Archive of ‘Travel’ category
Ah, summer! Vacation time! Sounds wonderful, right? But add a baby or toddler to the equation, and you’ll find yourself needing a vacation from your vacation! How can you minimize the vacation stress? Is it even possible to navigate a family vacation minus meltdowns? Try these tested strategies for keeping the fun in your vacation while keeping the drama out.
- Plan Extra Time. Remember it’s not a race to get to your destination as quickly as possible. Make the car trip as enjoyable as possible by planning extra stops and lots of buffer room into your schedule. Stop and let baby stretch when he’s getting cranky. Make sure she has her blankie Being strapped in a car seat for hours on end isn’t fun for anyone!
- Pack Snacks and Surprises. When my daughter was younger, I made a special trip to the dollar store just to purchase surprise toys for the trip. Magnet dolls, army men, new coloring books, and new games can go a long way to keeping the element of fun in your trip! For babies and toddlers, extra snacks and drinks help them stay occupied and keep away the crankiness, too.
- Focus on Family. Don’t try to fit in adult activities and entertainment with a baby or young children in tow. You’ll be frustrated and so will baby. Find zoos, waterparks, kiddie rides or beaches that allow you to hang out or move at your own pace. Bring along extra baby supplies you will need, like burp cloths, bibs and security blankets. Long lines and rushing from one show to the next will only create frazzled kids and parents all around. Save those for an outing without baby or for when the kids are older.
- Create Adult Time. When we went on vacation with my family recently, we made sure that each parent got a night out by rotating who would stay at the beach house with the kids. This way we adults got time to ourselves and time together without the kids, too. And the kids were not kept out late or made to sit at restaurants beyond their capacity to be still. Everyone wins!
- Stick to Schedules. Everyone knows that vacations are the time to go with the flow and throw out bedtimes and naptimes, right? Wrong! While flexibility is great, kids who stay up late every night after being on the go and in the water all day turn into meltdown monsters! Young children and babies especially need a certain amount of sleep to maintain emotional equilibrium and to stay healthy. Have you ever wondered why we all tend to get sick on or right after vacation? Lack of sleep may be a big factor! So plan fun-filled activities during the day and come back early enough at night to allow the kids to wind down, cuddle with you and their baby blanket and get to bed at a decent time each night. If you have a sitter or are vacationing with another family, you can always rotate nights out as adults (see #4). Also, plan a down-time in the afternoon for at least one nap for the littlest ones. Snuggling with their favorite blanket will also give them a sense of security in a strange place. Everybody will benefit from the opportunity to recharge before going out to play again.
Vacations can be fun, not frenzied. They can bring pleasant memories, not meltdowns. All it takes is a little planning and preparation. Remember that these years with babies and young children will soon be past. We adults will have time to ourselves once again. Until then, let’s maximize the fun for our kids and minimize the frustration on vacations!
Image by Steve Webel via Flickr
Visiting China is just the same as visiting any other country when you decide to go on holiday. If you want to experience everything that the country has to offer, then you need to step outside of your comfort zone and immerse yourself fully in the country. It is not that hard to do and it just may show you a side of this wondrous country that the average tourist does not get to see.
Learn Some of the Lingo
One of the biggest problems when visiting a foreign country is communication. Generally, as English speakers we almost expect everyone to be able to speak our mother tongue, which in reality is not the case. Learn about Chinese history and dynasties as well as the language as it will help you out a lot when you visit China. It also allows you to venture further than the normal tourist hangouts. You do not have to be fluent, and there are many phrasebooks available on the market. You can even get pocket translators or applications for Tablet PC’s and Smart Phones.
Stay Further Away from the Tourist Areas
By staying away from the main tourist areas you will not only see a different side of the town or city that you are staying in, but you may just find that you also save money in the process. The further away from the tourists areas that you go, the less English will be spoken, so it will be the perfect excuse to start practicing your language skills. One thing to remember when trying to speak to the locals is that if you say things wrong, they may not understand you and laugh. Make sure that you do not let this put you off trying to communicate, as they are not rude when they laugh at you, remember you are not in Kansas now Dorothy, this is a different culture!
