Gift Ideas for Kids Who Love to Travel

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There are some children that love everything about traveling. You can tell that as they grow up they’ll want to visit everything this world has to offer. They’re constantly asking when the next vacation trip is. They want to know everything about different countries. They’re the kind of kids who take a Gap Year and ending up backpacking for the foreseeable future. These children are so incredibly inquisitive and want to see as much of the world as possible. So, what do you buy for them when it comes to birthdays and Christmas? If you can’t afford to take them abroad every special occasion, here are some great gift ideas.

A Globe

Of course, your child has to have a globe in their room! It will fuel their desire to learn more about the world we live in. You can buy ones that open up and can be used as storage, for their bucket list. You can buy antique looking ones, glow in the dark ones. There are so many different types out there, find the one your kid will like the most. If you’re struggling to find the perfect one, take a look on Pinterest. You can see a whole range of styles and even learn how to make one yourself.

A Wall Map Mural

Instead of the globe, why not go one step further? Turn an entire wall in their bedroom into a map! First, create a base using corkboard or something similar. Then, you want to ask a printer if they can create the entire world on one large piece of paper. Make sure you’ve got the exact dimensions of the wall. Now, you can attach your map wallpaper to the corkboard. Finally, give your child a pot of different colored tacks. They can have one color for the places they’ve visited and one for the places they want to go. It’s the perfect gift!

Boats and Planes

Unless you’re made of money, you’re not going to be able to buy your child their very own private jet. Or, a yacht! However, you can buy them mini versions. A model aircraft is an incredible idea for any little one that likes to travel. You can also buy remote controlled boats that can be taken down to the local pond. If your child is creative, then buy them a model they can build and paint themselves.

Traveling Journal

One of the best things about going on all these adventures is that you will remember them for years to come. Help keep those memories clearer with a traveling diary or journal. Places like Paperchase do products specifically for those who travel around a lot. Alternatively, you can buy a plain one and cover it in photos and maps. Your child will love the fact that they can keep all those memories alive. And, when they’re adults, they’ll look back at their journal with pride.
Hopefully, this has given you a bit of inspiration! Obviously, the perfect gift for any travel-loving child would be a vacation. However, if you’re strapped for cash, then these will come a close second.

8 Kid Friendly Summer Tours in New York City

School is out for the summer and that means three full months of entertaining the kids. Need some ideas to help you fill those long summer days? Think New York City. Since the city can be overwhelming for kids and adults alike, we have mapped out 8 family tours that will keep the kids entertained. Read about them here and then find them and book them on NewYork.com.

The Beast

If your kids (40 inches or taller) are into thrillers, make sure to check out this 30 minute jet powered boat ride down the Hudson River. The crew is energetic and the captain is known to swerve around the river while passing by the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center. DETAILS:  Daily during the season  (get tickets!) ; departs from Pier 83, W. 42nd Street and 12th Avenue

Superhero Tour of New York

Are you kids obsessed with superhero movies? This 90 minute tour will take you to some of the most famous locations seen on screen such as Spider-Man’s Daily Bugle office located inside the flatiron building, and the United Nations where Batman and Robin saved the Security Council. DETAILS:  Fri.-Sun. 2pm; from $37 pp; 32 E. 32nd St; thecelebrityplanet.com

High Line Tour

A mile long park built on an elevated platform that used to be a rail line makes for the perfect kid-friendly tour. There are observation decks allowing you to peer down onto the street and ice pop vendors along the way. Twice a week there are tours led by volunteers who explain the process of redeveloping the High Line and the history behind the platform. DETAILS:  Tue. 6:30pm, Sat. 10am (arrive 15 minutes early, tours are capped at 20 people per docent); meet on the west side of the 14th Street Passage, on the High Line, just south of the elevator door; thehighline.org

The Ride

Hop on this one-of-a-kind mega-bus that has three rows of stadium seating that face the New York City streets. While cruising around the city you’ll not only see historical landmarks, but also street performers queued up to perform as you pass by. The comedic tour guides are the icing on the cake. DETAILS:  Daily except Tues. (daily June through August); from $61 (get tickets!) ; 42nd Street at 8th Avenue, in front of Chevys Mexican Restaurant

