, some for less than an hour. This is a wonderful way to explore on your own and snap a few pictures. Some ports offer an optional sightseeing tour. The coastal cruises have breakfast and lunch buffets with open seating. The focus is on the spectacular scenery and not on shipboard activities. They run year long, and people enjoy spotting the Northern Lights in the winter. Their sea sailings are laid back with no formal nights. A naturalist gives lectures plus may have tables outside on deck showing the local flora and fauna. There is a ceremony when crossing the Arctic Circle.

RIVER CRUISES

River cruises may be more in line for introverts with a hundred or so other passengers instead of thousands. They dock near the city centre with plenty of free time for individual explorations. The ships are small and one bumps into less people when finding a private corner to read. Ocean going vessels can be docked away from the action and may spend less time in port. On some mega ships, there is an emphasis on the ship board amusements. Tables may be assigned, however one is free to eat in other dining areas by oneself. On ships, one can have the connection of being around others, without being forced to interact, especially at concerts or show. I enjoy both types of cruises.

TRAIN TRIPS

Some singles have taken long train journeys and raved about them. They could be sociable or enjoy spectacular scenery from their cabin. The Ghan train in Australia was recommended by a solo traveller. I took a train from Bangkok through Malaysia terminating in Singapore. Other people have embarked on train trips throughout Europe and Africa plus the Trans-Siberian Express. Another option is taking a bus trip such as on megabus. I thought megabus was more for the young backpacker set, but found out otherwise. Middle age solo travellers book their ticket for multiple European destinations on the easy to use website. One can pre-book hotels and some city tours or decide what to do upon arrival.

GET AWAY FROM IT ALL

An introvert can get away from it all and book a cottage by the seaside, lake or lovely village. There are plenty of web sites and guide books listing private residences for short-term holiday rentals. Some singles go on long hikes such as Spain’s Camino De Santiago. There is the thrill of accomplishment when reaching the end.

FOCUSED TRAVEL

Be creative with your travel arrangements in avoiding being part of the herd. Some divorced people have gone on trips with a particular focus, such as cooking photography or birding. One is around like-minded people who are concentrating on the activity instead of on small talk. Bon Voyage!   Originally in The Divorce Magazine   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/travel-introvert/

 

Stress-free Travel with Youngsters

It may not seem like a relaxing holiday with a baby in tow – but with a little pre-planning it can be rewarding for all. These tips are especially helpful in the post-divorce period when you may be travelling by yourself with youngsters. Having a trip with a limited itinerary, such as a beach holiday worked well for us.  My baby or toddler loved sitting in the sand playing with a plastic shovel and when older, making sand castles. The sea creatures and birds added extra entertainment to lazing around at the shore. One parent suggests going to an area that also has a bay, cove or sound near the ocean which is calmer water for the little ones. The South Pacific surrounding the Cook Islands, is like stepping into a warm, multi-coloured bathtub water – just perfect for tiny children. Taking my young sons to Na Trang, Vietnam required holding on to them in the large waves. Even beaches on the same island can be vastly different – a surfer’s dream or like a pond. Many parents have stated that staying in a condo, cottage or villa was worth the extra expense.  They liked having extra room, a kitchen and more seclusion for toddler tantrums. The location, beach or mountains was more secondary as long as they had this bigger space than a hotel room. Another choice is staying with friends or family who may have baby necessities and other kids. We visited my mother in my old home which still had some of my toys and book. My mother purchased a stroller, travel crib, high chair, and car seat which remained at her place. I just threw a few clothes and essentials in our suitcase for an easy trip. The little ones had lots of playtime with Gran and I vegged out with uninterrupted reading.

Selecting a destination with animals is a hit with youngsters, such as a farm stay or being near a zoo. In northern Thailand, our hotel was across the street from a fabulous butterfly and orchid farm. Twice a day water buffalo were paraded around the hotel property and my sons petted or rode these gentle beasts. We also went to a nearby elephant sanctuary. Staying near a petting zoo or animal park are other options.

Schedule running around time into the itinerary to blow off toddler energy, such as going to nearby parks.  My boys enjoyed meeting and playing with other children in these areas. One holiday that did not work out well with a baby was going to Disneyworld. It took too much time going to the different areas and he became fussy. Parking his stroller at different rides and venues became tedious. A small, more local amusement park would okay. My babies also enjoyed children’s museums.

Consider going to hotels that have kids clubs. My sons’ favourite one was at the Four Seasons in Nevis. It was from ages 3-9, but my 19 month old was welcome with my supervision. They learned Caribbean culture, songs and had field trips around the beach and hotel property and my sons petted or rode these gentle beasts. We also went to a nearby elephant sanctuary. Staying near a petting zoo or animal park are other options.

Schedule running around time into the itinerary to blow off toddler energy, such as going to nearby parks. My boys enjoyed meeting and playing with other children in these areas. One holiday that did not work out well with a baby was going to Disneyworld. It took too much time going to the different areas and he became fussy. Parking his stroller at different rides and venues became tedious. A small, more local amusement park would okay. My babies also enjoyed children’s museums.

