Hello and welcome! We’re Charles and Micki Kosman, two adventurous Canadians. We love to travel and write about all things related to travel. This blog takes being a travel resource quite seriously as they have a section dedicated to travel tips, travel tech and travel photos. If you’ve got travel on the mind and want a little direction on how to achieve it, this blog is the place to start.
Disclosure: I have partnered with both YMC and 1in8HaveIt and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
Do you get migraines? I do. I’m one of the unlucky ones who suffer from migraines and I know I’m not alone. 1 in 8 people around the world get them regularly.
The simple fact is, migraines are awful and as bad as they are at home, I think they’re even worse when you travel. At least at home I can minimize my exposure to the world and retreat to the comfort and safety of my room. Out on the road, my surroundings are harder to control and sometimes it takes a little work to find solace.
In hindsight, I’ve spent more mornings than I like to admit lying in a hotel room, with the shades drawn, suffering through a migraine instead of having fun on vacation with the family.
Imagine this: It’s our fist night in Madrid. We arrive in Spain just after supper, haul our far too heavy suitcases up the three sets of stairs to our rented apartment, and collapse into bed as we make plans for breakfast and a full day of sightseeing the next day.
Then, boom. The next morning I wake up with a terrible migraine. No freshly baked croissants, no morning walks along charming cobblestone streets in the Centro, and no delicious churros con chocolate with the family. Instead, I’m holed up in our rented bedroom apartment with the shades drawn tightly.
If I try to sit up, I feel nauseous and light headed, and there’s an ice pick poking at my sinuses.
mmm… churros con chocolate in Madrid
Unfortunately, this happens more than I wish. Even more unfortunately, I’m not alone in suffering through migraines. It’s estimated that nearly 2.7 million Canadians report living with migraines. Due to the use of over-the-counter medications, many people never seek help for their symptoms so, in all likelihood, this number is likely even higher.
My migraine story in Madrid ended happily though. Charles and the kids ran out, grabbed me bottles of fruit juice and sports drinks, and after a few hours of rest, I was still shaky, but ready to explore the city.
I was lucky that day. Migraines aren’t always so easy to get rid of. I’ve had plenty of travel days ruined by a bad migraine that wouldn’t go away.
Want to see if your headaches might be a migraine? Take the quiz at www.1in8haveit.ca and share your results with a medical professional.
I’ve had migraines for years now, but luckily they’ve usually been pretty manageable, with a few ugly exceptions. Not everyone’s so lucky. If you suffer from them regularly, don’t suffer through it alone. Seek help, there might be an underlying cause to them or at least a plan to manage them better.
A wonderful, migraine free travel day in Jasper, Alberta.
How I manage migraines on the road
Over the years, I’ve figured out a few things that help me manage migraines on the road or while at home. The most important one being the second a migraine hits me, I load up on liquids. For me, staying hydrated helps a ton and that alone can sometimes prevent a full blown migraine from hitting me.
Unfortunately, standard over the counter medications aren’t much help. I may as well be taking candy for all the good they seem do when a full blown migraine hits me. At best, they take the edge off a little, but I can’t rely on them to get me back on my feet and exploring the world again.
I also avoid triggers like red wine, too little food and lack of sleep when I feel a migraine might be at hand. The sleep portion can sometimes be hard when we’re on the road and I feel a migraine coming, but we slow down our pace and that, coupled with tons of liquids, seems to help.
I also find a quiet, dark area to hide in free from all outside stimuli. That means putting down my phone, tablet or computer and turning the TV off. It might seem like non-productive time, but the sooner the migraine passes, the more quality time I can spend with the family seeing the sights while we travel or getting work done when we’re at home.
It seems the more I can block out the outside world, the faster my migraine goes away, but that’s just what works for me. It seems like everyone’s migraines are a bit different in how it hits them, what triggers them and how they cope with migraines while traveling.
Help from fellow migraine sufferers
A little while ago I felt a migraine coming on, and asked our Twitter community what works best for them. There were some great answers, including lavender scent, sports drinks, and getting the right medication.
What helps you with migraines? I feel one coming on and I’d love to stop it in its tracks.
But what happens when sports drinks, over the counter medications, and avoiding triggers just isn’t enough to kill a migraine? Every case is so different that seeking out the help of your doctor is crucial.
Take the test at www.1in8haveit.ca and learn more about migraines including common migraine triggers, early migraine warning signs and overall migraine awareness.
This guest post is brought to you by Anda Galffy of Travel Notes & Beyond, who shares here favorite things to do in Patagonia.
Stretching across Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is the southernmost region of South America. Patagonia is huge in every way and it is home to some of the most incredible landscapes on this planet, including snow-capped mountains, dense forests, massive glaciers, roaring waterfalls and unbelievable wildlife. For an outdoor lover, Patagonia is an inexhaustible source beauty and adventure. There is so much to see and do here that you could easily spend months in Patagonia and still not see it all!
Things To Do In Patagonia
With that in mind, here are my recommendations for places to visit in Patagonia, on both the Chilean and Argentinian sides.
Hike in Torres del Paine
There is a reason why Torres del Paine National Park is considered one the world’s best backpacking and trekking destinations. The park is a maze of hiking trails varying from easy, to moderate and more difficult. If you feel more adventurous, you can choose to do one of the multi-day circuits that last anywhere from 4-9 days and take you all around the mountains. But if walking for 8 hours a day and sleeping in tents is not your cup of tea, you can take shorter day hikes and experience the beauty of Torres del Paine just the same. The good news is that you don’t need to be an experienced hiker to enjoy this park.
