404 2014 April

Archives for April 2014

Favorites – a free download for trips

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Memory keeping is important to me.

Memory keeping while traveling is one of my favorite things to do.

Getting my kids to record their thoughts of our trips is almost my idea of perfection.

But it’s not easy.

When I started this blog, I created a free one-page travel journal printable that I figured would be a simple way for kids to record their memories in a fun way. I still love it, but sometimes we need something even simpler.

Before kids, I kept journals of our trips. So many journals – with insights, details, conversations, haikus, and sketches. At the end of each trip I did a summary of our favorites. I would ask my husband what his favorites were and add his answers next to my own. It’s one of my favorite (there’s that word again!) things to look at when I glimpse back at past trips. (And other than the sketches, it’s usually the only thing I look at).

So, this is my word for my day – favorite. And this is my encouragement of the day – find simple ways, other than photos, to record everyone’s thoughts while your travel. Even if it’s just by answering a few prompts.

My gift to you

To get you started, I’ve created a 4×6 printable with four “favorite” prompts. Use one per person, put several responses on each, or use one just for the general consensus. The 4×6 size means it will easily fit into most standard photo albums – you do print your photos don’t you? If not, store it separately. Perhaps an old photo box that now only houses travel favorites 4×6 cards created by yours truly. ūüôā

Click on the image below to download.

Trip Favorites - Free Download

 

Travel Favourites - Free Download

 

Your gift to me

This post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge. I would love for you to take a moment (after downloading one of the “favorites” prompts) to visit another challenge participant, Contented Traveller. Their theme for this challenge is: a Weird and Zany World. I’ve had fun reading their posts, and I think you will, too.moshi iglaze macbook pro 15 retina reviewsous vetements sexywebsite optimization testsocial networks websitegopro hero 3 silver edition specs

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

Count: Children & Bags + Learn Numbers

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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:

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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

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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