Find Out Where the Locals Go
By practicing speaking the language, you may just end up running into someone that can communicate with you. There are plenty of people interested in practicing their English skills, as well as teach their mother tongue, but China is a huge country, so you just need to keep looking. If you do find someone who communicates with you, then you can ask them the good places to go that have no tourists and only locals. You may end up seeing some weird and wonderful things on the menu, but if you have come all of this way it has certainly got to be worth trying, no? Whatever you end up eating for your main course, you will also no doubt save yourself a lot of money, with the savings from being away from the tourists.
Use the Local Transport
Another way to immerse yourself fully into the local culture when you are on China tours and holidays 2016 from thechinatravelcompany.co.uk is to use the local public transport to get your way around. Again, you will not only save a lot of money doing this, but you get to see a side of life in China that you do not get to see in your fancy hotels, restaurants and air-conditioned taxis. You can still get a taxi some of the time, but trying the local buses and trains is not only an experience but it will help you to get your bearings much quicker.
If you try to meet the locals and speak to them in their language during your trip to China, the chances are you are going to make some good friends along the way. You may also ignite a passion within you for this magnificent country, which sees you coming back to visit friends, and learn more of the language and culture!
Miami is a mecca of many things and it’s enough to make any first time visitor’s head spin. The first step is to relax and realize you won’t be able to do everything—however, you can still have the trip of a lifetime when visiting Miami, Florida. There’s something for everyone in this iconic city, whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the beach, dance the night away, or get lost in a dizzying amount of arts and culture. Here’s where to get started when you’re looking to conquer Miami for the first time.
What comes to mind when you think of Miami? It could be the shopping, the beach, or any number of popular Miami destinations.
Beaches and the Outdoors
No one should go to Miami without spending some of their time at the beach itself. You don’t have to limit yourself to just Miami Beach, since there are plenty of other beaches with its own unique setting. Head out to South Beach for celebrity spotting or relax on the sands of Sunny Isles Beach. Whatever the type of beach you’re looking for you’re sure to find white shores and turquoise waters that will satisfy you to your heart’s desire in Miami.
This place is also home to the only underwater national park in the country, so if you have time, head out to Biscayne National Park to get an entirely unique experience. It’s a great way to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and enter an underwater wonderland. Tropical scenery awaits in the luscious Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and you can spot over 2,000 animals at the Miami Zoo.
Arts and Culture
As much as Miami is associated with raucous nightlife and glorious sunny beaches, the city is also known for its art, museums, and culture. Checking out the art deco scene is a must for any first time visitor. Make your way to Miami’s Art Deco Historic District where you can wander around solo or opt to take a guided tour. After you’ve had your fill of deco architecture, check out the art galleries in the Design District. It’s a great opportunity to see the many different styles of art the city offers. Though much of the Miami art is kitsch, there is also something for fine art lovers at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens where European masterpieces are displayed.
A visit to Miami is also the perfect time to immerse yourself in its Latin influences. The best place to start is Little Havana, where Cuban music fills the streets, with eateries offering authentic foods and some of the country’s finest coffees. Walk along Calle Ocho for the best of the best when it comes to Little Havana.
Nightlife and Events
If you can, try to book your trip to align with one of the many festivals in Miami. Big music festivals often pass through the city, but there’s also Miami Fashion Week, Carnaval, and Art Basel. Ask any Miami local, and they’ll tell you that the festivals and parties are make the city come to life.
Miami is definitely on the list of cities that knows what they’re doing when it comes to throwing parties. While there are many run-of-the-mill nightclubs, you’ll also find a selection of the finest ones on the planet. Celebrities are known to frequent the hottest dance halls here, and anyone who wants to dance the night away is in luck. You’ll find plenty of lasers and mega clubs and intimate lounges wherever you go.
Is your kid’s birthday coming up? Whether you’ve hosted a birthday party before or whether this year will be your first attempt at party planning for the little ones, planning a party for children can be scary. After all, all you want is to put a massive smile on your kid’s face – but getting there isn’t always straightforward. Luckily, you’re not the first to face this challenge. If you’re lacking inspiration or don’t know where to start, we’ve put together four ideas that will turn your kid’s birthday party into a huge success. From how to host the perfect slumber party to how to put on a treasure hunt and prepare treasure hunt clues for kids, we’ve got your party planning covered.
