8 articles Articles posted in Travel

A Parental Packing List: Top Apps and Gadgets for Traveling with Tykes

Packing just for yourself for an upcoming trip can be a hassle, so it’s even crazier when you have to pack for the rest of your family as well, especially children. You want to make sure that you have everything they may need, but you also don’t want to go overboard and bring along everything but the bed.

While you will have to decide which clothes to pack for your kids, there are a couple of things you can concentrate on that will keep them occupied and safe during your travels. There are some apps and gadgets that you may want to think about getting so that your kids can travel happily. Here are a few things you can think about getting.

An Alarm Clock that Works

Nothing is more frustrating that oversleeping, especially when you’re traveling: chances are that you’ll have a few important things planned for the early mornings, so you need to make sure you’re up and the kids are ready to go. The Alarm Clock for Me app is a great way to get you and your children out of bed.

The alarm wakes you up by playing songs from your device, so you can wake up to something that will get your day started right. It also features a sleep timer so you can fall asleep to your favorite music easily no matter where you are. If you want, you can also turn your device into a bedside clock with the app, which displays good looking, easy-to-read numbers.

The app also gives weather updates in your area, so you and your family know what to expect. You can learn more at Google Play.

A Portable Charger

In today’s constantly-connected world, you will probably have two or three mobile devices that you and your family use to stay informed and entertained. When you’re traveling, these devices can run out of battery life really quickly, so it’s nice to have a portable charger for a quick charge up.

These chargers come in a variety of shapes and sizes as well as outputs, so you should have no trouble finding one that suits your family’s needs. Many of them have the ability to charge two or more devices at a time, so the larger your family, the more outputs you will need.

A Sound App

If your kids are used to sleeping with a fan on in their room, or if there’s some other noise they are used to hearing at bedtime, then you may want to find an app that produces noises to help them sleep.

This app gives you the option of listening to nature sounds like waterfalls or thunderstorms, or you can listen to mechanic noises like fans and even the sound of a busy city street. The app is free and may help your kids fall asleep so they’ll be rested for all of the adventures you’ll be taking them on.

Try these apps and gadgets next time you travel with your children.

Gabriel Peters is a Dad who enjoys writing about travel, especially traveling with kids and some tips/tricks to make it easier on parents!

Incredible Child Friendly Places To Visit In East Asia

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Some people tend to want to stay close to home when they have young children, while others see it as the perfect opportunity to take them out to see the world and kick start their adventurous streak when they’re young. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but being mindful of the customs and quirks of your destination is really important for safety and comfort. Some destinations further afield are great with families with small children, such as East Asia. With so many incredible sights, smells, sounds, and tastes to experience, as well as cultures and colors that they’ve never even dreamed of, East Asia is sure to get your little one’s travel bug started at an early age. Here are my top five recommendations for travelling with young ones in East Asia.

Bali, Indonesia

With stunning beaches for mum and dad to relax on with the little ones nearby making sandcastles, it’s like a more tropical Scarborough, only without all the arcades and seagulls. The shows in Bali are every kid’s dream, with bright colours, energetic music, and lots of singing and theatre. If you’re a bit worried about travelling so far afield with young children, the number of expats in Bali should put your mind at ease. There is lots of great food, including some more Western styles for any fussy little ones, and delicious dishes for the adventurous among you. The scenery is just incredible with paddy-field walks and pretty hikes. The Balinese love children as well, so they’re happy to have them in restaurants in the evenings, ridding you of the worries of childcare.

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia is a brilliant melting pot of cultures from around East Asia, making it great for kids to explore and experience new things. If you’ve got particularly young kids, it’s said that Kuala Lumpur is particularly great for prams and pushchairs as their infrastructure is so well managed and their paths are so smooth. Kids love the trek up the 272 steps to a Hindu temple hidden high above the city, and there is also a Skybridge with views over the city, and even a Legoland with a mini Asia to explore – it’s any kid’s dream destination.