Consider going to hotels that have kids clubs. My sons’ favourite one was at the Four Seasons in Nevis. It was from ages 3-9, but my 19 month old was welcome with my supervision. They learned Caribbean culture, songs and had field trips around the beach and hotel property. Most of the Four Seasons resorts have a complimentary kids club for either 3-9 or 4-12, with babies allowed under guardian supervision. All of their hotels have complementary cribs and other baby essentials. Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas has kids clubs from ages one to seventeen.

Club Med is renowned for their kids clubs which include sports and circus training at no cost for those four and over. There is a fee for the Baby Club starting at six months and the petit club up to age four. In the evenings, a Pyjama Club is available so parents can enjoy adult company with dinner and drinks. Club med provides free cribs and high chairs. My friend took her baby and pre-schooler to the Club Med in Thailand and all had such a fun holiday. The kids clubs at Club Med have specially trained youth counsellors and have a vast variety of activities for children.

There are various travel agencies that book holiday cottages, villas, hotels and trips for families with babies, whether in the UK or farther afield. Thomas Cook has a list of Family World hotels and resorts globally which are geared towards kids as young as six months. These hotels provide the necessary equipment such as cribs and potties. They have a baby service centre where parents can make bottles and special meals. There is a toddler program which includes time in the water in places such as Crete and Menorca. Another one is Neilson Clubs which provide nannies in their different locations starting with the Starfish Club at four months (has a fee). The Sea Urchin Club for kids 2-4, plus clubs for older siblings are complimentary and includes supervised beach fun along with indoor activities. A mobile listening devise for parents is available. Some of these great clubs are in Turkey and Greece.

Sunsail’s Minnow Club is for those four months to two years and has a charge. Their other kids clubs are complimentary. The kids clubs and activities for parents can be as active as one likes and includes sailing lessons, wind surfing and water sports. Besides swimming and canoeing, these youngsters can enjoy quieter pursuits, such as story time or games. Some of these destinations include Greece. Holiday with Baby is a travel company that has baby friendly stays in the UK and abroad. Their UK Cottages are baby proofed with necessary baby equipment. They have listings for villas and hotels globally which are geared to the little ones. Simpson Travel offers specials providing complimentary childcare particularly in their locations in Greece. Their Hatchlings Creche is for babies six months to three years. The Turtles Club is for 4-10. Twice a week parents can have an adult evening while the kids have fun in the kids club evening sessions.

When divorced, it is nice to have a balance of being with the kids and having some alone or mingling with other adults time too.

Originally printed in The Divorce Magazine  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go on a Christmas Cruise Post-Divorce

IMG_1613One way to start new Christmas traditions is to get away from it all and wipe the slate clean after divorce. No more “this was what we did when we were still married last Christmas Eve.” One happily divorced woman who is now my friend, went on a Christmas/New Year’s cruise solo. She chose to surround herself with many people and felt the Christmas spirit. Not needing a date to dance the night away on New Year’s Eve was a bonus.

On cruises, there are often get-togethers for the single passengers of all ages. Beats moping around one’s flat when friends are occupied with their own holiday plans. Both my sons and I did two holiday cruises on Cunard’s QE2 with my husband and mother. Then just the three of us did two post- divorce ones on Holland America.

What are holiday cruises like?

The anticipation starts months ahead of time when selecting the destinations. The cruises are a nice mix of exploring other cultures during the day and consuming scrumptious meals on board while possibly being serenaded by a string quartet. It was a unique experience hearing a steel band in the Caribbean playing carols and seeing Gibraltar decked out in Christmas decorations. There are different types of entertainment – concerts, musicals, comedians, magic shows, plus much more. Other activities are lectures, cooking demonstrations, computer classes, quizzes, and bridge, just to mention a few. One can be sociable or chill out reading in a quiet corner. The kids are kept busy and the single parents get some alone time or to interact with other adults. The staff puts on a show and sings carols. The QE2 had a traditional British Christmas which included a hilarious pantomime. Holland America embraced its Dutch heritage with their special foods and celebrations.

I packed my sons’ Christmas stockings with several small gifts. I picked up something on the trip, a local t-shirt or souvenir, since the cruise is their present. Having just a few stocking stuffers to open gets the focus off material goods and puts the emphasis on shared experiences. At home we never attended so many holiday programs or ate such feasts as we did on board.

The ships were decorated exquisitely and not having to take down the tree and so forth is a gift in itself. The time we did not spend getting tasks done in the frenetic holiday season meant we could bond in a stress-free environment. A few singles told me that they tucked away presents from their families and looked forward to opening them on Christmas Day. If you enjoy a surprise, consider going to a shop with items you like (skin serum for me) and pay them to wrap up something you can have on Christmas day.

The adults seemed to enjoy Father Christmas’s appearance on Christmas almost as much as the children.

He and the elves gave out presents while the adults sipped their spiked egg nog. My twenty-two year old was excited that Father Christmas remembered the college kids on board too.

A priest conducted lovely Christmas Eve and Day masses (actually every day). Classic holiday movies are shown in the cinema and being on this type of cruise is truly magical.

Book early since the holiday ones sell out.

I bring two non-religious holiday cards and put a little cash in them. One is a present for our cabin steward and the other for the waiter and the assistant at our table.  The money I do not spend on gifts, decorating, entertainment and food pays a chunk of the cruise price. It is possible to get cruise ships out of Southampton and other UK ports which saves on transportation costs.

