Many of us have fond memories of family holidays as children. What we tend to not remember as adults, however, is the amount of complaining and moaning that children often do on holidays. If you’ve been dreading taking the family on a trip because you’re worried how they will behave, this guide is for you. Here are five simple tips for making your next holiday with the kids as stress-free as possible.
Take Your Time
Children’s brains work very differently from our adult brains. They take in their surroundings in a different way, they interact with the world differently and, of course, they physically take longer to do many things. One of the most important pieces of advice for avoiding your kids losing patience with their situation, and you with them, is to allow them to go at their own pace. Not only will your kids enjoy things more at their own pace, you will also find it easier to keep your cool if you factor in the need for rest stops and toilet breaks into your schedule.
Plan Book Things Ahead
When you’re travelling as an adult, exploring away from the obvious paths is often one of the main attractions. However, when you’re with kids, as much as they love to explore, it can become very stressful. The problem lies in the fact that you are in unfamiliar surroundings. Even the most cool-headed of us can’t help but worry if we get lost in a strange place with our children in tow.
Instead, you should plan out what you are going to do in advance, including planning for how you will get there. Make sure to factor in plenty of time to account for unexpected stoppages. If there are events or activities that you want to attend which will have limited spaces, book these as far in advance as possible.
Invest in Apps (and a Case)
Smartphones are wonderful devices, and they can do a lot for the modern traveller. Our smartphones have GPS software to help us if we get lost, translator apps to help us communicate with others, and recipe apps tell us how to make the most of local ingredients. On top of all this, however, your smartphone also has another very important hidden function; it is perfect for keeping young minds occupied.
When children act out on holiday, it is very often in response to them becoming bored. If you can keep them entertained and occupied as much as possible, they will have no reason to throw tantrums or to become upset. However, children, especially younger children, can easily become frustrated at their games. Make sure that your phone has a case capable of protecting it when it’s dropped or thrown.
Stay in a Villa
Choosing the right accommodation when you travel with children is one of the hardest decisions that you have to make. A hotel room will be quite crowded with more than a few people, and not every child and their siblings will be able to stay in another room together. Villas are a fantastic choice when you are travelling with family. They offer you the kind of space that a whole house does (often more), but you are paying considerably less for every metre than you would at a hotel.
Another serious advantage of staying in a villa is that they allow you to stay near to the places and attractions that you want to see, while themselves being located in relatively rural areas. The result is that you get the benefits of being away from civilisation, and often other tourists, while also having fully furnished accommodation, with all the amenities you’re used to at home.
A Santorini Greece Villa from bluevillas.com is the perfect example of why villas are such a great option for many areas. If you look at the map on their website showing the distribution of villas, you can see that there are villas available within an easy travelling difference of all of Santorini’s major population centres. Blue Villas offer villas around the world. They are a company with a solid reputation and an extensive history. Many people still view villas as prohibitively expensive. They are in fact becoming more affordable all the time!
Prepare for All Climates
If there’s one thing that children are not renowned for, it is their foresight. In fact, by some people’s reckoning, children are downright awful at making predictions about the future. Which is to say, if it isn’t raining when they wake up, most children won’t take it upon themselves to bring their raincoat. In order to avoid any fuss or any attempts at turning the car around, make sure that you pack clothing and gear suitable for any kind of climate you are likely to encounter.
Holidaying with kids can be tricky. However, by taking a few simple steps yourself, and doing everything you can to make sure that they keep themselves amused and entertained, you can enjoy your holiday with children who behave like angels.
3 Reasons Alabama Is the Perfect Destination for a Family Vacation
America is overflowing with beautiful states to take the family on vacation. Some are more common than others (such as New York or Hawaii). However, while Alabama might often be forgotten, the Heart of Dixie is the perfect destination for a family vacation.
Before we get to the three reasons why, we want to encourage travelers to prepare their smartphones. After all, Alabama is home to scenic and breathtaking adventures, from golf courses to Instagram-worthy food displays to beaches. To ensure your camera and phone are in tip-top shape, you can visit one of the many AT&T stores in Alabama.
Now that your phone and family are ready for some serious photo ops, it’s time to take a family trip to Alabama.
The Beauty of Alabama’s Gulf Coast
While Florida, California, and Hawaii get all the credit for their beaches, the Alabama Gulf Coast is home to 32 miles of sugar-white sand beaches, made of quartz grains that were washed down from the Appalachian Mountains thousands of years ago.
Fast forward to today, and the pristine beaches have become tourism wonderlands. While places such as Florida still get more attention, the beaches of Alabama can be considered hidden gems because they tend to be less crowded and are perfect for you and the family.
The best part is that Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are year-round destinations with the average highs in January (the coldest month of the year) still being 59 degrees.
Just like all beach destinations, the Gulf Coast is home to restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment for the entire family, such as the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, zip-line tours, and other excursions.
Speaking of entertainment for the whole family, Alabama is no stranger to must-see attractions.
To prove that point, here are some destinations you and the family should visit:
- The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the largest spaceflight museum in the world.
- Neversink is a 162-foot open air pit in Jackson County, Alabama and is a nature wonder you don’t want to miss.
- Golf courses, sporting events, and other outdoor activities like seeing beautiful waterfalls flood Alabama and will provide plenty things to do.
- History and culture: From the Battleship Memorial Park to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Alabama is home to important monuments, museums, and historical sites.
Alabama is Affordable
One of the main reasons people don’t go on vacation is because they can’t justify the price. With Alabama being so affordable it is exactly why it’s the perfect destination for a family vacation. After all, according to CNBC, Alabama is one of the cheapest states to live in America. When a place is affordable, it’s that much easier (and in many cases possible) to take a vacation from a money standpoint. That’s a huge bonus if you’ve been wanting to take the entire family on a vacation.