Hiking in Torres del Paine
Take a boat trip to Glacier Grey
Located inside Torres del Paine National Park, Glacier Grey is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field –one of the largest continental stretches of ice on the planet. Getting up close and personal with Glacier Grey is one of the highlights to any trip to Patagonia. As the boat gets closer to the glacier, you begin to appreciate the 40-meter high river of ice that rises above you. The blue tones of the ice are astonishing. You are so close to it that you can see the cracks in the ice wall and feel the cold air that surrounds it.
Tour the Mylodon Cave
The Mylodon Cave (Cueva del Milodon) is located just a little outside Torres del Paine National Park. The cave was discovered in 1896 by the German explorer Eberhard Hermann who found inside the strange remains (fur and bones) of the extinct Mylodon sloth, hence the name of the cave. The cave is not very big, but it is really interesting to visit.
Cueva del Milodon
Try horseback riding
One of the best ways to view the scenery of Patagonia is by taking a guided tour on horseback. Many of the estancias (working farms) around Torres del Paine offer horseback riding excursions to the glaciers and in the foothills of the Cordillera Paine. You don’t need any particular skills to be able to ride one of these horses. The baqueanos(Patagonian cowboys) are excellent guides and will teach you a lot about horseback riding. Visiting one of these estancias is also a great opportunity to find out more about the culture and harsh realities of day by day life in Patagonia.
Argentinean Patagonia – Los Glaciares National ParkVisit Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno glacier is one of the biggest attractions in Argentinean Patagonia. Locate on the southern area of the Los Glaciares National Park, about 90 km away from El Calafate, this stunning 70-meters-thick slab of ice that spans over 121 square miles. Perito Moreno is famous for its dynamic changes. It grows in winter and recedes in summer, producing a cyclic phenomenon with spectacular ice falls from its front walls. If you only were to visit one glacier in your life, it should be Perito Moreno.
There are several ways to experience the glacier. You can get up close with a boat tour and hear the loud noise made by the cracking ice falling into the water below. Or you can walk on the viewing platform leading up to different viewpoints. The platform gets quite close to the glacier, to the point that you can basically feel the cold air that surrounds it. But if you’re feeling truly adventurous, you can take a tour out onto the glacier to do some ice trekking.
Drive (or bike) to Lago del Desierto
One of the nicest roads to drive in southern Patagonia is the one from El Chaltén to Lago del Desierto. The road follows Rio de las Vueltas, passing spectacular waterfalls, pristine meadows and dense Lenga forests. The Fitz Roy peaks are in sight all along the way.
Despite its name (that suggests a desert area) Lago del Desierty is actually surrounded by acres and acres of beautiful Lenga forest. Besides enjoying the scenery, you can also take a boat out onto the blue-green waters of the lake. Catamarans leave from the pier and journey across the lake, making trips that last about 45 minutes.
Lago del Desierto
Hike to Mirador Piedras Blancas
This is one of the most beautiful hikes you can do from the little village of El Chaltén. The trail head that starts at Hosteria El Pilar takes you to a beautiful mirador (vista point) that offers great views of the Piedras Blancas glacier. This is a moderate hike that goes mainly through a beautiful forest. If you to continue hiking past the mirador, the trail will take you to a gorgeous plain from where you can see the majestic peaks of the Fitz Roy mountain. This trail goes to the Campamento (campground) Poincenot and from there to the famous Laguna de Los Tres, but that is a difficult hike.
Mirador Piedras Blancas
Take a boat trip to Viedma Glacier
This ride will take you across Lake Viedma, passing by Mount Huemul and approaching the front wall of the Viedma glacier. The boats leave from the picturesque Bahía Túnel harbor, located in a natural protected bay, a few hundred meters away from the delta formed by the Túnel River. The harbor is only 17 Km south of El Chaltén.
A Final Note
Visiting Patagonia was a dream come true. I still can’t get over it. The first sight of its gorgeous scenery literally took my breath away. Nothing can quite prepare you for your first glimpse of Patagonia. For no matter how many pictures you see or movies you watch, when you touch down in Patagonia you realize that no photo can do justice to this place.
About the Author
Anda Galffy is an award-winning travel writer and passionate photographer living in Southern California. She is the creator of Travel Notes & Beyond, a collection of travel stories from her wanderings around the world. Her posts focus primarily on the cultural aspect of a destination. She strives to inform, inspire and engage, by providing itinerary ideas and tips on exciting destinations.
This guest post is brought to you by Shandos of Travelnuity, who shares her top things to do in Darwin, Australia.
When most visitors to Australia consider what cities to visit, generally the big cities of Sydney and Melbourne firstly spring to mind. But up north, closer to the cities of South East Asia, is a very different Australian city: Darwin.
If you’re wanting to head out on a road trip to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, exploring their natural beauty and Aboriginal culture, Darwin will be your launching point. But it’s also worthwhile exploring its attractions for a couple of days.
Six of the Best Things to do in Darwin
Some of Darwin’s top attractions explore its short but turbulent history, from being bombed in World War II to being destroyed by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day, 1974. Other Darwin activities and attractions take advantage of its beautiful tropical weather and surroundings. These are my top picks for what to do in Darwin.
Head to Mindil Beach Sunset Market
One of the favorite experiences of both visitors and locals in Darwin is heading to the Mindil Beach Sunset Market.
It’s held at Mindil Beach, just outside of the city center, next to Darwin Casino. The market runs during the dry season (from late April to late October), and is held every Thursday (kicking off at 5 pm) and every Sunday (starting at 4 pm). There’s plenty of stalls selling everything from Aboriginal artifacts and handmade souvenirs to dresses and clothing from Thailand and Indonesia, but the real highlight are the food stalls.
