404 Encourage

Money

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As an expat, I often forget how hard international travel can be. Since I’m lucky to be able to drive or train to several countries within a few hours, travel is easy. Since I already deal with a foreign language on a regular basis, knowing I will at least speak English at hotels and sites actually means I speak more English when I travel than at home. Since the Euro is the currency of so many countries I travel to, I don’t even have to worry about figuring out the cash situation.

So, when I arrived in London last week with only my German bank card and a few Euro bills, I realized something important. Money is important.

I don’t mean budgeting, which is vital, but actual money.

The best way for me to explain this is to list a series of what I should have done.

What I should have done on our trip to London

  • I should have remembered that my American debit card was expiring a few days before our trip started and ordered a new one as back-up.
  • I should have kept the pounds from previous trips in a secure place, a place that I remembered, so that I would have had some with me.
  • I should have looked up what the exchange rate was just so I would know if, at any point, I was getting a horrible or decent deal when exchanging money.
  • I should have contacted my German bank to see who they partner with, then figured out where those bank’s ATMs were located in relation to the airport, the closest tube station, or my hotel.
  • I should have looked up what the coins look like and what their value was to save myself a lot of time since the smaller coins did not necessarily mean they were of smaller value.
  • I should have researched tipping policy for things like sit-down meals, free-walking tours, paid tours, and other situations.
  • I should have visited the transportation site to have an idea of how much a tube ride would cost so I wouldn’t spend an extra 30 minutes trying to find the correct kiosk since I didn’t believe the tickets could be so expensive.e

And now I know. Just because I deal in foreign everyday, doesn’t mean I understand every type of foreign – even when it has a common language.

I would love to know what other money-related things you might recommend for your travels.

One of my favorite places in the US is San Diego, California. Donna is writing about the A-to-Z’s of this beautiful city as part of the challenge. Check out her site soon!

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Listen to your kids

***I’m out of town and have limited access to my computer, but I wanted to make sure I still had some posts in the A-Z challenge. I’m keeping these simple until I come back. I’m going to expand on these later, but I’d love your thoughts and opinions in the meantime. Thanks for stopping by, and if you’re also participating in the challenge let me know and I’ll be around to check our your blog in less than a week.***

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Yesterday I wrote that kids love to travel. But they don’t want to do everything we want to do while on vacation

So my advice for today is simple: listen to your kids.

Let them be part of the planning process. Look over notes from previous trips to see what they like. (Don’t have notes from previous trips? Download my favorites printable or one-page travel journal.)

Ask them what they want to see.

Allow a portion of the family trip to speak to their hearts. Get excited about those places. These are  your kids dreams.

Today I’d love it if you’d visit fellow A-to-Z challenge participant Rhonda of Laugh Quotes. She has travelled all over the world with her kids and has great stories.

 

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Kids love to travel

***I’m out of town and have limited access to my computer, but I wanted to make sure I still had some posts in the A-Z challenge. I’m keeping these simple until I come back. I’m going to expand on these later, but I’d love your thoughts and opinions in the meantime. Thanks for stopping by, and if you’re also participating in the challenge let me know and I’ll be around to check our your blog in less than a week.***

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When planning your next big, or small, getaway, remember this – kids love to travel.

It’s their natural instinct to be curious about the world around them. Help foster that curiosity.

Yes, there will be times they are bored – that’s ok.

The benefits of traveling with your kids, learning about new cultures and spending time as a family make the enclosed space of flying with strangers, packing and unpacking, and dealing with food preferences worth it.

(Side note: I’ve had the Travel Turtle site since 2007. I took a break from it, moved to Germany, and had kids. In April 2013, on a trip to Prague, I decided to start writing about family travel. My first plan was to start a new site and call it Kids Love to Travel, but I decided to just restructure Travel Turtle.)

My friend, the first person I told about my relaunching of Travel Turtle, and fellow family travel blogger Andrea has also joined the A-to-Z Challenge. I know for sure her two little ones love to travel. Please visit her today at Passports and Pushchairs.macbook air case stickersonline spell check englishMemory Stick

Instagram Travel Thursday

***I’m out of town and have limited access to my computer, but I wanted to make sure I still had some posts in the A-Z challenge. I’m keeping these simple until I come back. I’m going to expand on these later, but I’d love your thoughts and opinions in the meantime. Thanks for stopping by, and if you’re also participating in the challenge let me know and I’ll be around to check our your blog in less than a week.***

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If you are not a travel blogger you may or may not have heard of the Instagram Travel Thursday link-up. Travel bloggers link up their favorite Instagram-related posts and share it with their community. It is so inspirational to read about the different places people travel. It’s also easy to see how you can use Instagram to plan your own travel.

Today, since “I” fell on a Thursday, I’m going to write about ways you can use Instagram in your travel before, during, and after your trip. And add photos from my own IG account throughout.