As a single mother it is easier to budget for a cruise holiday, since I know the costs up front. We drink water and do not have added fees, such as a beverage or alcohol package. We eat in the main dining room which is included, and forgo the pricey specialty restaurants which are not. Some cruise lines include shore excursions in their price and others alcohol with meals. Look carefully at what is included and do some comparison shopping.

I asked various singles if they felt lonely on a cruise over the holidays and their answers were a big “no.” On the various holiday and regular cruises, quite a few passengers are travelling on their own.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/

A Trip is Essential After a Divorce

IMG_1164Getting away post-divorce is just the ticket to rebooting your life and making a fresh start. My post-divorce journeys were both internal and external as in “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. After being divorced for a few months, I felt like running away and that I did – to South Africa. It was a nurses’ tour, so I balanced alone time with camaraderie. This took me out of familiar surroundings and into the unknown. That is a way to focus on something else other than one’s woes. The other travelers asked me questions that were not directed by my divorce situation. Friends at home kept reminding me of my new single circumstance, it was great to be away from that. And, seeing lions, elephants and more in their natural habitat leaves one with a sense of awe. It was an honor to be temporarily a part of their world. The obstacles in my life became smaller after seeing what these animal mothers endure, with poachers, hunters, and illegal snare traps.

Teens can be a handful in the best of circumstances and more so after divorce. Near Cape Town is a penguin colony and their adolescents reminded us tour members of our kids. These young penguins were acting cool and huddled in a group. They would yell when younger siblings tried to join them. If a parent started to come over to them, these juvenile penguins turned their backs and ignored the adults. Sound familiar? Lesson learned was being able to laugh at these penguin adolescents enabled me to find my sons more amusing.

The women in Africa were building huts, foraging for food and had a rough existence by our Western standards, yet seemed very happy. That put my life in perspective. I became more grateful for what I had and readjusted my attitude. Several divorced women have surprised themselves by achieving feats such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or doing treks in Africa. Getting out of your comfort zone refreshes one’s outlook especially when in the midst of great scenery. Please read more…. http://divorcedmoms.com/articles/divorce-vacation-how-a-trip-was-the-first-step-in-my-postdivorce-journey

Tips for Packing lighter on Trips with Children

There are tricks to packing for a holiday to make life easier, whether going alone or with the kids.  My sons and I usually only have carry on, and in order to do this we have perfected a few practices.

We save socks and underwear with a hole in them for holidays, so they can be worn and thrown away on the trip. Trousers and shoes that still look okay but are getting a bit worn, are also packed and discarded too.

When my sons were little, I took almost outgrown clothes and left them behind in the hotels with a note.

I went to South Africa right after my divorce and the nice looking shirts that my ex had given me, were worn and donated to a local charity. I went to Egypt with a stuffed carry on and got rid of most of my clothes and had room for many souvenirs.

I do not take a handbag, but only a money pouch that can also hold a few other essentials like lip balm. I carry a small bag for books, snacks, an umbrella, etc around the city or while on tours which takes up no space in my suitcase. I take a larger tote bag as my personal item when travelling, that is roomier than a handbag.

Have a small travel wardrobe that washes well in a hotel or cabin’s sink and can be hung up to dry. This includes nice dresses in washable silk, for more formal affairs. I use the shampoo to wash clothes that is provided by the hotel or ship.

Magazines have foundation, lotion, and serum samples that I save for holidays. I get facials at Neal’s Yard and they are generous with trip size containers of their wonderful products.

How to Travel Light A pharmacy has special days where companies come in and hand out small promotional size goodies in their skin care lines. Stash these away for your next holiday, including the small tubes of toothpaste from your dentist.

I save small eye cream and lip balm containers and put my own creams and lotions into them to save space when packing toiletries.

Our local library has a rack where people leave their magazines and pick up other ones. I get some of these freebies for a trip. I read a book and often leave it in the ship or hotel’s library to lighten my load. Some people swear by the plastic bags that take the air out of clothes and squash them for more packing space, however I have not had much luck with these.

Business travellers often take apparel in just two or three colours to mix and match more easily, especially when they have both casual and formal functions.

When travelling with children, accept strangers’ help.  My toddler had a meltdown in an airport and I was losing my cool. I happily let a grandmother entertain him in his stroller with a new toy that she was giving her grandson. I had a newborn and a pre-schooler on a flight when the man sitting in front of us graciously got my stroller and kids’ luggage down from the overhead locker. Then Tiger Woods even insisted that we got off the plane before him.

Wrap up activity books, travel sized games and other entertaining small toys and dole them out on the trip. I gave my young sons medication for their ears on flights after consulting with their paediatrician, since the other remedies did not help their Eustachian tubes.

I took premeasured formula in a container that held three individual bottles’ worth and only had to put water in the bottle. I dumped in the right amount of powdered formula for each bottle given and this made travelling with a baby very easy. Of course carry extra snacks since there can be flight delays.

One doctor thought she would be smart and gave her young sons an anti-histamine on a long haul flight to get them to sleep most of the way. It was a trip from Hell. She said for the entire flight they screamed and cried like when they were on the verge of sleep at home, but were cranky and did not nap at all on the plane.

This is quoted by many folks, “Take twice the money and half of the clothes that you think that you will need on a trip.”