A Slice of Pizza Brooklyn Tour

We all know kids love pizza and this four and a half hour tour will take you to the best pizza spots that Brooklyn has to offer. Tour guide Tony Muia, a true pizza connoisseur and Brooklyn-bred fanatic, will fill you in on historical tidbits about the borough as well as play famous Brooklyn-centric movie clips on the bus, such as Saturday Night Fever and Goodfellas. DETAILS: Fri.-Sun. 11am; from $80  (get tickets!) ; E. 13th Street and Fourth Avenue, Manhattan. NOTE: This is a long excursion so may not be the best for young children

Bronx Zoo Guided Tours

The day will fly away with a visit to the nation’s largest metropolitan zoo! With almost 6,000 animals on 265 acres, the Bronx Zoo can be overwhelming! We suggest taking one of the 90-minute tours of popular exhibits such as the Congo Gorilla Forest Tour, Endangered Species Tour or the Aquatic Bird House Tour. General admission is included in your ticket price. DETAILS:  Daily 10:30am-12pm, 1:30-3pm; (get tickets!)

Scavenger Hunts

Stray Boots New York, a scavenger hunt company, provides hunts based off of your interests and location in the city. The best part is the tour is organized through your cell phone! After choosing what scavenger hunt you’re interested in, your phone will prompt you to head to the tours starting point where you will begin receiving clues on your phone. Tours last two to three hours and you can take as many breaks as needed. DETAILS: Daily; from $12 pp; each tour has a specific starting location; strayboots.com

Wildman Tour

Join Steve Brill for a foraging tour where you’ll learn about edible wild plants and medicinal plants found in the local parks of New York City. This is a four hour tour where you should be prepared to get your hands dirty and take home some greens. DETAILS: Weekends; $20 suggested donation/$10 for kids 12 and under; times and locations vary; call 914-835-2153 24 hours in advance for reservations; wildmanstevebrill.com

Originally reported by Garth Wingfield for NewYork.com

Crowdfunding Private Flying: It Can Actually Reduce Travel Costs

The following is a guest post.
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Flying can be a travel necessity for some people, but it can also be a costly thing to do. The price of flying continues to go up, making it harder for people to find the funds to travel.

For those people and those businesses that do a lot of flying, sometimes investing in your own private jet is the best option. Eventually, the cost of owning a plane will pay for itself, and you’ll have access to your own private plane whenever you need it.

Even if you opt to buy a plane, though, it will still cost you a significant amount of money. The price will vary significantly based on the type of plane, the age of the plane, and a variety of other factors. If you’re interested in owning a plane, then you’ll need to do your research to not only see what you can afford, but to also see what you need.

There are three main ways that you can buy your own private jet.

Cash

Obviously, if you have the capital to spend on buying a plane outright, then this is a great option. You’ll end up spending exactly what you want to spend, as you won’t have to pay interest on a loan. Plus, many sellers will often give you a nice discount if they’ll receive cash for the sale. This is something you’ll need to take some time to consider, as it will be a nice chunk of money. Talk with your accountant or other financial advisor to see if it’s a good idea for you to make.

Aircraft Loan

Most people take out a loan when they buy a house or buy a car, and the same goes for buying an airplane too. No matter if you want a private plane for leisure or to fly across the globe for business, an aircraft loan can help you achieve your goal. There are a variety of different aircraft brokers available to help you secure the right loan for the plane of your dreams, so be sure to talk with a professional about your options. Just be sure that you can afford to make the monthly payments before signing the contract.

Crowdfunding

When it comes to buying a private plane, most people don’t even consider crowdfunding as an option, but it is. When you crowdfund, you are asking other people to make an investment in your project, company, idea, etc., which is usually done via the internet. If you are in need of a private plane, you should consider crowdfunding as an option. If you’re looking for a plane for your business, reach out to potential investors and see if they’d be willing to give you some money to buy your plane. Be sure to tell them how the plane will benefit your company, such as by allowing you to ship products more quickly or tend to global business events.

