Traveling To India With The Kids: 6 Useful Tips

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India is a beautiful and dazzling country, brimming with culture and tradition. It makes for an interesting and educational trip. Children will love it. There’s so much to do and see. To make the most of your vacation, follow our family-friendly tips.

  1. Before You Go

Before you leave, plan your journey carefully. Find areas that are family-friendly. Read as many India travel tips as you can, and check out online reviews.

Research travel destinations and put together a rough itinerary. Leave some space to be flexible. You’ll find you encounter lots of new things when you arrive. It’s worth leaving some free time to be spontaneous.

Budget accommodation generally means tiny rooms with pull out cots. Check with the hotel before traveling. Online reviews are invaluable.

  1. Prepare For the Climate

Check out the weather before you travel and ensure that you have adequate clothing. High season is between December and March. During those months the days are warm and the nights are cool. April and June are the hottest months. The mountains are cooler at these times but can be crowded.

  1. General Precautions

Always check out the US Dept. of State Alerts and Warnings before traveling abroad.

Pickpocketing can be an issue in some regions. Take precautions and keep valuables secure. Padlock your luggage for extra security.

Take hand sanitizer and use it when you can.

Ensure you undergo any relevant vaccinations before you travel. Malaria is a risk in India, so do take precautions. Use repellent and cover up in the evenings. Sleep under a mosquito net where possible.

Take a first-aid kit with basic supplies. It should include tablets for diarrhea, general painkillers, and antihistamines.

If you feel dehydrated, coconut water is delicious and will rehydrate you.

  1. Getting Around

If you’re traveling through India, kids will love the tuk-tuks for short journeys. For longer journeys, the bus can be challenging for young children. Trips tend to be long, and there are few rest stops. Train journeys are easier, but you should expect delays.

  1. Eating

Depending on your destination, eating may not be as tricky as you think. Many destinations offer kids’ favorites like McDonald’s, pizza, and toasted sandwiches. Encourage kids to try some of the local cuisines. There are lots of tame versions available. For sensitive palates stick to veggie options and boiled rice. Stock up on fresh fruit as snacks for journeys.

  1. Activities

There is no end to the activities in India. The International Kite Festival takes place in January and is stunning. Festivals take place in most regions and are certainly worth a visit. For adventure activities, check safety and credentials with organizers.

For many children, India is different to anything they have ever experienced. It is a thriving and vibrant country. Children will be enthralled by the bustle, color, and culture. With a little research and planning, you can choose the best destinations and make the most of your vacation. It will be a holiday that you and your family will never forget.

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Disclosure- This post is brought to you in partnership with Penguin Random House.

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Summer is right around the corner and planning your family vacation has never been easier thanks to Fodor’s Travel. For 80 years Fodor’s has been a trusted resource offering expert travel advice and in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, their experts unveiled a new suite of online tools and updated guidebooks to help travelers plan an unforgettable family trip to America’s incredible natural wonders. Throughout 2016, all parks, including the venerable Yellowstone and Yosemite, will celebrate the centennial with activities and initiatives that allow visitors to revel in their natural, historical, and cultural splendor.

There’s no better way to explore a national park (or a few!) than to hit the road and let’s face it, picking which parks to visit and what scenic routes to take can be overwhelming. Fodor’s National Park Road Trip Itineraries, found on Fodors.com, include the most road-trip worthy adventures to parks across various states. And that’s not all you’ll find – National Parks 101 tells you everything you need to know about planning a trip to the national parks, including booking, budgeting and packing tips; and National Parks Finder helps you find and compare national parks based on activity, region or season. When you use these tools with Fodor’s National Parks of the West, on sale May 10, which includes completely updated coverage of the best sites, dining, and lodging in and around each park, you’re sure to have the best summer trip yet.