Hosting the perfect slumber party
There’s something very exciting about a slumber party. While your children might be used to smaller overnight parties, this might be their first foray into hosting a bigger sleepover. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep the guest list small – more than six or seven invitees might turn out to be difficult, especially if you’re new to the art of sleepovers. Prepare some activities like arts and crafts, but don’t worry if the kids prefer to just chat instead – the overnight party will in itself be exciting enough to keep them busy. Prepare for some kids to get homesick, especially if they’re younger than eight or nine – take the parents’ phone numbers in advance. And make sure that you put together some healthy, light snacks before bed for a good night’s sleep. For some more tips and tricks, have a look here
A treasure hunt – the ultimate birthday adventure
Preparing a treasure hunt for a kid is, admittedly, not the easiest thing to do. But it will be worth every second you spend picking your brain for treasure hunt clues for kids. If you are planning a treasure hunt, there are a few things to keep in mind. Decide on a location first, as this will influence every other step you take; a treasure hunt in the park is an entirely different story than one at home! Work your way backwards from the treasure, and make sure you choose age – appropriate clues. Have a look at this advice on treasure hunt clues for kids. This is important – a successful treasure hunt depends on clues that are neither too difficult nor too simple. They have to be just right.
There’s no party like a themed party
We don’t have to tell you that a themed party is every kid’s dream. If your child has a favourite movie or book such as Harry Potter or Frozen, this is the opportunity to make their dreams come true. Get creative, from the invitations you send out to the snacks you prepare. This will involve some research, so start ahead of time and make a list with birthday themed inspirations and little things to prepare. Make sure that everyone knows dressing up is encouraged, but optional, in case some kids really don’t like it. When everyone inevitably gets tired after a while, put a DVD on and let the children watch their heroes and relax on the couch – in full fancy dress, of course.
Make a day out of it
Sometimes, life gets busy and you might be too stressed or exhausted to prepare a birthday party from scratch. Why not see if you can find an event to attend with the birthday entourage? This could be anything from a big picnic to a kids’ comedy show or family friendly festival. Of course, making a day out of it will limit the guest list a little. But if you work together with your kid to choose something they are excited about, this birthday trip could become a real success – and a birthday they will never forget.
Your personal life is very special! Unless you have peace and happiness in your personal life, you will never feel safe or mentally satisfied. In today’s hectic professional life, mental peace is very important to get success. You can face crisis in your personal life at any point of time. Of late, the institution of marriage has also faced crisis and there are many people who are either divorced or are trying to get divorced from their partners. For moms, this can be a big thing as it might tire them emotionally and mentally.
Once the divorce is complete and moms in crisis are free from this emotional turmoil, they might think of turning a new leaf! They may think of dating men who can give them emotional, physical and mental support. Rather than getting financial support, physical, emotional and mental support in more important during this time. But again, there are many moms who would be jittery about it and may want to know whether or not it is the right time to date someone. Actually, they are so emotionally broken that they cannot take the right decision. Friends and family members might be of some assistance but they might require more help – professional help to deal with the situation.
Here lies the importance of love psychics. Now that everything is available online, moms will be able to chat with many of the best love psychics and easily deal with their problems. These love psychics will help moms to deal with their emotional and mental problems and guide them in finding the right soul mate! First and foremost, they will help moms understand whether or not it is the right time for them to search for a soul mate. This is a major thing that everyone needs to understand. Unless a person is completely out of the previous relationship, they will not be able to get into a new relationship and do justice to it. The love psychics are best in judging and analyzing them.
Moreover, the love psychics will understand the romantic side of moms and will help them know and decide whether or not the person is right for them. No one will want to make similar mistakes again and again as they have done in their past relationships. Thus, they will have to rightly judge the person before getting into any kind of relationship with a new person. These love psychics will speak to the moms, delve deep into their minds and try to know what kind of person they are looking for. Accordingly, they will let the moms know about their choice and help them in finding the right person. As the moms chat with many of the best love psychics, all their love, relationship and soul mate questions will be answered.