That, simply put, can mean more southern BBQ for you and the family, which should be music to your taste buds because Alabama is known for its pit stops and barbeque joints. It could also mean a cheaper vacation overall.
The state of Alabama has so much to offer and, given all of the reasons above, it’s the perfect destination for a family vacation, especially if you still want to book a trip to a warm-weather climate that features sandy beaches.
A journey you’ll never forget: the Camino de Santiago from Sarria
When you decide to take on your first Camino de Santiago challenge, you will be preparing yourself for a journey that will live with you forever. You will not only challenge yourself physically, but also see many beautiful sights and have so many new experiences.
Traditionally a pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago is now a modern pilgrimage loved by those seeking a spiritual break from our busy world as much as hiking, cycling and cultural enthusiasts.
The Camino de Santiago is a large network of routes from many different starting locations, all of which are spectacular in their own special way. But for those on their first journey, the Camino Frances starting at Sarria with santiago ways is a perfect way for beginners to start.
Sarria, a place full of history and culture
Sarria is around 111km from Santiago, just over the minimum distance that is required for pilgrims to be eligible for the traditional ‘compostela’ certificate that verifies they have completed the Camino de Santiago.
It is a great way to really capture the essence of the Camino. The route takes you through beautiful towns and cities and charming medieval villages and inspiring landscapes.
In the centre of Sarria you have the chance to see beautiful churches,chapels, monasteries and pilgrim hospitals. The main street, rea Maior, is a gorgeous picturesque place and the Church of Santa Marina, the Castle and the Fortress of Sarria are well worth a visit.
From here there is a relaxed hike to Portomarin, 22 km away along country roads past traditional Galician granaries. Highly recommended is a quick stop to the Romanesque church at Barbadelo.
A beautiful green landscape and fantastic local cuisine
One of the best things about this route, is the beautiful forests, farmlands and rustic villages, and stonewall lined trails and paths typical of the Galician landscape.
Leaving Portomarin, the route crosses the Miño River and ascends to the Sierra de Ligonde. Heading through to Palas de Rei, you will see many quaint typical country villages, such as Gonzar and Ventas de Narón.
The next stage from Arzua to Amenal passes through beautiful forests and more quiet villages. You will also be able to see the famous statue of Santiago in the Chapel of St. Irene.
At each overnight stop there are quaint bed and breakfasts to stop at, and many lovely little local restaurants and eateries, so you can not only experience the stunning surroundings, but also get a taste of Northern Spain as well. If you want to split up any of the journeys, so you can take in a little more and ease the day’s hiking that is also possible. The pace and itinerary can be planned to how you like it
A great sense of achievement as you reach Santiago de Compostela
As you reach the final day of your pilgrimage or challenge you will feel a growing sense of achievement, and maybe even share that experience with other travellers on the route. A quick stock at Lavacolla, on the outskirts of Santiago de Compostela, where traditionally pilgrims would wash in the river to prepare for their arrival in the city. As you approach along the Monte do Gozo hill you will be able to see your final destination, the Cathedral, in the distance.
Arriving at your journey’s end in Santiago
The architecture here is incredible. You will easily find yourself captivated by the historic centre, it is no surprise that it have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You must arrive in time to participate in the Pilgrim’s Mass. Here you can also receive the ‘compostela’ certificate, and take a little time to visit the city and local area.
You may even wish to relax there for a day or two before heading home and really take in the feel of the place. A day trip to Finisterre or the Cies Islands comes highly recommended.
One thing is for certain, you will never forget the memories you have made, the friends and people met on your journey or the difference you now feel spiritually. In fact you may find yourself hooked and already planning to walk one of the other Camino de Santiago walks.
5 Tips for an Amazing Babymoon
For the uninitiated, a “babymoon” is a vacation that a couple takes before starting a family. Typically, this trip occurs after a woman becomes pregnant, but before she reaches the stage in her gestation period when she can no longer travel. Babymoons have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they offer happy couples one last opportunity to enjoy a holiday together before they settle down into parenthood. If you’ve been thinking about planning a babymoon of your own –– or are interested in taking one eventually –– then check out these five tips to ensure your babymoon is a blast:
Get Your Ducks in a Row
Naturally, pregnant women should speak with their doctor often. However, it’s particularly important for pregnant women to consult a medical professional before they go on vacation. Your doctor may advise you to cancel a trip if they feel you’re unable to travel safely –– or if you’re too far along in your pregnancy. (Typically, women take babymoons during their second trimester, for reference.) Let your doctor know about your plans as soon as possible, and make it a point to visit a testing clinic before you depart.
Select the Right Destination
A babymoon should, ideally, allow you and your partner to enjoy each other’s company and relax. As such, some travel destinations are more suited to babymoons than others. Las Vegas might be a great place for a bachelorette party, but it’s far from perfect for a babymoon.
Account for Your Hormones
Every pregnancy is different, but almost all are turbulent to some degree. Strange food cravings, mood swings, morning sickness, aches and pains –– they can all still occur even if you take a trip halfway across the world. Rather than trying to ignore these hormonal changes, pick a destination that will help you handle them accordingly.
Talk to Your Partner
Yes, this trip should be all about the mom-to-be (and we’ll get to that in a moment). Yet it doesn’t make much sense to alienate your partner and plan a holiday they won’t enjoy in the slightest. Talk to your partner and set aside time for a few activities you’ll both relish.
There’s no two ways around it –– pregnancy is stressful. From the physical toll, to the new financial responsibilities of starting a family, everything about impending motherhood can feel daunting. Babymoons, then, should allow expecting moms relax, unwind, and relieve some tension –– if even for a few days. Eat what you want, sunbathe, nap, take in a few tourist attractions, and do whatever else your heart desires. It’s what babymoons are for!