Time for a Family Road Trip!

Time for a Family Road Trip! 

Deciding on a family road trip can be a daunting challenge, not to mention an exercise in patience. However if you prepare ahead of time, the trip can be one of the most memorable experiences of your family’s life.

Here are some quick and easy tips for making your family road trip a fun and safe one.

Checklist

First, prepare a checklist of items you will need. This will include first aid kit, food, snacks, drinks, and lots of toys, coloring books, paper and crayons, a portable DVD player so your kids can watch their favorite movies; and a cooler. A good idea is to ask the kids what games they would like to take, within limits of course.

Ensure that the snacks are healthy in nature. Too many sugar snacks can have the kids bouncing off the car seats. Remember, this is a relaxing family vacation and you want to avoid the kids getting bored or repeatedly asking you when you are going to arrive.

Do Some Research!

Check online to print out games for the road that you and the kids can play along the way. There are an assortment of puzzles and riddles as well.

In addition, if you have very young children you will need to take the diaper bag and wipes for the occasional spills, blankets and pillows if applicable and a favorite item or stuffed animal for the young ones is a good idea as well.

Second

Decide on the destination and then contact AAA for a trip ticket. Ask for the scenic route, one that is much more calming and pleasing to the eye, especially the driver!

Third

As you check out the planned route you may want to check online to find gas stations along the way that offer the cheapest gas. Also if there are any points of interest along the route mark them on the map and plan to stop at these sites.

Fourth

While on the road ensure that you make pit stops regularly. This will allow the kids to run around and let off some steam, while allowing the adults to stretch and re-energize. Bring along a football or soccer ball so that the entire family can have some fun while exercising at the same time.

Finally

It is very important that safety concerns are met. This includes having the car checked at your local mechanic or gas station. Ensure that the oil and filter are changed; the tires are well inflated (don’t forget the spare tire, too); the windshield wipers are replaced (if needed); and the car is in great condition before you head of

You never know, what you may need.

In addition, you may want to place the following items in your trunk: a lawn chair, extra blanket, emergency road kit, umbrellas, water, flashlight and batteries, a battery-powered radio, and windshield wiper cleaner. In the glove compartment include a first aid kit and cell phone charger. Keep all medications in a Ziploc bag in the glove compartment as well.

Another good idea is to take a list of telephone numbers including the hotel or motel where you are staying as well as those of family and friends you may need to contact.

If you enjoy scrapbooking, this road trip may be a perfect opportunity to add new treasures to the book. As you make stops at some scenic sites, ask the kids to find an item they would like to include in the scrapbook. Or if the kids point out something along the way that they find fascinating, take a picture of it to include in the scrapbook as well.

Engage the kids in the decision making, age appropriate, and allow them to decide what they would like to bring. Have them pack their clothes (check the suitcases afterwards) so they feel part of the overall experience. Planning ahead of time for a family road trip will save you time, stress, and money. And the kids will enjoy this adventure, too!

 

 

Top 5 Kid Friendly US Destinations

Top 5 Kid Friendly US Destinations

Although there are a multitude of destinations considered kid friendly, here are the top 5 you may want to consider on your next family vacation.

Disney World

1. Disney World is very Kids Friendly

This ultimate family vacation has been the source of great joy for adults and kids alike. Whether you stay several miles from the theme park or enjoy the onsite amenities, this vacation affords you an endless array of activities designed for the entire family. From Epcot Center to Sea World; from Disney Village to Universal Studios; Water parks to Wildlife parks; no time is wasted at this world-famous resort.

Moreover, many online travel sites are offering special packages to Disney World as well as Southwest Airlines and others. In addition, you can save quite a bit of money by selecting hotels that offer free stays for children, as well as free meals for the little ones. This is one destination where you can easily book a trip based on your budget and stick to it.

Sylvan Dale Guest House

2. Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch.