If you’re looking to buy a private jet for your own pleasure, then remind the “crowd” why the plane is beneficial. You can get a group of people together and crowdfund the plane as a group, allowing each “funder” to have access to the plane at their leisure. By doing so, you’ll be able to make a smaller investment in order to access your own private plane. This will significantly reduce the cost of flying, especially if you fly more often. Plus, you won’t have to deal with those large, annoying crowds or experience the hassle of the TSA.

So if you’re truly interested in buying your own plane, consider the three options you have available and make the choice that’s right for you. Remember, cash and aircraft loans will cost more than crowdfunding, so be sure to check your budget before making your final decision.

Summer road trip tips to keep you (and the kids) happy

With the cold days of winter long behind us and spring turning into summer, so marks the beginning of another highly anticipated season-road trip season! A road trip with the family may not seem as exciting as a lazy week on the beach, but with the right prep and attitude, you and the kids can make a truly memorable experience-no sand required.

So what can you do if you’ve got a week or two going spare during your summer time and need to get out of the house? Read along for some tips on taking the greatest road trip of your life.

1 Have a plan but don’t let it control you

Sometimes it makes sense to plan every tiny detail of a vacation, but being in charge of your own transportation (and skipping out on the stress of flying with kids) means that you can relax a bit more knowing that what really matters is that the tank is full and you can locate the nearest highway on-ramp! So instead of knowing where you’ll be hour by hour, leave some space in your itinerary for spontaneity. Aim to see or do one or two big things a day-maybe have a lunch venue in mind as well as the museum you most want to see-but leave everything else up to your whims. This way you won’t miss out on the stuff that’s most important to you, but you’ll still see things you had never planned on. This also leaves a buffer for nap times and grumpy moods, and means you won’t have to miss out on huge chunks of your planned day. A loose plan is a good plan, in this case.

2. Service the car pre-trip

Don’t make the mistake of finding out your engine is on its last leg when you’re three hours into Day One. Whether you should finally get around to buying the needed spare parts for your groovy vintage Volkswagen or you have a family-friendly SUV or van at your disposal, make sure you’ve checked the oil and your trunk is full of any on-the-go emergency pieces you may need, like a spare tire and a first aid kit.

3. Fun and games for everyone.

Podcasts, kid-friendly audio books, and playlists of everyone’s favorite singalong jams will help while away the hours on the road. Still need help? You can search for the list of the greatest road trip songs of all time (Spotify would be great for this) or you can always make your own. Have the kids get involved and let everyone choose what goes on the radio for an hour of your drive. Fair shares all around and a nice rotation for your ears. Everybody wins!

4. Snacks snacks snacks

Yes, there’s always the gas station, but that gets expensive very, very quickly. Instead, bring your own cooler filled with food and drink and save your change for much more interesting adventures. Good ideas for cooler fare could include pb+j, trail mix, string cheese, bananas, and a refillable water bottle.

4. Take pictures-real ones

With the cold days of winter long behind us and spring turning into summer, so marks the beginning of another highly anticipated season-road trip season! A road trip with the family may not seem as exciting as a lazy week on the beach, but with the right prep and attitude, you and the kids can make a truly memorable experience-no sand required.

So what can you do if you’ve got a week or two going spare during your summer time and need to get out of the house? Read along for some tips on taking the greatest road trip of your life.

1. Have a plan but don’t let it control you

Sometimes it makes sense to plan every tiny detail of a vacation, but being in charge of your own transportation (and skipping out on the stress of flying with kids) means that you can relax a bit more knowing that what really matters is that the tank is full and you can locate the nearest highway on-ramp! So instead of knowing where you’ll be hour by hour, leave some space in your itinerary for spontaneity. Aim to see or do one or two big things a day-maybe have a lunch venue in mind as well as the museum you most want to see-but leave everything else up to your whims. This way you won’t miss out on the stuff that’s most important to you, but you’ll still see things you had never planned on. This also leaves a buffer for nap times and grumpy moods, and means you won’t have to miss out on huge chunks of your planned day. A loose plan is a good plan, in this case.