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

 

Travel the World and Not Break the Bank

There are ways to explore exotic locales or places closer to home and not break the bank. The Travel Bug is in our family’s DNA, so I had to learn some financial shortcuts to make this possible. I am in a group which meets regularly to swap travel stories and tips. Cruise and tour companies that I patronize, send e-mails with  promotions and savings. My travel agents have alerted me when there were travel bargains. Ask around for friends’ travel tips. One recommended an agency with incredible prices for package tours and my sons and I went to India with them. I have been to nearly seventy countries and have a few tricks to make globe-trotting feasible.   

One major method for getting airline tickets is my credit card through an airline. I rack up more miles by having an airline sponsored one, rather than a generic card through a bank, with miles used for various airlines. My friends that have cash back cards do not get enough for the equivalent of free airline tickets. Usually I have enough miles for my two sons to go to another continent every year or so. I skip the airline credit card with extra perks- such as several passes to the airport lounge – and get the one that accumulates the most miles with purchases. I put everything on that card. I only get a haircut or pedicure with aestheticians who take plastic. Any repair or tradespeople have to accept my visa, or I get someone else. I pay utilities, grocery, petrol, and school fees with my Visa. Gov.UK charges a 1.4% fee for using a credit card to pay taxes. Even with a fee, it is still worthwhile for me to pay all of my taxes with my airline Visa card. I only charge what I can pay off in entirety each month, so do not accrue any interest charges. My utility companies charge a nominal fee per transaction (not monthly) to use a credit card for payments. I pay ahead so only pay 3 to 4 transaction fees per year.

Travel Around the World

See if your professional organization has trips or conferences in far flung places. I used  a travel agency that had trips for four types of professionals, with nursing being  one of them. I went to Kenya, Poland, Prague, China and so many other places for a much lower price. In the States, the Internal Revenue Service allows one international business trip a year to be taken off one’s taxes. Some professional meetings are held on curise ships for Continuing Education requirements.  

Ways to cut lodging costs when traveling: My mum took me on a trip to Washington D.C and we stayed in a dorm room and ate some meals there in Georgetown University’s cafeteria. The American travel guru Rick Steves, recommends taking a packaged tour, but opting out on some of the city excursions. The price and convenience makes it worthwhile to forgo a few paid local tours and balance the trip with some alone time away from the group. A few people have been pleased with doing house swaps with strangers for a few weeks. Make sure to do this through a reputable company. I went to several travel talks where people recommended doing volunteer work through organizations, such as EarthWatch.

The big way to have money to travel is to live simply. When extra money comes my way, it immediately goes to the travel fund. We have a bright teal canister from Marrakesh which contains coins found on the ground and any extra cash. It is amazing how throwing in coins and five pounds here and there adds up to a holiday.  I bought new designer clothes at charity shops. Go to free or nearly free concerts and events. Scrutinize your expenditures to see what can go. Pare down your gift list and inform these recipients (who probably have been wanting to do this too). Meet friends for lattes instead of a meal. Do an inventory off your possessions, sell what you can live without. Metal shops pay for battered sterling silverware and broken necklace chains. Do you have family china or other heirlooms that you do not really want? Sell them and cherish the travel experience in memory of your departed relative. Be creative in slashing costs and discovering fabulous travel deals.

 

 

 

Great Travel Destinations for Families

IMG_1723School is almost out and time is nearing for vacation. Taking trips together recharges the family’s batteries and strengthens the relationship. Here are my top 10 picks for family fun!

1. London. This is an easy place to navigate with an extensive underground and bus system. There are great travel deals on airline tickets and packaged tours to this exciting destination. Famous sites, such as The Tower of London, Big Ben and Parliament are steeped in history and the subject of nursery rhymes. Relive Rolling Stone’s lyrics by walking around London, “She gets her kicks in Stepney, not in Knightsbridge anymore.” London is walkable city with attractions close together. Must see museums include Madame Tussaud’s, the Natural History Museum and the gruesome London Dungeon. Huge city parks are just the ticket to release pent up kid energy or take a walk in nature. It is easy to buy baby supplies and I was able to pack lightly.

2. Anywhere there is a beach. We stayed at the Outer banks, North Carolina with a baby who happily played in the sand. My mother took me every summer to the Jersey Shore which had fun boardwalks and great beaches. Friends in Los Angeles sail to Catalina Island with their sons and enjoy the laid back atmosphere. My young sons and I stayed in St. Thomas and Nevis and liked the turquoise water. Farther afield is Fiji which has child-friendly hotels and beaches. The activities are geared towards families whether in the water or taking a guided nature walk.

3. Alaska. My sons and I went twice on Holland America cruises around Alaska. The ships dock a short distance from town or nature trails which makes it easy to get around if one is in a stroller. My sons learned a lot about wildlife, nature and Native American culture. They heard about history, including the Gold Rush and got to walk inside a famous bordello (their highlight).

4. Dude Ranches. Friends have enjoyed hours of horseback riding and hiking into wilderness on these ranch vacations. There are campfires with sing-a-longs and roasted marshmallows. One can be close to nature without camping.

