14 articles Articles posted in Travel

My Top Three Dream Holidays

Rural JapanImage via reddit,com/u/singxpat

When Husband and I were planning our wedding, we decided very quickly that we wanted a destination wedding, where the surroundings were special and different. We ended up getting married on a tiny island in the Maldives, barefoot on white sand, with the azure blue ocean lapping at our toes, but while we were doing our research we also came up with a few other ideas which we very nearly opted for. Although we don’t need to do the wedding bit again, some of the places we looked at are still places we’d like to visit, so I thought I’d share them with you today:

Costa Rica

The option which probably came the closest second to the Maldives was a treetop wedding in the rainforest canopy in Costa Rica. The thought of getting married while Howler Monkeys and tropical birds watched on from the trees was absolutely phenomenal, but the whole thing ended up being a little out of our budget, so going back with the girls to experience the landscape and wildlife is still really high on our list.

Tanzania safari

Another amazing option was to go on safari and have our wedding out there (can you tell we’re animal lovers?!). The opportunity to see big game in their natural habitat is getting less and less every day with the threat of extinction taking so many of our beloved species, so it’s something we’d love to do sooner rather than later. Obviously, we’d have the girls with us this time (Sausage was born two years after we got married) so being able to share such a profound experience with them would be incredible.

Tour of Japan

Safari holidays are great, but sometimes you want to experience more of a human jungle, which is where a trip to Japan comes in. All four of us love Japanese culture and food and although we’d love to visit the obvious places in Japan, like Tokyo, we’d also love to see the rural, unusual places on a tour or Japan. We watch a lot of Studio Ghibli films in our house, many of which are set in rural Japan, so seeing it first hand would be a dream come true.

What are your dream destinations? Was there somewhere you wish you’d got married but didn’t? Where would you go if you could do it all over again? Do leave me a comment below.

Anywhere But Here…

I’m not going to lie, between the relentlessly horrible weather (we’re currently on day 4 of being snowed into our village) and the looming spectre of Brexit, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about places I’d love to live which aren’t here. My lack of foreign languages and massive pot of money to enable us to do so means we’re pretty limited, but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming. Here’s a few of the places we’d love to go:

France

Husband actually lived in France in his youth, in a fairly remote Alsace town, and although I’d rather go somewhere warmer and more southern, France is a really appealing prospect. I think the girls would love the culture, and there are some amazing IB schools in France that they could attend where I think their education would probably be even better than here. France is also only a drive away if we ever need to get back to England quickly.

Iceland

Okay, so I know it’s really not an improvement in terms of weather, but I really love Iceland and the pragmatism which seems to be at the core of their culture. It’s a beautifully rugged country and the more I read about it, the more I’d like to go there – maybe for good!

Vancouver Island, Canada

I’ve had a bit of an obsession with Vancouver Island after reading about it a few years ago, and I think I’d move there in a heartbeat if I had an opportunity. Unfortunately, so would thousands of other people and I think it’s pretty expensive and hard to get visas for these days, although that does show you what a great place it is. The landscape is incredible and the way of life there just seems like something we’d really love. Also; who doesn’t love Justin Trudeau?!

New Zealand

New Zealand is another place that we have a bit of a family obsession with and somewhere we’d happily relocate to. It’s one of those incredible countries where you get the best of it all  – hot beaches, snowy mountains and temperate areas which feel pretty much like home. The wildlife in New Zealand would be fascinating for the girls, especially Sausage who’s had a lifelong dream of becoming a marine biologist.

South Korea

This one might seem odd, and the proximity to NORTH Korea doesn’t fill me with joy, but I’ve seen a lot of programmes about South Korea recently and as well as it being a beautiful country, the way of life seems really nice, too…although I must admit, a large part of the draw is the food!

Where would you go if money were no object?

For more info on the International school in Paris, follow the link.

Things to Do in Liverpool #LiverpoolGuide2018

Liverpool Town HallIf you follow me on social media or have read this blog for a while you’ll probably be aware that we’re a family of Liverpool FC fans, and were lucky enough to go along to Anfield for a VIP visit a few years back. It’s still one of the best things we’ve ever done (not least of all because we got to watch Liverpool smash West Brom 4-1 and witnesses Luis Suarez score his first home hat-trick!) but my one regret is that we didn’t have more time to spend around the city of Liverpool.

Husband and I have said many times that we’d love to visit Liverpool and spend time in the city, and there are lots of things we’d like to do while we’re there. Here’s just a few of them:

 Shopping

Okay, okay, so I know this one is a cliche, but our local town has a high street which is populated with Pound shops or empty units which are being squatted in by mobile phone case shops – absolutely DIRE if you want to buy something to wear and don’t want to do it all online! I have it on good authority that Liverpool ONE is absolutely amazing for shopping, and I think I’ll be doing a lot of saving up before hand so that I could really treat myself.

