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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.***

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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

Emergencies while traveling abroad

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Let me take a moment in this challenge to be serious.

We don’t like to think about it, but it happens. Emergencies arise while on vacation. The best thing you can do is prepare. Here are some tips on things you can do before you leave, and resources for you to bookmark.

If you have more tips, please leave them in the comments.

Purchase Travel Insurance 

I can’t recommend a specific policy because ours is via my husband’s company. I am familiar with CSA Travel Insurance and World Nomads, though I haven’t used either personally. (These are not affiliate links, just links to the products for your convenience.)

Do your research for your destination

At the minimum make sure you have the 911 equivalent number for the destinations you’re traveling to. This list provided by the U.S. State Department should help.

Write down the number your country’s nearest consulate or embassy for each city you will be visiting. Note most U.S. embassy websites include contact information for English-speaking doctors in the vicinity. It will be under the section for American Citizen Services.

Read up on any necessary vaccinations, familiarize yourself with the medical process, and general safety tips via the U.S. State Department site.

If anyone in your group has allergies, keep a list of the allergies translated into the language of the country you are visiting. Even if people guarantee that all doctors will speak English where you are visiting, you never know. Trust me. I have 50/50 luck with English speaking doctors in Germany – and I’m in a big city.

Keep a copy with you

To help with this I’ve created a free downloadable pdf to keep track of this information for up to four countries. Print it out for each trip and put it in a safe place.

emergency

Now that we’re done being serious, I’d love it if you go and check out my friend Jenny’s blog A Taste of Travel. She’s also participating in the A to Z Challenge, focusing on places off the beaten path. True travel inspiration on her blog. Her selections so far have me wanting to purchase plane tickets, buy insurance, do a little research and fill out the form you hopefully just downloaded.sous vetements feminins sexy

Disney and disney-fication

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It’s a fact that for many people in the world, when they hear the phrase “I’m going to travel with my kids” they immediately think Disney.

For good reason.

Disney sets the standard for theme parks, cruises, and tours.  It is not only obviously child friendly, it is also adult friendly.

It’s not pet friendly, though, sorry dog owners.

I made a conscious decision to never write directly about the Disney theme parks on this blog. As a former Orlando resident, I’ve probably been to the Disney World Resort parks over 80 times. My laid-back approach to visiting Disney would not interest many people. “Five EPCOT center lines that are better than the ride” — no one wants to read that post. 

I also don’t write about their cruises and tours because I haven’t done them – yet. As soon as my kids meet the minimum age requirements I’ll be signing us up and writing about it right here.

While many people are against Disney, against tours, and thus against Disney tours, I’m a fan. Disney tours aren’t just child-friendly, they are child-focused. Child-focused! How nice does that sound?

Until my kids are old enough to go on the Disney tours, though, I’m going to take a few tips from the entertainment masters.

Here are three things I try to do on every trip.

Find the hidden Mickeys. Everyone knows that Mickey heads are hidden throughout all of the parks. While we don’t need to be on the lookout for him while on vacation in Austria, we can still look for something. For those of us that are too lazy to come up with a destination-relevant item – no worries. Create a generic scavenger hunt list that can be used on multiple trips. (Come back for letter S and I’ll tell you all about it.)
Be an active participant. Going to museums, parks, and shows are all fun. However, I think the best experiences are those that get people involved instead of passively watching things happen to them.  An easy answer is visiting a Science Center, they always have hands-on displays. A better choice is to find the experiences unique to the destination. Perfect your gelato recipe in Italy, learn how to shoot arrows from bows in Scotland, practice calligraphy in China.
Upgrade the memories. At the end of every day Adventures by Disney guests receive a branded pin specific to something they did that day. It’s something to look forward to and speculate about before hand. It’s also a souvenir. Find a way to surprise your young ones with a recap keepsake from your day, every day of your vacation. Perhaps a collection of metal pins will work for you, too. Or just a simple postcard that the child can use to record their reactions from the day. It’s a small token with a huge impact.

My Southern Gypsy friend is gearing up for a year of travel and is also participating in this A to Z challenge. Go check out her blog!commander les corsets sexy pas cherAH111 16Gb

Airplanes with small children

Thanks to my friend DJ at Dream Euro Trip, I have decided to participate in this year’s A to Z challenge.

Today is brought to you by the letter A.

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Airplanes and small children

As a mom who not only loves to travel with her clan, but also actively encourages others to do the same, the topic of flying with kids is one that is close to my heart. 

Many parents dread flying. We typically have no experience bringing our kids into an enclosed space with a bunch of strangers, limited in what we can bring to satisfy our kids, while depending on variables out of our control.

Sounds like fun a situation. Add the grief of knowing that most people around you have already decided that your children will ruin their flight, and I can see why more parents simply don’t want to do it.

If you are a parent traveling with a small child, ignore anyone around you who is not smiling. They’re either ignoring you or rolling their eyes at your decision to show your kid the world and you don’t need to pay them any mind. Know that your one job during this flight is to keep your child comfortable. It’s exhausting at times, but this is your responsibility. In the end, it will be ok. The flight will not last forever.

If you are traveling in the vicinity of a small child, think of it like turbulence. It can get bumpy, it can get uncomfortable. The person in charge is doing everything they can to fix the situation. It may be hard, you may need to wear your seatbelt (or headphones), but you will get to your destination.  

P.S. 24 Great Tips for Flying with Young Children