From Alaska to Wyoming, there are a multitude of dude ranches perfect for a family vacation. But, one of the most notable is the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Colorado, approximately 20 miles from Rock Mountain National Park. Here, your family can engage in an array of activities including: horseback riding, hayrides, nature walks, and a host of amenities provided by the ranch.

This dude ranch is perfect for families who love the outdoors as well as enjoy visiting such historic sites as Fort Collins, Old West Museums, and Cheyenne (where you can buy tickets to the world’s largest rodeo held from July 17 to the 26th).

3. Hawaii.

While Oahu has always been a popular destination, it is Maui that attracts family vacationers more than any of its islands. The reason is that it offers a wide variety of activities such as whale watching (seasonal); Lahaina, a famous whaling village; and Maui Ocean Center, home to the largest aquarium in Hawaii.

Your family can also take a ride on the Sugar Cane Train, circa 1890; visit Oheo Gulch to marvel at the spectacular waterfalls; spend a day at Iao Valley and view the Iao Needle; or visit the black-sand beaches at Waianapanapa in East Maui.

For fabulous weather, magnificent sunsets, and beautiful beaches; Maui is the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy spending quality family time.

4. New York.

Probably the most exciting vacation spot for families is New York. The “Big Apple” has something for everyone; from Broadway to Rockefeller Center, you will never run out of things to do here. Among the many sites to visit is Radio City Music Hall where you can take in a show; Madison Square Garden; the Empire State Building; the Village; 42nd Street, the Theatre District; museums; shopping, fabulous cuisine; the list is endless.

Spend a day walking along Fifth Avenue and stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral; take a tour of NBC Studios; spend an afternoon in Central Park and visit the zoo there; go to the South Street Seaport or take in a matinee performance on a Wednesday afternoon.

Whether you stay uptown or downtown, you will always be in close proximity to the many historic sites and sounds that comprise Manhattan. Moreover, your kids will enjoy all this city has to offer.

Las Vegas

5. Las Vegas.

The city that never sleeps offers a wide range of attractions for kids. This is why it is among the top family destinations in the US today. Moreover, it is an affordable vacation because the hotel packages and meals will fit any budget.

Among the many attractions offered for families include: M&M’s World, the Lion Habitat at MGM, Adventure Canyon, Game Works (a video game-playing wonderland), Sports Park, Circus Circus rides; Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage hotel; Shark Reef; New York, New York’s roller coaster; Madame Tussaud’s; Lake Mead; Children’s Museum (the largest of its kind); and Adventuresdome, the largest theme park in the U.S.

Many of these attractions are free and are well worth visiting. Don’t forget the Flamingo Habitat at the Flamingo hotel or the spectacular water fountain show across the way at Caesars Palace.

For great fun and awesome rides and venues, Las Vegas is a wonderful choice for your next family vacation.

Travel Tips for Sending Your Kid on a Train by Themselves

Travel Tips for Sending Your Kid on a Train by Themselves

Travel Tips: There are many reasons you might send your child on a train. Train travel tends to be less expensive than flying. It is a great way to take in scenery while traveling, and learn about the country’s geography. It can be a relaxing and educational experience for your child. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering sending your child on the train by themselves.

Travel tips for Kids on Trains

Find Out the Rules

There are rules that a parent must take into consideration when sending a child alone on the train. Generally, an unaccompanied minor is considered to be between the ages of 8 and 11. Children under the age of 8 are usually not allowed to travel alone by train, though you will need to check out the specific rules at the particular time you choose to send your child.

There will also be other rules to adhere to. These can vary, but some specifics you may want to check out are whether your child is allowed to travel on the train overnight, if there is a certain time frame they must arrive in, whether they are allowed to exit the train at stops, and if they can travel on a route that requires a transfer.

Is Your Child Mature Enough to Travel Alone?

Every child is unique. Some children seem more mature than their actual age and tend to be responsible and cautious. This child would be a good candidate for traveling by train. If your child has trouble following rules, or is too trusting of strangers, you may want to reconsider.