See The Liver Birds

Liverpool is full of iconic sights, but the Liver birds on top of the town hall are probably the most famous – Husband even has one of them tattooed on him (along with five stars for every time we’ve won the Champion’s League!). Seeing them in real life would be really cool, and another thing to tick off of the bucket list.

Museums

Liverpool has some amazing museums, including a Beatles museum, TATE Liverpool and the International Slavery Museum. Liverpool has such a rich history and is a true melting pot city because of the docks, and I’d love to absorb as much of the history as possible – museums seem like a good place to do that.

Albert Dock

The Albert Dock used to be a busy industrial area where boats would load and unload, but it’s been renovated to be a busy waterfront leisure area, full of bars, restaurants, shops and museums, all set in the country’s largest collection of Grade I listed buildings. It sounds like an amazing place for Husband and I to have a night out!

Anfield Stadium

Yes, I know this is what we did last time we were in Liverpool, but when you’re not a season ticket owner or Liverpool local, tickets are like HENS TEETH and really hard to get hold of! We’ve not been to Anfield for a match since 2013, and although I was pregnant with BB at the time (so she’s technically been there!) we’d love to take her up again for her first proper experience.

Are you a lover of Liverpool? What’s your favourite place to go while you’re there? Do leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear all about it.

6 Family-Friendly Things to Do in the Algarve

Over the last few years, prices for family-friendly holidays have rocketed, with many families opting to save money by vacationing at home instead. Yet, rather than a trip to Blackpool, there is one European destination that can be incredibly affordable for families, with budget flights and a low cost of living. Even better, it still has scorching weather!

The Algarve, in southern Portugal, is framed by a stunning coastline. Predominately a region frequented by families, this means the Algarve is filled with restaurants and beaches that are extremely accommodating for children, making it simple to plan your holiday. Here are just some of the best activities you can add to your family’s itinerary:

A Boat Tour of the Sea Caves

The Algarve is known for its gorgeous beaches, which become extremely popular during peak summer season. Yet, it’s still entirely possible to find a secluded beach in the Algarve, where you can take one of the many boat tours on offer. These range from trips to beaches that can’t be accessed by land to spectacular sea caves with their own lagoons. Be sure to take some snorkelling gear and a camera as you may even spot some wild dolphins.

Family Adventure Water Park

Perfect for the whole family, the Zoomarine has something to keep everyone happy. First and foremost a water theme park, there are plenty of thrilling slides, a man-made beach and even a toddler wet area that is safe and fun for the younger children. The park is also home to lots of marine life, including spectacular live dolphin shows.

Stay in a Local Portugese Home on the Beach

As mentioned above, the Algarve is very reasonable when it comes to its prices, and this is reflected in its accommodation, including private rentals. You can easily rent an affordable and traditional Portuguese villa right on the beach. Just imagine waking up to a spectacular view every morning! These can be far more family-friendly than hotels as, instead of being all squashed into one room, you get that home-away-from-home feeling with a full house. Plus, kitchen facilities can be extremely useful for babies and toddlers.

Rent a Car and Go Beach Hopping in the Algarve

Home to 74 Blue Flag beaches, one of the best things about the Algarve is, that if the first beach you go to is too busy, then simply move on to the next beach. Renting a car and beach hopping your way through the Algarve is a fantastic way to explore this stunning Portuguese region.

Train for Wimbledon at the Local Tennis Academy

If the kids are being too energetic – what ever happened to snoozing by the pool? – then a trip to the Valo do Lobo Tennis academy is an absolute must. Here the kids will get to train like a tennis pro with either one-to-one coaching or in a group lesson where they’ll be able to make some holiday friends and have fun. Even better, there’s facilities for the parents with a steam room, sauna and swimming pool. There’s also adult tennis lessons too, to help you keep up with the kids!

Feed the Llamas at the Local Zoo

There’s nothing the kids love more than a trip to the zoo, especially when they can get up close and personal with the animals. Krazy World zoo has a host of different animals and shows, including live demonstrations with the resident crocodiles and birds of prey. A trip to the petting zoo is a must, with goats and llamas who all love a stroke. There’s also an exotic area with iguanas, camels and snakes. There’s even a pool and various carnival rides.

Exploring Northern Ireland: Family Travel Tips

Deciding on the perfect family holiday location can be a bit of a chore. Not only do you have to take budgets, time and activities into account, but you also have to plan for the whole family. It might seem obvious, but you have to make sure that each member of the family will be happy with the location that you have chosen. Otherwise, you might find yourself left with a group of grumpy family members ready to sulk throughout the whole break!

Of course, this is something we all want to avoid, so it is vital to get that all-important location just right. For the perfect balance between a UK staycation and an exciting trip abroad, why not choose Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland is great for an enjoyable family getaway, offering stunning scenery, plentiful sights and attractions and all the fun of travelling abroad without the long, tedious journeys and the worries of trekking the whole family thousands of miles across the globe.

