Things You Must Do In Roanoke

If you’ve never heard of Roanoke before, here’s a bit of background history; It was established in 1585 in what we now know it as North Carolina. It has the nickname of “The Lost Colony” due to shipments being stopped randomly, and then the colonists disappearing.

Now, however, Roanoke is a fabulous place to visit. It’s especially good for getting the kids out and about without them becoming bored! Here’s a list of the things you must do on your visit.

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  1. Dolphin Tours

    Let’s be fair, who doesn’t love dolphins? Take up this opportunity and sail with the dolphins. The dolphin watch is truly incredible to see, with a tour guide giving you lots of useful and exciting information, it’s a once in a lifetime experience that you’d be mad to miss out on!

  2. Elizabethan Gardens

    Enter these luxurious grounds and marvel at the beauty of the memorial the town created for Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. It was made to keep her entertained and has remained there since. It’s open all year round, but it’s best to check what times they are open as this does vary.

  3. The Lost Colony

    While you’re there, why not take in the history of Roanoke and see a reenactment of the lost colonists that happened over 400 years ago. Feel like a part of the culture, and it’s yet another family friendly activity!

  4. Pirate Adventures

    Arrrrr matey! A fun family day trip that includes face painting, sailing on a real pirate ship and much more! Take the kids (or just yourselves if you don’t have any children) on this super fun day out.

 

  1. Ghost Tours

    You may want to find sitters for your children for this one. This is a long walk around the outer banks of Roanoke with ghost stories at night. A fabulous experience for those with the thrill.

  2. Tram Tours

    This is one for those of us that love being up and close with nature. The tour takes you along the land and gets you close to the wildlife including alligators and red wolves.

  3. Wings Over Wildlife Festival

    If you’re lucky enough to be visiting in October, why not head on over to their annually held Wings Over Wildlife Festival? It has loads of activities and caters for all ages! Because it’s during an off-peak season, it’s super cheap to visit too!

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There are loads of things to do in Roanoke; it’s tourists heaven! If you’re interested in looking at what else the lovely island can offer, why not check out these 64+ activities that you can do in Roanoke.

No need to panic about where you can stay either, the island offers many hotels and B&B’s for visitors to stay. A popular choice of hotel is Cambria Hotel & Suites Roanoke that offers plenty of amenities and can also give advice and recommendations on what to do in Roanoke.

Roanoke is a place with lots of history and plenty of activities to do. Be sure to visit!

A Motherly Touch For Your Own Health

As a mother, it’s very easy to get sucked into the whirlpool of life, dealing with the problems of the entire family while ignoring your own. Of course, you want to be able to put your energy into the people you love. But, just sometimes, you have to be a little selfish. Your own health is very important to both you and your family. If it goes bad, your family might have to pick up the pieces, struggling with their new workload. Or, it could just be a matter of keeping up with the kids. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the most common areas moms have health issues and some of the ways to secure them for the future.

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Considering it’s so important, it almost feels like an oversight that humans only have one heart. But, of course, you do only have one, making it critical that you protect it. There are a lot of different things which can negatively affect your heart. From smoking and a bad diet to a lack of exercise or issues in the family, your heart is under constant pressure. Regular trips to the doctor will help you to make sure you’re not unhealthy. But, you should also adapt your lifestyle to make sure it’s as healthy as possible.

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Next, it’s time to consider another part of your body which will be hugely impacted by the way that you live. It’s very easy to damage your back. Sitting in the wrong kind of chair for days on end will have a negative impact. And, so could your bed. When you’re choosing items like this, you should always be aware of the back pain they could cause or solve. There are loads of options out there designed to help people with their back.

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Your senses are one of the most valuable assets you have. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to perceive the world around you in the way that you do. Protecting your ears is easy, you just have to avoid long exposure to loud volumes. Your eyes, though, might take more work. There are loads of different eye conditions which can only be spotted by a professional. It’s a good idea to have your eyes tested as often as you can. This will help you to ensure that they keep their health, and will enable you to catch issues before they get worse.