And while you’re on the road with your family, you’re going to need some travel entertainment. The solution: Listen to an audiobook! With an audiobook, you can completely lose yourself in the journey, enjoying the scenery while listening to a great narrator tell you a story. Ideal listening with kids in the car, audiobooks expand vocabulary, teach pronunciation and improve reading comprehension. In fact, 85% of what we learn, we learn by listening. Whether it’s a charmingly, quirky tale for your middle grader like Jennifer L. Holm’s The Fourteenth Goldfish, a brain-teasing mystery like Chris Grabenstein’s Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, or Jack London’s classic The Call of the Wild read by Emmy Award winner Jeff Daniels, you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

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One (1) winner receives:

  • Fodor’s The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West;
  • 3 audiobooks to listen to on the drive: The Fourteenth GoldfishEscape from Mr Lemoncello’s Library, and Call of the Wild;
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Fighting Boredom is One Key to a Happy Family Vacation

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Traveling with kids can be a lot of fun. If you don’t believe me take a trip to Disney World with a six-year-old. The way their face lights up at every turn will make every mile traveled worth it. But struggles along the way can make taking a vacation with kids seem like a prison sentence.

Kids’ patience can wear thin when they’re stuck in the car or on an airplane and just want to start enjoying the vacation. If they don’t have things to keep them busy boredom will set in followed by cries of “are we there yet?”

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in this scenario. Packing the right supplies for the trip can keep boredom at bay so everyone stays happy.

A Steady Power Supply

Today, most kids can be entertained for hours with electronics. It’s actually amazing how quiet a car or plane ride can be when kids are engrossed in a game on a device. But then the battery icon turns the dreaded red. Right when they’re at the best part of the movie or about to beat their top score the power finally gives out.

Packing a powerbank in your bag (or even two) can help you keep electronics charged when there’s no electric outlet in sight. Powerbanks store power and have ports so that devices can be plugged directly into them. This isn’t just a matter of having endless entertainment. Being able to charge cell phones and navigation systems on the go make them well worth the cost.

Relax With Reading Material

Even if you have an ample power supply there are times when electronics can’t be used, like during the first 20-30 minutes of a flight. Kids and teens that aren’t used to being without their devices will need another distraction. This is the perfect opportunity to get them to pick up some old-fashioned entertainment – books.

Reading is one of the best sources of relaxation because it’s a great distraction. The best part is research has shown any type of reading material has relaxing benefits. It can be a comic book, a young adult novel or an insect identification guide.

It could be fun to get your kids books and maps on the place that you plan to visit. While they read they can start planning what they want to do while you’re there. You can also get each kid a journal so they can write their own story and chronicle the events of the trip.

Coloring Books for Adults and Kids

Another fun pastime that’s popular right now is detailed coloring books. Kids will definitely enjoy them, but they’re designed for teens and adults as well. The coloring books have beautiful, intricate patterns that help relax the mind and spark creativity. Coloring just one page can easily keep you entertained for an hour or more.

These types of coloring books work best with coloring pencils. That means you’ll need to pack a pencil sharpener as well, or you may run out of the color you need before you’re done.

Cameras to Capture the Trip

Kids innately know how to use electronic devices these days. Even small children are fascinated with them, including cameras. Usually parents are the ones trying to capture their kids on camera, but what if the shoe was on the other foot? A super fun way to keep your kids entertained is to give them their own camera for the trip.

It can be an old one you haven’t used since you got a smart phone or a cheap disposable camera. It really won’t make much of a difference to your kid once they start snapping away. At the end of the trip you can take the pictures and video clips they captured and create a slide show for the family.

Stock Up on Classic Games

Some games are considered to be classics because they are still just as fun today as they were decades ago. Car bingo is one classic that was made for travel. A deck of cards is all you need for dozens of games that the whole family can play together. Legos are another way to stop boredom before it happens. You can even upcycle an old lunchbox to create a portable Lego kit.

Vacations are a great way for families to bond and break free of daily stressors. Just make sure you pack extra entertainment so boredom doesn’t derail the trip.

Traveling With Kids In Hot Weather

Sometimes, travel occurs in the hotter months, or in the summer. This can be hard work when you’re on your own, or with a friend or partner. But when you’ve got a kid, or kids, and are taking them along with you? It is a totally different ball game. Whether you’re traveling to steaming hot sunshine in Hawaii or a hot New York afternoon, you’ll need to be prepared.

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Here is how to make traveling kids in hot weather more bearable for everyone. Here is a clue; It’s all in the preparation.