Hong Kong

If you’re looking for an Asian city which caters brilliantly to kids and adults alike, Hong Kong might be the one for you. It’s ridiculously easy to navigate, even by public transport, and everyone speaks English as well as we do, which is really reassuring if anything goes wrong. The locals love kids, especially Westerners, so they go out of their way to make you all feel welcome and entertained. There’s even a Disneyland for a treat, which is specifically geared towards the under ten crowd, making Hong Kong even better for young families. And kids and adults alike will fall in love with the traditional Chinese dumplings served everywhere.

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Tokyo, Japan

Japan is a great destination for families with both young and older children. It’s futuristic infrastructure makes Japan tours between cities particularly straightforward, and the huge variety of sights and scenery make a little tour of the country and attractive holiday plan for many young families – what kid wouldn’t love a trip on their bullet train or up one of Kyoto’s skyscrapers? Tokyo itself is chock full of entertainment for both adults and children, such as Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and SpaceWorld. Further afield there’s even a Hello Kitty park and a Studio Ghibli Museum, so they’ll never get bored – just make sure that you do your research before you set off so you don’t miss anything amazing.


The people of Laos make it an incredible family holiday destination – they’re so welcoming, generous, and helpful that you’ll probably never want to leave. Its natural landscapes, incredible flora and fauna, and beautiful rice paddies make it an amazing country to explore by foot, boat, or by land. If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, Laos is probably going to be more your cup of tea than Tokyo. The food is to die for too, and there’s enough variety that even fussy little ones will find something they enjoy. If you want a bit of adventure, and mum and dad fancy a few drinks, head to the lively town of Vang Vieng for a couple of days and get out and explore.

East Asia is a treasure trove of beautiful scenery, incredible food, and new sights and sounds for the whole family to fall in love with. While it might not have been your first choice of destination, there are many areas of East Asia which are perfect for family holidays with young children, and great for both adults and kids to explore and enjoy.


Travelling with Kids – Pre-Travel Prep

When it comes to booking a family holiday, the actual “booking a holiday” bit is only a small part of the prep. There are lots of other things to think about in order to make a family holiday go smoothly and I thought I’d write a little list to help you if you’re still in the prep stage.

Pet Boarding

There are lots of options if you’ve got pets, such as leaving them with family or asking someone to move into your house to care for them (this option also doubles-up as having someone to keep your property secure, too, giving you peace of min while you’re away). You can also find in-home boarders who look after your pets withing their own houses, as well as large commercial kennels and catteries. Don’t forget to budget pet boarding within your total holiday budget as it can often be pricey.

Airport Parking

If you live a long way from the airport, you’re going to need a way to get yourselves there. Often, airport parking (great deals here http://www.parking-at-airports.co.uk/) works out a lot more economical than getting a taxi or minibus and it means you know that your car is secure while you’re away. It’s also nice to get into your own vehicle after a long flight as it feels like a little slice of home! The value of being able to control your own temperature and listen to your own stereo will feel priceless after a long-haul flight.

Online Check-In

Often, its possible to check in at the airport online, which means less queuing when you get to your terminal. This is worth its weight in gold if you’re already wrangling excited kids and can make your whole airport experience 100% less stressful. This will leave you more time for perusing the duty-free shops and lounging in the airport lounge!

Pre-pay Credit Cards

If you’d like something a little more secure than a whole wad of paper money, ordering pre-paid credit cards and loading your holiday money onto them is a great idea. You can split the money across a couple of cards which means you won’t be stuck if one gets lost and many of them also offer an app which allows you to add money and move your balance across, so if anything does happen to one of the cards you can always transfer it all onto one.

Preparing for the Flight

If you’re flying with kids, then making the flight as seamless as possible can take a little prep work. Give each child a compartmented lunch box filled with snacks to keep them fed while you’re flying, Putting together a gadget bag containing games consoles and tablets (as well as the corresponding chargers) is also a good idea, as well as a bag full of colouring books, drawing pencils, and activity books. Be prepared for them to find the take-off and landing uncomfortable on their ears, and giving them chewy sweets can helo to relieve the pressure. It’s also wise to take paracetamol/ibuprofen with you in case anyone feels poorly on the plane.