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Finally, not a lot of people consider the health of their skin. But, with issues like skin cancer on the rise, it’s worth thinking about the protection you use. UV light from the sun breaks down the cells in your body, causing sunburn and other painful issues. Eventually, this damage can cause cancer to form. Avoiding sunlight is very hard. But, you don’t have to. Instead, you just need to make sure that you use a good sunblock when you’re spending a long time in the heat.

Hopefully, this post will help you to start considering your own health a little more, not just the families. It’s worth being a little bit selfish when it comes to health. A lot of people leave this sort of effort until it’s too late. But, with the little amount of work it takes, it makes sense to put as much in as you can.

Small But Perfectly Formed: Making Limited Spaces Beautiful

The old saying goes “it’s not the size that counts, it’s what you do with it”, and we all know what that phrase is about… Interior decoration! While many of us fantasize about owning a vast mansion that’s elegantly furnished and bedecked with gorgeous thing, it’s important to love every inch of the space you’re in, from a five bedroom house in the hills to a petite studio apartment. Rising property prices are keeping more and more of us from having a significant space to call our own.

If your home is limited in size, then it’s important to make the most of the space you have. From making the most of a small kitchen to making a tiny garden in a windowbox, there are a great many gorgeous, space saving solutions to making your house or apartment feel spacious and luxurious.

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A place that’s just for you

Summer’s here and while it can be a beautiful time of the year it also means hot, sweaty bus and train rides, and hours spent in cramped offices with bad air conditioning. Your home should be a bright, breezy place to relax and unwind after this, so if your living space is dark, cramped and cluttered then it’s time to refresh your living room for summer.

You should be able to throw on some music while reading a book and sipping an iced caramel macchiato in blissful surroundings free of the oppression that can be caused by cluttered or overly busy living spaces.

Even if you have a very limited space, it may come as a surprise how easily you can create a feeling of spaciousness without needing more actual space.

Here are some easy ways in which you can do this:

  • Keep your walls bright and neutrally colored.
  • Keep your wall art bold but restrained. You should be able to see lots of blank wall.
  • Maximize your window-space by replacing heavy drapes with blinds of bifolds.
  • Lay out your furniture according to the room’s layout, matching the corners and agles for optimum free space.
  • Now’s the time to purge your home of clutter and remove anything you no longer need or want. You may need to be uncomfortably ruthless if you or your partner are natural hoarders. If you still have a chipped coffee mug from 1994 taking up valuable space in your cabinet, it needs to go!

Compartmentalize

You might think that open plan is the way to go, but dividing your space into separate ‘zones’ can really help you to maximise whatever space you have available to you. Each zone should be associated with a specific activity (e.g.. sleeping, eating, working, relaxing), which will give a feeling of separate “rooms”.

Marvelous mirrors

If you’re working with limited space then the strategic placement of mirrors is a must. Not only do they create an impression of depth, they also reflect light which will be extremely helpful in creating an airy, spacious feeling.

Nothing says ‘home’ like a houseplant

What better way to brighten up your home and make it feel more open than by opening it up to a little piece of nature? Houseplants breathe out oxygen; literally making the space airier. They also bring a wonderfully calm, serene presence into your home.

Mission Impossible? Getting Your Kids Outdoors More!

It seems that getting children to play outdoors is more and more difficult than it ever has been thanks largely to the lure of video games. However, it is so important that children play outdoors. Not only does it help to develop their learning abilities, but also it improves their health and well being while also giving them a sense of independence, the platform to explore, the ability to improve their social skills, as well as boosting their creativity levels. So, how do you get your child off the sofa? Here are some top tips on achieving mission impossible and getting your kids to play outside:

