Culture On Board: Enjoying your Airline Experience

ENJOYING YOUR INFLIGHT EXPERIENCEThe first time we really noticed culture on-board was on a flight from the USA to Austria via Austrian Airlines.  Instead of waiting 9 hours to arrive in a new country, we stepped instantly from Washington DC into Austria as we boarded the plane.  The Austria-red outfits (including somewhat shockingly red nylons), the classical music, and the Austrian-German accents put us instantly in a traveling state of mind.  They served Ottakringer beer, a delicious light beer made at a Viennese brewery, and Almdudler, something like Ginger Ale and known informally as the national drink of Austria.  I don’t remember that they served Wiener schnitzel but they just might on some special flights. Read more »

Thailand Close-Up!

All these images and more in our latest post on Wandering Educators.  How can you see a little more on your next trip or keep your kids just a little more engaged?  Go close-up!

Thailand Close Up!

The Family Traveler’s Handbook – New book, New perspectives

When we leave our homes, we leave behind the web of possessions and accumulated to-do lists and focus on spending time together” – Mara Gorman

bookcover-FamilyTravelersHandbook

There’s a new family travel book on the market!  Why would we review the competition?  Well, because it’s a great book with lots of new perspectives to offer.  I read it cover-to-cover, enjoyed it, learned from it, and smiled regularly.  It’s a quick read with no nonsense.  Mara’s inherent philosophy is that everything can be travel.  She describes her first trip with her son – a trip down the block to visit neighbors.  Mara’s vision of family travel encompasses all activities that get parents and kids out the door, exploring the world together.  Read more »

Traveling with Kids – Food and Candy from Around the World

IMG_9296MultiCulturalKids a group of writers excited about raising multicultural children is hosting a video discussion circle in which we ask and anwer each other’s questions about traveling with kids.  The circle starts off with Olga from European Mama asking about travel secrets and then Leanna at AllDoneMonkey wonders about fun travel detours.  Ours was definitely an unexpected overnight in Memphis TN on New Year’s Eve – yes you can get BBQ delivered in a pink Cadillac!.  Then Michelle at Mother Tongues asked us about food and candy – a favorite subject in our family.  Watch our video answer about traveling with kids – food and candy around the world.

The conversation goes on at BilingualkidsRock where Olen answers our question about travel “equipment” that saved the day.  TrilingualChildren, InspiredByFamily, MarocMama, MultilingualMama, JourneysOfTheFabulist, and ThePiriPiriLexicon all contribute.  Jump in anywhere to enjoy listening in, thinking about traveling with kids, and meeting these interesting folks.

American Toilet Candy

Click to watch our video answer about travel and candy

8 Tips for Enjoying a Timeshare Sales Pitch

931We recently attended our fifth timeshare sales pitch.  They’ve all been interesting in their own way – the product itself, the style of the sales pitch, the interaction with the salesman.  The first event we attended was near our Seattle home and probably just months after we were married.  The man running the slideshow asked folks to raise their hand and tell the group what they got for their sixth birthday.  No one had an answer.  Their 10th birthday?  Christmas when they turned 16? There were a few timid answers but not much.  Then he asked “OK, then, tell me about a vacation your family took when you were a kid.”  Hands shot up in the air and everybody started talking.  I know, I know.  It’s unfair because he didn’t ask for a vacation the year we were some specific age and we were all there for a travel pitch because we liked travel, but it was powerful!  Maybe that timeshare sales pitch even changed our lives? Since then we’ve Read more »

What is CostULess Travel?

Cost U Less travel, Cost-U-Less Travel, or CostULess Travel is a “travel program” pitched like a timeshare condominium.  We received multiple offers in the mail advertising an “opportunity” to receive two free airplane tickets and two nights in a hotel in exchange for hearing their pitch.  We love traveling and though we’re not really interested in timeshares, curiosity finally made us cave and we called to learn more.

The woman on the phone was friendly but mysterious.  She would tell me nothing about the free gift (those free plane tickets and hotel rooms that sucked us in) and seemed to know very little about CostULess except that (1) it’s spelled with a “U” instead of a “You”; (2) it is NOT a timeshare; and (3) it’s a discount travel club.  I imagined something like a travel Tupperware party and decided that, at worst case, it was only 90-minutes and we could blog about it.  How bad could it be right? Read more »

Old-fashioned In-flight Fun

We traveled a lot when our kids were young and entertaining them in planes, buses, cars, and restaurants was a challenge.  I recently cleaned out our travel box and found some of my old favorite, mostly homemade, old fashioned, travel tricks.  These cheap and easy finds helped me not just endure our adventures but truly enjoy traveling with my kids.

felt bookMy Travel Book: I took an old 3-ring binder, a light, plastic 1” binder, and I converted it into a travel activity book. It only came out when we were “on the loose” so it was new and exciting every time.  Inside were several cheap, plastic, transparent pencil holders.  One held small toys.  At the time of this photograph, it was a collection of linking monkeys from an old-fashioned “Barrel of Monkeys” game.  Read more »

MKB Book Club – Bilingual is Better

logoMKBbookclub2I’ll start this week’s chapter chat with a joke my kids told me:

What do you call a person who speaks two languages? 

-       Bilingual

What do you call a person who speaks three languages?

–       Trilingual

All right then.  What do you call a person who speaks only one language?

–       American

IMG_20130424_161930_847And, just to be clear.  That’s “American” with a derogatory tone.  I’m so proud that my kids think this joke is funny!  When I was in college, I took a seminar in which we had to describe the three things we really wanted to give our children.  I don’t even remember the first two things I listed.  Most likely something like “a roof” and “love”.  But I remember the somewhat desperate feeling I had about the third thing – “a second language.” I knew even then that my horizons were limited by my monolingualism and it seemed daunting to dream of doing better for my own kids.  As you can imagine, when Multicultural Kid Blogs offered up a book club on Bilingual is Better by Ana Flores and Roxana Soto, I jumped at the chance.  I picked Chapter Two: Why Bilingual is Better.  The discussion of Chapter 1 was sparked by a great post hosted by Spanish Playground. Read more »