First off, be sure to give some careful consideration to how you are traveling. Taking your own car is great, as you get to decide when you travel and how. But if that option isn’t available, bus travel is a good alternative. Buses now have good air-con, which will keep everyone cool when it is hot outside. Many have toilets on them too, which can avoid other types of discomfort. Also, be sure to book your bus tickets in advance. You can pick them up on online these days, which is really handy. Get bus tickets from Shofur, for example, and they guarantee clean, safe and pleasant travel. All of which are great words in a parent’s vocab!

Next, you need to think about your packing. Taking the right items with you will make all the difference. Layers are the best way to dress your children in hot weather. If they get too hot, you can strip them down to just one layer. However, if they go inside a shop with air-conditioning, for example, you can keep them warm. Hand-held fans are way more effective than the nearest sheet of paper! Or, consider a little electric hand-held fan.

Outside in the heat, a wide-brimmed hat will do more than just protect their heads. It will also keep their heads cool. Plus, the wide brim will protect and cool their forehead and neck. Of course, sunblock is a must in hot weather. You can use it to cool them down also. Keep it in a cool bag and it will go on nice and cold. Or get a mist; these usually come out much cooler than those in bottles.
You also need to give some thought to your activities. If you will be inside a lot of the time, you’ll be fine. But what if you’ve got outdoor activities planned, like hiking or swimming. The right clothing, hat and sunscreen will go a long way. But so will keep them in the shade. Or, if they are out in the sun, having them go in the shade every half an hour or so. This will keep their body temperature down, and generally, keep them happier! Sunstroke is not fun.

Finally, be sure you keep your kids hydrated. It will keep them happy and functioning, and will again ward off sunstroke. Being dehydrated can just lead to mild things like headaches, but again, this is not something you want to deal with while traveling.

Travel Light, Pack Right

Disclosure- I received the below in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own and honest.  See more at “I Disclose”.

When you are taking a family vacation, you want to be ready for anything.  You also don’t want to pack everything and the kitchen sink.  What do you really need when you are headed out?

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A good cell phone is key.  I know some people are die hard apple fans, but I love Samsung.  In my opinion, it is the better option and I have preferred them for years. The new Galaxy S7 is amazing, you won’t want to put it down. The photos are sharp- which is a must for not only travel but anyone with children, the apps you can download are great and varied (nearly everything comes in an android version now, and if it doesn’t there is something similar), and most of the new versions are water resistant, which makes them that much more durable.  They tend to last longer then other brands I’ve had as well, without getting “glitchy” or throwing as many errors or slowing down as much as they get older.  (Yes, I keep my phones for the long run, then I let my son play with them on wifi only when I upgrade.) Sprint, the network that I’m using, also pairs really well with the new Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge  and has some really awesome offers at the moment for both new and existing customers, so it’s the perfect time to upgrade.  Summer travel is only a few weeks away, check out all that you can get with these new phones and services. No one likes to be in a dead zone, or “out of range”.   Options and prices vary, visit your Sprint store for details.

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While your phone will likely be your main source of photo taking, lets be real- you need a camera for all the “big stuff”.  You don’t want to take your phone into a lake, the ocean, the pool, or ziplining- at least I don’t.  The photos might be awesome, but I don’t want to lose the phone (or ruin it) in the process of getting those “must have” shots.  The new GoPro HERO4 Session is the smallest, lightest camera that has come from the GoPro family yet, and the price point is doable at $200.  It has an app that lets it connect to your phone (for free) and you can see your photos and videos right away if you would like.  Smart remote sold separately. You can hold it, mount it, wear it- really, anything you’d like.  It’s waterproof, so you can take it jet skiing, snow tubing, kayaking- whatever suits you.  It’s really a camera that is ready for any adventure, and provides high resolution, sharp, professional-looking video.  Charge it up, and it’s ready to go capture some memories.   Pick yours up at https://gopro.com/ .