Perhaps start with some fresh oysters, before continuing on to a variety of dishes reflecting Darwin’s multicultural population. Options usually include Indonesian, Chinese, Thai and Indian. Plus there’s distinctive Australian dishes on offer, such as kangaroo and crocodile. Enjoy your dinner on the beach, hopefully taking in a beautiful sunset over the harbor, before wrapping up with dessert.
Visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Located along Darwin’s long waterfront just outside the city centre is the impressive (and free) Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, one of Darwin Australia’s points of interest. Don’t miss the chance to explore their large collection of indigenous art, from bark parkings to ceremonial poles, perhaps catching the yearly National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.
Another highlight of the museum is the interactive display about Cyclone Tracy and the impact it had on the city, including a darkened room where you can listen to its monstrous sound. Don’t also miss the stuffed body of Sweetheart the crocodile. This mammoth 5 meter long, 780 kg beast was killed locally after it attacked several fishing boats. You can even see live crocodiles on a local jumping crocodile tour, though likely none as big as Sweetheart.
Visit the Darwin Aviation Heritage Centre
Just south of Darwin is the Aviation Heritage Centre. Due to Darwin’s isolation plus strategic military importance, aviation has always played a key role in Darwin’s history. The museum isn’t just for aviation buffs, but for anyone interested in history or just seeing an impressive collection of planes.
The stand-out attraction of the museum is its B52 bomber. It was predominantly based in Darwin by the US Airforce during the Vietnam War era and has since been donated on permanent loan to the people of Darwin. It’s one of only two such aircraft outside of the USA, and it’s huge bulk looms above everything else in the air hangar.
Other aircraft on display are a mixture of military and passenger craft, including Spitfire planes, Tiger Moth biplays and helicopters. There are also interesting displays on the Australian Royal Flying Doctors service and aircraft involved in WWII and Vietnam.
Explore the Impact of World War II
Darwin was on the front-line during World War II, particularly after the fall of Singapore and the Japanese invasion of what’s now Papua New Guinea. The city was bombed multiple times and there are a multitude of sites around Darwin and further south linked to WWII. Examples include old airfields, military installations, bombing sites and memorials.
For a good overview of the WWII history of Darwin, visit the Defence of Darwin Experience and Darwin Military Museum. Both are located at the East Point Military Precinct. The Defence of Darwin Experience features numerous interactive, multimedia displays, culminating in a 20-minute show.
Another important site located just over 100 km south of Darwin on the main highway is the Adelaide River War Cemetery. It’s the only war cemetery on Australian soil, and includes a poignant memorial.
Chill out at the Waterfront Lagoons
Despite its tropical weather and large harbor, unfortunately the beaches of Darwin are largely a no-go zone for swimming, due to the presence of salt-water crocodiles and many sharks.
If you’re wanting to cool off, head instead to the Wave Lagoon and Recreation Lagoon located on Darwin’s waterfront. The Wave Lagoon produces 10 different wave patterns, with a 10-minute rest in between each 20 minute session. The Recreation Lagoon meanwhile has a sandy beach and stinger-filtered seawater. Both are patrolled by lifeguards. Entry is free to the Recreation Lagoon, while a fee is charged at the Wave Lagoon.
Go Wild at Berry Springs Nature Park
For a swim in more natural surroundings, consider heading to the Berry Springs Nature Park. It’s just over 50 km south of Darwin, located on the Cox Peninsula Road just off the main highway. Entry is free and there are multiple meandering pools to relax in, surrounded by natural forest. There’s also plenty of picnic tables and some short walking trails.
Before heading south during the wet season (from October to April), double check that the pools are open. They may be closed if conditions are deemed unsafe, including due to crocodiles (the rangers check for their presence each day).
Shandos Cleaver is an Australian blogger who is currently travelling around Europe with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel. She blogs about dog-friendly travel (mostly) on her blog, Travelnuity. She first visited Darwin while travelling around Australia at the age of nine, and is looking forward to returning to Australia soon and exploring more of the country, this time with her dog. Follow her adventures on Facebook or Instagram.
Do you have any favorites for what to see in Darwin? Let us know!
This is a guest post from Nicoleta, who shares her best tips for how to manage the true cost of volunteer work abroad, whether you’re trying to volunteer abroad free or just cheaply as possible. While volunteering is a wonderful way to give and visit the world at the same time, there’s often a cost associated with volunteering overseas, and she shares her insight into how much it costs to volunteer abroad. This is part of our series on jobs you can do as you travel the world and teaching English overseas.
I truly believe that travel is one of the best things that anybody can do with their lives. Seeing amazing countries, learning about different cultures and having the freedom to explore whatever you want is a liberating and exhilarating experience like no other.
For those looking to add another dimension to their travel, spending some time as a volunteer can be an excellent option.
Can you volunteer abroad cheap or for free? The real costs
As a volunteer, you not only get all the benefits of regular traveling, like seeing new places and meeting new people, but you also get a uniquely intimate insight into a culture and the chance to give something back.
If you’re considering becoming a volunteer, then you might be wondering how much it’s all going to cost. The truth is, there is no straight answer to this question, as different companies charge vastly different amounts.
However, there are some general common factors that can help you to know how much to budget. If you do it right, volunteering can actually save you money when compared with more traditional forms of travel, such as staying exclusively in hotels and moving around every day or two.
So, here are the basic costs of volunteering abroad, broken down for you to better understand and plan effectively.
How much does it cost to volunteer abroad?