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  • Add water – Children love water. If you add some water to the mix via a paddling pool or a trip to the beach, you will have them outside quicker than you can say let’s have a splash. Playing with water also offers a number of benefits. It is a sensory activity that aids brain development while also laying the foundation for mathematical and scientific learning.
  • Buy your child a drone for their next birthday – Drones aren’t just for adults, nor are they for crazy people that want to interfere with planes – you have probably heard the stories. You can take a look at the best drones for kids, and you will see how they differ from the other drones on the market. There are many benefits of getting your child to fly a drone, aside from the obvious that it gets them outside. This includes the fact that they will improve their fine motor skills and their spatial problem-solving skills.
  • Think beyond your garden – When motivating children to play outside more, the natural approach is to get them to play in the garden. However, depending on where you live, there will be a range of outdoor environments that children can enjoy exploring. Why not arrange a family trip out every weekend? From heading to the river, to visiting your local botanical garden, to looking for shells on the beach, there are many different ways to get your child outside more.
  • Spend time outdoors as a family – The former point leads onto this perfectly: you should spend more time outdoors as a family. This does not only refer to taking trips as a family, but you can do things like washing the car together, having a picnic, or simply going for a walk after dinner.
  • Take the indoors out – If your child loves to play indoors, you can easily resolve this problem by taking their toys outside. Of course, this is a bit difficult when it comes to their video consoles, unless they have a portable one. However, the vast majority of toys can be taken outside.
  • Make nature exciting – Last but not least, one of the best ways to get your child outside more is to get them excited about nature. Going for a walk may not appeal to them. But, if you show excitement in bird watching, gardening, flowers, and other related activities, then it is likely that your kids will too.

Family Days Out Could Be The Way Out Of Vacation Stress

No one can deny that traveling with children can be a lot of fun. Nothing beats that excited look on their faces as the plane lands, and they spot their first palm tree. But, there’s also no getting around the fact that taking children abroad can be stressful. You have to keep them amused and deal with their moaning about the heat. Oh, and then there’s the price of food and board. By the end of your time away, you’ll feel more exhausted than you did before you left!

If your time abroad stresses you out more than a day at the office, it might be time to change tack. Instead of jetting away, why not spend your next family break close to home? Days out are an amazing way to enjoy your time together. Of course, as with a holiday, a successful day out does involve some planning. That’s why we’ve put together a sure fire list for a hassle free experience.

Find The Best Places To Go

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At the start of your break, sit down and plan out where you would all like to go. The chances are that there will be some disagreements here. But, granting everyone a suggestion each is an easy way to reach a compromise. If you’re used to going abroad, you may not have any real idea about what’s available. So, take a look at local kid friendly activities to give you some ideas.  Look together, and write down a list of everything that appeals. Then, narrow that list down to fit into your vacation time. Try to keep driving distances in mind here. There’s nothing to stop you choosing activities further afield, but remember that traveling time cuts into your day!

Keeping The Kids Amused In The Car

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Nothing’s worse than the constant drone of ‘Are we there yet?’ when your kids are bored in the car. The downside of day trips is that there will be a fair amount of travel involved. When you go on vacation, you only have to travel there and back. If you’re doing a week or more of day trips, the car hours will soon add up. So, you need to keep your kids from groaning. If they’re bored, they’ll moan and bicker, and will probably be uncooperative when you get where you’re going. Think about easy ways to keep them happy. It may be worth buying them a treat for each day. Something small, like a coloring book, cd, or magazine, is sure to keep them amused for at least a little while.

Take Your Lunch

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During a day trip, time is of the essence. By the time you reach your destinations, you’ll probably only have a few hours in which to enjoy yourselves. You don’t want to waste an hour or two of that time trying to find somewhere for lunch. Instead, take food with you. Picnics are always fun, or you could keep some sandwiches in your bag to eat on the go!

Havana Good Time: Everything You Need to Know for Your Vacation to Cuba

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Summer is approaching and the less organized amongst us will be looking for last minute getaways. So, where to go? Chances are you’re looking for sun, sea and sand. Somewhere to kick back on a sun lounger, bask in the warm rays, take a dip in the sea or a pool and have a refreshing cocktail or mocktail close at hand. Why not try out Cuba? Cuba, officially known as the Republic of Cuba, is the largest island that lies in the Northern Caribbean, where the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet. You get the best of three different worlds! It is renowned for its white sand beaches, hot weather and stunning landscapes. So, if this sounds perfect for you, read on! We’re here to guide you through everything you need to know in order to book the perfect holiday to this beautiful country.

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When Should I Go?

There are two ideal time periods to visit Cuba. These are the months of July and August, or between November and March. If you visit during these high seasons, you are more likely to experience higher temperatures and more desirable weather conditions. This is ideal, but expect to pay about 30% more for flights and hotels. During the shoulder period between April and October, you will be able to find cheaper rates for flights and hotels. So while there may not be the peak weather conditions during this time, you will still be able to have a pleasant trip on a lower budget.