2. Service the car pre-trip

Don’t make the mistake of finding out your engine is on its last leg when you’re three hours into Day One. Whether you should finally get around to buying the needed spare parts for your groovy vintage Volkswagen or you have a family-friendly SUV or van at your disposal, make sure you’ve checked the oil and your trunk is full of any on-the-go emergency pieces you may need, like a spare tire and a first aid kit.
3. Fun and games for everyone.

Podcasts, kid-friendly audio books, and playlists of everyone’s favorite singalong jams will help while away the hours on the road. Still need help? You can search for the list of the greatest road trip songs of all time (Spotify would be great for this) or you can always make your own. Have the kids get involved and let everyone choose what goes on the radio for an hour of your drive. Fair shares all around and a nice rotation for your ears. Everybody wins!
4. Snacks snacks snacks

Yes, there’s always the gas station, but that gets expensive very, very quickly. Instead, bring your own cooler filled with food and drink and save your change for much more interesting adventures. Good ideas for cooler fare could include pb+j, trail mix, string cheese, bananas, and a refillable water bottle.

5. Take pictures-real ones

And not just on your phone! Of course it’s nice to instagram and hashtag your way around the country, but the beautiful scenery you’ll come across and the experiences you’ll be sharing with the little ones will be more than worthy of a tried and true point-and-shoot camera. Turn the snaps into a keepsake photo book when you return home and remember how much more fun it is to check out a scrapbook ten years from now rather than a long scroll through Facebook mobile uploads.

And not just on your phone! Of course it’s nice to instagram and hashtag your way around the country, but the beautiful scenery you’ll come across and the experiences you’ll be sharing with the little ones will be more than worthy of a tried and true point-and-shoot camera. Turn the snaps into a keepsake photo book when you return home and remember how much more fun it is to check out a scrapbook ten years from now rather than a long scroll through Facebook mobile uploads.

Top 10 Lesser Known European Destinations for Less

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European cities can be costly, especially if you’re traveling with the family. However, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to navigate lesser known destinations, you’re sure to find the following places to visit an adventure.

Prague

You may think that all child-friendly destinations are out your monetary reach when it comes to showing your family Europe. However, lesser known places such as Prague are just as entertaining. Fortunately, you won’t break the bank if you want to explore this enchanted land. Whether you venture there in the freezing cold or wait until the thaw, you’ll find the attractions, meals and lodging an inexpensive way to navigate the globe.

Valencia

Valencia is an easy to reach location that sits near the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The vibrancy of the city boasts a number of things to see and do such as festivals, museums, sandy beaches, parks and gardens. The actual perk when visiting Valencia is that the prices are significantly lower than what you would find in other coastal cities throughout Europe. If you’re looking to plan your next adventure, Image Tours has been around for years, and they can help put together your next excursion.

Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the hippest cities to visit. Guests to the region will find a variety of daytime attractions to tour such as markets, museums and churches. If you’re looking for night life, the area holds an assortment of entertaining venues. While Barcelona’s popularity has caused the prices to increase over the years, it’s still considerably lower than the other better known regions throughout Europe.

Budapest

If you’re looking to share a city that’s rich in architecture and history, Budapest is ranked as one of the most beautiful. From affordable hotels and inexpensive eateries, guests will get to enjoy sampling a taste of Hungarian life without maxing out your credit cards.

Istanbul

Istanbul promises an array of attractions for culture hounds and history buffs. Visitors to the region can also find affordable lodging choices and eateries. However, if you plan on taking advantage of the night life, it may cost you significantly more because of the price of alcohol.

Krakow

Krakow is an area of Europe that beckons to history revelers. With over 750 years of stories to tell, travelers on a budget can wade through the many tales without having to spend a fortune. In addition to magnificent palaces and churches, visitors can also take advantage of the many budget-friendly restaurants and hotels throughout the city.

Berlin

This German capital may seem like a gold mine to wander through with its culture, modern science and art. However, the region is so efficiently run and easily accessible by subway that it makes navigating through the various sites an affordable option for travelers.

Riga

The capital city of Latvia is a bargain for travelers who are looking to escape to Europe. With historical monuments, palate pleasing eateries and lively nightlife, it’s an adventurous summer excursion. In addition to the history, the beaches of Riga are great for families with children.