Many of these love psychics will give moms the right time frame when they can look for a relationship or become serious about a relationship. Their prediction might give the moms courage to search for that new person/soul mate who can give them emotional, mental and physical strength – a person on which they can emotionally depend. This can make much difference in their personal life and might make them emotionally strong.
The love psychics are not only great readers of mind, but they are intuitive, empathetic and accurate which gives moms the courage to share their actual feeling with them. The moms will feel emotionally safe with them. Moreover, these people will help moms know the true love, joy and passion of their life.
With their psychic readings, the moms will be able to shape their future. The guidance will empower them to know what is best for them and their future. With the use of cards, numerology, etc, they will judge the characteristics of the moms as well as the characteristics of their partner, if they have chosen any, and let them know whether or not they will be best suited for them. Psychic love readings will help moms to treat their past love wounds and start everything afresh. It will encourage moms to walk on the right path without the past baggage! It will help them remove the obstacles from their path and lead a happy, enriching and energetic life!
Lapland is the king of Christmas. It is the home of Santa and during the winter months it is basked in darkness. There is just no getting away from it! Unfortunately, due to this reason people don’t see the real Lapland and fill their heads with all the festive stuff. Yes, it is an amazing place to go for Christmas, but this one thing doesn’t define Lapland.
Check out these fantastic reasons to visit Lapland, other than to see a big, fat, jolly man with a white beard!
It turns out there is plenty of gold in the rivers of Lapland. When the rivers start to thaw out and die down a bit, tourists and locals alike descend on them in the hope they find a life changing nugget of metal. You might not get the nugget of gold you were looking for, but panning for gold is a great experience, especially when your surroundings are Finnish forests. There is no better place to find your fortune!
Or, if you are a pessimist you can go to the Tankavaara Gold Village Museum for a bit of history, as well as the Finnish Gold Panning Competition.
Due to its climate, Finland isn’t home to the sort of wildlife you would find anywhere else. But, the unique wildlife is what makes Lapland a great place to travel. There aren’t too many places where you can find bears, huskies and reindeers all in the same place. Plus, if you’re an adrenaline junkie you can also go searching for wolves. Just make sure you let them know you are coming!
It would be rude not to sample some of the delights of sport in Finland once you make the trip. As snow, hills and mountains cover the region , the extreme sports are some of the best in the world. The skiing and boarding are some of the best in the world, it lasts almost until the summer, and you can also go snowmobile racing.
The variety of resorts means there is something for everyone, from complete novices to professionals.
Indigenous is something foreign to the people of Europe. They tend to look to America and Australia for examples of the people whose home it has been for centuries. But, in Finland, the last remnant of Indigenous European culture is still alive. The Sami people have their language, costumes, and customs. You can learn more about them at the Arktikum museum in Rovaniemi.
Where saunas come from is up for discussion, but what isn’t up for debate is the fierce competition between the parties. A true, Finnish sauna, therefore, is scorching hot, lasts for hours and is full of nude people. So, don’t be surprised if you go in one and get an eye full. You know what they say, Lapland holiday are for adults!
If you get the chance, do not hesitate to visit Lapland. The media attention might revolve around Santa, but there is so much more waiting for you.
If, like me, money is tight, but you still love the idea of taking your little monsters away on vacation. The idea of not being able to do so because of the cost can be an upsetting prospect.
Like all parents, the idea of being able to get away and spend some quality time with the little ones is important. I don’t want them to miss out just because I’m strapped for cash. But with little spare money is it even possible to go on holiday?
Believe it or not, if you shop around and opt for a budget break, booking a family holiday doesn’t have to break the bank. Even with a small amount of cash to spend, it is still possible to get away and take the little ones on a fantastic family holiday.
Below, I have put together a handy guide to all the best budget holiday tips that I rely on to book a family break without blowing my budget.
Work out your budget
The first thing to do is to sit down and work out your overall trip budget – aka, how much you can afford to spend. Once you know how much you have to play with, you can then start looking at the best options.
Once you have set a budget, divide it into two parts – one part for the holiday itself and one part for spending money while you are away. Aim to save at least half of your budget for spending money – this will cover the cost of your food, activities and days out while you are away.