5. The American West.  There are some breath-taking parks, such as Yellowstone. Pristine nature packed with wildlife.

divorcedmoms.com/articles/planninng-your-summer-vacation-10-best-destinations

Cruise Vacations with Children

IMG_1782The big draw on ships is the kids’ clubs, which have separate age groups. My sons met kids from around the world and especially enjoyed the sea days when they could spend more time there. Most ships’ clubs are for those between three and seventeen. Cunard allows babies from six months in the play area with parental supervision. They also have a night nursery for those between twelve and twenty-three months until 11 pm so a parent can enjoy adult company and take in a show. Carnival, P & O, and Norwegian Cruise Lines start their kids’ clubs at age two. Most of the cruise lines offer a babysitting service for a fee. Celebrity Cruises includes science and nature with their kids programs and has slumber parties. Most cruise lines, including Costa and Disney, have year round children’s programs. Fred Olsen’s Black Watch and Balmoral only have them during school holidays although the Braemar has a dedicated playroom.

My sons particularly enjoyed the teens’ hangout on the Holland American ships. When we sailed around the Hawaiian Islands the children’s program included Polynesian culture. They learned songs, dances, vocabulary, and fun facts about these islands.

Make your expectations clear so you and the kids are on the same page. My rule for lunch and dinner is that we meet in the cabin and go to either the dining room or cafeteria together. I mandate their company for at least one afternoon tea each cruise. I give clear instructions about what time and where we are meeting for shore excursions, but usually we are going there together. I do stay with them on shore excursions for security reasons, since we tend to go to places like Albania or locales which are like a maze.

I enjoy my boys’ company, but also my alone time reading or snoozing in a deck chair. They like some time with their peers. Cruises give us relaxing time to bond without the stress that comes with divorce and the diversion of jobs and commitments.   We concentrate on fun and strengthening our relationships with each other. My mum often joined us and cruising is a way to vacation that keeps three generations happy.

I do not buy either the alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink packages, instead we drink the free water, tea or coffee.

We enjoy a latte or beer in an atmospheric place on shore as part of the local culture.

We are judicious with shore excursions and choose the ones that are extraordinary. These included a day trip to Lapland to meet Father Christmas, visiting the villages in Cinque de Terre, going to the archaeological sites on Kirkwall, and a day trip to Albania.

In Oslo, we did a city tour for a fraction of the ship’s excursion price once we got off the ship. In other places such as Croatia, we walked on the city wall and soaked up the culture without a formal tour.

If you enjoy your cruise, consider booking another one while still on board for an additional discount.

We stick to mainly two cruise lines for the perks of being in a loyalty program. The discounts are larger and after a long haul flight, I enjoy being able to board a little earlier.

The beauty of ships’ loyalty programs as opposed to airlines’ ones, is that you keep your status. One you have sailed a certain amount of days, you never lose it, but only go up in the program.  With the airlines, your status is dependent upon how many miles you accrued the year before, and ships are what you have sailed during your life, not past the year.

There are specialist cruise booking sites that compare prices and give good deals. I book with cruise lines directly and get their e-mails regarding specials. Travel agents can look out for cruise sales and last minute price reductions. I book early and get the best fares. Having a third or fourth person in a cabin brings their fares down drastically. I book early for 2 for the price of one specials, such as on the river cruises.

Two single women I met live in the vicinity of Southampton. They keep a bag packed and call the various cruise lines every few days for a last minute cancellation. They cruise for next to nothing. What a life!

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

Vacation Tips for Single Parents

IMG_2222Vacation time is approaching and this can be more challenging for single parents. Here are some tips where to go so that both adults and kids are happy.  As a divorced parent, I have to watch my budget more closely and have been able to go globetrotting with my sons. It can be overwhelming taking your first vacation with your children post-divorce.

You may have had special places that you journeyed to as a family or you miss having some adult time. Your holiday budget has shrunk, but not your wanderlust. Make sure that you have a notarized letter from the other parent giving you permission to travel outside of the country. It is easier to get passports or renewals if it’s part of the divorce agreement. I got permission for specific future trips abroad during my divorce. My husband balked at first, but the interim child psychologist pointed out that he was jeopardizing his parental bonds by doing this.

All inclusive holidays made it much easier to stay within my decreased means. I also could take my divorced mother along on cruises and my sons have fond memories of globetrotting with Gran. Entertainment, meals and activities are included. What is nice is that my sons enjoyed the kids and teens clubs and still are in touch with some of their buddies from previous cruises.

Once you take a cruise, you are entitled to a past passenger discount and even more if you book another one while still on board. I like going to the concerts and shows and my boys can do other activities, if these are not appealing. Also, I am not paying for individual tickets for transportation between cities.

The ports of call are pleasing to all age groups even to those still in a stroller.

My son had his best birthday party ever which was given by the staff on the QE2.  Royal Caribbean has special “Divorced Dads and Kids Cruises” particularly on their Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas ships. These are designed to strengthen the bond between father and children. There are fun activities for the kids and dad can nip into the casino or have a pint with new pals.   Other lines, such as Norwegian, have also had special cruises for divorced people. I took regular cruises and met some life-long friends.

Do an online search and there are websites, such as Single Parent Travel and Cruisemates that have trips for single parents.  There are all inclusive resorts both in the UK and abroad that welcome single parents and children. The Caribbean has an overabundance of these and one company is “Beaches Resorts” which is owned by Sandals.

They are kid friendly and keep the little ones active while parents relax on the beach. They include meals, snacks, entertainment and non-motorized water sports for one price.  “Grand Pineapple Beach” has a few resorts in the Caribbean and claim to be an exceptional value. Club Med has been around for decades and welcomes children too.