Travel tips for Kids on Trains

Send Plenty of Entertainment

When a child travels alone on the train, there are sure to be boring moments. It may be fun to watch the scenery for a while, but you will want to provide plenty of other activities for when this grows old. Send along items such as sketch books, journals, pens, and markers.

A device for listening to music and watching movies is also a great thing to send. A smartphone or something else they can communicate with you on will help both of you feel more relaxed. If you send a smartphone, you will want to check out long distance rates in case you need to keep texts and calls to a minimum. This can prevent a shocking phone bill the following month.

Send Snacks

Your child will need plenty of healthy food and snacks for the train ride. Pack enough meals for your child to enjoy during their trip. Fill a bag with nourishing snacks that keep well in room temperature, such as hummus and veggies, fruit, granola bars, beef jerky and individually packaged cheese sticks.

Send Money for Food and Other Purchases

Send money with your child if you want them to purchase meals or snacks on the train. They should carry enough cash in case of an emergency, but not enough to draw the unwanted attention of unsavory characters. Remind them to keep it hidden at all times.

Teach Safety

Above all, teach your child about safety. Train them in the importance of being aware of other passengers, and following their gut instincts when interacting with others. Remind them to be cautious of strangers, and not to divulge any personal information.

Sending your child on the train can be stressful, but you can make it easier on everyone involved. With planning, you can prepare your child for this adventure. Follow these tips and make your child’s train trip a great one to remember.

 

What to Do and Where to Go When Gas Prices Spike during Travel Season

What to Do and Where to Go When Gas Prices Spike during Travel Season

Travel season can be expensive to begin with, so when gas prices spike around the same time, you may feel doomed. It can be daunting to try and plan a trip when gas costs more than you can reasonably afford. How can you make travel plans happen when gas prices are soaring?

Have a Local Vacation

Summer travel doesn’t necessarily mean a faraway destination. When gas prices are soaring, consider staying close to home. A vacation to the city closest to yours can give you some variety, and still not cost too much. Cut your driving to a minimum in order to save big on your vacation.

Double Check Airplane Ticket Costs

One would assume that spiked gas prices would result in expensive airplane tickets. However, that is not always the case. Keep your eyes on the price of tickets as you still may be able to find good deals. In this case, it might make more sense to fly than to drive.

Save Money Elsewhere

If you simply must drive, and you have a long way to go, then cut the costs elsewhere. Look for a bargain where it is possible, such as hotel costs or eating arrangements. Don’t focus on what you cannot change, but on what you can.

Have a “Staycation”

It may be a newly-coined word, but the general idea of a staycation is a tradition that families have used for generations. Instead of traveling a long distance, or even driving out of town at all, stay at home and explore your city as though you were a tourist. Your city or area is sure to offer many exciting opportunities that may not even know about.

What is your area famous for? Do you have any great historical monuments nearby? What kind of scenery does your area offer? Is it known for its educational museums, exciting theme parks, or great shopping?

Perhaps you can choose one theme for each day of your staycation holiday. From water parks, to great hiking trails, to unique restaurants… it’s more than likely the place you live has just as many interesting places to go as any other location. Grab a tour guide and pretend you are visiting your area for the first time. Make it your goal to learn something new about where you live.

Give Your Car a Tune-Up

Many things you might not be aware of can lessen a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Issues such as poor tire alignment can cause gas to burn more quickly. Even if it is a relatively small amount, it adds up over time. With proper maintenance, your vehicle will be more able to combat this. If your vehicle is your mode of transportation on this year’s vacation, take it in for a tune-up before leaving.

Don’t forget the details. Be aware of the small things such as keeping your tires filled. When the tires on your vehicle are deflated, it will cause fuel efficiency to decline. Fill them up and save what you can. This applies to many other areas of vehicle maintenance as well.

Going on vacation during a spike in gas prices can mean added expense, but it doesn’t have to. There are many things you can do instead of driving long distances, and ways you can minimize gas consumption if driving is your only choice. Take a look at these tips and find ideas on what you can do when high gas prices and your vacation collide.