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You will want to dress appropriately, without having to pack everything. A good pair of shoes is top of the list, and one pair that I really like (and that does double-duty) is The Sara by NAOT.  Not only super cute, but super comfortable. Dress them up or down, these gladiator inspired sandals are padded, and have an anatomic cork and latex footbed which  is wrapped in oh-so-soft suede.  Yes, it can get wet and still look fine and function.  As you wear it, the sole molds to the shape of your foot. The heel and back panels have additional lining and padding as well for extra comfort no matter how long you wear them.  I have worn these all over the place, and have not got blisters or weird “ow” spots from strange rubbing . Of course, that doesn’t mean go hiking the first day you wear them, be smart- they are still shoes, break them in.  Get them at http://naot.com or Amazon for about $150, several colors available.

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Looking to stay warm? Why not keep the dreaded bugs (now with added Zika virus) at bay with the new line from Craghoppers.  The NosiLife Apparel with Insect Shield® insect repellent as well as sun protection woven into the fabric is non-irritant and non-hazardous to the skin.  The jackets are cute and comfortable as well, perfect for summer weather excursions and nights when it gets cooler.  My son tried out the new Nat Geo NosiLife Chima Jacket, which is soft and lightweight, has front pockets, zip front, and a hood for when it gets chilly.  It’s also nearly impossible to wrinkle, which mom appreciates. I tested out the NosiLife Astrid Cardigan, which has neither pockets nor hood, but is easy to dress up or down, so it’s perfect for trips where you can’t pack too much. Also soft, lightweight, and hard to wrinkle, neither of us had bug bites on our arms while wearing these jackets.  Pick up jackets for your crew at http://www.us.craghoppers.com/

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One more item that has become somewhat of an essential for me is the RFID Travel SCOTTeVEST.  It’s perfect for all those times when you don’t want to or can’t carry a giant bag, but want to carry things with you.  Your camera, binoculars, tablet, granola bars, wallet, maps, whatever provisions you prefer- this vest has room for it all. It has 18 pockets, is super lightweight, and looks nice on as well. You won’t look like the marshmallow man when wearing it- huge plus.  It comes in several colors, and has a special RFID blocking pocket to keep your passport, credit cards, etc safe from pickpockets and identity thieves.  Because the pockets are on the inside, your stuff is also safer from wandering hands.  You can choose from a regular or 2 way zipper as well- and yes, there are men’s versions.  I’ve been using this for way more then travel, it’s certainly gotten tested.  Regular life can require a lot of pockets sometimes! Since getting it, I’ve been surprised how much use I’ve gotten out of it.  Pick one up, and you will see what I mean.  http://www.scottevest.com/ for $135 .

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Have you read about what a great time we had staying at the George Washington Inn in DC recently?  If not, please head over and check out the review now.

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Unique Summer Getaways in Idaho and Utah

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If you’re looking to visit Utah or Idaho, there’s no shortage of options for a fun, outdoorsy trip. Here are four great options to consider:

Wind Caves Hike in Logan, Utah

This 3.5 mile trail is used for hiking and is open from March through November. The trail is described as moderate, so this might be just the right trail to attempt with children who enjoy the outdoors and don’t mind walking.

Pros:

With children in tow, the hike should still only take about around three hours.

The path is well marked.

There are wildflowers along the trail, and the views of the canyon make for a beautiful hike.

Cons:

There are steep areas, and some parts of the trail are narrow, which can be hard for smaller children.

Hardware Ranch in Utah

If you take a little drive to the east of Logan on highway 101, you’ll find Hardware Ranch. In the summertime families can see an amazing variety of wildlife while roaming around the ranch, and winter is the perfect time to see elk up close and personal.

Pros:

The people at Hardware Ranch dedicate their time to helping others learn about animals and wildlife. This destination has the benefit of being fun and educational, hopefully sparking a child’s interest in animal research and nature.

Around the same area as Hardware Ranch are places to fish, camp, and hunt.

Cons:

Winter storms may wreak havoc on the roads, so it’s necessary to check conditions before attempting the drive to the ranch.

The ranch is closed Tuesday-Thursday every week. This is something to consider when planning a trip.

Snake River Greenbelt in Idaho Falls, Idaho

The Snake River Greenbelt offers views of geese, ducks, and the river, including the falls. There are trails for both walking and biking, and you can also climb around the river on the rocks to get even better views.

