Archive for July 2012
July 30, 2012
Comments off · Posted by jennifer in Road Trips with Kids
My dad loved to drive (and flying was expensive) so we spent countless vacation hours on road-trips crossing the country. Growing up in the Mid-Western US is similar to being in Europe – you can drive almost anywhere in a day or two. These days, we fly for most of our vacations but we have several yearly 13 hour road trips to visit friends and family. During our last one, I was reflecting on how different road trips are these days – DVDs and iPads can make for a disconnected experience – a far cry from the days with nothing to do but read, listen to your dad’s radio station and talk.
I found this article to be a good reflection on how things used to be…. http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2012/07/16/a-ride-in-dads-traveling-think-tank/?mod=google_news_blog?mod=wsj_valetleft_email
What do you think? Have road trips changed for the better or is it sometimes good to take off the headphones, turn off the DVD and see what happens?
July 24, 2012
Comments off · Posted by jennifer in General Travel With Kids
As August rolls around our thoughts turn to school. After a summer of sleeping in and playing all day, it can be rough to get back into a schedule. Here are our tips for getting back into the swing of things.
1. Dig out the Summer workbooks and have your kids start refreshing their minds. If you are in the middle of math facts (usually grades 1 – 4), it’s time to break open the flash cards. Look for educational games that will help sharpen summer minds.
2. Read, read, read. Look at the summer reading lists and visit the library. Get in the habit of reading every night.
3. Get on a lose schedule – no need to wake up at the crack of dawn but it is time to start getting up before noon and going to bed before midnight.
4. Plan your back to school shopping trips – clothes, gear and supplies are in stores now and the selection is good.
5. A mini vacation right before school starts can start the school year off on a good note. Even if you don’t travel anywhere, spending some family time before the craziness of school starts is fun.
How does your family get back into the school groove?
July 17, 2012
Jet lag is the bane of international travel (or any travel that crosses multiple time lines) – add a few kids and it can break a trip. These tips will help smooth the transition.
1. If possible, pick flights such that you land in the early afternoon. When you get to the hotel, grab something to eat and head out for a walk around town. Plan on an early dinner and early bedtime -but no naps for kids or adults (babies should nap as necessary).
2. The first day is usually filled with the excitement of being in a new place – capitalize on this by scheduling time to explore the city. A good combination of walking and riding will help work off the excitement without having people tire too quickly.
3. The second full day is always the worst. Make it an easy day – no early morning or evening plans. This is a great day to hit a local park, zoo or aquarium. Expect tired (and fussy) kids and a lack of patience from the adults and try to mitigate it with fun activities and frequent snacks. Giving kids a little space (such as solo baths) will also help prevent bickering.
4. Meals are tricky as you transition through time zones. Be sure to have plenty of sweet and savory snacks on hand for off-hour hunger (including in the middle of the night!). Try to plan for more frequent, smaller meals (afternoon tea or quick stops in a pub make Europe perfect for this tip!).
5. Consider the time change when planning outings. For example, when traveling to Europe from the US, you are likely to awaken earlier than normal. Plan for this by booking tours early (even if you are not traditionally an early morning family).
6. Use the sun – kids naturally feel more awake when the sun is shining. Use this to your advantage by getting up with the sun and going to bed with the sun (especially in the summer).
What tips can you add?
July 12, 2012
Comments off · Posted by jennifer in Travel Tips & Advice
No one wants to deal with a medical emergency while traveling. These simple tips will help you be prepared, just in case.
Being prepared can help you make more informed choices and respond more quickly if such an emergency does occur while you are away from home. Below are a few tips from UnitedHealthcare’s Golden Rule Insurance Company (www.goldenrule.com) to help you prepare for summer vacation.
- Make sure you understand your medical insurance coverage before you leave home. Determine what your out-of-pocket expenses would be if you need to visit a doctor or emergency room while traveling.
- Find out which urgent care centers, hospitals and pharmacies located in your destination city participate in your health plan’s care provider networks. Check your insurer’s website from your cell phone or computer, or bring a list of network care providers with you if you don’t have mobile access.
- Always carry your health insurance identification card in your wallet or purse. It will make it easier to contact your insurance company if you or health care providers and facilities have questions about coverage
- Bring a list of your prescription drugs. If you take over-the-counter drugs regularly, include those as well.
- If you plan to travel abroad, learn whether your health insurance plan covers treatment outside of the United States. Make note of what documentation you need and the process for filing claims for treatment received outside of the country if treatment is covered. Consider buying an international health insurance policy before you leave if overseas medical expenses are not covered.
More than half of Americans will be traveling this summer, according to a recent survey by Deloitte (link). Before leaving home, it’s always wise to plan for the unexpected – including possible medical emergencies!
Source: UnitedHealthcare’s Golden Rule Insurance Company
July 8, 2012
I must admit that the thought of eating out every single meal while on a family vacation is daunting. Relaxing meals with four kids (at home or away) are rare. Here are our tips for conquering the meal time blues without electonics:
- Pack an activity kit. It doesn’t need to be large – a coloring/activity book, colors, stickers and a few small toys will suffice. At home, we use the BusyKiddy and while traveling the TravelKiddy Return Pack works well.
- If you are going to a restaurant the kids might find icky, let them eat before you go to the restaurant and have dessert while you enjoy a meal.
- For longer meals, have the kids’ meals come out first and order them dessert when finished. While you likely have to skip the appetizer course, it will give you a bit longer to enjoy the entree (and perhaps even a class of wine!).
- Look for restaurants on a square or park. This is quite common in Europe and makes for a pleasant dining experience with the kids playing and running around while you enjoy the meal.
- Resist the urge to snack the kids right before a meal but also be sure to stick to regular mealtimes (or at least as close as possible). Overly hungry kids are terrible dinner companions.
- Don’t stress – sometimes a glass of wine makes the meal go much smoother!
What are your tips for dining on the go?