If one wants to get away without tots in tow there are some fun options. Surf Diva Camp is in Costa Rica and has all female classes teaching how to surf.  Many of these women have recently gone through break ups. In the Grenadines, Barefoot Off Shore Sailing School has both co-ed and all female sailing programs.  Kamalame Cay, Bahamas has “Le Divorce” package that includes unlimited booze, snorkeling and many spa treatment plus other surprises.

The Miraval Resort in Tucson, Arizona has “Wellness Specials” not only to pamper, but help people recover from break ups. These wellness specialists help guests gain insight and provide yoga and other activities.  Think about starting new trip traditions. It could be painful travelling to the same spots you visited as a couple.

One woman started taking a nice trip with her mother each year post-divorce. I had my mother join us for some with my sons. Others do a spa weekend with girlfriends. I met some women in my travels who recently started taking trips with their sisters. A friend began mountain climbing post-divorce and did a trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro. One can lose possessions, but not life experiences.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

Safety tips for subways etc

  Recently a robbery happened to the man behind me in a subway station in South America. It could have taken place anywhere.  Be mindful of your surroundings, including “sleeping” homeless people on the floor. The big saftey tip is to particularly watch your wallet/ purse when you are going towards the train, BUT there is a nearby exit.  The man entered as we did, and someone behind him grabbed his wallet and ran up the  exit steps to the street. He yelled and I gestured to the policeman to follow them up the stairs.
This robbery occured at a small station, so we walked the extra 15 minutes to use a busy, large station after that robbery.  Skip the smaller, less peopled subway stations when possible.
 There are videos from the London underground stations, where would be thieves carry around empty plastic carrier bags.  What the theives do, is to shield the pickpocket area from passersby with the plastic bag.  Then no commuters see a billfold being lifted from a pocket or a handbad being opened and some contents purloined.
 My older son kept his hand in his pocket, over his wallet which may have saved him from being the robbery victim.  Even though there is safety in numbers, be vigilent of your surroundings.

Adopt a class before your vacation

Talk to a teacher and bring back a local craft/bookmark for each student.  The kids will learn a little bit about a new corner of the world.  When I went to Vietnam, I found a small set  containing a wooden girl and boy, dressed in the native outfits, for $1.50 each.  That way the gift could be given to either gender.  Colorful bookmarks with local scenes would also be inexpensive.  The teacher showed the first grade students where Vietnam is on a globe and map.  They briefly discussed a little bit about the country and food.  It was fun for me to find these treasures and the kids really liked them and learning about a different country  Key chains, pencils, pens or small local crafts would inspire children to want to know more about kids around the globe. Perhaps you could find a small  booklet about your travel destination, for school kids amidst these budget cuts for education.

Ten Top Travel Tips

IMG_2102Here are great tips from a frequent traveler:

1.  Save, don’t throw away, your holey underware and socks.  Add to it, pants, dresses etc that are on their last wearings. Clothes that aren’t to your liking, or were given to you by an ex,  could be included in this mix.  Take these on your upcoming trip and leave them or throw them away as you wear them.  Just think, you’ll  have almost a whole suitcase available for souvineers and presents. If you leave clothes behind in a hotel room, make sure to leave a note to the maid, that they are unwanted.

2. Book trips way ahead of time, even by a year, to take advantage of great prices. For example, Viking River Cruises has 2 for the price of 1 deals. 3. Book  another trip while onboard.  You usually can change the date or destination later, but keep the 5% to 10% discount.

3.  Get past cruiser  discounts or a night free in a hotel, by sticking with the same cruise lines, hotels, or airlines/partners. There are big savings in loyalty programs.

4.Save your small containers, such as eye cream or lip balm ones.  Put sunscreen, hair conditioner, etc in them for your small allotment for carryons.  Remember to use your children’s pint bag  liquid allowance for airplane carry ons and load them up with your extra lotions and potions. I especially use their liquid allotment on the return trips, when I bring back bodycare presents for friends

5. A great travel agent is invaluable, particularly if you are in a disaster on the way home and need assistance.  Agents also can sometimes get upgrades and added bonuses, that you can’t.  They can get cheaper prices, because they are experts and know how to get travel services in cost-cutting packages.

6. Go to the library and pick up free magazines to take with you. Get cheap paperback books that you can leave enroute, from a used bookstore, thrift shop or library book sale.

7.  Have specific pieces of clothes that you only take travelling.  That way, you can pack in 15 minutes and know what fits and packs wonderfully.  Purchase clothing that can be washed in a hotel sink and hung up to dry.  One great brand that does this beautifully, is  Tianello.  I have black pants that work well with a dressy top, or a casual t-shirt for daytime sightseeing.  I also have a comfortable pair of casual/ dressy black sandals for extensive walking, or dressier situations.  A few other pairs of shoes are just for trips.

8. Satisfy your wonderlust and get it off your taxes!  The IRS allows one inernational trip a year for your business/ job.  I usually go on one exotic nurses’ trip/conference a year in locales such as Iceland, Egypt, South Africa etc.  Check for conferences in the city or area of the world that you would like to explore.

9.  When you return from a trip is the time to restock your cosmetic case.  Wash out your brushes, replace needed cosmetics, then you are good to go at a moments notice.