The costs to volunteer overseas include the volunteer project fees, flights and transportation, meals, accommodation, visas and more!
The volunteer project itself
By this, I mean the fees that the volunteer organization charge, and it’s this that is likely to have the largest effect on your budget.
Project fees depend massively on the individual organization, as well as the location of the project, and various other factors. At the upper end of the scale, you may be expected to pay hundreds of dollars per day, and at the lower end, you may only need to cover a fraction of that.
It’s vital to look at what’s covered by the fees and whether there will be any additional costs. You should also check out things such as the quality of the accommodation as well as reviews by past volunteers, which are available through any good organization like uvolunteer.
The only way to accurately find out the cost of the project is to do some research and shop around.
Flights and transportation for volunteering
The cost of your flights is likely to be another significant expense for any low cost volunteer abroad vacation. Obviously, the actual costs vary depending on how far you need to fly and the season, so this will be something you need to figure out before committing.
In terms of general transportation costs, many organizations will cover the most vital costs as part of the program fees. For example, good organizations will cover airport transfers, as well as any transport needed as part of the project.
Food and drink while volunteering
This can be another hidden cost, with some organizations failing to provide any food despite high fees.
If you don’t want to shell out for every meal, then try to look for a company that covers some of your meals as part of the program fees. For example, you may have lunch provided while you are working.
Drinks and alcohol are likely to be something you need to account for too. Volunteer placements are inherently social, and you can expect to be surrounded by other young volunteers who are up for having a good time, so you’ll probably end up going for a few drinks now and then.
Sightseeing and traveling after your volunteering
Volunteering is by no means all about work, and with the right organization you will have plenty of time to yourself. As you’re in a foreign country, it’s a good idea to use at least some of this time to explore the area.
So, if you’re wanting to travel to other areas and go sightseeing on your weekends, then you’ll have to factor in the costs.
As the countries with the most legitimate projects are usually in developing parts of the world, these costs are going to be lower than at home. For example, if you’re working as a volunteer in Thailand, then getting around, sightseeing and accommodation will all be very affordable.
Visas for volunteering
Visa costs for volunteering are rarely going to set you back a huge amount, but it’s still something that’s worth factoring into your budget.
For most countries that you are likely to go to, volunteering visas will generally not cost more than around $50 for a month or so, if anything. However, you will need to look carefully at the precise rules surrounding visas and volunteers, as some countries class volunteering as work. In these cases you may need to acquire a working visa, which can be a more complicated process and cost significantly more.
Plan ahead to avoid being hit with any surprise volunteering costs
The secret to accurately judging the costs for a volunteering trip is to plan ahead, so you don’t catch yourself asking why is volunteering abroad so expensive? Choose a good organization, figure out exactly where you want to go, for how long, and whether you want to continue traveling afterwards. Taking your time with this part of the process will help you to budget effectively, and save money in the long run.
Nicoleta Radoi is the resident content blogger for uVolunteer. Nicoleta is an avid linguist, speaks fluent English, Chinese, French, Spanish and native Romanian. She spent a decade working in China in the education sector and working with major international development institutions. She currently lives in Vancouver, Canada and is passionate about volunteering, sustainable travel and has a soft spot for ethnic food.
Feel like hanging out by a beautiful mountain lake in British Columbia for an afternoon in May?
Then this is the contest for you!
In a hurry and just want to enter the giveaway for two general admission tickets to the May 12th main event? Scroll down to the bottom the post and enter!
The Great Okanagan Beer Festival is back in our gorgeous home base of Kelowna, BC, Canada from May 10 to 12th 2018! It’s hosted by the fun folks at Gibbons Whistler, founders of the insanely popular Whistler Village Beer Festival.
Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley are becoming a top notch destination for beer lovers, in addition to world class wineries and other fun things to do. You’ll find some of our local favorite breweries and restaurants at the Festival, like the Train Station Pub, Grimm’s Fine Foods, BNA Brewing, Tree Brewing, Freddy’s Brewpub, Okanagan Spring, Boundary Brewing Company, BC Tree Fruits Cider Co., Wards Hard Cider, plus plenty of other great craft beer and cider brewers from all across Canada.
The Great Okanagan Beer Festival main tasting event is on May 12th, and they’ve invited us to cover the main event at Waterfront Park, as well as some of fun extracurricular events around town leading up to the main event.
It’s our first year at the GOBF, and we’re pretty excited to take in all the fun (plus all that tasty food, beer and cider!).
Great Okanagan Beer Festival 2017 | Recap Video - YouTube
Enter now for your chance to win two general admission tickets to the May 12th main event!
The contest is open to legal residents of Canada, excluding Quebec, who have reached the age of majority in British Columbia, and ends May 05, 2018. See the entry form for terms and conditions. Absolutely no minors are permitted within the grounds.
So how do you enter? It’s easy.
See the contest widget below? To start, all you have to do is to enter your email or log in via Facebook!
This guest post is brought to you by Andrzej & Jolene from Wanderlust Storytellers, who share what it’s like to travel to Japan with kids.
Japan is undoubtedly one of the best kid-friendly destinations in the world! There is a magnitude of things to do in Japan with kids and the number is constantly growing.
City streets may be narrow and crowded, but it’s well worth the adventure thanks to its interesting destinations, rich culture and unending attractions that would be rewarding both for you and the young ones.
10 Tips For Visiting Japan With Kids
Here are 10 helpful tips for travel to Japan with kids, including a list of fun things to do in Japan with kids.
What to Expect
While Japan is an extremely safe and busy country where everyone seems to mind his/her own business, it is still important to understand that it is a hierarchical society. In other words, everyone and everything has its place in the society.