Using Instagram before your trip

Do a hashtag search of the city you are traveling to. Click on something that looks interesting, then follow the hashtag trail to find other things to do on your trip.

If you find something that interests you, ask the IGer about it.

Using Instagram during your trip

Of course you can still do the hashtag search to find fun things to do near you. You can also pinpoint a hashtag to be more specific. Instead of #london, maybe #bigben.

Another fun thing here is you can get ideas for how other people captured this area and use that inspiration in your own photos.

You can also create your own hashtag, #travelturtlegoestolondon for example, and upload your own IGs. This lets your friends and family know where you’ve been, and makes it easier for you to find the photos from this specific trip later.

Added bonus: people may start to ask you questions about that destination.

Tip: For safety, be careful of your upload timing. I try to upload pictures slightly after I’ve been to a certain place, that way it’s harder for stalkers to find me.

Using Instagram after your trip

Well, now you can be the go-to person for the specific destination. Answer people’s questions if they have any for you. Keep Instagram the friendly community is and offer support.

I’m a strong believer in taking the photo off the computer (or phone) and print it out. There are a lot of Instagram-friendly printing companies that will turn your images into bound books. Simple memory keeping technique.

My featured A-to-Z Challenge Travel Blogger of today is the Travelling Book Junkie. She has some pretty cool Alternative City Destinations that she’s featuring.

 

This post is part of the Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosted by Skimbaco Lifestyle

Follow me on Instagram to see what’s taking me away from the blog. Leave your IG link in the comments and I’ll follow you when I get back!translator english to germanhow to find keyword search volumeProxes C1Sobd2goption review

Hotel Alternatives

***I’m out of town and have limited access to my computer, but I wanted to make sure I still had some posts in the A-Z challenge. I’m keeping these simple until I come back. I’m going to expand on these later, but I’d love your thoughts and opinions in the meantime. Thanks for stopping by, and if you’re also participating in the challenge let me know and I’ll be around to check our your blog in less than a week.***

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After the worry of flying deters a lot of families from traveling, the next “problem” are the expenses associated with accommodation.

I’m a huge fan of hotels, but for the times when a hotel doesn’t make sense, here are some alternatives. (The companies listed below are ones I have personal experience with, but none of these are affiliate links. I just like them.)

Hostels

What I love about hostels is that many are centrally located. And family friendly hostels, tend to have more families staying there. Extra bonus.

There are many ways to search for a hostel. I recommend using HI (Hosteling International). Search for your city and nights and the hostel description will tell you if it’s suitable for families. Please note that HI hostels in some countries require a membership, while others are available to anyone. Membership does give you a discount, though, so consider if it’s worth it for your travel style.

Apartment Rentals

Just like hostels, these can be centrally located. It depends on you. Here you have a little more room to spread out, cook your own meals, and feel like a temporary local.

Also like hostels, there are many ways to search for apartments. Many apartment owners offer their places through multiple services. Try the interface with different companies to see which you prefer. We have used Air BnB (I love their app) and Flip Key with success.

TIP: Read the fine print to see if it’s family friendly.

I prefer an apartment that’s sole purpose is to be rented by other people. I don’t want to stay at someone’s home that they rent out randomly and have to deal with their food in the fridge and toiletries in the bathrooms. This is all personal, obviously, so do what you need to do.

My unscientific way of determining if an apartment is one and not the other:

  • If the artwork on the wall is large photos of the city you are visiting, or artwork by famous artists of said city, it’s more likely not someone’s permanent home.
  • If the photos on the wall are of family members, the bathroom is filled with shampoo bottles and hairbrushes, and there’s mail on the kitchen table, it’s likely to be a private dwelling sometimes used as a rental.

Holiday Parks

Unlike the above, I’m not sure to what extent these exist outside of Europe.

Holiday parks in Europe are closer to small towns and villages instead of big cities. The word “holiday” is used in more the British sense meaning “vacation” instead of the US sense meaning “thanksgiving”. They are a place to connect with your family instead of site-see (though there are usually many tourist-worthy sites in the vicinity). There are activities at the parks like mini-golf, swimming, bowling, and hiking. The accommodations are private ranging from apartment-style, private chalet, treehouses, houseboats, and everything in between.

There is usually a minimum 3-night stay. What I love about these is the affordability. For example, we stayed at one with a private chalet, kitchen, and two bedrooms in Belgium for 99 EUR for 3 nights. However, depending on the season and location they can be as expensive as 2-300 EUR a night.

What you have to remember is that necessary (bedding) and unnecessary (birthday decorations) extras are not included in that price. It can get expensive if you have a happy “select” finger.

I recommend Landal GreenParks (located in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, and Hungary. I’ve also heard great things about CenterParcs.

These are just three of my favorite alternatives to hotels.

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If you get a chance, please visit Reflection En Route today. She’s another A-to-Z Challenge participant who happens to be an American expat in Germany.tarpaulin car cover dealers chennaiReplay KI16car windscreen sun shade australia