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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

 

 

The Role of Father Figures in Your Child’s Life

thumbnail_fatherfiguresIn a perfect world, children would grow up in happy, loving families, enjoying the attention of both their birth parents. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect and parenting roles keep evolving. Where nuclear families were once clear cut, parents now have to fit in different roles from step-parents, single parents, co-parents and so on.

As a result, many children are growing up without their biological father’s presence in their lives. Regardless of how uninvolved a father is in the life of his child, don’t fret. There are other men who will ably step into that role to provide the love, support and guidance your child needs. These father figures can include grandfathers, uncles, a trusted family friend, teacher or pastor or even a sports coach. What matters is that they are able and willing to be present and involved in your child’s upbringing.

The Importance Of Father Figures

While there are many single parents who do an excellent job of bringing up their children solo, having a father figure there brings added value. Research suggests that children with active father figures have fewer psychological and behavioral problems. Such relationships have a profound influence on a child’s development, positively impacting their moral, social and cognitive growth.

Father figures step up to the plate and create opportunities to interact with your child just as their biological fathers would- bonding through play, reading stories, fishing, sports, movie nights etc. Other than being a positive and guiding influence in your child’s life, having a strong bond with an affectionate father figure has also been shown to somehow inoculate children against alcohol and substance abuse, making them less likely to end up as troubled teens.

Additionally, the relationship your child has with their father figure can affect their future relationships. The early interactions from childhood can act as a blueprint for other relationships throughout the child’s life, influencing their interactions with others as well as giving them an idea of what acceptable behavior in a relationship is.

Since boys typically model themselves after their fathers, they require positive male role models with good values to look up to. The father figure will provide an example of how a man acts towards other men, women and children and also how to behave in different social and professional situations. As your son grows into his teens, he will greatly appreciate having a man who listens, guides and provides advice and support to navigate tricky situations that teenage boys find themselves in.

Girls on the other hand, will use the relationship with their father figures to form opinions of how men should treat women. A loving, kind and gentle male role model will do a lot to boost your daughter’s self-esteem. As she moves into the dating world, she is likely to pick partners with the same characteristics as her father figure because that’s what she’s familiar with.

So even if your child’s biological father is no longer in the picture know that there are other father figures who can step into those shoes and provide the positive guidance, unconditional love, genuine affection and sincere support that your child needs.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

Get in Shape for Free: A Fitness Guide for Single Parents

Engaging in regular exercise is one of the smartest investments anyone can make, especially if you’re a single parent who needs the energy to keep up with her kids. And when we say “investment” we’re talking about time and effort, not money. To show you what we mean, here are several free (or almost free) ways to get in shape. Use these tips to give you the guidance and motivation you need to achieve your fitness goals.

Stick With the Basics 

TV programs love to show images of people with big arms and sculpted abs. The purpose behind most of these promos is to sell you some kind of overpriced product, usually with the promise that it will turn you into a superhero. Sadly, the real world never works that way. Most home fitness machines end up as overpriced coat hangers or yard sale merchandise. So skip the gadgets and start with these four classic routines instead:

  1. Pushups. This one exercise can do you more good than all the fitness products on the market. It strengthens the arms, shoulders, chest, abs, and even the legs. Plus, it costs you nothing. You need only a small amount of space and the motivation to improve yourself. And don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do a standard push-up right away. There’s no shame in starting at the intermediate level by bending your knees. Soon you’ll be pumping them out with the best of ’em.
  2. Situps or leg raises. This exercise will bulk you up without draining your wallet. Some people have trouble doing sit-ups because of neck or back issues. If that sounds like you, then leg raises are a great alternative, according to the fitness experts at the New York Times.
  3. Squats/deep knee bends. Not only will this exercise give your legs a great workout, it’s a perfect way to get cardio benefits at the same time. The burpee is a more advanced variation of the squat, one that combines the benefits of squats and pushups while getting your heart going.
  4. Walking. Yep, you read that right. According to Mayo Clinic, you can enjoy fantastic health benefits simply by putting one foot in front of the other. Start by walking 30 minutes 3-4 times a week, then increase the intensity by picking up your pace or walking hills as time goes on. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and dress with the weather in mind.

Staying Motivated 

We all know that lack of motivation is the reason why most people fail to exercise. So don’t feel bad if your biggest challenge is summoning the willpower to succeed. You’re far from alone. Here are some proven ways to turn your lethargy into a lust for fitness:

  • Have a workout partner. The two of you can keep each other pumped as you sweat the pounds away. Your children can also accompany you in a stroller, on foot, or even a scooter or bike.
  • Give yourself positive feedback each time you complete a routine. For example, you may allow yourself a new workout shirt in return for week of cardio workouts.
  • Visualize the results. Picturing yourself as the person you want to be can inspire you to get off the couch and get moving. Try it.

After a few months of commitment to the above, you may consider expanding the workouts you try. You can add simple (and relatively cheap) items to your home gym to start incorporating more advanced exercises into your routine. By doing so, you’ll continue to see results month after month.

Get on the road to a new and better you starting today – you’ll look back on the decision as one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself.

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website http://learnfit.org/

More outstanding advice for having better workouts and  healthy lives in    Avoid These Workout and Post Workout Mistakes To Maximize Your Results http://www.massgainsource.com/post-workout-mistakes/   Author is Mark Williams