Travel

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.

 

 

 

 

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.”

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.

12622176_10205408813400240_881077745778883151_o 12525321_10205408809720148_2226360883224150974_o

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

 

Obtaining a Passport for Your Child in divorce

There are subjects to bring up during the divorce proceedings to make life easier down the road. When  big issues, such as custody and division of property are looming in the forefront, it is easy to forget about smaller ones. If your child’s passport is up for renewal, or a new one needs to be issued, then have your spouse sign a notarized letter right then and there to give you permission to obtain one for minor children. There is a notary in every attorney’s office.

If you had an acrimonious divorce and now you want to take your child out of the country, this could be a touchy situation. If your child is 16 or older then she can get her own passport without both parents’ permission. If under 16, then both parents must go to the passport center together, with the necessary documents, such as a birth certificate. If this is not feassible, then one parent may give notarized permission for the other parent to obtain the passport for their child. If your child is close to 16 and her passport is expiring make sure that there is at least six months left on it. One family was turned away from getting into Argentina when their children had only a few months left on their passports.

If you have a judge involved in your child’s life then the US Passport Agency will allow a judge to send a statement giving permission for just one parent to obtain a passport for a minor. This could be the judge who presided over your divorce case. Your teenager can petition the court herself for the right to have just one parent obtain her passport. In one case a 15 year old had a judge for an unrelated issue. When his father refused to participate in his passport renewal, then that judge wrote a note on official court stationary to the US Passport Agency allowing the child to get a passport with just the mother. The mother had a notarized copy made and carried that with her when she left the country to avoid any complications with customs. When one parent takes a child out of the country, then notarized permission from the other one may be required by the airlines or customs. If you do not have contact with your ex-spouse, then e-mail the court designee (court moniter in my case) and carry their response that they notified the other parent. I took a copy of the court moniter’s e-mail and that worked well.

If you have your child’s passport in your possession and the other parent asks for it to plan a trip, be careful if you think that there could be a risk for kidnapping. Consult your lawyer if you are in this particular circumstance.

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.

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!

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.