Last Minute Travel Made Easy

The growth of the Internet and budget airlines has turned last-minute flights into a huge industry – you can just be surfing around, and then, right there, there’s a flight cheap enough for you to buy on impulse and go away this weekend. If you’re thinking about booking last minute flights, however, there are a few things you need to know.

An important point to make is that you can’t trust the prices you see quoted in advertising for last minute flights. This is because of the common practice of excluding booking fees, airport taxes and all sorts of other little extras from the price – these all get added on just when you’ve got your card out and you’re ready to pay, in the hope that by then you won’t want to back out.

Also, you should realize that just because a flight says it goes to a big city like London or Paris, it doesn’t mean that the airport is actually anywhere near. Budget airlines use smaller airports to avoid paying the higher airport charges at the larger ones, and these smaller airports can be as much as two hours away from the city center by often unreliable public transport. In some cases, you can end up paying as much as you did for your plane tickets just to get a train to the place you thought was your destination.

On airlines that take bookings for seats, it is also worth noting that last minute flights will only have the seats that no-one else wanted, which usually means the ones in the middle of the row. This can be very important if you get airsick, or if you really want to sit together as a couple or family.

The biggest gotcha is that last-minute flights are always non-refundable. If you are going to buy one on impulse, make sure you can actually make it first, as there won’t be any backing out of the deal afterwards.

For more Travelling tips click here

Women today travel constantly and that too all over the world. Most manage to successfully juggle a professional life with a private one. Statistics reveal that almost 50% of business travelers are women and the number continues to grow each day. Travel at short notice means being organized and ready to go. Be smart and plan well ahead.

1. Keep on tab a list of baby sitters who would be willing to pitch in, even overnight if required. Keep a small book handy in which you jot down things like what the kids eat, their schedules, important phone numbers, likes and dislikes, as well as numbers of the doctors and list of medications including known allergies.

2. Keep a travel bag always packed and ready to go. Pack a combination of clothes so that they will tide you over irrespective of the weather in your destination. Wear easy to maintain and dark colors on trips. They don’t show stains, are wrinkle free and will drape well.

3. Always eat lightly and foods that are cooked avoid raw salads and water as well as ice. It is wise to snack before a flight and also to try and sleep during flight. This way you will arrive at your destination refreshed. Be sure to drink plenty of bottled water during travel.

4. Set up a schedule to call home at time zones that work for you and your loved ones. Make it a point to get memento es for your family members as also the baby sitter and others who pick up the slack while you are away. It shows them that you care.

5. Put safety first always place a “do not disturb sign on your hotel door and if nervous place a chair under the door knob like they do in movies. Keep your cell phone on and fully charged by you at all times and carry protection in the form of pepper spray, an alarm, or if you are trained and licensed a small weapon with its safety on. In most cities the police organize training classes for women to learn how to protect themselves and what one must do in an emergency. Try and make time to attend these.

6. Avoid dark lanes and abandoned roads. Never talk to strangers or accept food or drink from someone you don’t know. While traveling never leave food or drink unattended. Be vigilant at all times.

7. Choose a hotel with care. Choose to stay at well established hotels or small inns and B&B where the proprietors are generally family people. Always e-mail and fax details of your staying arrangements and travel plans to your home as well as office.

8. Always carry important documents, money, traveler’s checks, and passport in a money belt worn around your waist.

9. Always act confident and move around in groups there is always safety in numbers.

10. If unwell go to a state run hospital. Never to a private clinic.

11. Never travel with valuables like jewelry and always carry a small flashlight and medical kit with you.

12. For safety reasons arrange with your family to take appropriate action if you do not get in touch with them as planned.

Avoid room service and eat in the hotel dinning room. Also never reveal details of where you come from or your travel plans to anyone.

Be vigilant and smart and you will be able to travel often and safely.