Travel Sickness and How to Deal With It

travel sicknessDizziness, cold sweat, and vomiting are the main symptoms of travel sickness, also referred to as motion sickness. According to the Telegraph, it affects more than 20 million people in Britain with children, aged between 2 and 12, particularly prone.

Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth, a GP from Cambridge, explains what causes this nasty sensation: “If the driver throws the car around, tiny particles of chalk suspended in liquid in your inner ear push against microscopic hairs. This tells your brain that you are on your side. Meanwhile, your eyes are sending different information and it’s this that makes you feel sick.”

But what can you do to prevent travel sickness from occurring? We’ve put together a list of different cures, which might help to alleviate the problem.

Choose the right seat and keep still

People suffering from motion sickness should try to find a seat where the motion is minimal. On a plane the calmest seat is in the middle near the wings. On a ship you usually experience less motion in the lower cabins near the centre. When travelling on a train, make sure to sit facing forwards and if you’re travelling by car, then it can help to sit in the front seat rather than in the back.

Relax and keep calm

Focus on your breathing, try to remember poetry, listen to music or engage your brain in other mental activities. Try not to worry about getting travel sick as this might end up making it worse. This also means avoiding contact with other people suffering from travel sickness as hearing them talk about it can make it worse.


In severe cases, you can get medication from the drug store. Most medication has to be taken a few hours before the journey begins. The NHS lists hyoscine (also known as scopolamine) and antihistamines as often used cures. It’s essential that you talk to your GP first before using them or giving them to your children as they have to be used with caution.

The right food

Avoid eating anything “heavy” prior to and during your journey and ask your fellow travellers to avoid eating food with a strong odour when you’re around. Snack on some pumpkin seeds or ginger products such as ginger biscuits or ginger tea. Ginger is sometimes used to treat nausea and although no scientific studies have been conducted yet to verify its abilities to cure motion sickness, it has been used to treat vomiting and nausea for centuries.

Fresh air

Open a car window or stand on deck if you’re travelling by boat – taking deep breaths of fresh air can stop you from feeling hot and stuffy and can prevent motion sickness.

There’s no guarantee that travel sickness can be cured by these tips. Many children simply just have to grow out of the age where they experience this nasty feeling. However, by being prepared, you can at least have an influence on the severity of the condition

The Truth about Life as an Air Hostess

Seeing the world, having friendly chats with crew and passengers, and wearing a snazzy uniform – it’s little wonder young children dream of working above the clouds. But the realities of being an air steward/stewardess aren’t always that glamorous, and success in the job very much entails being able to take the rough with the smooth. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to separate the facts from the fiction.

Expectation: Cabin crew on flights are always smiling and looking happy – they never seem to get stressed out.
Reality: It’s a flight attendant’s job to remain professional at all times, but underneath it all a lack of sleep, demanding customers, and a crazy time schedule can take their toll. Hilary, a former Singapore Airlines flight attendant, recently quit her job and she says: “I feel like my lifespan has increased by 10 years – no more stress or pekchek-ness (frustration). After I quit, my parents told me that I became myself again. I was less grouchy, less quick to anger & I was nicer again.”

Expectation: You’ll essentially be a waitress above the clouds.

Reality: Hilary knows that aspiring cabin crew who think that will be in for the shock of their lives: “You are not only a waitress in the air, but also a safety officer, baggage porter, bar tender, toilet cleaner, policeman, babysitter, maid etc. The list goes on.”

Expectation: Passengers will have friendly chats with you and never ask for anything weird.

Reality: A 22-year-old flight attendant for a major airline wished to stay anonymous as she answered some tough questions about dealing with passengers. She says: “If it exists, a passenger has asked me for it. They ask for EVERYTHING.” Flight attendants need to be prepared for the weird and wonderful suggestions that inevitably come their way.

Expectation: You’ll have plenty time to spend time with your family and your loved ones.

Reality: Often, you’ll have little choice but to miss important days including birthdays, Christmas at home, New Year’s Eve celebrations etc. This is certainly true if you’re still in your trial period, as you might get called up to spontaneously fly to the other side of the world. While it has many perks, being a flight attended isn’t always fun and social – it can be very lonely.

Expectation: You get to party all over the world and your social life will flourish.