Traditionally, children are expected to stay at home in care of their mothers. That is why strollers are very rare to spot on the streets. This doesn’t mean that kids do not go out with their parents. You will see parents out with their kids, but they’re expected to keep them in check always. Letting your kid yell or run around in restaurants or trains is unacceptable and will earn you lots of cold glares.
It is often advisable to consider Japanese airlines such as All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airline when flying to Japan with kids. Why? Well, you may have to pay a little extra, but they’re astonishingly kid-friendly. Some of the services include special infant meals and cosy bassinets. These airlines also offer child seat rental service as well.
It will cost you a little extra for the seat, but it is well worth it. They also offer a special check-in counter for families, as well as free kids’ play areas at the Narita Airport in Tokyo where you’ll typically be let to cut in the security line.
It is strongly advisable for parents traveling with kids to any Japanese destination to always consider traveling light. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you are pushing a giant stroller with your kid on it while pulling a large suitcase behind you whilst trying to master stairs.
That said, traveling to and around Japan with a stroller is a nightmare you would not wish to go through. Strollers are a rarity in Japanese cities and will have many pedestrians and travellers sneering at you because they’re an inconvenience not just to you, but also to others.
Trains are always overcrowded especially during rush hours, paths to shrines and temples are customarily made of gravel and to make it even worse, city sidewalks are narrow and ever busy. That is why we recommend for you to just leave your giant stroller at home.
You should instead, consider using baby carriers or umbrella strollers, which are fold-able and lightweight. You can also consider traveling with backpack diaper bag instead of a giant suitcase, which we use constantly. These backpacks have plenty of space for everything your little one will need, but also comes with heaps of space for your camera, water bottle and perhaps change of clothes. These are items that you can one-handedly or easily carry down or up the stairs, let alone the fact that they can fit just about anywhere in the trains or through normal ticket gates.
Using Public Transport
Japan has one of the best and safest transport systems in the world. Kids under 6 years old travel for free on all buses and trains. Children who are over the age of 6, but under the age of 12 are required to pay half the price. You can therefore, consider acquiring a kids’ version of JR (Japan Rail) Pass Suica Smart Card, which can be used just about anywhere. We found that it was so much more affordable to use the Japan Rail Pass for the entire family, rather than purchasing the tickets separately. You can read more about the benefits of the JR Rail Pass here.
Some of the public transport modes to consider include:
Local city train systems are very punctual, reasonably priced and very quick. Even when travelling from one side of the city to the other, it is fairly easy to navigate to your connecting trains. Once you get used to the sign system and following the coloured lines, you will be OK even in the largest of train stations. Your little ones might have a few stairs to go up and down on, but it is not a big issue here. It is our recommendation that you avoid the hectic rush hours. On weekdays, it peaks between 8-9am towards the city centres and again at 5 pm from the city centres.
Children aren’t entitled to their own seats in long-distance trains and can use any free seat if there’s any. It is strongly recommended to book your seats in advance, in order to avoid scenarios, when there are no more free seats available. Standing with your kids whilst on the train, is not the most fun adventure.
Super modern Shinkansen bullet trains are very much kid friendly! They are fitted with modern change tables and breastfeeding booths. On the other hand, bullet trains can be unsuitable for your kids as the high-speed vibrations can make some kids nauseous. Therefore, kt’s important to feed them lightly or wait for the modern bullet trains such as the N700, which plies the Tokyo-Osaka route. You can also consider using the Super View Odoriko express if you’re traveling to the Izu Peninsula since it has a wonderful kids’ play area.
It is a requirement that kids below the age of 6 have a child car seat when traveling in cars. Taxis are, however, exempted from this law and are not required to have kid’s car seats. If that feels a bit uncomfortable for parents, then hiring a car or choosing public transport is a safer option.
As expected, the majority of the accommodation in Japan is pretty compact and most of the time you will be sleeping on a traditional Japanese futon. We recommend looking for a larger family size hotel rooms and (our favourite), Airbnb options. This way you can stay as close to the main areas of the cities for a fraction of the hotel-room price.
Bring Your Own Baby Supplies
Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world and you will have no problem finding anything for you little one. However, you need to be aware that the quality of diapers may vary from your country and the baby food can be slightly different to what your little one is used to. Saying that, you will have no problem finding baby supplies, should you run out.
Things to Do when Visiting Japan with Kids
As an utterly kid-friendly country, there are a lot of things to do and places to visit with kids in Japan. Some of them include:
Nara Park, Nara
Nara Deer Park is one place that your kids cannot miss out on. Nara is home to over 1500 wild deer that are very much accustomed to visitors hand-feeding them. So, make sure to grab a bag of local deer delicacies sold at any vendor and feed them till the heart is content.
Todaiji at Nara Deer Park
Himeji Castle, Himeji
Dating back to the 17th century, Himeji Castle is the biggest castle in Japan and will surely intrigue both you and your kids with its winding maze-like alleys, gigantic towers and numerous secret rooms.
Tokyo Disneyland, Chiba
Perhaps the biggest American culture symbol in Japan, Tokyo Disneyland is inspired by Disneyland in the United States and is very popular particularly when celebrating western holidays such as Halloween and Christmas.
This is a futuristic national science museum, which showcases several scientific trends from around the world. Both you and your kids will get educated on matters such as deep sea, environment, biology, space, robotics and many more. Your kids will also be involved in several hands-on activities.
Other places include: Todaiji Temple in Nara, Skytree in Tokyo, Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka and Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto.