As well as this, large parts of the country are off the usual beaten tourist trail, offering a quieter atmosphere and a chance to escape the never-ending crowds usually encountered at the most popular destinations. Add to this the sheer array of places to explore and sights to encounter, and it isn’t hard to see why Northern Ireland makes the perfect destination for a memorable family holiday.

Where to Go

With so many attractions on offer, it can be tricky to decide where to visit. A good place to start can be to get the whole family involved – set everyone loose to do some research, and come up with a shortlist of places to visit that everyone has contributed to and helped to put together. That way, you can easily put together a rough guide itinerary including places that suit everyone. Avoiding sulks and family arguments – what could be better?

Of course, as with any holiday destination, there are a few must-see sights. For example, no trip to Northern Ireland is complete without a visit to the capital, Belfast, or the world-famous Giant’s Causeway. If you do decide that you want to head out and visit some of the more popular attractions, a great way to ensure that you see everything without giving yourself a headache over excessive planning is to book yourself onto a tour. Head out on a Giant’s Causeway tour from Belfast, where you will stop off at all the most stunning, famous sights along the way, perfect for plenty of photo opportunities!

What to Pack

Of course, you are probably familiar with the seemingly endless list of things that need to be packed when you are preparing for a trip away with the family. But aside from the usual spare sets of clothes and toys to keep the little ones entertained, don’t forget to pack according to the season, weather and the length of your stay. Northern Irish weather is very similar to our own, so even if it’s forecast bright and sunny, it’s always worth packing a raincoat and brolly just in case! If you are planning to head out on your own to explore the beautiful countryside, it may also be worth purchasing a local map or guide book to help you throughout your stay. Getting lost is never much fun, but if you end up getting lost in an unfamiliar country with the kids in tow, it’s guaranteed to be even worse. That being said, with the proper preparations, there is no reason why you can’t get organised and have a fantastic time.

Although we may be reaching the tail end of summer 2017, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still get busy planning your next getaway. After all, Northern Ireland is a country that can be enjoyed throughout the year, and you never know where your travels might take you next!

Why Bermuda is a Top Family Holiday Destination

Usually when we think of Bermuda we think of Honeymooners and young couples soaking up some quality R&R time. However Bermuda is much more than just sun, sea and sand so today we are taking you through the activities and things to do in Bermuda that make it a top holiday destination for families.

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Exploration

There is so much to explore in Bermuda and so much to do that will keep the kids happy and entertained. Heading to the Bermuda Aquarium, museum and zoo promises a top day out for kids and parents alike. It showcases over 200 species of indigenous fish in both open ocean environments and coral. The zoo also offers the children to get up close and personal with with weird and wonderful creatures and animals from all corners of the World.

The crystal caves of Bermuda are one of the most impressive things you’ll ever show your children. The crystal caves are one of the largest caves on the island and can be accessed by walking across a pontoon bridge over Cahow Lake, which is a 60-foot deep lake surrounded by breath-taking stalactites and stalagmites that have been forming over the last 30 million years.

Get Those Bathers On

With so many water activities available in Bermuda there’ll barely be a moment when your kids aren’t out of their bathers. Aside from just beach and pool activity, there is actually an opportunity for you and your kids to swim with dolphins. Dolphin quest allows children to swim, play and touch with beautiful bottlenose dolphins, whilst the highly-trained dolphin trainers will educate your family all about the crucial roles humans play in maintaining and improving their marine home.

Snorkel Park Beach is one of the top destinations in Bermuda for snorkelling and there are many different snorkelling schools down there that can take children off in groups to explore the underwater part of the island.

Knowing which are the best beaches is crucial when heading to Bermuda. Horseshoe Bay Beach is most certainly one of the most beautiful, with its long sweeping white beaches. It’s a family favourite for its long stretches of beach and peaceful nature.

Heading to the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse for an afternoon is a great idea also, as it offers breath-taking, panoramic views. You have to climb 185 steps to get to the top but the incredible vantage point the lighthouse offers is well worth the climb.

Get Caught Up in the History of Bermuda

Bermuda has a rich history and is a fascinating place to explore all the wonderful monuments and interesting buildings and museums.

Make sure you check out the St. Catherines Fort, which dates back to 1612. It’s a really fun place to take the kids as it’s one enormous real life fort that they can play in and explore.

If your children are interested in weaponry, there is a fantastic weaponry museum showcasing historical artefacts of British military operations. If the children get a little hot and bothered seeing the sights, then luckily Tobacco Bay Beach is a mere five minutes walk away where there is some fantastic snorkelling for the family to cool off.

So, as you can see Bermuda is much more than it seems, and has so much to offer for families travelling to the beautiful island for their family holiday.

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.

Laos

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.

Medication

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