Do I need a VISA?

Entry procedures to Cuba are relatively straightforward and the country’s immigration officials are very used to welcoming international arrivals. If you are a regular tourist, who is planning on spending less than two months in the country, you won’t need any form of VISA. You will receive a tourist card which is valid for 30 days and can be extended once you have landed in the country. Canadians get 90 days as standard plus the option of a further 90-day extension on arrival. If you lose your card, you will have to fork out $25 for a new one and will not be able to leave the country without it. So be vigilant and keep a hold of your documentation.

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How Long Is The Flight?

This is essentially the same as asking “how long is a piece of string?” It depends on where you’re travelling from! But let’s focus on travel from the United States of America. If you live on the East Coast, you’re in for a longer flight. From California, you’re looking at a five and a half hour flight. Travel from central States like Colorado, this is reduced to about four and a half hours. If you live on the West Coast, good news! From States like New York, the flight is just over three hours. Regardless of the time of your flight, try to book the most comfortable options available, especially if you suffer from health conditions. Even three hours is a long time to be sitting in the same space, so if you have experienced circulation problems in the past, invest in a good pair of flight socks. These will have compression levels which help to reduce the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis). If you are going to be traveling with hearing aids, check out your chosen airline’s protocols and measures to help those with impaired hearing. Some lines will be able to text passengers any updates or announcements during the flight and provide monitors detailing flight progress and expected departure or arrival times. If you suffer from a stiff neck or you become cold easily, pack a little travel pillow and travel blanket in your hand luggage.

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What Currency Will I Need?

Cuba currently has two currencies, which the government is in the process of unifying: pesos (moneda nacionale; MN$) and convertibles (CUC$). As a tourist, you will almost exclusively deal with convertibles. One convertible is worth around 25 pesos. Remember, tipping is important in Cuba. Most workers will earn their wages in pesos, so leaving a tip of one convertible or more will make a big difference to their overall earnings.

Will I Need Health Insurance?

Health insurance is essential when travelling abroad to any country. Cuba is a relatively safe country as long as you are responsible in regards to what you eat and drink. But you never know when an accident or illness might strike, so make sure that you’re fully covered. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Get Ready for the Coming School Year

Every school year there is always a need to resupply for the kids, whether the item is used for school or not. Things get used up, worn out or are to small because your child is bigger. Kids like things new every now and then and it seems that the beginning of the school season is just the right time for them to buy what they need. Take a look at the following items to see which ones you will be looking for soon. You might even want to buy one or two of the items yourself.It may be several months before the winter season, but it is just the perfect time to buy now other than wait until prime season when the items are more expensive and harder to find. The Entrust Ski Jacket Cyber Pink Dare2b.com is a very attractive and warn winter jacket any girl would love. It also protects your child from the cold because it’s waterproof and breathable. It is durable so it may last for years to come. Hood and faux fur for added warmth and protection are removable for use during other months.

The Jr Headzo in Lavender Kitty from Seirus.com is a combination of a hat and neck warmer with characters that match. Knitted with an acrylic blend for that needed warmth, there are nine designs to choose from which can be mixed and matched. It can also be worn separately.The Razzle Mini-Muu from Nuu-Muu.com is the perfect apparel for young girls this summer and can be worn the whole day for comfort and easy movement. It’s breathable, quick to dry and not see through even when wet. Wrinkle, stain, and tear-resistant is due to the top-quality materials it’s made of poly and spandex with SPF 50+.

The Medium All Purpose Labels Laminated is what your kids need to label their things in school. It is also what you may need in the kitchen or your home office. You can choose your design and style, put whatever name you need, and choose to have it laminated or not. The clothing labels stay in place. Just peel and stick. Good for small businesses, too.

Get Ready for the Summer Camping Trip

Summer can mean many things to many people, but one thing that is great to do is to have a campout, whether planned for teens or for the whole family.  Summer is the time to embrace the woods or the forest for some nature hugging. In a busy world during this digital age, almost everyone is connected digitally so often that they forgot how to connect with nature. The city areas have overtaken nature and so our places to experience the outdoors has been pushed far away to the background. 
 