It’s pretty much easy to see that Japan is a modern and bustling country with cities that look almost like super-charged New York City. Whether you’re old or young, Japan is beautiful and has everything for everybody. It is also one of the safest, cleanest and most advanced countries in the world. Better still, it is one of the most kid-friendly nations in the world. Japanese people are very hospitable and English is widely and commonly used. With the above tips, a trip to Japan, “the Land of the Rising Sun” with kids is destined to be enjoyable and utterly memorable.
This guest post is brought to you by Andrzej & Jolene from Wanderlust Storytellers, a widely successful family travel blog. They love sharing their passion for travel with people all around the globe.
After spending a few days in Anguilla, I walked away smitten with the island’s sunny beaches, great food, and reputation for amazing reggae vibes, not to mention the ever-present open WiFi signal at every restaurant.
The island’s only a stone’s throw from St. Martaan in the Carribean, and a British overseas territory lined with gorgeous beaches and white sand.
Wondering what Anguilla is best known for? Let’s discover 20 things you need to know about Anguilla.
Anguilla Facts: 20 Things You Need to Know About Anguilla
It’s pronounced Anne-gwilla (rhymes with vanilla).
There are 33 beaches; most are soft white sand, and they’re all beautiful.
Beach shack on the Caribbean island of Anguilla
Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean.
The language is spoken most widely on the island is English.
Only about 14,000 people live here, with a rich history and culture dating back to the Arawaks, who traveled to the island from South America as far back as 3,500 years ago.
Chuck Norris once lived here, in a mansion overlooking the ocean.
There are no shopping malls, cruise ships, casinos, or high rise hotels on the island. Instead, you’ll find locally owned boutiques and shops run by local residents.
It’s small – 16 miles long by three miles wide. That said, you’ll probably still want to get around by car or bike.
There are no private beaches on Anguilla. All beaches are open to the public.
Goats are everywhere on the island. They’re on the hillsides, on the roads (be careful when driving), and even on the front lawns of most resorts.
The capital is called The Valley, and has 600 residents. If you’re looking for cheap eats, you’ll find them at the street market in The Valley.
Vegetarian lunch on Sandy Island Anguilla
Anguilla has long been a low key vacation spot for celebrities like Liam Neeson, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia di Rossi, and Sandra Bullock. It’s no wonder, in addition to its natural beauty, there’s are plenty of things to do in Anguilla.
There are less than 20 hotels on the island (plus a few Airbnb listings and bed & breakfasts).
Anguilla CuisinArt Resort
There are no direct international flights to the island, so you’ll need to get an air ticket booking in from Puerto Rico or St. Maarten, or take the 20 minute ferry ride from St. Maarten.
You’ll need a valid passport and onward or return ticket to visit.
You can use both USD and ECD (Eastern Caribbean dollars) almost everywhere.
There’s no public transport, so you’ll need to take a taxi or rent a car, or rely on hotel shuttle transportation.
Cars drive on the left, and the the speed limit is 30 mph.
Anguilla was named after the Spanish word for eel, because of its eel-like shape.
There’s a $20 USD departure tax whether you leave by plane or boat, and it’s cash only, so make sure you have some on hand!
The Best Beaches in Anguilla - YouTube
Do you have any other Anguilla interesting facts? Let us know!
This guest post is by Kate from Rolling Along with Kids. Kate and her family have spent a large amount of time in Bali and is an expert on things to do with kids in Bali.
An island full of culture and plenty of activities to do with the kids, Bali is the ultimate family destination. There are so many options when it comes to traveling to Bali with kids like where to stay, what to do and where to eat. It becomes a touch overwhelming but these 10 tips on how to have a fun family holiday to Bali will help you plan a great trip.
Bali with Kids: 10 Tips For A Fun Bali Family Holiday
Choose wisely where you stay
Making the right decision on which area to stay in Bali can mean the difference between you loving Bali or finding it just okay. Seminyak has amazing food and shopping, Sanur is more laid back with a great beach path, Kuta is busy with lots of shops and Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali but with terrible footpaths to walk along with kids. Take your time to research the different areas to make the best choice.
Villa or hotels
There is a wide range of accommodation in Bali with villas and hotels the 2 main options. Villas are fantastic when the kids are younger and you need space for them to have their day sleeps or wake up early in the morning. Pool fences are easy to find in Bali and provide that extra level of protection when traveling with young kids. They also provide great value for money when traveling with other families. Many Bali resorts come with amazing kids facilities including kids clubs, water slides and dedicated kids pools. As the kids become older, resorts can be the best choice and the kids will not want to leave.
Hire a nanny
Ok if I’m honest, this is one of the main reasons we keep traveling all the way across Australia from Melbourne to Bali for our family holidays. Our gorgeous Bali nannies have become our dear family friends and are amazing with all our kids especially our son that has autism. Our nannies have been trained in first aid, CPR and can swim. There are a couple of different ways to hire a nanny, through a babysitting agency or through friend’s recommendations of a private nanny that you hire yourself.
Visit a waterpark
It gets hot in Bali so it will be hard to get the kids out of the pool. One way to entice them out is a day out to one of the many waterparks in Bali. Our kids insist each time we travel to Bali that we must go to Waterbom Park in Kuta. We have been 5 times now and each time the family loves it. Finns Recreation Club in Canggu also has a great waterpark called Splash that is more compact and easier to keep an eye on the kids. The bonus with this club is the additional activities like a trampoline centre, ten-pin bowling and kids club that means the kids will never get bored especially on a rainy day.
