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Parks, Playgrounds, & Picnics


Before I had kids I thought authentic travel experiences had to include places where locals drank or ate. Once I had my own kids, I worried that finding that local connection might not be so easy. Especially now that I prefer drinks and food via room service many nights – don’t judge, I never realized how enjoyable eating at a desk-turned dining table could be when the alternative is dealing with over-tired toddlers in a public place.

Then I discovered that parks and playgrounds are filled with locals. The conversation that used to be struck up over a drink, now starts while pushing a swing on a swing set. The parents I meet at the parks and playgrounds, they’re the ones that can give me the inside tips that I worried I would miss having kids. Only these tips are more suited for my new travel lifestyle because these tips are suited for my children.

So feel free to let your kids run loose at the playground, you never know who you’ll meet.

What about the food, though?

In my pre-kid days I enjoyed tasting new dishes at restaurants. These days, I’m rediscovering my love of picnics. Plus, it’s a complete cultural experience. Shopping in a local grocery store and figuring out what treats are perfect without heating or plates is just the half of it. Then there’s searching for the perfect spot to snack. A place with a view and a playground. Some of my favorite travel memories are those that happened while eating a picnic.

Know this – if you’re travel changes when you have kids to include more parks, playgrounds, and picnics, it’s really not a bad thing.

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If you have a moment, please visit fellow A-to-Z Challenge travel bloggers Kitty & Francisco of Bay Essence. Their alternating their posts between English and Spanish, so take a look!

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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.***


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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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.***


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

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Count: Children & Bags + Learn Numbers


I’m loosely following the theme of “the A to Z’s of family travel” for this challenge. I was kind of stuck on what to write about for C, though. So, I turned to my husband and asked him. His response? Count your children before you get off the train.

We only have two children. Two children that I’m leaving him with while I head off to London for a mom’s getaway next week.

I’m worried.

But, he does have a point.

No – counting children is not an A-Z of family travel, but learning to count in the language of the place you visit is.

This is a basic thing that kids can learn at a very young age. Something they’ll be able to use at almost every shop and site they visit. Something that will give them more of a connection to the place. Something they’ll likely remember when they get back home.

Counting in a foreign language: More than words

And counting goes far past actually saying the numbers.

In the US we show our number signs by starting with the index finger for one, add the middle finger for two, etc.

In Europe we show numbers by starting with the thumb for one and moving down the line. (Remember that scene in Inglorius Basterds when the guy, pretending to be German in a flawless accent, gets called out because he uses the wrong gesture to signify two beers? This stuff is important.)

In China, finger counting is the same as the US from 1-5, but then switches dramatically. Here’s a photo to show the basic method. There are some differences depending on where in China you happen to be, so do your research before committing to this example:


This makes me wonder, what methods to other countries use when they want to count to 10.

Side note:

My husband also wanted to point out the importance of counting your luggage before you leave a train.

Now head on over to Have Blog Will Travel. They’re also participating in the A to Z Challenge, focusing on BC, Canada. (What method of finger counting do Canadians use?)

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Breakfast while traveling


Welcome back to Day 2 of the A to Z Challenge, also known as Day B.

One of the first scenes in the television show Arrested Development has Michael asking his son, George Michael, “what’s the most important thing?”

And at the same time they say “Breakfast”/”family”.

At which point George Michael mumbles that he thought he was asking what the most important meal of the day is.

I love Arrested Development.

When I travel, I love having a good breakfast.

Here are some random observations about breakfasts while on vacation.

  • If possible, pick a hotel that offers breakfast with the price. We’ve had the unfortunate luck of having centrally located hotels that were nowhere near open breakfast spots when my kids woke up hungry at 6:30 am. Most hotel breakfasts start at 7:00. (And the reason I say that breakfast should be included is because finding out the hotel breakfast will set you back 20 Euros per person is never a fun experience.)
  • In one of the upcoming letters, I’ll likely talk about booking accommodations. One thing that has saved us an incredible amount of money is having a Hilton rewards card. With our club status, we are able to get free breakfasts (and wi-fi). Both of which are not too common in European hotels. (For the record, we weren’t as big of a fan of the free Hilton breakfasts at the hotels we stayed at in the US.)
  • It is often suggested that families rent apartments while on vacation. This gives them access to a kitchen making breakfast preparation and eating easy. You don’t have to change into decent clothes. This is a good idea, too. However, take a day out of your schedule and eat out. See (or better yet, taste) what the locals are eating. Breakfast is not cereal, pancakes, and bacon all over.
  • One of the best places to experience local breakfast is a Sunday brunch. Especially in Germany, you’ll find many brunch restaurants with a staffed play area for kids. Win and win.

To read more fun #atozchallenge entries, check out my friend over at Chasing the Donkey. Guaranteed to have gorgeous photos.coffret sexyhow to market an online businesssites for social networkingLX35binary options strategy