10.  Do your birthday and holiday shopping when in exotic locales.  You will have different, exciting gifts, often at a fraction of the price of  the more mundane ones at home.  It makes going to the souk more fun, if you are buying future gifts for friends and family. My nephews loved the t-shirts from Egypt, Morocco etc. and my relatives have enjoyed the different jewelery, not found at home.  My friends enjoy the different facial treats  and lotions from abroad.

Travel Tips

IMG_1562  It’s better to start packing for your next trip right after you get back, rather than waiting to do so right before  your next one. If you need a new travel size deodorant or toothpaste, get them right away and pack in your carry-on.  Wash your make up brushes upon return and when dry, pack them in your cosmetic bag.  This way, if you have a family emergency, you’re good to go.  I keep small containers on hand, so I can fill them up quickly.  Save money, by recycling clean small containers, that used to contain your eye cream or lip balm.  I also stash samples and the small cosmetic freebies from magazines, in one place and take them along on journeys.  Airport security allows the blunt tip baby nail scissors to be taken in a carry-on bag.  They are great for cutting open samples or foil pouches of facial creams.  I also cut  off the bottom of tubes, to get every last bit of ointment or cream, while on the road.
I have a bin where my holey underwear and socks go, plus any clothes that have a few more wearings.  Then I can throw away or leave the clothes enroute, to make room for new purchases.  I went to Egypt with one small, carry-on suitcase and managed to have room for a lot of souvenirs and gifts.  When I leave clothes behind, I put a note on top of them in the hotel, that I am done wit them.
I keep an extra comb, travel tooth brush and disposible razor in my carry-on bag, so don’t have to remember to pack these before a trip.
You may want to have a space in your closet for a nightgown and several travel dresses or outfits.  Yes, I’m wearing a lot of the same clothes in travel pics, bit I haven’t forgotten anything and literally pack in 10 minutes.

Go to the public library to get free magazines before your trips. There is a shelf in my
library where people can exchange magazines. I stock up on used paperbacks at the library’s
semi-annual book sale fundraisers. Then I can leave books on my trips and have room for
buying gifts.  My older son goes to a used bookstore and stocks up on books.

I buy some Manga ( his current favorite) books for my younger son and save them for trips.
He is happy to do extra chores for these books and has something new to read on long haul
adventures. Curious George is great for the younger set,  particularly if you are going somewhere with cheeky monkeys.

Bon voyage!

Helping Local Charities when Traveling

When you travel abroad, think about helping local charities. If you know that you are visiting a school or orphanage, bring school supplies. Our nurses’ group brought supplies when visiting a school in a township in South Africa.  We didn’t know to bring easy reader books in English, so I sent a shipment  of paperback ones to them , after returning home.  When I went to poorer places, I brought some common antibiotics, etc ( from pharmacutical rep.s, which I used to know) and gave them to clinics.  In Burma, the guide asked if  I had any pediatric medication that I didn’t use for my two kids on the trip, so he could pass them along to a doctor friend who worked in the local pediatric clinic. The last day, I gave him kids’ tylenol, etc.

FINDING CHARITIES TO HELP

A great web site is www.stuffmyrucksack.com/, which has a global map, and you click on it where you are going.  For example, I clicked on Indonesia and a  local charity in Denpasar, Bali ( same area as the international airport) was recommended.  The web site states what they particularly need. This charity’s requests included body wash, pillow cases and diapers. Some items are so easy to pack  and one could pick up pillow cases and children’s clothes, cheaply at your charity shop. You are invited to put down a local charity that you found when traveling, upon your return.  Be sure to get specific information, such as address, phone#, directions from the airport, etc.
Just think of the positive message that you will give your children, as you go to clinics, school, etc, when abroad. It lets them realize that traveling isn’t just about yourself. Enjoy your adventures, while helping others!

Trading goods in foreign markets and saving money

Save money on items in souks and market places abroad. Take some of the latest jeans or other gadgets when going on vacation.  I took some American jeans and traded them in the  Istanbul souk for some great gifts. I took 2 cartons of American cigarettes to an upscale jewelry store in Jerusalem and bargained like mad.  The store owner was so impressed that he offered me a job on the spot.  Unfortunately, I was leaving soon and couldn’t accept it.  I did  get some lovely gold items from  his shop.  As a nurse, I wouldn’t take cigarettes again.
When I went to Egypt, our guide told us about the nurses before us, having to take a long bus trip  to a site, when the airplanes were on strike.  He dreaded their return that evening, fearing he would hear nothing but complaints. Imagine his surprise when the nurses were so excited and said it was one of the best days of their lives. A  nomadic caravan was in the desert and the bus stopped for it. The nurses got out, traded about everything on and with them, for lovely treasures from the desert, including jewelry and clothing. What a fantastic experience they had!
Surprisingly, my kids t-shirts have been popular in Asia. This is a money saving tip, which is fun to do,