Pros:

Free entertainment! For zero dollars your kids can run their energy out.

Snake River Greenbelt is great for relaxing or for adventure. You can pack a picnic, relax, and enjoy the scenery or hike the over two mile trail around the area.

Cons:

This is Idaho, so it can be cold around the water any time of year.

The walking and bike paths are sometimes congested with large groups of people. This can be a problem if you have kids who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings, as they could be hit by rollerbladers or bikers.

Hell’s Half Acre about 25 miles west of Idaho Falls, Idaho

The landscape on this hike was created by lava flows in this area. Designated as a National Natural Landmark and a Wilderness Study Area, this area is the perfect place to study geology in its untainted form.

Pros:

It’s not hard to find Hell’s Half Acre since there is easy access from Interstate 15.

This journey can be a great learning experience. Hikers have the chance to learn how animals and plants adapted to live in an area that used to be covered with lava. There are signs along the trail to help hikers learn more.

Cons:

Due to the lava helping form this area, the terrain on this trail is cracked with jagged places, which can present problems for small kids.

Bio –

This post is courtesy of KJ’s Superstores with many locations in Nevada and Wyoming, including a Logan Utah convenience store and Idaho car wash. KJ’s offers healthy snacks, premium fuel and a wide selection of items for your travel needs for the whole family.

Coolest Car Parks in the World Revealed

UK based airport car parking provider has completed a piece of research into the coolest car parks in the world. Two car parks in Miami made it into the list, as did some in other countries. These car parks were shown to be truly picture-worthy.

Car parks usually aren’t the things people think about when they consider cutting edge architecture and design. However, a UK based airport car parking provider has decided to draw some attention to these types of buildings. According to them, some car parks are nothing short of cool.

www.airportparking.co.uk took a look at some of the world’s best known car parks, coming up with a top 10 list of cool car parks. The first they added to the list is 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami, FL. This car park has received a wealth of design awards and the landmark is described as ‘radical’ looking like a house of cards. Some who park there simply don’t leave, enjoy the views over South Beach instead. It has no exterior walls, has varying floor heights, and is constructed around cantilevers and buttresses.

The second carpark is also in Miami, FL, being the Ballet Valet Parking Garage. This was built in 1995 as part of a project between Tony Goldman and the city of Miami. It is part of the Arqcuitectonica Retail Center, meaning people can shop at street level, and park at the same time. The carpark perfectly blends in thanks to its lush greenery.

In third place is the Car Park Plaza in Cajnovas, Spain. This is the embodiment of all that is Spanish, focusing on fun and colors. At the same time, sustainability and functionality were high on the designer’s agenda. The carpark has very low power consumption because it uses neon lights. These lights complement the graphics, colors, and other visuals on the walls, which provide an easy guide for drivers at the same time.

The fifth car park is Charles Street in Sheffield, UK. This is operated by Q-Park and was designed by Morrison Architects, who also redeveloped the former Arsenal stadium. Charles Street holds 520 vehicles across ten floors. Ground level includes a retail space.

The sixth is Cordova Parkade, which is in Vancouver, Canada. It was built in the frame of an old department store in an effort to revitalize the downtown area of Vancouver. Some $28 million was spent in the completion of this carpark, ranking it as one of the most expensive as well. The building is inspired by train stations from the 19th century and fits in perfectly with the historic buildings in that part of the city.

Seventh place went to the Eureka Tower Car Park in Melbourne, Australia. This car park uses moder design styles, including colors and two- and three-dimensional design tricks. Along the way, words like up, down, in, and out, snap into alignment. This means that the drive itself is more enjoyable and engaging for drivers as well.

The eight coolest car park is the Michigan Theater in Detroit. This was built in 1926, when Henry Ford built his very first vehicle in it. The theater itself closed its doors in 1976, and it was set to be demolished. However, adjacent buildings would then suffer stability issues, so it was turned into a carpark instead.

A representative from Airport Parking says: “We love these different car parks around the world, and there are quite a few more than do really deserve our attention. The Michigan Theater, however, has to be the best one of all. To park underneath the wall art of this theater, imagining the ornate chandeliers above you, is an experience you will never forget.”