Reality: Often you’ll be much too tired to hit the clubs or do any kind of sight-seeing. Constantly changing time zones can cause bad jet lag and you’ll be more likely to want to hit the hay as soon as you’ve landed.

Due to the rise in the number of airline passengers taking to the skies, the role of a flight attendant is becoming increasingly difficult.

Due to the rise in the number of airline passengers taking to the skies, the role of a flight attendant is becoming increasingly difficult. Cheap comparison sites and budget airlines mean flight attendants are having to work harder and longer than ever before – whilst keeping a smile on their face. Although there are some fantastic perks to being a flight attendant, individuals who are considering entering the industry must be aware that with all the incentives comes a lot of hard work.

You’re expected to smile even through the toughest of trials. However, the rewards can be great: you’ll get to travel the world, see new places and meet new people on a daily basis. The question is, do you have what it takes?

Weekend Wanderings: Prague

praguewithbabyIf you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a list in your head of places you’d like to one day visit and for me, Prague is pretty close to the top of that list. Prague is full of tourist attractions and ‘must-see’ buildings, and although a long holiday to a city might not be everyone’s cup of tea, short breaks in Prague are perfect for families, and there’s a lot of activities for kids to enjoy in the Czech Capital:

Black Light Theatre and National Marionette

Prague has a long history of marionette shows and the Black Light Theatre and National Marionette are a great place to see this tradition in all its glory. The shows are all about the visuals and even really small kids can enjoy them because of the lights and movement.

Funicular Railway & Petrin Observation Tower

The Funicular railway runs all the way up to the top of Petrin Hill and is enough of an attraction by itself but once you reach the top, you’re treated to incredible views from the Petrin Observation Tower, as well as  a hall of mirrors, an observatory, a church and a rose garden to explore. All of the attractions are open year-round and are just as fun in winter as during the warmer months.

Axa Swimming Pool

The Axa swimming pool is considered the best pool in the city, measuring 25m in length and open all year round. The pool is heated so little ones won’t feel the chill and best of all, the pool also has saunas and massage tables for mums and dads to enjoy while the kids are entertaining themselves!

Museum of Communism

If you’ve got slightly older kids or just like to teach your little ones as you go, the Museum of Communism is a great place to take them to explain what the Czech Republic was like under Soviet rule. The place gives a well-balanced look at communism, showing both the negative aspects such as the poverty and oppression, but also highlights some of the positive aspects, such as the increased sense of community amongst citizens of the former Czechoslovakia.


DinoPark is a fun-filled amusement park with a dinosaur theme and is filled with life-sized replicas of the ancient lizards. Amazingly, the park is also home to the one of the oldest living plants on the planet, the Wollemi pine which has been dated back 175 million years!

Prague may have a reputation of being a place for boozy stag dos and hen parties, but it’s actually a beautiful place with a rich history and would be an excellent place for a family weekend break. Of course, it’d also be great for a stay without the kids, but that won’t be happening for at least another 18 years, so it’s good to know that there’ll be plenty to do if we ever make it there as a family!

Five Things to Do With Kids in Leeds

A good friend of mine went to Leeds University and from what I can gather had an amazing time there, as Leeds is such an interesting and culturally diverse city. I never got to visit her while she was there, but it’s still a city I’d like to see so when Hotel Direct asked to to write about Leeds, I jumped at the chance to research the area and see what cool things there are to do with kids while you’re there. Here’s what I found:

Tropical World


This attraction, in Roundhay Park, is made up of seven different zones:

  • A Butterfly House along with Koi Carp ponds
  • An Atrium with fish tanks and a crocodile enclosure
  • The Australasian House with exotic birds, plants and flowers
  • Creature Corner, home to exotic reptiles and insects
  • The South American House with exotic birds, plants and flowers
  • The Desert House, which is home to our meerkats, along with birds, cacti and succulents
  • The Nocturnal Zone, which is home to egyptian fruit bats, pygmy slow lorises and tenrecs.
  • We also have cotton topped tamarins and golden lion tamarins.