Going on a camping trip makes you go in a survival mode. It may be a learning experience for the kids and a review for adults. You have to prepare things that will enable you to live on minimal things. Things you can carry along with you without being a burden to someone else.
 
Any McGyver fan will always bring a Swiss knife.  It’s better than just your bare hands. Bring some water purification tablets or a portable purifier pump to have potable water. Too much sun exposure can be painful so sunscreen with at least SPF30 would be smart to bring. Extra socks to keep your feet and legs covered, and ear muffs to make sure no bugs get into your ears. Pack an inflatable air bag which turns into a bed or sofa by scooping and locking air into it easily. A compass and a map to figure out your location. Magnifying glass to create fire with the sun during the day and lighter during the night. It is important to have a personal first aid kit in case of an accident, and prevention care with Buzz Away Extreme Towelettes to keep mosquitoes away.  They are a conveniently wrapped individually in a foil packet for easy storage without drying the towelette up. It will be comforting to have something to rub your skin with since it takes away any dirt you have on your skin. It makes sharing with others also easy. Active ingredients come from nature, like citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, coconut, geranium, and other oils. It also has Vitamin E.

You can also use Buzz Away Extreme Spray which is conveniently in a small spray bottle that can fit easily in a pocket so it can be taken out for use when needed. It stays active for four hours so you will be protected while hiking, fishing or performing other outdoor activities.  Both can be ordered from BuzzAwayExtreme.com. Also pack a flashlight and a raincoat to give you protection in case it rains, and light that can send Morse code at far distances when needed.

 

Grow Your Family’s Emergency Fund

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When you’re young, free and single, having an emergency fund to tide you over should you need to repair the car or buy a new washing machine doesn’t seem particularly important, especially when you could be spending your cash on designer handbags, beach vacations or fun nights out at the local bar. When you’re a parent, however, it’s a different matter completely.

When you have other people depending on you for their food, shelter, and safety, you really do need to get smart about your finances, and an emergency fund becomes an essential part of your budget. If you don’t already have an emergency fund, or if you have set one up, but it is looking pretty pathetic, here are some tips to help you grow your family’s emergency fund starting right now:

Start Now

There is never a bad time to start a family emergency fund. In fact, do it right now, even if you only have 10 dollars to spare, go down to your bank and open up a new savings account, deposit that $10 and set up an automatic payment to add another $10 next month and the month after, if that’s all you can spare. It will soon add up, and your family will have more peace of mind in knowing that you are working towards building your savings.

Start with Small Goals

When you’re starting to build an emergency fund, you should start with a small goal, such as saving $1000. This will make the process more manageable, and because you won’t find it too unrealistic, you won’t give up before you’ve really got started. You might think that because finding fast loan shops is so easy, that you really don’t need any savings, but when it comes to your family’s finances, the more options you have, and the safer those options, the better for all of you. Loans have their place, but they shouldn’t be a total alternative to savings, so start small, keep building and your family will be more financially stable than ever before in no time at all.

Diversify Your Portfolio

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If you already have an emergency fund in place, and you’re adding to it each month, you might want to think about growing your fund by diversifying your portfolio. I know it can be scary if you haven’t had much experience of dabbling with the stock market before, but if you stick to low-risk stocks, diversify your portfolio and take regular financial advice, your modest emergency fund will continue to grow and look after you as your kids grow up and eventually head off to college.

Create a Household Budget

A good way to divert more money to your emergency fund and any other savings you might have, is to take an honest in-depth look at your whole family’s incomings and outgoings each month and then to draw up a budget, which cuts out anything unnecessary (you can have a few treats) leaving you all with more money to play with at the end of the month. You can then use some of this ‘newly-found’ cash to build up your emergency fund so that you won’t have to worry about finding money to pay for the cat’s treatment or to ensure that you can keep your car running when it runs into problems.

Aim for at Least Seven Months’ Salary

It might seem daunting right now, but many financial experts believe that the average American family should try to build up an emergency fund which is equal to at least 7 months’ salary – that includes both you and your spouse’s salary if you’re both working – so that you have a good buffer should you find yourself with a serious financial emergency on your hands, such as being unexpectedly out of work.