Bucharest

Known as the “little Paris,” Bucharest has been known to possess some of the same unique charms that its western sister holds. From the urban parks to the wide selection of museums, visitors can delight in the sights and sounds of this charming city. While it’s similar to Paris, France in scenery, travelers won’t have to worry about losing their shirt when it comes to costs. Meals, lodging and beverages are outrageously affordable.

Crete

Crete may sound like a far off land, but its offerings are plentiful. From breathtaking scenery to sandy beaches, the riches that unfold in this unique city are highly affordable. History buffs will enjoy exploring the many museums and palaces. If your personality is more outdoorsy, you won’t want to miss hiking the Samoria Gorge.

6 ideas for a pleasant family weekend in Bergamo

Bergamo is an ancient city in Lombardy, located on the picturesque foothills of the Alps. It can offer both rich and diverse architecture, variety of exciting activities, sincere and open people, surprisingly clean and fresh air. In a nutshell, Bergamo has all those things that make the city a perfect destination for holiday with kids!

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The article will help you to briefly get acquainted with the most interesting attractions in Bergamo that will please you and your kids.

Bergamo is one of four Italian cities with their centers completely surrounded by ancient walls.  In fact, Bergamo is split into two parts. The upper part is the ancient city (Bergamo Alta) located on the top of the hill; the lower part is the modern city (Bergamo Bassa) that doesn’t represent anything interesting for tourists. You can reach the ancient city either by car or public transport, but there is much more interesting way – funicular railway.

Funicular railway

Trip in the funicular car is a little adventure for small kids and also a great opportunity to enjoy nice views of the city. The lower station is located on Viale delle Muraand the upper one is in literally two steps from the famous Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. The funicular can fit up to 50 people, so don’t let slip your turn, otherwise you’ll have to wait another car.

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It’s interesting to know that tight orange cars of the Bergamo funicular have been operating since 1888 and originally they were drawn by horses. Funicular railway connecting upper and lower parts of Bergamo isn’t the only one in the city. In fact, there is another car able to take you from the Bergamo Alta to the very top of the hill.

Parco Faunistico Le Cornelle

It’s a scientific base of the University of Milan that is engaged in the problem of preserving grey parrots. Thus, apart from the usual walks among aviaries, Parco Faunistico Le Cornelle can offer the quite serious several hours excursion with a lot of fascinating stories about virtually every animal in the park.

Although the zoo isn’t very big, still it’s a real pleasure to spend time here. This tiny zoo has managed to gather various kinds of animals from guinea pigs to cheetahs. It has many cafes and restaurants as well as picnic areas equipped with tables and benches. So, if don’t want to spend the extra money on visiting cafe, you can simply bring some snacks with you and arrange little lunch in the open air.

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You should acknowledge beforehand that it’s a really tough task to get to Parco Faunistico Le Cornelle from Milan without your own car. Even from Bergamo itself, the park is located in about 11 km.  On the other hand, the park has a convenient parking zone, where you can safely leave your car.

ATB Transport Museum

ATB museum opens doors into the past and shows you how public transport of Bergamo has been changing for the last hundred years.  The museum is designed in a modern way and is full of interactive displays and multimedia installations. The real pride of the ATB Museum is its “time-travelling funicular” offering its visitors an opportunity to discover history of transport in Bergamo through the windows of funicular car.

Natural Science Museum Enrico Caffi

Judging from the many reviews, the Natural Science Museum in Bergamo is very interesting for kids, but can’t offer something very exciting for adults. However, the museum enjoys great popularity among both locals and tourist and you’ll meet here a lot of parents with children.

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The main exhibits are stuffed animals, ancient skeletons and fossils, different minerals and stones.  In general, the exposition is quite interesting and includes even a small collection of mammals.  Another great thing about the museum is that the entrance is free and the museum located in the historical center of Bergamo, so you can visit the museum during your city tour.