Research your options
Once you know how much you have to spend, you can begin researching your options. Use the internet to look for destinations that are not only family-friendly but that are also cheap.
Spain, Greece and France are all ideal budget holiday destinations or as they are relatively close to home and don’t cost too much to travel to.
To get an idea of the best hotel deals available, have a look online at holiday comparison sites and discount travel websites. Keep an eye out for any all inclusive holiday deals within your price range, as these are fantastic for saving money.
Plan your break for a cheap time
Whether you are heading to France for the weekend or are off to Spain for a two-week break, you can save yourself money by planning your trip during off-peak times.
The school holidays are, of course, when travel is most expensive. However, if you plan your break in advance or at the last minute, you may be able to get some fantastic travel deals. Regardless of when in the season you are travelling, aim to fly during the week instead of on a weekend as weekday flights tend to be cheaper.
Pick your accommodation carefully
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that hotel’s are too expensive for your budget. Sometimes booking an all inclusive hotel and flight deal can work out cheaper than booking self-catered accommodation.
To find the best accommodation deals, have a look online and shop around at different sites and travel companies. Sometimes the best travel deals can be found at the travel agents, so don’t forget to pop into your local travel store.
If you are trying to decide where to take your family in 2015, why not consider going on a trip to Australia? There are many incredible things to see and do in the land down under, and so your family will have a blast visiting this country. If you are thinking of booking a getaway soon, here are seven reasons you should choose Australia.
1. It will be a massive adventure
One thing, you can guarantee, from Australia is that it will be an adventure. When you travel somewhere like Oz, you will find that things are wild in the literal sense of the word. Children love exploring new places, and so they will have a lot to see in this country. Getting to the place takes a long time, and so you need to think about whether your kids can handle the flight. If they can, it will be an ideal trip.
2. You can see some fascinating animals
Some of the weirdest and wildest animals in the world happen to live in Australia. Many people see that as a reason to avoid the country. They think that they will get bitten by a black widow spider the moment they step onto Australian soil. The chances of that happening are one in a million. Your kids will get an opportunity to see some of the most bizarre creatures in the world, and it is safer than you think.
3. The weather will (always) be sunny
Right now, it is summer or the ‘wet season’ in Australia. That means that the temperature is high, and you can expect some extreme weather. If you have never been to Australia before, you should go in their winter so that it is a little cooler than it is right now. Kids’ skin tends to burn quickly, and so you want the weather to be a little calmer than it is in the summer. No matter when you go, you know you will be in for some sunshine.
4. The art there is fantastic
One thing, which Australia is famous for, is its eclectic range of new art. Some of the canvas prints in Australia are stunning. From aboriginal art to modern art and portraits, there is something for everyone here. Some people believe that the reason for this excellent art is because the scenery in the country is dramatic.
5. They speak the same language
If you are taking a family abroad, the language barrier is always a concern. If you go to Australia, there is one enormous advantage. They speak English as their mother tongue. That means that you and your children should have no problem in the country. You can talk to strangers with ease and so getting around is simple.
6. You can experience another culture
Despite the fact that the language is the same as ours, there are some cultural differences between us and the Australians. When you go to Oz, you will notice that people take life at a slower pace than we do. The heat means that people have a positive attitude towards everything. When you visit this country, prepare yourself to relax. Remember, you need to embrace the culture here.
7. It is always developing
Since Australia is a relatively new country, it is still growing and expanding in many ways. You will find that there are always new projects and things going on in this rich and exciting country. When you visit it, you should go to tourist information and find out what’s going on there. You should also consider taking a bus tour so that you can get a real taste of the environment.
If you’ve ever had to undertake a long journey with young children in tow then you’re probably already all-too-familiar with how challenging this can be. If you’re traveling by car, this can be difficult enough. But if you’re using public transport, the experience can prove to be even more of a challenge. People aren’t always quite as patient with children as perhaps they should be. So, if yours are crying because they’re bored or tired, you may end up being faced with a barrage of filthy looks and unsympathetic faces.
So, to help ensure that your next trip with the children doesn’t end up being the journey from hell, we strongly advise that you take a few minutes to read this post.
