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!

Road Trip: 5 Of The Best RV Sites

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If you are looking for a great way to make your family vacations more fun, then buying an RV is just the beginning. As well as offering you a home away from home, it frees you up to see more of the country. So, where will you go on your adventures? Here are some of the best locations of RV parks in the country, so you’ll be able to plan a road trip to remember.

Anchorage, Alaska

A visit to Alaska should be on everyone’s bucket list. You can head to the Denali National Park for some hiking or cycling, or try some white water rafting on the Nenana River. While visiting here, a great site to stay at is the Denali Grizzly Bear Resort. It offers everything you could want including TV and access to a laundry and a gift shop.

Florida Keys

If a coastal break is what you’re after, then head down to the Florida Keys. With miles of beautiful coastline, it’s ideal for all watersports as well as fishing. You can visit Key West with its many bars, or visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. There are many RV sites to stay at such as the Grass Key RV park. Some of the spots there have views over the Gulf of Mexico, and it also has free WIFI. Wherever you stay in this area is sure to be a memorable vacation. Remember to take the details of an RV service and parts company should you run into trouble on the road.

Big Sur, California

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This is a great destination for anyone on a road trip. Enjoy the spectacular views of the mountains, and take in the breathtaking vistas of the ocean. It can also provide a relaxing retreat for those looking for a more laidback trip. If you stay here, then you can enjoy a site under the redwoods or even a riverside getaway. You can try horseback riding, hiking or just enjoy the amazing scenery.

Berwick, Maine

If you want a riverside adventure, then Berwick offers something for all the family. With the Salmon River and the Little River running through the town, you won’t be short of water sports to indulge in on your trip. You could take a boat out or even go fishing. There are plenty of family-friendly sites here offering organized family activities. This means that everyone will enjoy it. South Berwick also provides some great things to see such as Hamilton House and the Vaughan Woods State Park.

Lake George, New York
Lake George is nicknamed the Queen of American Lakes.  This beautiful area offers stunning landscapes and has been a popular tourist destination for years. It also has plenty of amusement parks and restaurants to keep everyone happy. There is no shortage of activities to do here either, with hot air balloon flights or a zip-wire for those who are feeling brave. There are so many good RV sites here that you will be spoilt for choice. Some of them even offer facilities such as fitness centers and playhouses for the kids. Wherever you choose to go on holiday, make sure you plan ahead as parks can get busy in the summer months.

8 Tips on How to Streamline Your Next Cruise Vacation

Cruises are one of the most enjoyable ways to spend your vacation, as they provide guests with luxurious amenities, bring them to multiple beautiful destinations, and are filled with fun and relaxing activities. Whether you’re a veteran of cruise or are looking to hit the high seas on your first ever cruise, there are a few things to keep in mind that will make your travel easier, your trip cheaper, and your time more enjoyable. So here are 8 top tips for planning your cruise holidays.

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1. Book in Advance

There are many ways to try and get a good deal on a cruise, but the most effective one is by booking your trip well in advance. This will not only ensure that you get the best possible deal on your vacation, but also that you receive the cabin room you want, and plenty of time at your preferred destinations. Yes, occasionally you can get good deals booking last minute, but that usually means settling for second or third choices on your room and destination selections.

2. Research Your Ship

Today’s cruise liners are all designed to suit the needs of a wide variety of passengers, but some can be more tailored to specific interests than others. If you’re going on a family cruise, for instance, be sure that there are plenty of activities available for young ones, or if you’re looking for something a little more mature then consider a cruise with age restrictions. Be sure to also look into the different types of activities available at your destinations.

3. Convert Currencies in Advance

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Often times on your cruise you will travel to multiple countries, and while you can usually find a place to convert currencies on ship or in port, you will waste less time and have more chance of sticking to your budget if you have converted in advance.

4. Check for Visas

Some cruise stops will require the visitors to have received an authorization visa to enter the country in advance, so if you don’t want to miss-out on a fun destination, then be sure all of your paperwork is in place.

5. Look for Cruises that Land in Port Everyday

While being out at sea can be wonderfully fun and relaxing, it is equally great to have the option to head ashore and spend the day exploring new sites. So be sure to look for cruises that have daily stops and stay in port until the evening, giving you plenty of time to explore.

6. The All-Inclusive Cruise

All-inclusive cruises usually mean that your base expenses are all covered for your trip, from room and food, to drinks and general activities. Keep in mind, however, that there are always certain charges and unexpected fees can crop up, so be sure to research before you purchase.

7. Buy Your Own Plane Tickets

Most people book cruise tickets so far in advance that plane tickets are not yet available, and while some companies will include an optional fee for airfare, that fee is usually far more expensive than you would receive by booking for yourself in advance.

8. Don’t Stress About Over-Packing

Cruises provide you with a moving hotel room, this means that you will not be dragging your baggage from one destination to another. You’re better off bringing that extra sweater in case you get cold, than being stuck without it.

Remember, although booking cruise holidays can feel like a scary task, with a few easy steps you’ll be ready for your next great adventure.

Images by Rennett Stowe and bradipo  used under Creative Commons License.

Weekend Well Spent At The Park

“This is a sponsored post by Smucker’s. All opinions stated are my own.”

Sooner or later, the precious summer sun will bid goodbye. That’s why, as much as possible, I make sure that my daughter and our entire family will get to enjoy every last bit of it. Last weekend, our entire gang decided to have a picnic at the park and I invited some of our neighborhood friends to join us. I even organized some outdoor games both for the kids and adults. Most of our family friends are free during weekends, so they were able to meet us at the park. We had so much fun that we agreed to have it as a regular weekend activity.

11880611_951450081584726_4319209465213908944_nLast week, I was tasked to prepare our snacks. I know for a fact that it would be very tiring and requires a lot of effort. Good thing Walmart, my ultimate SNACKATION destination, is just nearby. I just learned about some go-to summer snack solutions which literally cut my preparation time into half. I made these bite size sandwiches and filled them with Jif Whips, Smucker’s Strawberry Jam and Smucker’s Squeeze Grape.  I also packed some Uncrustables, JiF To Go Dippers for the adults along with some ice cold fruit juices and Smucker’s Fruit Fulls, which all the kids loved the most. All these goodies filled our picnic basket and believe it or not, I was able to prepare everything in less than an hour.

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11954745_951450098251391_8263727125573330669_n-1Everyone had so much fun, especially when we played the parlor games. Some of the games were race games wherein parents and their child are paired together. It was also a great bonding activity that all parents should have with their kids. They are not always young and the time will come when they will no longer enjoy our company as much as they do now.

11921647_951450064918061_3259066267499335328_nLast weekend’s picnic was truly a success and I am thankful that we were able to experience it with our neighbors. Most likely we’re going to do it again at least once a month. As long as we don’t have other plans, we will definitely join the fun. So, I suggest to organize your own weekend activity right away!

Before summer ends, it would be a great idea to stock up on these yummy snacks and get tips for delicious party snacks HERE, you can visit Walmart for your #SNACKATION destination and you’ll be glad you did.