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There can be little denying that travel broadens the mind and inspires a whole new approach to learning, life, and everything in between. Whether you’ve spent your days relaxing beside the pool or indulging in a cultural tour, the chances are that you’ve learned something during your time away from home. As a parent, you’re no doubt keen for your children to share such adventures with you. Those magical moments are hard to replicate anywhere else in the world, and come complete with an array of educational extras that your child may not realize they are absorbing as you go. Far from disrupting your child’s education, frequent travel can and will support and enhance a variety of subjects that they have begun to engage with. It would appear that travel does a whole lot more than relax and inspire…

Travel enhances life’s lessons

From counting foreign currency and learning the lingo to identifying landmarks, writing a postcard or two, and exploring local history, travel provides numerous opportunities for your child to investigate a few of their favorite lessons while you’re on the move. Travel is engaging and exciting. Before you know it, your child will be grasping and mastering concepts that the classroom may have failed to inspire – and they will be doing so without even realizing it. Whether you are looking for DVC resales in order to take your kid on that must-do Disney vacation, or planning for a more exotic destination, be assured that your child is a natural learner and will never stop learning!

Travel inspires a sense of togetherness

If you’re likely to be traveling for extended periods of time, it’s essential that you find a school that’s going to embrace the joys and challenges associated with world travel – as well as teaching many of the values that your child will learn along the way. International schools inspire an amazing sense of togetherness and community, which can only enhance the things that your child is learning as you travel. As you adventure across Asia, Hong Kong international schools may lead the way for your child; these academic establishments will nurture and support your child’s education, and inspire adoration for world travel.

Travel inspires confidence and social skills

The keys to a successful education are communication and confidence. Whether they’re listening to a teacher or performing a presentation, our children rely on their social skills and confidence in order to navigate school life. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that well-traveled kids are better placed to do well at school – least of all because world travel has given them the confidence to succeed in social situations, and excel when it matters most.

Travel instills independence

Travel is a wonderful way to inspire individuality and fortitude; as your child navigates new situations in an alien land, they are bound to grow and develop many of the skills needed to succeed in the classroom – and beyond. Travel can do so much more, though. The discovery of new lands and experiences inspires curiosity; children who ask questions and seek knowledge are more likely to excel during their school days.

Travel teaches an appreciation for cultural differences

There’s a chance that your child has studied different cultures and heritages before, but have they come to truly appreciate the things that make us so wonderfully unique? Travel provides wonderful opportunities for meeting and engaging with new cultures. What’s more, it’s a brilliant way of introducing the concept of different religions, culinary delights, and vast landscapes to your child. Forget picture books and classrooms; this is your child’s opportunity to live and breathe every lesson.

Travel has the ability to change your child’s life for the better; there’s nothing quite like journeying the globe when it comes to putting life and goals into perspective. Whether or not your child now has a taste for a global lifestyle, you can rest assured that the sights, sounds, smells, and experiences that you’ve enjoyed will go a long way towards enhancing their education and future prospects.

Hey all! Big thanks to Katy Blevins for handing over the reins to me at the end of 2017 to fulfill my new years resolution to write...often! Based in Miami, you can find me blogging about family life as a mother of two young kids. But i'll also continue the Chaos and Kiddos theme of business, fashion, parenting, product reviews, and...well, I could go on and on.

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Travel

3 Reasons Alabama Is the Perfect Destination for a Family Vacation

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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.

Tourist Attractions

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.

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A journey you’ll never forget: the Camino de Santiago from Sarria

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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.

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5 Tips for an Amazing Babymoon

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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.

Indulge

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!

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