Have Plenty to Keep them Entertained
Thanks to the amazing advancements in modern technology, keeping the kids entertained on a long journey isn’t half as hard as it used to be. In the not-so-distant past, parents were forced to lug coloring books, crayons, jigsaws and Lego onto planes, trains and automobiles. Nowadays, moms and dads can thankfully travel a little lighter. Cell phones and tablets have all manner of games and applications to keep the little ones occupied.
Just make sure you set some parental locks on the device beforehand to prevent spending a fortune on accidental in-app purchases. Just as important is to make sure that your phone or tablet has got plenty of battery life. The last thing you want is to run out of juice, and then have to deal with a bored and restless child for the remainder of the journey. For this reason, it’s also always best to have a back-up plan in place. So, chuck a couple of activity books and Zebra pen refills into a bag to give you that extra peace of mind.
Have a Good Old Fashioned Sing-Song
This is one probably best kept for family-only road trips, where you’re traveling by car. Kids love anything interactive, and there are countless traditional car songs that require you to interact as a family, as well as sing. ‘Wheels on the bus’ is a rather obvious choice, but the song endures for a reason – both kids and adults love it! For older kids, singing a favorite family pop song works just as well.
Traditional car games such as the ‘license plate game’ are another great way of stopping boredom from setting in when you’re traveling for long periods at a time. You can also use it as an opportunity to test your kid’s geography skills. Even if your child is yet to go to school, there’s nothing wrong with starting them young! Ask them questions about the environment around them. Also, make sure they at least have a vague understanding of where it is they’re going. Encouraging them to be interested in, and ask questions about, the world around them will place them in good stead for their future education.
Now you’re armed with plenty of ideas and inspiration. So, just follow our advice and you’ll never have to contend with bored children on a long journey again!
Image Source: Flickr
Apart for the various branded shops that London offers, there are a few markets that are a must see in this city. This is where you can find real individuality with all the antiques, handmade and organic items and a great spread of quirky fashion.
For a well-connected shopping experience, consider choosing hotels near Eurostar London, like Comfort Inn Kings Cross St Pancras London near Kings Cross station in Central London, which offers clean and comfortable accommodation at budget rates.
Top 5 Markets in London
Here is a list of some of the best markets in London that could offer you a truly fulfilling shopping experience.
- Berwick Street Market: From fruits to fabrics, this market has it all. It dates back to 1778 and continues to be a rich trading spot. Positioned in the heart of Soho, it is a very busy market that doubles up as a great eating spot. Berwick Street is surrounded by wholesalers and cafes, so there is more to it than just the shopping experience.
- Camden Market: This is a line of many fun and funky shops wrapped in one wholesome unit. The market offers a wide array of clothes, antiques, crafts, jewellery and furnishings. To sum it up, just about anything can be found here. If you do not like the crowded alleys, this is the market for you. While you are in the area, you could plan some time to see the British Museum, Regents Park, the British Library and the London Zoo. Camden Market is also located very close to cheap and budget hotels in Central London, which can prove to a good option for easy transport.
- Portobello Road Antiques and Flea Market: This Notting Hill market is a colourful and dynamic stretch of London that is full to bursting with the latest trends. When we say sales, this place has some epic sales for everything from books to lace and even exotic cooking ingredients. Thousands of people swarm at the stalls and if you really have the patience, you might get a fantastic bargain. It is best to go in the morning, since the crowd starts by mid evening.
- Spitalfields Market: Located in the heart of the city, this is where you will find excellent quality products that offer outstanding value for money. The market is closed on Saturdays and Mondays, however Sundays sees the market at its busiest, with over 200 stalls in action. More than 50 designers showcase their work at the Fashion Market every Friday. And with the huge range of eateries, it attracts the city’s young crowd for a wholesome treat.
- Camden Passage: This “hidden” market hosts an array of whimsical antique shops. Traders here are specialists and can give you so much more information that anything on the internet. Endeavour for a good bargain, since prices can be high. It is less than 2 miles from St Pancras Station, and on a cold wintry day, it can prove to be a great walk.
These are places that are the epitome of British culture that still shows some signs of the Georgian and Victorian eras. So, as you look for places around your hotel near Eurostar London, be sure to check out these famous markets.