Go on a bike ride
I had been reluctant for a few years about going on a bike ride with the kids when they were younger. If I had only known how fun and suited to all ages the bike rides were, I would have gone on our first Bali family trip in 2012. We had such a fun day with UbudCycling.Bike and in typical Balinese style, they were so patient. We had kids ranging in age from 18 months to 8 years and visited a local school, a coffee plantation, Mt Batur, a family compound, a bike ride through the Balinese countryside and finally finished off at a gorgeous Ubud restaurant.
A day out at a beach club
If a day at the beach sounds like fun then you remember you have kids, beach clubs are the way to go in Bali. They have facilities like pools, lounge chairs, delicious food and best of all, cocktails. Sundays Beach Club is one of our all-time favourites as is the famous Ku De Ta in Seminyak. If you are staying in Ubud there is no need to miss the beach club experience. Jungle Fish is a pool, restaurant and bar that welcomes kids and is set amongst the gorgeous trees and rivers of central Bali.
Watch a sunrise and sunset
Something that is free and any family can enjoy is the Bali sunrises and sunsets. Watching a beautiful sunrise over the water is possible from areas like Sanur, Benoa and Nusa Dua. The extra bonus with these areas is the easy to walk along beach paths that means that if the younger kids wake up early, as they do for us, the kids can come along for a walk in the stroller.
Bali sunsets are amazing anywhere around the island. But along the beach of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Canggu they really do leave you mesmerised with such beauty.
Enjoy a Sunday brunch
There are so many options in Bali to enjoy a decadent Sunday Brunch. I must say the thought of kids and fine china does send chills up my spine! I was so pleased when we visited Prego Restaurant at the Westin Resort Nusa Dua and the sunday brunch was all about the kids! Such yummy food and kids activities including cupcake making, a magician, outside games and finally, a swim in the Westin pool. It was so family friendly that any time something made a noise as it dropped, the staff would clap!
Test out your adventure side
For school aged kids there are plenty of options in Bali to be adventurous. Bali Treetop Adventure Park has a high ropes course in a national park and the 2 main rivers in Bali are perfect for White Water Rafting. Bali Wake Park has a fun inflatable obstacle course, as well as wake boarding, and ATV rides through the countryside are also a great way to see Bali. The companies that run these activities all have a great safety record and the younger kids can get involved too.
Make friends with the locals
Our best experiences in Bali have always come from the simple things. Chatting to the locals, the kids playing on the beach together and making lifelong friends with our drivers. The Balinese always have a big smile and calm attitude to life. They will adore your kids and it will be hard to sit down at a restaurant without the staff playing along with the kids while you eat.
The Mediterranean has no shortage of gorgeous beaches, whether they’re secluded coves accessible only by water, or busy stretches of sand in the city.
Here are our top picks of the best beaches for sunbathing, getting together with friends, or simply for long walks along the sand. If you really want to get up close and personal to some of these beaches, you’ll need to charter a boat or get a ride from a friend, as many are only accessible via the water.
So pack your swimsuit, sunscreen and floppy hat, and discover these top 10 Mediterranean beaches.
The Best Beaches in The Mediterranean
We found the top 10 beaches in the Mediterranean, from Andalusia to Zakynthos, and everywhere in between. Here they are in no particular order.
Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece
Also named Shipwreck Beach or Smugglers Cove after the freightliner that sank in the area in 1980, Navagio is one of the most spectacular and most famous beaches in the Zakynthos area.
You can get to the beach by joining one of the many tours organized from Zakynthos that will not only take you to the wreck, but to the nearby caves as well.
Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece
Situated in the southwestern part of Crete, 75 kilometers off the old Venetian harbor today known as Chania, Elafonisi is a tiny island just a few meters away from the mainland.
What makes it so special is that the white sand has pink hues to it as well. The island is a protected area with sporadic vegetation, but even so, it’s home to over 100 different species of plants, some of which grow nowhere else in the world.
Scoglio di Peppino at Costa Rei, Sardinia, Italy
Located just 70 kilometers off Cagliari, the region’s capital, Costa Rei welcomes you with a picture-perfect landscape of white powder sand and crystal blue waters that are so typical of Sardina.
The Scoglio di Peppino beach is renowned for its spectacular coral reefs as well as the nearby cuisine at Costa Rei. So after you explore the amazing colors and hues of the sea and enjoy the local wildlife out among the reefs while snorkeling, diving or taking a boating trip during the day, you can spend the evening relaxing in one of the charming restaurants or trattorias in Costa Rei that serve tasty local dishes.
Praia de Falesia, Portugal
The six kilometer long beach of Praia de Falesia in Portugal stretches between Olhos de Agua and Vilamoura.
The golden sand combines with spectacular rock formations that contrast perfectly with the crystal sea. Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, the Praia de Falesia beach is spotted with coves which makes it perfect not only for a peaceful day in the sun, but for enjoying water sports and hiking as well.
Calo Des Mort, Formentera, Spain’s Balearic islands
Calo des Mort is a small, simple beach surrounded by rocky cliffs on the island of Formentera, which is just a quick jaunt away from the popular island of Ibiza. It’s the perfect place to enjoy fine sand, clear water, and gorgeous views without the crowds that plague Ibiza.
Mojacar Playa, Spain
This 17 kilometer long stretch located in eastern Andalusia, on the Costa del Almeira, is breathtakingly beautiful, but still relatively unknown as a tourist destination.
The deep blue water is framed by a golden, sandy beach that turns into a rugged hillside with a welcoming town that awaits the visitor complete with great restaurants and beach bars.