Don’t Neglect Your Debts

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Although building an emergency fund for your family is very important, you should not do so at the cost of paying off your debts. You also should not neglect to build up an emergency fund until you have dealt with your debts. What I would suggest is taking measures to minimize the amount of interest you have to pay, either by taking advantage of 0% balance transfer offers or consolidating your debts with a low-interest loan. Then, you can split any spare cash in your budget between paying off your debt and boosting your emergency fund.

Of course, if you have a high-interest debt, and there’s no way of changing that, diverting most of your money to paying that off would be sensible, but at least try to divert a little to your emergency fund because, if you don’t you could end up even more in debt, if an emergency does strike your family and you have no other way of covering it than to use credit.

Make it a Bill

When you’re trying to save money into your emergency fund every month, one of the things that really helps is to make it a bill and add it to your budget. If you treat it just like a phone bill and set up an automatic money transfer between your current account and your savings account, you won’t miss it so much, and you won’t end up not paying into your savings because you don’t feel like it or because you’ve been tempted by a new pair of shoes.

Review It

At least once every year, you should sit down and review your emergency fund to see how well it is performing. It might be that the account that was once giving you a great rate of interest isn’t performing so well, or that you could get bigger returns by diversifying your portfolio in another direction. It might also be that your budget is no longer the same, and you’re able to add more to your emergency fund, and knowing about this will help you to grow your fund more effectively.

Use it For Emergencies Only

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It’s called an emergency fund for a reason, so don’t be tempted to dip into it to buy Christmas presents for the kids or to treat yourselves to a vacation. Sure, it’ll feel good in the moment, but when your fund is depleted, and the dog needs surgery, it won’t feel so great!

Does your family have an emergency fund? How do you ensure its growth over the months and years?

 

6 Quick Tips for Traveling with Children

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The summer is almost upon us, which also means that it’s almost time for the summer vacation we’ve all been dreaming about since Thanksgiving! Woohoo! However, traveling with a family in tow can sometimes be akin to herding cats, and can need a strong approach to organization, entertainment, and patience. Here’s my quick guide to surviving a vacation without going completely bonkers!

Don’t let them pack their own backpack

It seems like it would be a good way to teach your children about what they need and what they don’t, but take it from me, you’ll likely get to your destination with a rucksack full of tutus, sticker books and cuddly toys rather than the essential junior swim shorts and warm layers. Allow them to have an input into what they would like to take, but it’s good to do an audit before walking out the door. Flying long-haul? Check out my guide for packing hand-luggage like a pro here.

Book ahead of time

Whether you are camping or staying in hotels, it pays to book ahead when traveling with a family. You may have played it by ear and chosen guest houses and hostels on a whim when you were backpacking in your early twenties, but things are different now, and spontaneity won’t seem so fun if you can’t find a pitch or a room and have to hit the road again with a screaming toddler in the backseat!

Give them a camera

Give a small person a robust and unbreakable camera, and you’ll be surprised by what they snap. By doing this, you will be encouraging your child(ren) to be observant about the world around them and give them an interest in colors, textures, faces and nature! Along with photos of feet and wheels, you may be surprised by what they spot from knee-height!

Use public transport

Children are fascinated by the world, and more often than not, traveling by train, bus or boat will be much more exciting than spending hours in the back of a hire car. Not only will the world rolling by outside be a fascinating thing to watch, but you will be able to enjoy the view with them, rather than concentrating on the road and directions.

Encourage them to keep a travel journal or scrapbook

Spend some time each day drawing, sketching or writing down what they saw, enjoyed, or even hated throughout the day. Talk to them about the food they have tried and get them to describe it – this exercise is a great way for kids to remember family vacations, as they will always have something to look back on. If they would rather, help them collect postcards, entry tickets and transport passes so that they can put them all into a scrapbook when they get home!

Brand them

If you are going to be traveling through busy airports and transport stations, write your mobile number on their arm in pen, just in case they get lost. This way, whoever finds them will have an instant port of call to get them back in touch with you.