Cruising for great deals – cheap travel

IMG_1545Find conferences around the globe in your profession and you travel to an exotic local as a tax deduction.  The IRS allows 1 international conference a year.
Some people have gotten terrific travel deals by using local travel agencies in foreign locales.  They use frequent flier miles to get to Europe, Asia etc and have a native agency make all of the interior arrangements and save big bucks.
As a single mother with a passion for international travel, I have to get the most bang for my buck. If you are retired or on a routine yearly schedule, such as a teacher, here is a great tip. Book your trip over a year ahead of time and take advantage of 2 for the price of 1 specials. We have taken several European river cruises on Viking River Cruises and paid the price of one passenger for two of us per cabin. All meals and shore excursions are included, so it is a big money saver for me.
Ocean cruises, such as Holland America and Cunard also have better deals, the farther out you book. With ocean cruises, you get another discount if you book, while still onboard for a future cruise.
Another trick a learned from two sweet elderly ladies who live around Southampton, England, is to keep a travel bag always packed and call cruise companies the day of or day before a ship’s departure. Southampton is a major hub for various cruise lines, so they often get unbelievable deals at the very last minute. They are both retired and have family that can watch their flat and house when that happens. If you live near a cruise ship terminal, this could work for you. Bon Voyage!

A Child’s favorite travel destinations

 

IMG_1350New Zealand

Here, from the mouth of my youngest son, are his top ten favourite places to travel, written by him.
Germany, the scenery is amazing and the food is excellent.
Vietnam, the people are so kind and welcoming plus the food is out of this world.
New Zealand, two main islands make up this gorgeous country with exceptional views.
Argentina, the culture there is interesting and they have quite friendly cats (Botanical Garden).
Thailand, one of the most friendly countries I have ever been good foot massages too.
Gibralter, the gateway to the Mediteranian: nice city nestled on a mountain side.
Switzerland, best chocolate in the world and world class scenery.
Morocco, best mint tea in the world people are very welcoming to tourists.
Sri Lanka, world class Bhuddist shrines have an abundance of wounderful monks and people.
Any rural place, to get away from it all and star gaze.

🙂 enjoy traveling

Travelling with Infants

IMG_2839Travelling with an infant is doable with a little advance planning. Consider staying in a vacation condo or a short-term apartment rental. I skipped the very cheap hotels and stayed in ones that had a crib. Travelling by train such as the Eurostar, had advantages over flying. I could walk the wee one down the aisle and point to the animals outside of our window. We stayed at my mother’s house across country that had baby paraphernalia. It was fun taking my pre-schooler and his infant brother to my favourite childhood haunts. Some parents forgo a stroller for a baby sling when travelling.

If your baby or toddler is still on formula, it’s very easy to do long international trips. I had a container which had 3 separate compartments for the correct amount of dry formula per bottle. The container had a spout on the end for easy pouring of the dry formula into a baby bottle, containing water. I would make up a bottle as I went on the airplanes. Now, you may have to buy water after security control at the airports. While touring foreign cities, I’d buy a bottle of water and pore it ahead of time into my baby bottles and then add the formula, on the go. I used the disposable Playtex liners, particularly on trips. To sterilize bottle nipples, I used a travel heating unit, which heated up water in hotel rooms, and then I poured it over the washed baby bottle nipples.

There are family friendly destinations, such as a beach, farm stay or a city like London with huge parks. Some cities have a children’s museum, zoo and fun festivals. My nine month old son ate as much at a big outdoor food extravaganza  in Chicago, as I did. Animal sanctuaries and countries with wildlife up close is fun for the little ones.

 

Savvy Travel Tips from Frequent Fliers

IMG_1703Here are  travel and safety tips from frequent fliers:

1.  Take blunt-tip baby scissors. They pass through security and are indespensible at opening foil packets or plastic tubes.  Save the magazines samples of lotions and cosmetics to bring on journeys. The scissors are handy to use with hotel sewing kits. I had to use them to cut ace wrap for my son’s wrist, while enroute to France.
2.  Buy skin serums in the form of capsules, for individual uses while on trips.  Easy to pack and no bottles to tote back home. I take the sample packets found in magazines and in some stores at their beauty events.
3. Take small wrapped toys for little tots and dole them out during the trip.  Get comic books or fun magazines for the older ones. Pack energy bars, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and snacks since meals can be off schedule.
4. Double your payment for bills before you leave, so no worries while abroad. This way you are covered if your trip is unexpectedly longer, and you do not return to a stack of bills to pay.
5.  Get some new toys to give your pets when you depart. My cats like a new catnip mouse or cardboard scratching post.
6. Those large plastic travel bags really do work, to flatten clothes when packing.
7. Watch for pickpockets and this INCLUDES little children. Some families are in it together.  A prime time is when people are gathered around street muscicians or buskers. Watch your possessions when there is a diversion on the street or when people ask directions and stick a map in your face.
8. Familiarize yourself with landmarks, not just street names.  When you are running to catch the last bus out of the night street market in Thailand, it’s handier to remember to turn left at the xyz restaurant. In London I totally forgot which apartment building I was in the first time I returned. Luckily I remembered the construction right in front of it and found it okay.
9. Don’t be polite. If you are uncomfortable around someone, just leave.  If you want to get away from someone walking behind you, cross the street and go into a restaurant. Learn the word “help” in whatever language is spoken where your are visiting. If being followed, nip into a restaurant or store.
10. There are disposable washcloths that I buy and take to Europe. I use the hotel shampoo to wash out my clothes and skip packing laundry detergent. Buy travel size products. I roomed with a friend on a trip who brought huge bottles with her and then had trouble packing everything going home.