Finding Lodging

Our affordable London hotel (lower left) was under the Eye!

It wasn’t that long ago when finding a hotel meant pulling out my Lonely Planet Guide and telling the taxi/rickshaw/tuk tuk driver to take me to whichever guesthouse was recommended.  Many other travelers used the same method and inevitably places became too popular and overcrowded.  Sometimes I found lodging by word-of-mouth and by getting advice from other travelers, but often these recommendations were based on the very same guidebooks.  Sometimes lodging solicited me.  I remember coming out of immigration at the Kathmandu airport and being accosted by a sea of people offering beds in their various guesthouses and feeling overwhelmed by it all; the sights, the sounds, the hustle, the bustle.  But that was in the 80’s, when international phone calls were only for periodically checking in with worried relatives at home and incoming mail was so slow it had to be sent general delivery weeks in advance. Read more »

Kids Traveling – ALONE

I definitely trust my kids to get through airport security, hop on the correct plane, store their stuff, relax, de-board with all of their stuff, find their luggage, and meet their Grandparents at the curb more than I trust them to finish their homework and clean their room.  But, the first flight is still a big deal!

Alaska Airlines doesn’t let kids fly alone until they are 13 but it’s only $25 per kid, per flight before that.  You can walk them to the gate with an escort pass and they can be picked up at the gate on the other side by an “escort” (which is kind of a funny choice of words if you think Read more »

Danke, Gracias, Merci, Xie xie, Arigato

Siena - Fonte Gaia

Unless you’re going someplace extremely remote, you can expose your kids to the language(s) they’ll hear on your trip.  If they’re old enough, insist that they learn the few phrases below before entering each country.  (It might take an adult 4 hours to learn 10 phrases but your kids can memorize these words in no time).  It is so much more fun to greet people in their native language and the reception your kids recieve will likley be much more genuine.  There is no need to try to become fluent, just a few words can make all the difference. Read more »

Northward bound

Printed all our reservations and put them into The travel book.  Just created packing lists for the kids … not sure if we’re expecting a tropical vacation or an arctic blizzard.  Hoping for a little of both, wildlife, native art, and at least one sighting of the aurora borealis …

Here’s our packing list:  Packing List – June in Alaska

 

Why prepare your kids?

The actual trip is just the filling in the sandwich.  Extend the trip with anticipation and remembering.  Planning and getting excited can be alot of fun and both will make the trip easier, more rewarding, and more memorable.  The first stage of the trip is the pre-planning that engages your kids and prepares them to be excited.  The middle stage is the trip itself – from the plane trip to the museum to the restaurant and back to the hotel for bedtime.  The finale happens after you get home – share the trip with friends, keep exploring, and (not to be too trite) make the memories last…

Preparation is more important than plane tickets

Spend less energy on travel logistics and more on preparing your kids.  They’ll enjoy the trip so much more if they have educated expectations about the places you’ll be visiting.  The more they know, the happier they’ll be (and so, of course, the happier you will be too).  You can’t really expect them  to be all excited about seeing a mosque when they don’t know what it is.  And, let’s face it, art without expectation can be no fun at all.  If you’ve read about the Mona Lisa in a story, it might be fun to go see her.  On the other hand, standing in line to see a painting of a smirky lady that your parents tell you is “really famous”? Well, that just makes for really bad day.

Give away all the surprises

How many times can your son watch the same movie, even a really bad movie?  112 times?  265 times?  Because it’s really fun for kids when they know what comes next.  Start at the library in the non-fiction section and get picture books or even videos about your destination.  Biographies of famous people or details about the history of, say, soccer in Europe, or crickett in India.  The fiction section can hold a lot of great opportunities but I usually need help from a creative librarian.