Not only is Tropical World packed with things that kids would love, it’s seriously cheap to get in, too, with adult admission costing just £3.40, 5-15 year olds costing £2.30 and under fives getting in for free!

Tour de France

hplargepod1If you’re a fan of cycling, this years’ Tour de France will be starting in Leeds this year, and even if you aren’t usually cycling mad, the Tour is a sight to behold. Here’s some blurb we found about the event:

Not only will you be able to see the 190+ cyclists setting off on the 3,500km race, but from 9.10am a ‘caravan’ will lead the way with a procession of 180 floats. You may even be able to catch yourself a souvenir of Le Tour as caps, badges, and other items are thrown to the crowds as the caravan passes by.

Kids will love watching the cyclists going by and the atmosphere of such an historic event will stick with them forever.

Home Farm

3417097063If you prefer your animals less exotic and more domestic, Home Farm in Temple Newsam is a great place to take the kids.

At Home Farm you can come face-to-face with a range of characters including pigs, sheep, goats, cattle and ducks.

At the farm – home to some of the rarest breeds of farmyard animals in the country – you can explore traditional farm buildings, take part in activities; discover old crafts or just get to know the animals better. If you are really lucky you may see piglets and chicks come into the world.
Enjoy a refreshing break in the Stable Courtyard. Our tea room offers delicious cakes, light snacks and hot food. Most of our food comes from local sources, including sausages from Home Farm.
Temple Newsam Estate offers miles of paths and trails to help you explore the park and woodlands. There is also an adventure playground along with a new play area for younger children
The Works Skatepark
Flymount BMX-0005

If you’ve got slightly older kids, there’s a good chance they’ll love The Works, a skatepark which is actually entirely run and funded by a charity dedicated to giving kids a safe place to skate. It covers 25,000 square foot and boasts professional and bespoke ramps.The skatepark is used for BMXing, Skateboarding, Rollerblading and Scooter Riding. They have complete beginners to pro riders using the park on a daily basis.

Leeds United at Elland Road

Leeds_United-Galatasaray_match_in_20_April_2000If you’re a football fan, it doesn’t get much more historical than Leeds United and even if they aren’t your club it’s still worth taking the kids to see a game and soak in the atmosphere. Elland Road has been the home to Leeds United for almost 100 years and has also hosted concerts by the likes of The Kaiser Chiefs, Rod Stewart, U2, Queen and The Happy Mondays.

There’s tons more to do in Leeds – if you’re a regular visitor or live in the city and have any top tips, please do leave them below.

Visit Limerick

Today’s guest posts gives some great inspiration for things to do when visiting the gorgeous city of Limerick. 


The Markets of Limerick

No visit to Limerick would be complete without a visit to the array of markets it plays host to. In both Limerick itself and the surrounding countyside of the same name, there are plenty of markets to enjoy. From food markets to flea markets, there’s something for everyone in Limerick.

Limerick Milk Market

The Milk Market hosts the Friday City Market, which features an eclectic mix of artisan foods, crafts, fashion and the flea market, and the Saturday Food Market with amazing fresh organic food, including cheeses, chutneys, locally caught fish, freshly pressed juices and artisan breads. The Milk Market also hosts the Sunday Variety Market which offers antiques, food to take away and arts and crafts.

Artisan Craft Fair

This monthly craft fair held in Cornmarket Row is hugely popular. Bringing together Ireland’s talented craft makers and their wares, it’s a great place to visit and one where you’ll always be sure to find something new.

UCL Farmers Market

Allowing the campus community to buy fresh local produce, this farmers market features amazing locally produced food. From bread and pastries from Nenagh, home made chocolates and salads from East Clare and organic meat and fish, this is a fantastic foodie market to visit while in the area.

Red Door Market

Behind the huge red doors you’ll find everything from organic fruit and veg to tapas. Plus delicious olives, fresh soup, fresh free range eggs, a crepe stall and locally roasted coffee, as well as local crafts, plants and flowers. It’s a great little hub of activity where locals come to meet and buy amazing fresh produce.

Choose from one of the great value Limerick hotels for your stay in this vibrant and welcoming city, before heading off to sample some of these fantastic markets for yourself.