Discover the beauty of Bergamo surroundings 

Rich historical heritage isn’t the only thing Bergamo is famous for.  It’s hard not to notice the beauty of the nature of Bergamo province.  Picturesque green valleys, serene clear lakes and magnificent mountains. All this is only in one hour drive from Bergamo.  For instance, you can visit lakes Endine and Iseo that are in 30 km and 45 km respectively.

Lake Iseo

On the shores of the Lake Iseo, you can admire beautiful sceneries and incredibly diverse landscapes including rocky walls sprouting out of the water, olive groves, tiny coves and bays. The lake is literally framed with many small cozy towns, so you have a large selection of hotels to stay in. Local gastronomic traditions deserve special mention. Such delicious dishes and fine wine you won’t find anywhere else in Italy!

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Lake Endine

Whereas Lake Iseo is very popular among tourists, Lake Endine is rarely visited even by locals. It is small, about 6 km in length and there aren’t large cities nearby. Most visitors of Endine come here for fishing or watching birds and enjoying silence and solitude.

However, there are small beaches on the shores of well-equipped with all needed stuff for a good rest. Here you and your kids can rent a boat or enjoy water bike ride.

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Bergamo is a beautiful and charming city with very diverse and beautiful architecture. It’s a good holiday destination, but you shouldn’t forget that city tourism could be quite tiresome even for adults not to mention small kids.

Endless walking, hours of city tours and excursions – all this takes a lot of energy. Thus, try to solve transportation problem in advance. Spend a little bit more money on your vacation and allocate some funds to rent comfortable car for the whole family. Believe that in Italy, there is nothing to do without four wheels!

All the beauty of Italy lies in its cozy provincial towns surrounded by picturesque landscapes. Explore Italy in the most convenient way! Book a car at Bergamo Airport in advance to save money and get exactly that model you’re looking for.

Author Bio: Lily Berns is a writer who enjoys travelling and blogging about family entertainment spots while visiting different countries.

 

Looking for the Perfect Travel Purse?

If you give me a big purse, I will carry everything in it. I do mean everything. Snacks for the kid, tissues, lip balm, hand cleaning products…the list goes on and on.
Ladies, I am going to let you in on a little trick. The secret to looking great while on the go doesn’t require effort. It requires you to find a style that flatters you, that is comfortable, and that will enhance your  your wardrobe subtly. Who would have thought that adding a bag to your look could be a game changer?

20150502_195156I am not talking about any bag either. I am talking about a Baliboca bag. These are pretty sweet for a Mom on the go. If I am dashing off to an after school event with the kid, or having a family fun day at the Zoo. My Baliboca Neoprene Shoulder Bag is great. I stays with me, requires no hands, and best of all, it can discreetly slip under my coat or sweatshirt if I want.


Now this is huge. You don’t want to know how many times I have been the lady that could just drag a suitcase in wheels around for all of the stuff motherhood requires. The Baliboca shoulder bag is great for helping me just say no to becoming a walking vending machine.
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Is Your Health Safe When You Travel?

Traveling the world can be a wonderful experience. You get to take in new sights, see a ton of history, embed yourself in other cultures, and create lifelong memories. However, while the experience may be fun, traveling to other countries also puts you at risk.

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Not only do you run the risk of getting lost or being taken advantage of in other countries due to your lack of direction and/or inability to speak the language, but you are also exposed to illness and disease that you may not be exposed to back home in the US.

Getting sick in another country is not always ideal. Not only do the doctors likely not have access to your medical records, which could put you at risk if you have an underlying medical condition or allergy to medication they aren’t aware of, but you may not get the best possible treatment either. In order to ensure your safety while traveling to another country, use the following tips.

Get vaccinated.

Different countries have different illnesses and diseases, and in order to travel to certain countries, you may be required to get certain vaccinations. Before you go, check and see what vaccinations you need to travel out of the country, and then set up an appointment with your doctor to get vaccinated. Keep in mind that some vaccinations may require multiple doses, so this isn’t something you can put off until the last minute. Plus, you’ll also need proof that you were vaccinated in order to board the plane, so be sure you keep all records and documentation on hand. Getting these shots done will help eliminate your risk of catching a disease while you’re traveling, which will help to keep you safe.

Research doctors/hospitals.
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