Beaches of Cala Gonone, Sardinia, Italy
Accessible only by boat or by hiking, the beaches of Cala Gonone in the East Sardinia are nothing short of stunning. The beaches are still largely untouched, with dramatic limestone cliffs and deep caves as a gorgeous backdrop.
If you’ve ever seen Madonna’s movie Swept Away, directed by Guy Ritchie, it was set in Cala Gonone. Suffice it to say, the movie is worth a view just for the beautiful scenery.
Balos Beach and Lagoon in Kissamos, Crete, Greece
Getting to Balos Beach is a bit of a trial. You can either reach it by a windy dirt road, or by taking a day cruise. Either way, you’ll be greeted by striking scenery and gorgeous pink and white sand.
St. Paul’s Bay in Lindos, Greece
If you’re looking for a fairly uncrowded beach in a a gorgeous bay, St Paul’s Bay is your spot. It’s south of Lindos on the southeast coast of Rhodes.
There’s a small church on the hillside, and two beaches to enjoy. The largest beach (on the south end) is covered with golden sand, and the smaller beach on the north side is a mix of sand and gravel.
Tel Aviv Israel
Tel Aviv is home to some of the Mediterranean’s busiest and most beautiful beaches. Winter here stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making every sunny day (and most are), a great beach day.
Since the beaches also face West, there are stunning sunsets there every night. That said, if you love watching sunsets with a crowd, Saturday night is the time to be there.
Do you have a favorite Mediterranean beach? Let us know!
It’s no secret, we travel a lot, and no matter where we go, liquids are always a bother to take along. If we take tiny half ounce hotel-sized shampoos, we seem to run out far too quickly, plus they have a nasty tendency to pop open in our luggage. On top of that, it’s a huge bother to try to refill those tiny bottles with our favorite shampoo and conditioner.
Enter these little GoToob+ silicone travel bottles made by San Francisco company humangear.
Sure, the GoToobs are cute as all heck, but they’re also designed to be easy to refill, spill resistant and fairly rugged, so we decided to give them a try.
We tested out our new GoToobs+ on a family road trip down through Washington State, Oregon and along the west coast into Canada, plus we used them on several day trips around town. Our kids had a lot of fun trying them out for liquids the first few days as well!
Our first impressions
There’s no getting around it: the containers are cute.
They come in several colors, and they’re made of a soft, squeezable silicone that feels good in the hand. The lids snap on and off easily, and they seem to be well made.
The new GoToob+ has a 25% bigger opening than the GoToob original, making them easier to refill.
Plus, and this is pretty cool, you can just squeeze the GoToob+ to get a flat bottom, making them easy to stand up and refill hands free.
Are the GoTube+ spill proof?
Well, nothing’s truly leak proof, but these do come pretty close. The cap has an opening with a special no-drip valve that keeps liquids from running out until they’re squeezed.
There’s also a snap cap that goes on the top, with a LoopLock that snaps on over it. Taken together, this creates a pretty tight seal.
That said, the folks at humangear suggest storing your GoToob bottles in a plastic ziplock bag as an extra layer of safety, just in case of extreme changes in air pressure, or in case the bottles accidentally get crushed. We’ve been doing that with all our liquids for years and it’s compulsory if you’re taking them as carry-on anyway.
Can you use GoToob’s for carry-on?
The smaller GoToobs are 3-1-1 compliant, meaning that they’re under 3.4 oz (100 ml), and you can carry them in your carry-on baggage.
The large 6.0 oz GoToobs we tried are too large for carry on, but they’d be great travel containers for liquids in checked baggage.
How do the GoToob+’s perform?
I really love that the outside of these containers isn’t slippery and slick. They’re easy to hold onto in the shower, plus they fit nicely on shower shelves or on the side of the tub.
They also dispense a nice amount of shampoo or conditioner with a gentle squeeze. The opening isn’t so big that shampoo comes gushing out too fast, which has been a problem with other containers I’ve used in the past. Instead, the GoToobs seem to be able to handle both watery liquids like shampoo and thicker liquids like lotions.
New with the GoToob+ is a LoopLock that makes it easy to hang in the shower, or hang off a backpack.
They seem to be pretty sturdy and well made, and even after a week’s use by our nine year old, they looked as good as new. There’s also a lifetime warranty just in case anything goes wrong.
What happened to the suction cup?
The original GoToob came with a suction cup, but the new GoToob+ doesn’t. Instead, it’s been replaced with a LoopLock, which lets you hang the GoToob in the shower. We hear some reports that the suction cups would occasionally come unstuck in the shower, so I think the LoopLock is a good change.
What can you store in your GoToob?
You can put almost any travel toiletry liquid in your GoToob+. We use ours for lotion, shampoo and conditioner, but you can also use them for toothpaste or other lotions,
Can you use a GoToob for water or food?
You can even use your GoToobs for food and drinks, since the tubes are made from BPA-Free and FDA food-safe silicone.
In fact, our kids claimed two of our GoToobs immediately as juice bottles and super sour concoction carriers. They’ve been using them ever since. You could easily use them as ketchup or mustard bottles, too.
How do you clean a GoToob?
You can clean the GoToob+ tubes themselves and the collars in the top rack of the dishwashers, but the flip caps should be hand washed in warm, soapy water.
You’ll definitely pay more for a brand name like humangear’s GoToob+ than an knock off brand.
That said, the GoToob+ is certified BPA free and FDA food grade silicone, which is great to know. Plus, the brand name GoToobs have a few cool features, like the flat bottom for easy refills, large opening for refills, the locking loop, and a lifetime warranty.
humangear GoToob+ ... The ultimate silicone travel bottle - YouTube
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